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The Le Col Women's Hors Categorie Long Sleeve Jersey is surprisingly warm considering its low bulk. It's incredibly easy to layer with, and when milder weather hits, wearing this by itself is a delight thanks to its supersoft inner liner.
This thermal jersey has a 56% polyamide, 25% polyester, and 9% elastane mix. It consists of a stretchy outer and an inner fleece lining that is oh-so-comfy and can definitely be worn without a baselayer.
It has a close fit that hugs the shape of my body well without any baggy areas, and there's a good length to the main body that is held securely in place with its silicone hemline gripper.
The slim sleeves are a great width, but I found they come up slightly short. This meant I had to use gloves with a fairly long cuff to avoid the dreaded bare skin gap. At the end of each sleeve, there's a folded elastic cuff. It is designed to be low profile but it is not very stretchy and, with this, I found it very tight to get over my wrists. Once on, it sits nice and flush, but the join of the cuff at the side is bulky and irritated my skin – the threads here have also started to come loose.
The thermal jersey provides surprising warmth considering the thinness of the material used, weighing in at just 255g in a size small.
Given these qualities, it serves as a very versatile garment – it can be used by itself or as a mid-layer. On chillier rides, I could happily slip a baselayer underneath, then on days when the wind ramped up or rain was on the agenda, pulling on a close-fitting winter jacket on top wasn't a problem either.
At the rear are three pockets, with the one on the right also including a concealed fourth zipped pocket for valuables; this is also waterproof. Down the middle of the centre pocket is a decent reflective strip that runs from top to bottom.
Simple but classy in looks, embroidered logos are also subtly included. I had the navy/cobalt on test but there's also a black option with cerise (pink-ish) highlights.
And then there's the price. At £165, this is a very, very expensive jersey, even for one that is thermal. The Gore C3 Thermo Jersey (Jamie tested the men's C5 Thermo last year), for example, is £99.99 and will cover you for a similar range of temperatures – and according to Jamie it offers decent windproofing too – while Sportful's Bodyfit Pro Thermal Jersey is £100. Or, if you can carry it off, Fat Lad At The Back's Fearless Fabulous Female thermal jersey is made from a soft touch, super-stretchy fabric and costs £69.99.
Overall, it is useful to have a long sleeve jersey that works well with other layering systems but is also smart enough it hold its own on milder days. For a low-bulk jersey this fabric is ideal, but it's a shame that the sleeves are on the short side and the cuff design could be improved. Given the price, perfection was expected, and it falls short.
Snug performance-cut jersey that is impressively low bulk, but expensive – and watch the sleeves
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Le Col Womens Hors Categorie Long Sleeve Jersey
Size tested: Small
Tell us what the product is for
Le Col says: "The Women's Hors Categorie Long Sleeve Jersey will quickly become your go-to long sleeve jersey for rides where thicker, protective layers are not required. Featuring a thermal outer layer with a soft and fuzzy next to skin inner and a fit that leans towards your fastest days, but with a little room for the café stop the Hors Categorie Jersey is made for long days in the transitional season or the perfect mid layer under a wind or rain jacket when conditions change."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Le Col lists:
Thermal fabric, super light and warm, soft fuzzy internal in contrast colour
Folded elastic cuffs
New Ride Faster Ride Further hemline gripper
4th Zipped pocket
Main body lasting well, but some loose threads at the sleeve cuff.
Great fit around the main body and width of the arms, but the sleeves come up short on me.
Very light for a thermal long sleeve jersey.
Inner liner is incredibly snugly.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Lasting well after machine washing at 30°C as instructed.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Performed very well as a versatile mid-layer in both colder weather with other layers, and milder conditions by itself (with its very cosy inner). But on the colder days, I was limited to using gloves with a long cuff as the jersey sleeves came up short on me.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Soft inner liner. Cut around the main body and sleeve width.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Sleeve length and cuffs, and the price.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
You can get a high quality thermal long sleeve for around £100, such as the Gore C5 Thermo Jersey (£99.99) and Sportful's Bodyfit Pro Thermal Jersey (£100). At £165, this is a significant jump up in price.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? No
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes, if discounted.
Use this box to explain your overall score
The materials used in this long-sleeve jersey are of a very high quality, but although the cut is perfect around the main body, I found the sleeves come up short and the cuff is very tight. If it fits you it's very good, but it's also very expensive.
About the tester
I usually ride: Road bike My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, cyclo cross, commuting, touring, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, Gravel riding, indoor turbo and rollers, track