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The Lusso Pain Cave Summer Cap is part of the Manchester marque's new range printed with 'fun catchphrases to help you express yourself on the bike'. It's a lightweight, highly breathable design, well suited to warm weather, where traditional caps can boil the brains. It's also a much better fit beneath helmets, wicks efficiently and takes up nominal space in a jersey pocket, should you want to dispense with it altogether.
It's a much thinner fabric than most, made from a 95% microfibre polyester/5% elastane mix, for a combination of ventilation and stretch. The latter's particularly important, given the single size. Measuring 18.5x24cm, it should fit heads between 53 and 61cm circumference. My bonce measures 54cm and the cap felt tailor made, with no unsightly branding after a few hours.
I've tested the cap in temperatures between 2 and 17°C and have been pleasantly surprised at both ends of the spectrum. In single figures, especially with a stiff wind and an airy helmet, I wasn't surprised to find things cooler than ideal – though nowhere near 'ice cream' headache country, even on longer, faster descents.
With temperatures in the high teens, the fibres respond quickly to rider-generated heat; it's streets ahead of traditional caps in terms of wicking.
Short, sharp showers quickly penetrate the fabric, but it'll wick dry in around 15-20 minutes.
The peak is perfectly proportioned, offering decent defence against blustery, spring winds and intense periods of sunshine. It flicks up/down and holds in position, and no issues with peripheral vision either.
I've needed to relax my helmets' thumbwheels to ensure a precise fit, but that's the extent of adjustment – no issues with bunching or gathering.
When not needed, the thin fibres fold beautifully, so it can be shoved in or retrieved from a jersey pocket in a trice, ready to wear.
Stitching and detailing is uniformly good throughout, and washing/care instructions are printed inside of the peak, for easy reference. The cap is easy to live with in this respect, too: in the machine at 30/40 degrees and swerve the dryer, essentially. Washing frequency will depend on a wealth of factors but I could wear it for 14 days straight before it was threatening to sprout legs and take itself to the machine.
If skulls and pain aren't your thing, there are six alternatives (seven, if you count the Women Summer Cap flowers, although this is a slightly different design, and considerably cheaper). These include 'On it', 'Mad for it', 'Rest day', 'Bike Addict', 'Rain or Shine' and 'I'm not a climber'.
Caps can be had for a few quid, the cotton sort, that is, but the Lusso isn't a bad price. Perhaps its most direct rival, the Buff Pack Bike Cap, is around a tenner more.
Primal's Neon Crush was rated as another good all-rounder and is level-pegging price-wise at £15.
A better choice for damp, early-season outings would be the Prendas Ciclismo Lisboa Rain cycling cap, also £14.99, but not machine washable.
Although it's a little season-specific, I really rate the Lusso Pain Cave cap. It's lightweight, packable and more comfortable than most when temperatures climb.
Great alternative to a traditional cap, especially in milder/warmer weather
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Lusso Pain Cave Summer Cap
Size tested: One Size
Tell us what the product is for
Lusso says: "OUR NEW ORIGINAL RANGE OF CYCLING CAPS OFFER FUN CATCHPHRASES TO HELP YOU EXPRESS
YOURSELF OUT ON THE BIKE."
My feelings: it's a lightweight, easily packable cap ideally suited to summer and milder weather.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Lusso lists these features:
Made from a blend of microfibre polyester & lycra for improved ventilation and stretch
Lightweight construction with a well-sized peak for sunshade protection
Classic cycle cap fit, stretchy one size fits all, unisex designs
Does exactly what it promises.
The fabric feels very thin but robust, so no reason to think it won't last.
Very snug, no elastic branding/similar calling cards.
Perfect for my head's 54cm circumference.
22g shouldn't offend anyone's sensibilities, or feel obvious in a jersey pocket.
Well designed and comfortable, especially for a synthetic.
Cotton caps can be had for a few quid. However, the Lusso Pain Cave is much cheaper than (and performs on a par with) another well-known brand's costing a good £10 more.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Pop in the machine at 30/40 degrees, minimal detergent and line dry. No issues with shrinkage or similar deterioration to date.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Essentially a summer cap, it regulates temperature very effectively, though still retains some welcome warmth should the temperature drop unexpectedly. The peak is just the right shape and size, offering excellent protection from the sun and airborne particles without restricting peripheral vision. It also wicks quickly, so dries promptly following sharp/unexpected showers.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Great peak, fast wicking.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
The Buff Pack Bike Cap delivers very similar performance but is a tenner more. Primal's Neon Crush Cycling Cap is also £15 and was rated as another good all-rounder. The Prendas Ciclismo Lisboa Rain cycling cap is a better choice for damp, early-season outings, for the same price as the Lusso.
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
Versatile, comfortable cap that is ideally suited to spring and summer.
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)