Cycling base layer forms the foundation of your cycling outfit. It is the first layer of clothing you wear. A base layer acts as an extra layer of protection that helps keep you warm in cold weather conditions. It can be a short-sleeved or a long-sleeved top worn under your cycling jersey. It should fit snugly on your body in order to work effectively, but it doesn’t need to be skin-tight.
In addition to keeping you warm, it also helps keep you dry. This extra piece of garment wicks away sweat, so that your skin remains cool and dry.
It might seem odd, but base layers can also be worn on hot, summer days. It moderates your body temperature and helps keep you cool in hot conditions. It also pulls sweat from your skin; thus, keeping you cool and dry.
Getting the right base layer can make a difference to your cycling comfort. If you are planning to continue riding your bike despite the chilly winds and freezing temps, then you need a good cycling base layer to keep you warm, dry, comfortable throughout the ride. With that in mind, we listed down some of the best base layers out there.
Rapha Winter Base Layer
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Rapha’s winter base layer is made from 100% New Zealand merino and uses an 18.9 micron yarn for exceptional softness. The material provides the comfort of your favorite cotton tee with the added benefit of sealing in warmth and rapidly wicking moisture. The Regan sleeve construction and flatlock seams to eliminate any potential areas of irritation from the design.
What sets it apart from other base layers in the market is the inclusion of the roll top neck. It can be pulled up over the neck and above the chin, providing a balaclava-like protection. This will help keep icy winds out.
The Rapha Winter Base Layer is a warm well-fitting base layer that will keep you warm and dry in the coldest weather. Overall, it is an excellent base layer to add to your cycling wardrobe.
Megmeister Drynamo Warm
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Over the years, Megmeister has developed an impressive reputation across different sports. This time, they used their expertise to create an excellent product that is specially designed for cyclists.
The Drynamo Warm base layer is made from a high quality garment from Italy. It is ergonomically designed with 4-way stretch that guarantees optimum comfort and freedom of movement. This ultra light base layer also features excellent thermal insulation during winter activities and superfast moisture wicking.
This cycling base layer also comes with thermal training tights. The tights also have superfast wicking properties that will ensure that you stay dry no matter how extreme your sport is.
Craft Warm Wool Base Layer
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Craft is a pioneer in base layers and this is in a league of its own. Refined over a period of 40 years and engineered to its highest standards, this base layer from Craft is definitely one to watch out for.
This Craft base layer is designed for cold weather riding. This is ideal for athletes cycling in cold conditions. It also works for temperatures below freezing. It is made from a blend of 83% polyester and 17% merino wool. Merino superwash wave on the inside provides extra insulation while the polyester on the outside provides effective moisture management. It is designed to wick away sweat and ensure that you stay warm without overheating.
Craft’s warm wool unites the benefits of two worlds. Merino wool has natural isolation qualities and great breathability. It also has odor resistant properties. The synthetic material, on the other hand, has fantastic moisture management and great elasticity. It is also very comfortable. Overall, it is an excellent base layer for the winter.
Altura Thermocool Cycling Base Layer
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Billed as Altura’s most technical base layer, this cycling base layer aims to facilitate moisture transfer through layers and wick sweat away from the skin.
The Thermocool is a synthetic piece, which is made from 73% polyester, 22% polyamide, and 5% elastine mix. It fits very well to the skin. But since the fabric is very soft and stretchy, it is never uncomfortable. It doesn’t smell too bad either.
This Altura base layer is available in both short and long sleeves. You can get the short-sleeved base for warm weather biking and the long-sleeved one for the cold weather.
Pearl Izumi Transfer Wool Base Layer
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This base layer is cycling specific. That means it is specially designed to keep cyclists warm on cold weather rides.
Cold hands start with a cold core. It is important to keep your core warm as this is the area that faces the most wind chill when riding. Pearl Izumi addressed the issue by featuring a heavier concentration of merino wool in the front. The front is made from 86% merino wool and 14% nylon. Not only is it soft and comfortable, it also does a great job of keeping you warm in cold conditions. The rear, on the other hand, is made of 62% polyester and 38% merino wool. This gives the best coverage at the back.
As with other base layers, the Transfer also has superb moisture wicking properties. It dries out in no time at all and transfers moisture through to the outside. It breathes with magical precision and never gets soggy. Another great feature of this cycling base layer is the thumb loops on the cuffs. They prevent the sleeves from riding up your arms.
Overall, the Pearl Izumi Transfer base layer is a stand out performer. It is warm, breathable, and very comfortable. It is a great option for cold weather rides.