In this Article I discuss the importance of a good base layer and which one I wear depending on the environmental conditions I’m riding in.


Hi.  Welcome to Cycling-Inform Cycling Tips. My name is David Heatley. Today, we’re going to be talking about the humble base layer or undershirt.

The undershirt or base layer is a very important piece of clothing that I wear regularly when I’m out riding.  The base layer serves two very important purposes.

The first purpose is that it provides an insulation layer for when you’re out riding in cold environments, and that becomes quite important when you’re riding over a hilly course and involves quite a bit of descending.  It’s in those situations where you need to protect yourself from the cold.  The second purpose is that it provides you protection when you fall off the bike.  By having a base layer underneath your cycling jersey, it acts as an additional barrier between you and the road.

Depending on what the environment or temperature is, and the type of riding I do, I have three base layers that I choose from. In temperatures between 12 and 30 degrees, I wear a synthetic base layer.  The synthetic fibers works the sweat away from your body keeping you cool when you’re in a hot environment.  The other thing is that it also adds an insulation layer on those cooler days between your jersey and your skin, so it helps keep you warm down to … well, for me, down to around about 12 degrees.

When the temperature drops below 12 degrees, I put on this Merino wool base layer.  It’s a short-sleeve Merino wool base layer.  I purchased this from Kathmandu when they have these specials on, which is a fairly regular basis.

This one, I purchased quite a few years ago, five or six years ago.  This would last forever if you look after them.  You do need to wash them on a wool cycle with a wool wash to make sure that they last quite a long time.  It’s a short-sleeve base layer.  You can pick this up from most outdoor shops.  There is a substitute for this.  You can buy the polypropylene versions of this.  They’re a lot cheaper, but I find that they don’t last as long, and they also don’t manage my thermal regulation as well.  I prefer the Merino wool myself.  I wear this down to around about six degrees.

Below six degrees, I wear another Merino wool undergarment, but this one has long sleeves, and that just keeps me warm.  Between minus two and six degrees, I’ll put on this garment here.  It’s made out of Merino wool.  It’s a slightly heavier base layer to the one that I showed you before.  This one again, I purchased this from Kathmandu on special.  This one is quite a lot older than the other one.  I think this is probably 10 years old.  Again, if you wash them on a wool cycle using a wool wash, these things would last quite a long time.

I hope that answered some of your questions about the base layer.  My name is David Heatley from Cycling-Inform.


Kathmandu –
Macpac –
Champion System –