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Looking for high quality wicking baselayer and jacket

rodgers73rodgers73 Posts: 2,626
edited May 2014 in Road buying advice
I've been caught out now on two overnight rides with poor performing tops that have left me wet with sweat and unable to warm up. Both occasions were truly awful, although the gear itself was hardly ideal (Aldi baselayer and a mid-range DHB jacket).

As a result, I've decided to bite the bullet and get myself some truly top quality stuff I know I can rely on completely.

Are we talking Rapha vs Assos or is there some alternatives at the top end of the market? Also, if people think this stuff is overpriced and not worth it then I'd like to know before wasting my cash!


  • Coach HCoach H Posts: 1,092
    For Base Layers - Prendas or Craft
    IMO both are very good and available in different materials for different functions.
    Coach H. (Dont ask me for training advice - 'It's not about the bike')
  • northpolenorthpole Posts: 1,499
    Rapha merino wool base layers are great - I have to admit to not having tried any other manufacturer's alternative but was amazed at the difference in comfort levels they provided. They are far too expensive IMO but a great product.

    A jacket is a more difficult one to recommend - are you seeking a waterproof jacket or a wind proof jacket (or both!)? What temperature range are you trying to cater for at night? My experience is that jackets tend to work well in quite narrow temperature bands, outside of which you may find yourself either too cold or cooking!!

    Rapha's Hardshell jacket is waterproof however, it does not have anything like the breathe ability properties of gore-tex. I rate the last generation of Assos jackets very highly for various levels of thermal properties - not waterproof. The intermediate jacket blocks wind to your chest but the arms are token lightweight material which need armwarmers when the temperature falls much below 10 Celsius. The Airjacket 851 is brilliant however, only suitable for winter wear unless you run particularly cold blooded!

  • darkhairedlorddarkhairedlord Posts: 7,180
    Helly Hansen Lifa ?
  • rodgers73rodgers73 Posts: 2,626
    Both occasions I referred to were above freezing but less than 8 degrees. I know that waterproofs are never going to be properly breathable so really its a softshell jacket that's warm and windproof in that sort of temperature range that I'm after. Once its warmer than that my existing gear should be fine.
  • northpolenorthpole Posts: 1,499
    In that temperature range the Assos Airjacket 851 is ideal. No longer made but you may be able to get a great deal on one from one of the on line stores or ebay. They are extremely robust to the extent that i wouldn't hesitate buying used to try one out. The newer Assos gear is probably better but crazy money with style not to everyone's taste. Rapha's softshell jacket is good in wet weather but not nearly as warm. Better looking, but IMO not in the same league for a cold weather riding jacket. Around 8 degrees and above, the 851 with a base layer may well be too warm.

  • jordan_217jordan_217 Posts: 2,580
    As above, Craft base layers in mesh or more thicker variants are very good. BUT what Aldi base layers are you using? I have a few of the black thermal, compression ones and IME they're as good as my Craft ones and even some Icebreaker merino tops that I use.

    I'm a big fan of Mavic softshells and can highly recommend both the Equipe and Echappee. Castelli and Gore are also highly regarded. Apparently the BTwin ones Decathlon are knocking out are also good.
    “Training is like fighting with a gorilla. You don’t stop when you’re tired. You stop when the gorilla is tired.”
  • Underarmour has never let me down. Good quality and they have last for years remarkable considering the wear i've had out of them. The three below do for all year round and i also wear them for work (on-site) if necessary and for playing football in.

    Cold gear l/s mock.
    Heat gear l/s.
    Heat gear s/s.
  • passoutpassout Posts: 4,425
    I'd go for a Gore Jacket & merino myslef.

    'Happiness serves hardly any other purpose than to make unhappiness possible' Marcel Proust.
  • lakesludditelakesluddite Posts: 1,337
    I have absolutely no experience of this product, so take this recommendation with that in mind - the Castelli Gabba is always highly recommended by those on here who have one. Not cheap, but then it seems you are willing to spend a bit.

    I've had a look at them in one of my local LBS's, and they look very nice. They come in long sleeve and short sleeve versions. ... y-ec040794
  • gethincerigethinceri Posts: 1,479
    Endura long sleeve merino for colder days.
    Craft short sleeve mesh for warmer.
  • ctcctc Posts: 232
    After trying a number of different brands and materials, Helly Hansen base layers are the best for me.
    They do colder weather ones that have the lifa material next to sking for wicking, and a merino outer layer for warmth.

    I'm not a great fan of full jackets. I prefer the good base layer, mid layer and Gilet, as I run quite hot. Mid layer I just like a normal roubaix jersey like the Endura Roubaix jacket.
    Gilets - Sportful and Castelli do some good ones in a variety of different weights for warmer/colder weather. Also the Endura Windchill gilet is a good (cheaper) alternative for a cold weather Gilet
    I now like having pockets on the Gilet, so that does limit which ones I'll now try
  • shamrock134shamrock134 Posts: 714
    Base layers, I like Craft.

    Jackets, I'd say my fave winter all-rounders are the LS Gabba or Sportful Fiandre No-Rain Jacket.

