The Le Col Pro Mesh short sleeve base layer is comfortable and effective. It's very stretchy material ensures a close fit and means it can cope with a range of body types, despite it looking tiny when not worn. But it’s a premium piece and significantly more expensive than many other options.
Good wicking and ventilation through the mesh fabric
Sunscreen stains the white option
By Paul Norman published
When I unwrapped the Le Col Pro Mesh short sleeve base layer, I was pretty sure I’d been sent the wrong size. It looked as if it was going to be a good fit for a ten year old. But there’s a ton of stretch in the predominantly polypropylene fabric, so it actually fitted my medium frame just fine, without feeling constraining.
It’s important for a base layer to fit closely, to ensure skin contact and that sweat is wicked away effectively, rather than sitting on your skin with the damp resulting in cold spots and less efficient cooling. So having a lot of stretch is a good thing. Le Col says that the fabric composition makes the Le Col Pro Mesh short sleeve base layer hydrophobic, so it wicks moisture away from the skin. Even on warmer climbs towards the middle of the day, I didn’t find that I ended up feeling damp.
The Le Col Pro Mesh short sleeve base layer is, like the Endura Fishnet, a base layer with a string vest look, with quite large holes in it through which air can pass. That’s nice on warmer rides, to help keep you a bit cooler. It’s knitted without seams in the body, although there are flatlocked seams at the shoulders and arms.
The holes are not evenly distributed either, with a closer weave with smaller perforations over the rear of the shoulders and upper back, where you can expect more air circulation as you ride, there's more pressure on your undergarments and the fabric needs to support the garment more. The breast bone is also covered by a non-perforated fabric.
As with other white base layers that I’ve tested, staining with sunscreen can be an issue around the collar and the ends of the sleeves, particularly with the 30C wash recommended. There’s a black option available too, if this bothers you, although by definition your base layer isn’t going to be on show much.
At £55, the Le Col Pro Mesh short sleeve base layer is on the premium priced end of the base layer spectrum, with many perfectly serviceable pieces coming in £20 or £25 cheaper. But it’s comfortable and feels durable, so it should see you through many warm days’ riding. There’s a sleeveless version available too, priced at £50 as well as a women’s version.
Paul started writing for Cycling Weekly in 2015, covering cycling tech, new bikes and product testing. Since then, he’s reviewed hundreds of bikes and thousands of other pieces of cycling equipment for the magazine and the Cycling Weekly website.
He’s been cycling for a lot longer than that though and his travels by bike have taken him all around Europe and to California. He’s been riding gravel since before gravel bikes existed too, riding a cyclocross bike through the Chilterns and along the South Downs.
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