It’s getting pretty cold out there now as winter seems to be getting into its stride. I’m now seeing the kind of weather that has me looking into the deepest recesses of my bike clothing stashes to get my best winter clothing back into action.
For me, this has meant that pretty much from mid-November to now – the first thing I’m looking for is the Brynje Super Thermo C-Shirt I have had in for review (http://www.nordiclifeuk.co.uk/products/mens-active-base-layers/52/415/active-base-layer/P-super-thermo-c-shirt)
This base layer has seen the final part of my total conversion to the mesh base layer concept in a relatively short period of time. This is a journey that started when I first met Rhodri from NordicLife earlier last year. At that point in time I was a dedicated Merino base layer kind of a guy. I’m still a fan but old dogs can and should learn new tricks. I have.
The whole mesh base layer concept pioneered by Brynje takes a little mental adjustment but it does make sense (and it works). The idea is that air is the best thing to insulate you and by having a mesh you get more air next to your skin. If you want more warmth, you need more air next to your skin and to get more air you need a bigger mesh. So if you want to be really warm in cold weather you need a mesh base layer with big mesh/holes in it! The logic works, as does the product but it’s a bit of a shift in thinking.
With the synthetic material the base layer is made of, the wicking of moisture away from your skin is rapid and you do feel dryer, which in turn keeps you warmer. Unlike many British cyclists, the Norwegians favour being comfortable rather than needing to “harden up”, so as the mercury drops it’s time to get layering.
I don’t like being cold and I’m also conscious that as it gets colder I tend to ride with a lower intensity, which means I’m not generating as much heat as I would in warmer weather. I’m thin too without a lot of body fat so if I don’t wear the right clothing, I get cold fast and stay cold and that’s not fun for me.
Down to about 5 degrees c I’ve been very happy with the sleeveless Brynje Super Thermo C shirt – with my Castelli Espresso Due jacket over the top (and my bibshorts and unpadded bibtights). The Super Thermo has kept me feeling dry on my torso even at higher intensity and I’ve also felt warm in that temperature range.
The base layer wicks the water away and effectively shifts it to the next layer out – my winter jacket typically and as I’ve moved position on my bike sometimes my jacket has pulled against me and I’ve felt the moisture from it. Only having been using the sleeveless version – I have noticed my arms feeling cooler and wetter as I’ve not had a long sleeved mesh on my arms to move the moisture away from my skin and keep dry air next to me .
When I’ve ridden between 0 and 5 degrees, I’ve generally added in a mid layer of a normal long sleeved cycling jersey and that’s helped but I have noticed the middle layer has been holding more of the moisture – no problems where I have the base layer on my skin but I’ve noticed it again on the arms in particular.
As the temperature drops I think you really do need a long sleeved version of the Brynje Super Thermo and luckily I’ve just got one to try my theory out with. I think the combination of the vest/t-shirt version and a long sleeve one could give you the perfect combination for winter.
So far I’ve ridden 500km+ in the Super Thermo C Shirt (http://www.nordiclifeuk.co.uk/products/mens-active-base-layers/52/415/active-base-layer/P-super-thermo-c-shirt) and frankly I can’t fault it. I could try to look for small criticisms but I don’t have anything meaningful to complain about. The garment has held its shape well, it washes well and comes out of my washing machine after an 800rpm spin cycle almost dry. It’s kept my core feeling warm and dry in cool to cold conditions.
For most of us, the mesh base layer is not a flattering look on our physiques and I’ve chickened out of putting you through the horror of seeing me in it. The good news is that when you do wear one, you’ll be layered up and no one will know/see you in it (hopefully).
However as soon as you roll out on your ride, if you have the same experience that I have – you’ll be very glad you invested in it. Brynje base layers have been worn during some of the most extreme mountaineering feats in the world, where keeping your core warm is a matter of life and death. They’re more than capable of keeping you and I warm as we ride through the winter.
For me for temperatures of down to about 5 degrees Celsius, I’m happy to wear the C shirt and probably up to about 10-12 degrees, which is a good range and one we do a lot of riding in in the UK.
I’ve now also got a long sleeve version to try as it gets colder than 5. I’ll report back on that in due course but my gut feel is that you’ll want both a short sleeve and a long sleeve in your wardrobe.
For more info on Brynje – you can check out their website here: http://www.brynje.no/
You can buy the products in the UK via NordicLife : http://www.nordiclifeuk.co.uk/products/mens-active-base-layers
Thanks for reading