The Le Col Sport Jersey II is a lightweight summer top with a more relaxed fit that's aimed at training rather than racing.
It's surprisingly difficult to pull off a 'classic' fit without a jersey looking too baggy, shapeless or uneven, but Le Col's Sport II manages it well.
After a few years of everything being aero, it can be slightly alarming at first to pull on a garment that actually isn't skinsuit-tight. But after a couple of outings I found myself literally relaxing into the Le Col Sport's more forgiving fit.
Le Col says, 'It's a jersey that understands that not every day is race day' and especially during this lockdown when no day is race day, it's been nice to head out for the daily exercise allowance with this philosophy (or marketing, take your pick) ringing in my ears.
The very light fabric that's super-breathable and not so race-tight has been a breath of fresh air in the unfortunately timed heatwave.
The Le Col jersey has also worked well for indoor lockdown Zwift sessions. The fabric is so light and breathable that the draught from the fan easily cuts through, and the polyester/elastane knit doesn't hang on to sweat, drying very quickly indeed if you don't strip off immediately.
Just one, responsibly sourced Bluesign fabric is used throughout. There are set-in sleeves, no mesh panels and the overall impression is of classy simplicity. For me, the sleeve length is perfect, and the sleeve diameter is just right too – neither too skinny nor too short. They also stay in place when in the riding position.
Although the proportions are spot on, I could have sized down to the small from the medium. I am 178cm and 68kg (it's not me in the photos) and I found that because the fabric is so lightweight, I could have done with a little bit more overall tightness to hold the jersey more firmly in place when the pockets were loaded up.
The pockets themselves are a decent size – the Le Col is one of the few jerseys I've worn with pockets tall enough for the 20cm VeloPac Phonepac Plus phone case I was reviewing at the same time – and there's a fourth waterproof zipped valuables pocket.
Despite the pockets being large and the material being light, the jersey doesn't suffer from pocket sag – it's just that it can move slightly off central since it doesn't grip tightly. Even when fully loaded, the Le Col logo on the rear of the Pro bib shorts I've also been reviewing was always visible. He's not stupid, that Yanto Barker.
The monochrome grey and pristine white looks striking on a bright day, but if you prefer more solid colours it also comes in navy/saffron, azure/sky blue and navy/khaki.
Le Col is expensive, desirable, cool kit, so with that in mind £95 is not a ridiculous price. It's the cheapest jersey in the Le Col range, but nothing about it suggests 'cheap' – and it's made in Italy, too.
The Santini Karma Luce is near the bottom of the Italian brand's jersey range too, is also designed for a more relaxed fit and is £15 cheaper, but I would choose the Le Col for its better fit, bigger pockets and simpler, classier look.
Shimano has attempted a more relaxed fit for a more upright riding position with its Climbers Jersey but the 'sports posture' didn't work so well when in a more aggressive position, with the sleeves pulling up – whereas the Le Col jersey has a versatile fit that works however you're sitting on the bike.
This has been my favourite jersey during the hot days of the lockdown when 'just riding' is what most of us have been doing. The easier fit suits that ethos perfectly. The lightweight fabric is perfect for hot, meandering rides, the pockets are a good size, it looks stylish – Le Col has got everything right here.
Lightweight summer training jersey that's classy in both its looks and its performance
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Le Col Sport Jersey II
Size tested: Medium
Tell us what the product is for
Le Col says: "The Le Col Sport Jersey II is an all-around performer, bringing comfort and performance as standard, while delivering a durable garment that will be your go-to training jersey year-round.
"Designed with a slightly more relaxed silhouette from a mechanical knit stretch polyester knit, the Sport Jersey II is more flattering than the more compressive race fit on a designated race jersey, suited to long days in the saddle where a coffee stop and social interaction mean looking good is every bit as important as riding fast. When the sprint to coffee shop is on, rest assured this lightweight, highly breathable jersey will be more than a match for your effort.
"Constructed with bluesign fabrics, this is a jersey that's responsibly sourced and designed to last the distance.
"Updated from the previous Sport jersey, the Sport II Jersey moves to a pre-dyed fabric which results in a luxury feel, while the sleeve length is slightly longer in line with current cycle trends, the result is a jersey that understands that not every day is race day, but every ride deserves the best equipment."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Le Col lists:
Le Col says: "Updated from the previous Sport jersey, the Sport II Jersey moves to a pre-dyed fabric which results in a luxury feel, while the sleeve length is slightly longer in line with current cycle trends, the result is a jersey that understands that not every day is race day, but every ride deserves the best equipment."
Very neatly made in Italy.
Perfect for hot-weather riding.
The fabric is very lightweight but seems durable after a good few wash cycles.
Great fit with everything nicely proportioned – sleeves nice and long with a body that doesn't hang low even when loaded up.
For me (178cm, 68kg) it did size up a bit too big, but only because I could have done with a little more tightness to hold it in place when loaded up, and the sleeves are generous enough that sizing down wouldn't compromise the overall 'relaxed' ethos.
Very light indeed.
Very soft against the skin, quick drying and, of course, not skin tight.
Le Col is a premium brand with almost designer status in cycling so it's never going to be what you'd call a bargain, but for a quality garment that's made in Italy, looks great and performs just as well, it's not unreasonably priced.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
On first wash (a coloureds wash) the white section seemed to pick up a slight blueness, but that has since come out. Always a worry with kit that's half white and half a more solid colour, but I'm pretty sure the grey didn't run into the white – it was from something else. With the grey/white colourway you have got to keep on top of what else is going in with it – no accidental new black kids' school socks.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
I agree with Le Col that the Sport II jersey combines comfort, performance, durability and a flattering fit, but I would say with its very lightweight fabric it's a summer jersey rather than a "go-to training jersey year round".
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
I liked everything about it, even the relaxed fit after an initial doubt.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
If I could choose my sample size again, I would go for the small rather than the medium because I found the larger size – because of the more relaxed fit – could twist slightly when the pockets were loaded.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
Of the three 'relaxed' or 'classic' jerseys I've reviewed so far this year, the Le Col is the most expensive. The Santini Karma Luce costs £80 and the Shimano Climbers Jersey £74.99. I think the Le Col jersey outperforms those two and looks better too, so I would pay the extra for it.
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
Super-stylish jersey with a more relaxed fit than the skinsuit-tight racing type, but with its very lightweight fabrics and well-planned design it offers top-level performance.
About the tester
I usually ride: Racer Rosa custom alu My best bike is: Colnago Master Olympic
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, touring, club rides, sportives, School run on a tandem
Simon finished his Masters in online journalism back in 2003 when the internet wasn't very exciting or popular yet. So he got a job as a sub editor on Britain's biggest weekly cycling magazine, where as well as taking out commas and putting them back in again he got to review a lot of bikes and kit.
As a keen time triallist he has spent many hours riding up and down dual carriageways early in the morning and has a national medal, a 19-minute 10 and a few open wins in his palmarès.
He and his seven-year-old son do the school run on a tandem, beating the traffic in car-choked Reigate and getting a great workout at the same time (for one of them).