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The Lusso Merino Neck Warmer is described as 'a great addition for cold winter days' – a statement I'd broadly agree with. Having worn it beneath a helmet on bitterly cold night rides, I'd also point out that it's more versatile than the name suggests, and while it's obviously not intended as a medical-grade mask, it has doubled as an impromptu face covering when I've needed to nip in for a bar of chocolate mid-ride.
Despite the name, it's not 100% wool; the merino content is 35%, combined with 65% polyester. It has a brushed fleece lining designed to offer comfort, absorbency and warmth. It's well made, with uniformly good stitching throughout and flat seams that avoid unsightly and uncomfortable branding post-wear.
The tog weight seems comparable to that used in winter weight arm/leg warmers, and has kept me perfectly happy when the wind chill has meant closer to freezing.
Measuring 26x20cm, it should be sufficient to provide decent coverage to most adults' lower face, and it's long and supple enough to form an excellent wind-cheating seal between base, mid and outer layers. It's a little shorter than some I like to wear beneath a helmet, which meant I wasn't able to tuck it in on itself to provide the neat, tidy seal I prefer, but it offers good coverage, and helmet cradles have kept it from wandering or gathering.
I'm not overly fond of my mouth and nose being covered when riding – things tend to get too soggy for my liking, especially if I've been up a few climbs – but while things did get damp around the mouth and cheeks after about 25 minutes, it stopped short of clammy.
Compared with a pure polyester variant, wicking and odour management are more effective, but when temperatures have become milder it doesn't match the prowess of pure merino garments – the mistiness is more pronounced and slower to shift.
The thicker fabric does have one definite advantage over the traditional Buff types: it takes much longer for the rain to penetrate, even in relatively heavy downpours. And even when it has got wet, it's retained warmth.
I've tried to stick to the 30 degrees when popping it in the washing machine, but I've not noticed any bobbling, deterioration or shrinkage when it's joined the household wash at 40. Bargain on an hour to dry.
Its rrp of £10.99 seems pretty reasonable, and it's worth pointing out this one is made in Manchester, not the Far East.
Others are cheaper – Altura's Neckwarmer is £9.99 and is also available in four colour options, but it's fully synthetic rather than a blended material.
The Lusso Neck Warmer is a simple, versatile addition to the wardrobe that offers a very reasonable specification and performance, and at a sensible price.
Versatile, weather-cheating tube at a sensible price
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Lusso Merino Neck Warmer
Size tested: One Size
Tell us what the product is for
Lusso says, "LUSSO Merino Neck Warmer a great addition for cold winter days."
A simple statement and one I'm inclined to agree with, given the constant exposure to single and minus digit temperatures during the test period.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
4 Way stretch fabric
Fleece brushing on the inside
35% Merino 65% Polyester
Made in Manchester
Seems well made, washes and wears well thus far.
Effective, even in bitterly cold temperatures. Not quite as refined or comfortable as full merino, but very reasonable when everything's factored into the equation.
Washing and wearing well so far, so should last a good few seasons.
Generally, a good fit and sensibly sized, although a little shorter than some, which is a consideration if you were looking to wear it beneath a helmet.
About right, taking into account my earlier sentiments.
Wicking/temperature regulation not as efficient as pure merino, but good nonetheless.
Good value, when everything (including UK manufacture) is taken into account.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
So far washing well at 30 degrees with no apparent signs of bobbling/deterioration.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Overall, the Lusso Neckwarmer is a versatile performer that meets its design brief very well. The relatively thick fabric offers decent protection from chill winds and, worn beneath a helmet, offers decent defence against rain, sleet and hail. Wicking prowess doesn't match pure merino in milder conditions but better than pure polyesters of comparable tog weight.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Versatility – comfortable in most contexts.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Nothing per se, although it's more polyester than merino.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
Endura's BaaBaa Merino Tech Multitube is pure merino and retails at £18.99; Altura's Neck Warmer is £9.99 but is fully synthetic rather than a blended material.
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
A decent staple with good all-around performance. It's more polyester than merino, which may be a consideration for some, but it does its job well.
About the tester
I usually ride: Rough Stuff Tourer Based around 4130 Univega mtb Frameset My best bike is: 1955 Holdsworth Road Path and several others including cross & traditional road
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo cross, commuting, touring, fixed/singlespeed, mtb,
Shaun Audane is a freelance writer/product tester with over twenty-eight years riding experience, the last twelve (120,000 miles) spent putting bikes and kit through their paces for a variety of publications. Previous generations of his family worked at manufacturing's sharp end, thus Shaun can weld, has a sound understanding of frame building practice and a preference for steel or titanium framesets.
Citing Richard Ballantine and an Au pair as his earliest cycling influences, he is presently writing a cycling book with particular focus upon women, families and disabled audiences (Having been a registered care manager and coached children at Herne Hill Velodrome in earlier careers)