The BL Lite Tee from Polaris is a basic base layer/ technical T-shirt but if you want something simple at a good price, it's a solid buy.
One of the best things about the BL Tee is the slim fit - 'contoured', Polaris say. It's not quite figure-hugging on me, but I'm a bit of a beanpole. Whatever your build, it's going to fit fairly closely and there's enough stretch in the fabric, especially crossways, that it won't cut off your circulation if it's snug.
The rear is cut a little longer than the front so your lower back always stays covered when you're bent forwards on the bike, and raglan shoulders give you good movement up top.
Polaris call the fabric AirBase. It's polyester in a honeycomb weave. Know what I mean by that? A teabag weave, if you like. The outer surface is full of small dimples, basically. It's not quite mesh, but it's getting on that way. You'll have seen similar in loads of other base layers and jerseys.
The fabric wicks sweat well; not spectacularly, but well. It can feel a bit cold on your skin when wet but it dries out fast so you're never uncomfortable for long. I can't say it smells particularly good after a big ride. This is one of those tops you'll want to get into the washing machine pretty soon after you get home.
As well as wearing this as a base layer, you could use this without a jersey over the top on hot days - although you'll have to forego pockets. I've used it like this for running too. The airy weave means it's really good at keeping you cool so if you indulge in such deviant activity yourself, you can get extra use out of the BL Tee.
Straightforward base layer at a reasonable price
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Make and model: Polaris BL Lite tee
Size tested: Red, Medium
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
Polaris say: "A short sleeved base layer designed in AirBASE™ fabric; perfect for cool conditions
Constructed from 100% brushed Polyester (soft handle)
High wicking and quick drying
Contrast side panels to give a contoured fit"
It's a close-fitting polyester base layer: nothing too fancy but it puts in a solid performance.
It's fine - good build quality
It's not spectacular, but it's a good, solid performance
There's really not a lot to go wrong here.
I found the inner face colder than some other base layers when wet
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Solid performance for the money.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Good, close cut
Did you enjoy using the product? It's fine
Would you consider buying the product? I'd pay a bit more for a higher level of performance
Would you recommend the product to a friend? As above
Age: 40 Height: 190cm Weight: 74kg
I usually ride: My best bike is:
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, sportives, general fitness riding,
Mat has been in cycling media since 1996, on titles including BikeRadar, Total Bike, Total Mountain Bike, What Mountain Bike and Mountain Biking UK, and he has been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. Mat has been road.cc technical editor for over a decade, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer. Now pushing 50, he's riding road and gravel bikes most days for fun and fitness rather than training for competitions.