Date reviewed: APRIL 2018 | Tested by: Patricia Stiemke, BikeSocial Test Team | Price: £46.99 (top), £39.99 (leggings) | www.tucanourbano.com/gb
As I ride 70miles every day, I have been wearing this kit almost non-stop since November. As the weather conditions have continued to be perfect for wearing thermals (sigh), I have taken full advantage of the Tucano Urbano Download Lady Plus (leggings) and Upload Lady plus (top) – I really feel the cold after the first 10 miles if poorly kitted out, so, for the sake of my vital organs, thermals are an important part of my kit. I have to add that I am lucky that my 19-year-old 650 Deauville affords me some modicum of protection from the elements.
Fit and feel
Each item came in its own zippered, rainproof bag and gave me the feeling of clothing packaged with care. My first impression was that the garments were very shiny – I did question the reflective writing on the vest and pants but I figured it out after wearing them a few times; basically, despite being part of a motorcycle clothing range, these thermals would also be perfectly suitable as outerwear for a jog in cold weather.
First impression are that the material feels smooth – a bit like plastic – both inside and out. However, when trying them on, it was a revelation. The feel on the skin is a cross between something velvety smooth and the Thinsulate material that is so common in winter gloves; it does have a luxurious touch. Both top and bottom feel more substantial and thicker than the Rev'it thermals I’ve used previously. The collar is double-layered and all the seams are double-stitched.
The waistband is ruffled, which could be a minus point compared to a smooth waist lining, but this turned out to serve an important function; the smooth waistband on my Rev'its rolls up when seated on a chair or bending over… the Tucano Urbanos do not.
The stitching is very visible and looks quite substantial. The black cloth along the underarms, the sides and the inside legs are the stretchy and breathable sections, while the shiny grey inserts are totally windproof.
Also, the Italians have once again shown that they understand women's bodies; the front of the leggins sits up higher than the backside, even though they seem to be cut symmetrically, so it fits comfortably up and around any belly that women who don’t have the time for rigorous core muscle training on a regular basis may have. That is not only kind but also realistic, and probably also contributes to the waistband not rolling down when seated.
The set feels like a loose-fitting second skin. The only drawback with the thick collar is that it does not fit snugly against the neck, so I do feel it under my chin, but it’s not a discomfort – it just makes you feel that there’s a soft protuberance there instead of a closed layer.
It would not be an issue for many, but I wear an undershirt, a collared sweater, a collared body armour vest and my textile (collared) jacket on top of the base layer, so it can feel like there is a lot of cloth around the throat.
So, how did they stand up to the lovely spring time weather we’ve been having? Well, it’s a bit of a mixed bag; I have worn the same composition of layers I had on with the Rev'it set and have noticed two things; the wind-proofing works just as intended but they do not have the warmth of the Rev'its when the thermometer drops below 3°C . This could be due to the fact that they’re not as tight fitting, and they are a size bigger than my other pair, so this has to be taken subjectively.
There is a bit of a paradox in feeling cool air on the legs while riding and then taking them off and noticing that the skin underneath is completely warm. If you wear them at slightly higher temperatures, the air still feels cool against you but underneath the fabric the skin feels warm. I wore them at the beginning of the week in April that we had a sudden outburst of summer and can safely say that they were actually too warm. I didn’t notice this though until I actually peeled them off and found my skin being slightly sweaty, even though I didn’t feel overheated a while wearing them.
They don’t claim to be waterproof, but I have managed to get wet to the skin on the occasional days where I did not take the weather forecast seriously. While I definitely felt the cold of my soaked jeans through the base layer, my skin was not wet. Changing into dry trousers but keeping on the leggins, there was no feeling of wet against my skin. I was impressed.
Comfort when on /off the bike
I do wear the leggins all day under my jeans at work, and am really grateful for the extra layer. I tried wearing the top under my sweater as well but it just gets too warm. Just to put that into context, I work in a laboratory so the ambient temperature is never allowed to get above 20°C, because our analysers don't like it any warmer than that.
Over all, they are very comfortable and I don’t feel cold, but they’re not extremely warm either. They don't restrict my movements or positioning on the bike and they don't start pinching or digging if I stay in one position for too long.
The cleaning instructions are for handwash at 20°C. Just to be clear, I don’t do handwash; just like ironing, it is not in my contract. However, most modern washing machines have a handwash setting, and I don’t really see a major difference between 20°C and 30°C, especially as you can’t be precise about the temperature of your tap, and body temperature goes well beyond 30°C anyway. Realistically, this is working wear. I wear it every day on my commutes and beyond. Washing should not entail the same ritual as cleansing a cocktail dress.
I like this base layer very much. At a price slightly higher than the Rev’It thermals, you have to consider whether the obvious multi-purpose use as an outer- and under-garment – as well as the high quality production – outweigh the singular need for a super-warm base layer. Personally, I prefer the Urbanos to the Rev’It Trinity set for sheer feel, comfort and quality of workmanship. The final word: a big thumbs up for the Tucano Urbano. Viva Italia.