The Guardian | Le Col women's cycling range
Le Col is a low-key British brand which promises "luxury" bike clothing, tried and tested by top riders. Founded by Welsh pro cyclist Yanto Barker in 2009, the women's range is designed by Vanessa Raw, one of Britain’s top triathletes.
I tested the shorts and a jersey from the Le Col Sport Women's range for summer 2014 in black and yellow. I've always disdained amateurs wearing yellow jerseys - you shouldn't wear the rainbow stripes of World Champions either, unless you are one. And yet I felt the ratio of yellow to black was such that I was really wearing a black top with yellow sleeves rather than a maillot jaune copy job. Which makes it just about ok, right?
These were excellent, possibly the best shorts I've ever tested. Certainly up there with my all time favourites from Garneau, which you don't appear to be able to get any more. Cycling shorts remain among the most unflattering and unkind garment genres, but these were significantly better than most I've tried.
As cycling shorts go, these are quite long, which some will see as a plus point. I'm pretty short (5'4) and size 12 and they finished maybe two inches above the knee. The gel-filled chamoix is comfy and has stood up well to a good few washes already. The silicon grippers at the bottom ensured everything stayed put, even after 75 miles in the saddle.
I liked the discreet branding - Le Col is stitched cheekily on the back in yellow.
Best feature: the soft, high waistband which kept my tummy in check. Why is it so many shorts dip down at the front, forcing those of us without Ennis-style abs (pre pregnancy, of course) to tuck our bellies in?
Worst feature: £79.99 is pretty steep for a pair of shorts, but with the high price comes high quality. I think it's worth splashing out on good shorts like these: you can scrimp on your top half.