    This is on offer currently for £130 and should cover most winter situations. ... duct/PJC01
  • Mountain warehouse merino base layer.
    I quite like my Mavic Espoir jacket as well
    Trek,,,, too cool for school ,, apparently
  • tp2000tp2000 Posts: 102
    Base layer - craft or the rapha merino mesh are awesome (but a tad expensive)

    Jacket - the Rapha Pro Team jacket serves me well and if you have a peek on their website (clearance section) its at £130 now which makes it amazing value for money. Its warm, windproof front and I've ridden mine in fairly consistent rain (in North Wales during December, so pretty gritty conditions) on a 3 hour ride and still been perfectly warm and mostly dry (I may have had a summer jersey under it along with a base layer, but still).

    This jacket does me pretty much all winter - I've ridden in it from around -2 up to 11 degrees - a combo of base or thermal base layers, gilets, neckwarmers and a waterproof makes it pretty versatile.
  • lostboysaintlostboysaint Posts: 4,250
    deeptheory wrote:
    Underarmour has never let me down. Good quality and they have last for years remarkable considering the wear i've had out of them. The three below do for all year round and i also wear them for work (on-site) if necessary and for playing football in.

    Cold gear l/s mock.
    Heat gear l/s.
    Heat gear s/s.

    Trail fun - Transition Bandit
    Road - Wilier Izoard Centaur/Cube Agree C62 Disc
    Allround - Cotic Solaris
  • meanredspidermeanredspider Posts: 12,337
    Buy something REALLY good - the difference is appreciable - as a jacket.

    The Assos Airjack 851 mentioned above is a truly awesome bit of kit - I'm really disappointed that Assos no longer use 851 as both my Early Winter gloves and Airjack are fantastic and have given me years of service. Hunt around and you might find one heavily discounted. I bought two of each of the gloves and jacket

    That Rapha Pro jacket will also be very good - especially at that price.

    The attention to detail on both of these brands is excellent - shop around and you'll get this top quality stuff at mid-range prices.

    Base layers is far more open. I have all sorts and, TBH, they're all much of a muchness. I probably grab the Nike Pro by preference.
    ROAD < Scott Foil HMX Di2, Volagi Liscio Di2, Jamis Renegade Elite Di2, Cube Reaction Race > ROUGH
  • sy1975sy1975 Posts: 95
    I am sure that others have said and then been slated - but I have the rapha windjacket and it really is the best £250 ive spent. warm on a cold winter morning with just a base under, cool on a mild day, 100% water proof and also looks great IMHO. So yes you get what you pay for
    Sunny Days - De Rosa - King RS Action Azzurro lumina
    Rain - Winter - Wilier - xp izoard "petacchi"
    Classic - 1999 De Rosa - Planet - Aluminio
  • luv2rideluv2ride Posts: 2,367
    +1 for the Catelli Gabba long sleeve. Very breathable, very windproof, handles rain. Brilliant. Before that I was an convert to the Mavic Echappee softshell, good in colder temps, but the Gabba just feels more versatile.

    Oh, and either a Craft base layer or the Planet X merino performance base layer (merino front and shoulders, merino/Coolmax mesh on back). Ace.
    Titus Silk Road Ti rigid 29er - Scott Solace 10 disc - Kinesis Crosslight Pro6 disc - Scott CR1 SL - Pinnacle Arkose X 650b - Pinnacle Arkose singlespeed - Specialized Singlecross...& an Ernie Ball Musicman Stingray 4 string...
  • stueysstueys Posts: 1,332
    In that tempreture range I think you'll to struggle to better a merino base. As everyone has said rapha ones are awesome but pricey. I use them and love them but they also come skiing with me as well which dulls the pain of the cost.

    Rapha jackets are IMHO the best I've used. I run both a hard shell and a pro team, the pro-team gets used 85% of the time as it's more breathable and will shrug off a shower, you need a waterproof for anything more though. Hardshell is great but not quite as breathable so easier to overheat if the temps raise and you up the pace. Tends to get used in the depths of winter or if rain is a sure thing. Both are great jackets though pro team probably wins in versatility.

    Marino base, rapha pro team and a waterproof will see you through pretty much everything. Pack a gillet for when the temps are really low.
  • domc21domc21 Posts: 86
    I'll give my vote to the Rapha pro team jacket... Great value at the moment. Worked all winter for me and for the really cold and lashing it down days I put a pro team race cape over the top.
  • deeptheory wrote:
    Underarmour has never let me down. Good quality and they have last for years remarkable considering the wear i've had out of them. The three below do for all year round and i also wear them for work (on-site) if necessary and for playing football in.

    Cold gear l/s mock.
    Heat gear l/s.
    Heat gear s/s.

    Underarmour is the only way to fly.

    I own two Cold Gear tops (I sized-down to get a compression-type fit) and the December commute was never more comfortable. Proof that not everything needs to be cycle-specific (or made out of merino) to get the job done.
  • rodgers73rodgers73 Posts: 2,626
    Looks like I'm going with either the Assos or the Castelli Gabba - any thoughts on which to go for? Cost is pretty much the same.
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