TUCANO URBANO POLO NORD & POLO SUD THERMAL BASE-LAYERS
242g XL Black Polo Nord (25.99) 224g XL Black Polo Sud (19.99)
Tucano Urbano’s Polo Nord Thermal Vest is, fundamentally, a base-layer, although one I’d happily wear casually just as a top; The Polo Sud Technical Trousers are their equivalent for the legs. Search Tucano Urbano’s website and you may find slight variants on the name, but however named they are really good base-layer garments, though probably for the leisure and touring cyclist as opposed to the dedicated speedster. I’ve also used them for long winter walks on the moors.
Pros: comfortable and warm.
Cons: heavier than many.
92% polyester and 8% elastane (according to the label of ours, which is a slightly different proportion to that given on the website) is stretchy enough to feel firm but not tight; tight enough to stay in place when pulling civvies or tights on. On that note, some more technical longs or bib-tights (such as Stolen Goat’s Deep Winter Bib Tights) with deliberately restrictive cuts to enhance blood flow have proven more problematic.
A weighty luxury, soft on the skin, the fabric is, in my opinion, a joy to wear.
The Polo Sud have a wide elasticated waist-band, adding comfort and outlawing pinching.
Cuffs and neck are relatively loose compared to some skin-tight base-layers. On the other hand, whilst they may not grip like a second skin, they certainly hold on tight enough to be comfortable and prevent rucking-up. The ankle hem is not elasticated, but the fabric holds firm to the calf. Having said that, I’ve found that the lower leg tends to wrinkle-up, but not on the Nora Batty scale, and certainly not problematically. Maybe I just need to work on those calf muscles.
XL were perfect for my six foot, fourteen – or so – stone. For outer garments I generally prefer a slightly looser fit. That’s counter-productive for base-layers, so I was pleased to find Tucano Urbano’s size guide spot on. There are women’s versions available, too. Sizes range from S to XXL.
Hand wash at 30C. Leave to dry naturally. No ironing – though I tend not to iron my underwear, anyway. Air drying is pedestrian – though winter is generally not the best for outdoor drying; indoors, a warm radiator makes a big difference. A bit of a drawback for multi-day camping expeditions. Mind you, I’ve had five longish rides between washes and there was no especially nasty niff.
Relatively weighty – by comparison Altura’s Thermocool Base-layer top come in at half the weight of the Pollo Nord – top and bottom have gentle touch on the skin whether fresh on or at the end of a day in the saddle. That may not please anyone setting out for a personal best, but is ideal for the commuter, leisure rider, and I’d hazard, the touring cyclist. They’ll still feel good at the end of the day in camp or bothy.
With evenings in mind, the Polo Nord has had the ok at the pub, as a casual top. I drew the line at appearing in the public bar in only the Polo Sud, and would advise others to adopt a similar policy.
They’ve felt very good at 13mph at -1C; both breathability and warmth (under a technical mid-layer and a Proviz Reflect 360 GRS Plus jacket). Pushing it up to 16mph and things have started to get a little more tropical. Working hard above that I’d be looking at something with a lighter fabric and even better breathability. Again, more for the winter commute than the Boxing Day killer hill climb. Of course, descending at speed is another matter.
On milder winter days, a jersey, such as The Light Blue Classic, has made for a flexible combination after a chilly start with a jacket.
In my experience legs feel cold less than the torso – though the nether regions are happiest when protected from truly icy blasts. So, it has only been on really cold days, say below 2C or lower, that I’ve pulled bib-tights over the Polo Sud. More often, lighter, and looser fitting, touring tights have sufficed. Those preferences may be quite personal, but maintain the commute, leisure, tour theme.
Luxurious – even stylish – base-layers for the all-winter commuter, leisure rider and tourer. Price is competitive, and they have many other applications for trekking, lazing-about, and when the central heating goes fut. Whilst some may seek greater breathability and lower weight, others may have less ambition for personal bests and feel that the comfort is worth its weight.