base layers

neeb
neeb Posts: 4,467
edited March 2011 in Road buying advice
You often see pros wearing base layers (usually white vests) even in hot weather. What are the advantages? I know they are supposed to help in wicking away sweat, although the idea of putting an extra layer on when it is hot is a bit counter-intuitive, and decent jerseys are good at wicking in any case... I've also heard that they help to reduce road rash as the two layers slide over each other when you crash, although as road rash is usually going to be on the arms, hips and legs this sounds slightly dubious.

Some base layers are sold as being for summer weather on the basis of wicking properties and usually seem to be light and diaphanous, others are long-sleeved and thermal, obviously for colder conditions, but others are "mid-season", and it's not clear to me if these are designed to keep you warmer in the cold, cooler in the heat, or both...

Comments

  • giant_man
    giant_man Posts: 6,878
    I always wear a base layer underneath my jersey on hot days. Never got too hot either, does depend on the make or type of bl of course.
  • on-yer-bike
    on-yer-bike Posts: 2,974
    Ive had bad road rash across the top of my back, the back of my jersey was completely destroyed. I wasn't wearing a base layer so I'm now wondering if it would have helped.
    Pegoretti
    Colnago
    Cervelo
    Campagnolo
  • stoobydale
    stoobydale Posts: 535
    I tend to start sweating just at the thought of exercising and always wear a base layer, summer and winter. As you say it sounds counter intuitive but it works. For me anyway. I like the Canterbury baselayers, hot and cold weights.
  • I have a couple of Icebreaker Marino Wool base layers.

    They come in various weights and have fantastic moisture wicking properties.

    http://www.icebreaker.com/site/catalog/ ... gender=Man

    Even when wet from sweating, they remain warm, don’t rub and don’t stink - like some base layers made out of man made fibres can.

    They’re not cheap, but well worth the investment.
  • maddog 2
    maddog 2 Posts: 8,114
    I also run merino (Icebreaker) but not when it's hot. There are better fabrics for that IMO.

    I have a very thin Gore sleeveless that does the hottish days but if it's cracking flags then I just run a SS jersey on its own.
    Facts are meaningless, you can use facts to prove anything that's remotely true! - Homer
  • TommyEss
    TommyEss Posts: 1,855
    For those of us without abs of steel - I find a disgustingly tight lightweight baselayer (short sleeve or vest) wicks very well, much better than my deliberately non-figure hugging jerseys would manage on their own.
    Cannondale Synapse 105, Giant Defy 3, Giant Omnium, Giant Trance X2, EMC R1.0, Ridgeback Platinum, On One Il Pompino...
  • Lillywhite
    Lillywhite Posts: 742
    The advantage of wearing any base layer, even a simple cotton tee shirt under your road top in the summer, is that if you crash any road rash injuries could be reduced because your nylon road top will move over the base layer and not your skin.
  • TommyEss
    TommyEss Posts: 1,855
    But don't use a cotton tee shirt because it will hold all your sweat, get really heavy, and freeze you hald to death in even the slightest breeze.
    Cannondale Synapse 105, Giant Defy 3, Giant Omnium, Giant Trance X2, EMC R1.0, Ridgeback Platinum, On One Il Pompino...
  • cougie
    cougie Posts: 22,512
    I always wear a wicking top underneath a jersey.
    And when in Britain is it hot enough that you think one jersey would be ample ?
  • Garry H
    Garry H Posts: 6,639
    I never wear a baselayer in summer for the purpose of keeping me cooler and I can't believe that people are still falling for this marketing guff. Adding an extra layer underneath another jersey will only increase insulation and will actually slow down the wicking process. Power Balance Bracelet anyone?
  • redvee
    redvee Posts: 11,922
    After trying an 'expensive' UnderArmour wicking layer from TK Maxx and a few cheaper ss tops I splashed out on some technolayer tops from Primark for £5 each, a different colour for each day of the week.
    I've added a signature to prove it is still possible.
  • neeb
    neeb Posts: 4,467
    I always wear a wicking top underneath a jersey.
    And when in Britain is it hot enough that you think one jersey would be ample ?
    Actually I usually just wear one jersey when it's around 15C or over.
    TommyEss wrote:
    For those of us without abs of steel - I find a disgustingly tight lightweight baselayer (short sleeve or vest) wicks very well, much better than my deliberately non-figure hugging jerseys would manage on their own.
    Sounds plausible actually. I guess if the base layer is tight enough so that there isn't space for sweat to "pool" underneath, it is immediately in the garment and evaporating.

