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As its name suggests, the Le Col x McLaren Project Aero LS Jersey is designed to help you be as aerodynamic as possible on the bike. It's an expensive option, though, and the fit might not suit you, especially if you're on the shorter side.
Though long sleeve jerseys are usually reserved for colder weather riding, they're increasingly being seen as the fastest style of clothing for racers and non-racers looking to improve their speed. In any major time trial event, for example, the fastest riders will all be wearing long sleeve clothing, although they will likely be full skinsuits and not separate jersey and shorts.
I also tested the short sleeve version of this jersey, and much of what I've found here is the same – although there are no specific claims of improved performance in the wind tunnel or watts saved with this long sleeve option.
It uses the same 'air tripping high-speed Lycra fabric', on the front and sleeves (though not on parts of the forearms) – the vertical ridges you can see sitting within the Lycra – which is a little thicker than some and can feel a little too warm in very hot weather, though it's comfortable and bearable between about 11 and 20°C.
The pockets are the same on both jerseys too – quite a generous size but slim and low profile, so when empty, aerodynamic performance isn't likely to be overly affected. There's also an internal radio pocket which, again, is very visible from the outside, with stitching that detracts from an otherwise smooth panel.
Just as with the short sleeve version, the rear hem rides up more than I would expect, and though adding stuff to the pockets to weigh them down helps a little, this is far from ideal, and also likely to affect aerodynamics.
The main issues I had again, though, are with the jersey being too long at the front, causing ridges to form along the zip area down the chest, and the zip itself being too high and sitting uncomfortably against my neck, meaning I always wore it slightly undone, regardless of the weather.
As I said in the previous review, at 168cm I am not the tallest rider but I have never had these problems with another jersey, either aero or more traditional. I appreciate we're not all the same, but a friend who tried it, who has a similar chest size but is taller at 175cm, had the same issues, albeit to a slightly lesser extent.
On the plus side, the materials used are comfortable against the skin, and one improvement over the short sleeve version is the sleeve itself: the extra panel is comfortable and well placed, and lacks the tight elasticated cuff.
My gripes with the colour remain too: black is the only option, with orange trim. Again, it's a shame there's no reverse option, with orange used for the majority and black for the detailing, as I think it would not only look great but also be far more visible.
At £195, there are only a handful of jerseys we've tested that cost more, either long sleeve or short sleeve, and many of those are designed to combat bad weather.
For pure aerodynamics, you might be better off looking at skinsuits: the Rapha Pro Team Aero Suit (which we tested back in 2015 is £230 and Castelli's Sanremo Speedsuit 4.1 is £260 (we tested the 4.0 a couple of years ago) – both one-piece jersey/short combos that feature rear pockets to give some general use practicality.
For comparison, the Le Col x McLaren Project Aero Jersey Long Sleeve Skinsuit – which, incidentally, has a much lower collar than the Project Aero LS Jersey – is £375.
While the fabrics used for the Le Col x McLaren jersey are comfortable, you'll need to make sure the fit suits you, so that function – and comfort – aren't compromised, especially considering how expensive it is. If ultimate aerodynamic performance is the goal, forking out extra for a full skinsuit would probably be a faster – and ultimately better value – option.
Expensive jersey with potential fit issues and limited benefits over a full skinsuit
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Le Col x McLaren Project Aero LS Jersey
Size tested: Small
Tell us what the product is for
Le Col says: 'The Le Col x McLaren Project Aero Long Sleeve Jersey has been meticulously refined, engineered and mapped by McLaren aerodynamics experts to afford the rider an effective, efficient and proven external layer for saving energy and effort on segments. Composed using air tripping High Speed Lycra front and sleeve panelling, this jersey disrupts airflow, smoothing your passage through it on the bike.
An aero profile maintained with debossed and double sublimated logos throughout, a low profile race radio pocket allows you to remain in the loop when tackling elite events. Folded elastic banded cuffs offer an aero finish to the sleeves, whilst a Le Col x McLaren hemline gripper ensures this jersey is securely fitted for fast riding.
Finished with three rear pockets and a fourth zipped pocket optimised for aerodynamics with rubberised reflective McLaren tabs, practicalities on the road are taken care of - meaning you can focus on the road ahead.'
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Le Col lists these details:
WindTunnel tested and developed with McLaren Experts
Air tripping High Speed Lycra fabric on front and sleeves
Long sleeve cut for enhanced aerodynamics
Folded elastic banded cuffs for low profile aero finish
Debossed and double sublimated logos and design for aero finish
Low profile Race Radio pocket
Le Col x McLaren hemline gripper for secure fit.
3 low profile rear pockets with zip pocket
Laser cut rubberised McLaren Tab and two rear reflective tabs for visibility
Main Body Fabric: 80% Nylon, 20% Elastane
Back and Side: 100% Polyester
Weight: 95 GSM
Engineered for an extremely tight and aggressive fit - size up if on threshold of sizes
Delicate disruptive boundary materials require gentle manipulation into place
Do not force kit when dressing.
Machine Wash at 30°C / 86°F
Do not use fabric conditioner
Close all zippers/velcro fastenings
Dry flat, do not tumble dry
Do not bleach, iron or dry clean
We'd also suggest turning inside out prior to washing and keeping them separate from other items by popping them into a mesh laundry bag
Care is needed when putting it on and taking it off, although the material is not as delicate as some and can be machine washed at 30 degrees.
On me, the tall neck and long body create ridges that seem counter to its aerodynamic objectives. This was also a problem for a taller rider who, at 175cm, had similar issues.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
No problems. Le Col recommends turning it inside out and washing it within a mesh bag. I washed it at 30 degrees, using standard non-bio, and it was fine every time. Tumble drying is not recommended.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
While the materials seem good and sizing corresponds to Le Col's guide, areas of the design, including the high neck and long body, create an uneven profile – and not just on me – which would surely not help aerodynamics, which is the aim of the jersey.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The materials used make for a comfortable jersey, and the pockets are a useful size and offer easy access.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The high neck and long body combine to create ridges; I chose to wear the jersey with the zip slightly undone at all times.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
One of the most expensive jerseys we've tested, long or short sleeve, though it's still less than the 7Mesh Skyline at £200. For pure aerodynamics, the Rapha Pro Team aero suit is £35 more and Castelli's Sanremo Speed suit, £45 more, but you're getting a pair of shorts included.
Did you enjoy using the product? No
Would you consider buying the product? No
Would you recommend the product to a friend? No
Use this box to explain your overall score
At this price, you could reasonably expect perfection, or at least a fit that can deliver the performance aims. Sadly, for me it falls short here (or rather, long...), despite being the recommended size. The too-long front on me is prone to ridges when in an aero position, and the high collar is uncomfortable and meant I constantly wore it unzipped. I'm reluctant to score it too low, as the materials and quality are impressive, and fit is subjective, but a rider taller than me also tried it and had the same issues. If the length works for you then you might be happy to splash out, though the collar is still a lot higher than I'd like to see on an aero jersey.
About the tester
I usually ride: My best bike is: Cannondale SystemSix
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, cyclo cross, sportives, mtb, Lots of gravel style riding