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The Hydra Tech Pro Fresco Sleeveless Men's Base Layer performs well in warm and hot weather under a jersey or can be paired with something thicker in cooler conditions. The material is slightly thicker than on some sleeveless baselayers, but it wicks sweat well, has an excellent fit and the fabric is comfortable against the skin.
At 80g, the Fresco Sleeveless is about average for a summer baselayer, using what feels like a slightly thicker fabric than the short-sleeved version that I reviewed recently. The 95gsm fabric is made up of 94% polyester and 6% elastane, giving it a little stretch to aid its form-hugging fit. This helps to prevent bunching or excess material even under an aero jersey, contributing to the overall comfort of the garment.
A further perk of the material is that, although it's still a little see-through, it's much less transparent than some baselayers I've used recently. The Stolen Goat Mesh baselayer or Lusso Race Base Vest, for example, may be slightly lighter (64g and 69g respectively) but don't leave much to the imagination, meaning that extra layers may have to be donned for public spin classes or turbo sessions.
As with the short sleeve version of the Fresco, I did find that the baselayer came up slightly small, although to a lesser degree. I'd say that the medium on test was more like a S/M, or about half a size smaller than the one printed on the label, when compared to brands such as Castelli and dhb. I say label, but the Fresco doesn't actually have any, instead the necessary details are printed inside the collar, aiding comfort by cutting down on sharp corners.
The baselayer isn't particularly long (or short), so no VBLs (visible baselayer lines) through bib shorts – helped by the flat hem around the bottom. At the top of the Fresco, around the neck and arm holes, the seams are a little thicker so I'd suggest you take a little extra care when positioning your bib straps for a comfortable ride. Personally, I'd prefer a slightly lower and wider cut on the neck hole as the current design is marginal with an aero race jersey, but if you tend to wear regular jerseys with a higher cut then this won't be an issue.
HTP says that the Miti fabric it uses is proven to keep you feeling fresh all day, and I was plenty comfortable enough even on 200km training rides in the warm spring weather. The fabric is soft, comfortable against the skin and also pretty good at not retaining odour – I could happily get a few intense uses out of it in between washes, which cannot be said for all of my clothing.
Compared with other sleeveless baselayers, the Fresco is towards the upper end of the price range, although plenty are more expensive, such as the Assos Summer NS Skin Layer (£50) and Velocio Radiator SL (£55). For the more budget conscious, the Stolen Goat Mesh or Lusso Race Base Vest mentioned earlier could save you a few quid, though I found the HTP fabric more comfortable against the skin.
Overall, the Fresco Sleeveless is a high-quality garment that fits really well, with good attention to detail. It works with the majority of jerseys – minus a few with particularly aggressive aero cuts – and is great at wicking away sweat to keep you cool even during intense efforts.
Great fitting, wicking and performing sleeveless baselayer
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Hydra Tech Pro Fresco Sleeveless Men's Base Layer
Size tested: Medium
Tell us what the product is for
HTP says: "We have worked hard to design a base layer that will perform in the hottest conditions. These are the ultimate in base layer garments which will set new standards in hot and warm weather cycling across the globe."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
For use in warm/hot conditions
94% Polyester and 6% Elastane
Feels robust and stitching is high quality.
Excellent, form-hugging but not restrictive.
Comes up a little small (about half a size compared to Castelli and dhb).
There are lighter sleeveless baselayers out there (which are usually also a lot more transparent).
There are some very comfortable and cheaper baselayers out there but this one performs well and feels high quality and durable so does justify its cost.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Very well. A surprisingly mild spring has been the perfect testing ground and it has performed well in hot and warm conditions both inside and out, wicking sweat well and keeping me cool even during intense efforts.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The great fit, with no excess material around he torso.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Thicker collar seam can interfere with some aero cut jerseys.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
As mentioned in the review it's towards the upper end of the market but by no means the most expensive. It justifies its price with the quality of material and stitching.
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
Great fit, wicks sweat away well to keep you cool, and dries quickly. No labels and a flat seam at the bottom are nice details, although the seams around the collar and sleeves are thicker than some.
About the tester
I usually ride: Specialized venge pro 2019 My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 5-10 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo cross, commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, mtb,
Jamie has been riding bikes since a tender age but really caught the bug for racing and reviewing whilst studying towards a master's in Mechanical engineering at Swansea University. Having graduated, he decided he really quite liked working with bikes and is now a full-time addition to the road.cc team. When not writing about tech news or working on the Youtube channel, you can still find him racing local crits trying to cling on to his cat 2 licence...and missing every break going...