    One thing though - if these garments are "wicking", i.e. increasing the rate of evaporation of sweat, does this mean you will be actually sweating more, or less? When you sweat it will evaporate more quickly instead of "pooling" on the skin, which will presumably have a faster cooling effect, but then will you need to sweat more to keep the process going, or will you sweat less because the evaporation/cooling effect is more efficient? Can't quite get my head around that... :)
  • gsk82
    gsk82 Posts: 3,464
    i can't see how wearing another layer could possibly help remove sweat quicker. i'd have thought that it would evapourate quicker from on the skin than going than from in a jersey
    "Unfortunately these days a lot of people don’t understand the real quality of a bike" Ernesto Colnago
  • Garry H
    Garry H Posts: 6,639
    neeb wrote:
    I
    One thing though - if these garments are "wicking", i.e. increasing the rate of evaporation of sweat, does this mean you will be actually sweating more, or less? When you sweat it will evaporate more quickly instead of "pooling" on the skin, which will presumably have a faster cooling effect, but then will you need to sweat more to keep the process going, or will you sweat less because the evaporation/cooling effect is more efficient? Can't quite get my head around that... :)

    Except it will evaporate very slowly because there's another garment on top if it and will eventually saturate and go all clammy. You can't get your head around it for the simple reason that it's a load of tosh. Plus it's completely ignoring the insulating effect of adding a second layer.
  • dilemna
    dilemna Posts: 2,187
    edited March 2011
    neeb wrote:
    You often see pros wearing base layers (usually white vests) even in hot weather. What are the advantages? I know they are supposed to help in wicking away sweat, although the idea of putting an extra layer on when it is hot is a bit counter-intuitive, and decent jerseys are good at wicking in any case... I've also heard that they help to reduce road rash as the two layers slide over each other when you crash, although as road rash is usually going to be on the arms, hips and legs this sounds slightly dubious.

    Some base layers are sold as being for summer weather on the basis of wicking properties and usually seem to be light and diaphanous, others are long-sleeved and thermal, obviously for colder conditions, but others are "mid-season", and it's not clear to me if these are designed to keep you warmer in the cold, cooler in the heat, or both...

    What do you define as hot?

    Pro riders tend to have very little fat on their bodies compared to many recreational/club riders who carry a little too much lard so perhaps do not need base layers as they have a thick lard layer as big as a tractor tyre :lol:

    I always wear several layers and a windproof jersey as this country is so frikin' cold.
    Life is like a roll of toilet paper; long and useful, but always ends at the wrong moment. Anon.
    Think how stupid the average person is.......
    half of them are even more stupid than you first thought.
  • neeb
    neeb Posts: 4,467
    gsk82 wrote:
    i can't see how wearing another layer could possibly help remove sweat quicker. i'd have thought that it would evapourate quicker from on the skin than going than from in a jersey
    Well, I can see how it might work (just thinking about one tight jersey for the moment instead of two layers).

    The more sweat that is in contact with air (i.e. the greater its total surface area), the faster it should evaporate. If the sweat is drawn between the fibres of a close fitting garment (by capillary action) and more evenly distributed, it could have a larger surface area than if it is sitting in big drops on the skin, and so evaporate faster.
    Garry H wrote:
    Except it will evaporate very slowly because there's another garment on top if it and will eventually saturate and go all clammy. You can't get youd head around it for the simple reason that it's a load of tosh. It's completely ignoring the insulating effect of adding a second layer.
    Doesn't that depend on the properties of the materials? Some materials seem to become saturated with great difficulty, I guess because the water in the fibres is in the form of microscopic droplets (huge total surface area). I agree though, I can't think how having the extra layer on top is going to help matters, unless it provides a greater total evaporative surface (in which case it would need to be in very close contact with the first layer, and you might as well wear a single layer?)
  • Garry H
    Garry H Posts: 6,639
    neeb wrote:
    Doesn't that depend on the properties of the materials? Some materials seem to become saturated with great difficulty, I guess because the water in the fibres is in the form of microscopic droplets (huge total surface area). I agree though, I can't think how having the extra layer on top is going to help matters, unless it provides a greater total evaporative surface (in which case it would need to be in very close contact with the first layer, and you might as well wear a single layer?)

    And it still won't evaporate as quickly as just wearing one close-fitting wicking garment, ie a cycling jersey, or better still, go topless :wink:

    Nah, I don't get it and have never read a plausible explanation of how wearing an extra layer keeps you cooler. I wouldn't add an extra layer in order to keep me cooler while running and don't know any runners that do, is this a cycling only myth? I only wear a baselayer to keep me warmer.
  • dilemna
    dilemna Posts: 2,187
    Garry H wrote:
    neeb wrote:
    Doesn't that depend on the properties of the materials? Some materials seem to become saturated with great difficulty, I guess because the water in the fibres is in the form of microscopic droplets (huge total surface area). I agree though, I can't think how having the extra layer on top is going to help matters, unless it provides a greater total evaporative surface (in which case it would need to be in very close contact with the first layer, and you might as well wear a single layer?)

    And it still won't evaporate as quickly as just wearing one close-fitting wicking garment, ie a cycling jersey, or better still, go topless :wink:

    Nah, I don't get it and have never read a plausible explanation of how wearing an extra layer keeps you cooler. I wouldn't add an extra layer in order to keep me cooler while running and don't know any runners that do, is this a cycling only myth? I only wear a baselayer to keep me warmer.

    And get sun burnt or skin cancer .......

