The Le Col Pro Air Jersey is a superlight option for keeping you cool and comfortable on the very hottest summer rides.
The most noticeable feature of the Pro Air jersey is the fabric. It's a polyester mesh similar to one that you might find on a baselayer. It's a diamond lattice with gaps between that aren't completely open like on a string vest, for example, although the fabric there is extremely thin – so much so that you can see through it. Bashful types need not apply.
The idea, of course, is to offer the maximum airflow and breathability. I thought that other jerseys in my wardrobe were lightweight and airy until I used this one! You can easily feel the breeze blowing right through the fabric and onto your torso as you ride along, helping to keep you cool.
The fabric is also pretty good at shifting sweat away from your body and drying out fast, both of which work to keep you comfortable on a hot ride.
When I say 'hot ride', the temperature has to be well above 20°C for me to wear the Pro Air – more like the high 20s – although you might be different. It was great on a recent trip to southern France, for instance, particularly for keeping me cool on long, sweaty climbs although, as you'd expect, I've got less use out of it back in the UK. That said, on those really hot, sticky days that we occasionally get over here it makes a big difference to the way that you feel. One extra thing to consider is that the sun can get to your skin through the fabric, so you might want to apply sunscreen to your body as well as to your arms, legs and face.
The Pro Air is a slim fit through the body and the neck is fairly low – there would be little point having a high neck on something that's so geared up to letting air in. The cut is designed so that there's no bunching when you're down on the drops and I'd say it works in that respect. Stretch in the fabric means you're unlikely to feel hemmed in despite the close cut – as long as you buy the right size, of course.
Speaking of size, my chest is 39in so according to Le Col's chart I should take either a medium or a large – I'm right where the two meet. I opted for medium and it has been absolutely fine.
The grippers at the ends of the sleeves have a tacky silicone print on the inside to help them stay in place on your skin – not that they'd be likely to ride up on many people anyway because, again, they're cut narrow. Those grippers are quite stretchy but they're still going to be tight on big guns.
The stretchy waistband features a silicone gripper on the inside too.
The front zip is full length so you can open it up fully for maximum cooling, or lock it in place partway open. A zip guard at the top stops it irritating your neck.
The tops of the three main rear pockets are elasticated to help keep the contents inside. A reinforcement bar running across the back panel prevents any holes forming in the thin fabric where they attach.
You also get a water-resistant zipped pocket back there. My phone, measuring 138mm x 67mm x 7mm, just squeezed inside. Any bigger and you might be in trouble.
The Le Col Pro Air is up there with the more expensive jerseys we've reviewed on road.cc recently (not including foul weather jerseys, which are generally more expensive), although it's cheaper than the Shimano Evolve and the Santini Redux. It's also the most lightweight jersey I've ever used and the quality is very high throughout. If your budget doesn't stretch to £120, Sportful's £80 Bodyfit Pro Light jersey was highly rated by Dave so is well worth a look.
Overall, the Le Col Pro Air Jersey is a very good featherlight option for the hottest summer rides. It isn't cheap but if you want to let the air flow in it'll probably be the coolest-feeling jersey you own.
Extremely lightweight and airy jersey for the hottest summer rides
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Le Col Pro Air Jersey
Size tested: Medium
Tell us what the product is for
Le Col is clear about what the Pro Air is designed for. Here's the write-up:
The Pro Air Jersey has been engineered for high performance riding in hot conditions; The lightest and coolest of our Le Col Jerseys.
The Pro Air jersey was born to minimise heat retention on the hottest of rides via a reduction in fabric thickness. Maintaining the same aero technical performance cut as the main Pro Jersey the Pro Air Jersey fit still favours the competitive on-the-drops riding position but has the lightest fabric and highest airflow of any Le Col jersey providing maximum breathability and ventilation.
The Jersey comes in our new bright and bold 'hot summer' colours including our distinctive anti-camo designs, a play on the current trend of camo design, but with a purpose to disrupt the background and increase rider visibility.
The Pro Air jersey features a quality lock down zip puller for ease of use at high speeds, a silicon gripper at the waist hem to hold the aero jersey firmly in place and an ergonomic cut on the collar to remove bunching of fabric whilst in a fast riding position. Additional features include the hidden 4th waterproof security pocket on the back
This Pro Jersey is Pro Racewear available to all. The Le Col Pro Air is an elite performance jersey for intensive efforts in hot conditions.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
From Le Col:
Fabric: Air Polyester 100%
Lightest fabric and highest airflow of any Le Col jersey
Lock down full zip & zip guard
3 large rear pockets
1 zipped waterproof security pocket
Machine wash 30° with no fabric conditioner and rinse well
Do not bleach, tumble dry or iron
It's well made from good materials.
If you want a very airy jersey for hot summer rides, it puts in an exceptional performance.
The build quality is very good although, not surprisingly, the lightweight fabric is delicate compared to most.
The fit is exactly as described on Le Col's website. It's a slim fit that doesn't bunch when you're down on the drops.
The sizing is as given on Le Col's size chart.
The extra comfort that comes from the lightweight fabric is significant here.
It isn't a cheap jersey, but it is the most airy I've ever used.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
It washes fine – 30°C in the machine, like most other cycling stuff.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
This is a jersey exclusively for very hot days when it will keep you much cooler than most other jerseys.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The airiness and ability to deal with sweat.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
As you'd probably expect, the lightweight fabric isn't as tough as those that you'll find on most other jerseys.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
This is a really good jersey for super-hot rides, especially ones that are going to involve a lot of climbing. The level of performance is very high. Balanced against the £120 price tag, this gives an overall score of 8.
About the tester
I usually ride: My best bike is:
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding
Mat has been in cycling media since 1996, on titles including BikeRadar, Total Bike, Total Mountain Bike, What Mountain Bike and Mountain Biking UK, and he has been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. Mat has been road.cc technical editor for over a decade, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer. Now pushing 50, he's riding road and gravel bikes most days for fun and fitness rather than training for competitions.