    A base layer wicks moisture eg sweat away from the skin which as the effect of cooling it. Try weariing a long sleeve cotton T shirt type thingy and see how hot you become in comparison.
    Life is like a roll of toilet paper; long and useful, but always ends at the wrong moment. Anon.
    Think how stupid the average person is.......
    half of them are even more stupid than you first thought.
  • Garry H
    Garry H Posts: 6,639
    dilemna wrote:

    And get sun burnt or skin cancer .......

    A base layer wicks moisture eg sweat away from the skin which as the effect of cooling it. Try weariing a long sleeve cotton T shirt type thingy and see how hot you become in comparison.

    Do you not understand what :wink: means dude?

    A close fitting cycling jersey also wicks sweat away from the skin, where it will evaporate a lot quicker than it would if you had two layers, ie a baselayer and a cycling jersey. You're cotton t-shirt comparison is completely irrelevant.

    It's the evaporation of sweat from the surface of the skin that keeps you cool, not simply removing the sweat, and it will evaporate quicker under one garment, than it will from under two, regardless of what the baselayer is made of.
  • dawesboy
    dawesboy Posts: 3
    I wear a base layer under my planet x jersey as if i get really hot i can unzip it & not be riding round semi naked! some people find semi naked men riding round unsettling!
  • Garry, you speak the truth.
    Can't believe people will wear an extra layer in an attempt to keep cooler!
    "That's it! You people have stood in my way long enough. I'm going to clown college! " - Homer
  • cougie
    cougie Posts: 22,512
    Garry a lot of triathletes are now wearing arm coolers -they're lke white armwarmers that keep the sun off you and so keep you cooler. Apparently - handy for Hawaii but not do good for Helsby.

    I must run cold cos I really can't think of a ride in britain that I'd have done with just one top. The last thing I want when I'm 40 miles from home is to be cold. Much rather be too warm than too cold - I can always unzip my top.
  • Garry H
    Garry H Posts: 6,639
    cougie wrote:
    Garry a lot of triathletes are now wearing arm coolers -they're lke white armwarmers that keep the sun off you and so keep you cooler. Apparently - handy for Hawaii but not do good for Helsby.

    I must run cold cos I really can't think of a ride in britain that I'd have done with just one top. The last thing I want when I'm 40 miles from home is to be cold. Much rather be too warm than too cold - I can always unzip my top.

    Seriously, Tri-Athletes seem to fall for all manner of guff :wink:

    Yep, I've seen the arm warmer things, Assos make them as well. Don't they keep your arms cool by protecting them from the sun though, supposedly anyway? Akin to the difference between going topless, or wearing a UV top, like surfers do.

    I agree with your second paragraph.
  • neeb
    neeb Posts: 4,467
    Just speculating here, but there may be an overall advantage to wearing two layers if you anticipate possibly being too hot and too cold on the same ride (or if you don't know how hot or cold you will be).

    Maybe when you are warm and sweating, the extra insulation provided by two (rather than one) tight fitting, wicking layers is less significant than the extra insulation provided by the same two layers when you are cold and dry. So if done right, it might give you extra protection against cold without making you significantly warmer when you are too hot.

    There's no doubt that a single really tight fitting wicking layer is more cooling than a loose fitting layer when it's really hot, you can feel the wind on your skin (and your sweat evaporating) almost as if you weren't wearing anything.
  • I'm currently using base layers under my jersey - find it more comfortable than going without plus I'm "blessed" with a full chest wig so it saves some modesty :oops:

    Remains to be seen how it works in summer.
  • flanners1
    flanners1 Posts: 916
    I use the Craft ProCool baselayers they are ace and stop any chill in Summer riding and tend to keep me less sweaty and more comfortable when it gets really hot. So for me they work and are no gimmick.

    Did a complete lap of Lake Geneva with 4 mates last Summer in 30 degree heat in an afternoon; with a procool baselayer and the lightweight sunscreen arm'warmers' (sic) they were excellent and worked well. Even better as I stock up in the PBK sale/bargains!
    Colnago C60 SRAM eTap, Colnago C40, Milani 107E, BMC Pro Machine, Trek Madone, Viner Gladius,
    Bizango 29er
  • Garry H
    Garry H Posts: 6,639
    Flanners1 wrote:
    I use the Craft ProCool baselayers they are ace and stop any chill in Summer riding and tend to keep me less sweaty and more comfortable when it gets really hot. So for me they work and are no gimmick.

    Did a complete lap of Lake Geneva with 4 mates last Summer in 30 degree heat in an afternoon; with a procool baselayer and the lightweight sunscreen arm'warmers' (sic) they were excellent and worked well. Even better as I stock up in the PBK sale/bargains!

    So what were you wearing on top of the baselayer?
  • flanners1
    flanners1 Posts: 916
    Used an Assos Equipe top for that ride, but usually that or a Castelli ProLogo/Colnago top as they are superfine and shed sweat fast and don't seem to get soaking wet.
    Colnago C60 SRAM eTap, Colnago C40, Milani 107E, BMC Pro Machine, Trek Madone, Viner Gladius,
    Bizango 29er