Base Layers ... Much Difference Between Them

General cycling advice ( NOT technical ! )
Witterings
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Base Layers ... Much Difference Between Them

Postby Witterings » 20 Jan 2019, 6:21pm

Is there much difference between say a £40 Long Sleeved Altura Base Layer and a £7 Sports Direct or other budget brand.

I bought a decent Altura one about a year ago but am now riding more so sometimes struggle to get it washed and dry in time, what should I be looking for as well, should it say wicking or thermal or will any base layer do????

If there is a difference if anyone has any recommendations for something decent at the more budget end .... although I'll pay what's I needed for something that does the job properly rather than something that gets really sweaty and horrible .... any suggestions much appreciated!!

mattsccm
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Re: Base Layers ... Much Difference Between Them

Postby mattsccm » 20 Jan 2019, 6:57pm

The word "thermal" is to be ignored. It's become the label for any old vest that isn't string, airtex or cotton.

Ignoring natural fibres, most/all are made of an oil by product. I have used cheap and expensive. Largely irrelevant. If you are a sweaty type consider a thin one as it holds less sweat. They all hold some. Nothing is clever enough to deal with lots of sweat and keep you body bone dry. I rather like the original Helly Hansen Lifa stuff. Its thin and dries easily. New versions don't stink like those from the '80's.
Wicking effective ness is seriously affected by what its wicked into.
Wool is said to be warm when wet. Yeah right. All I get in more moisture to keep me cold. Maybe I am very sweaty. It is less clammy though if not very wet.
Anything with a cycling name is liable to attract an idiot tax although of course so can others. Of course there can be sales.
It must be close fitting.
Anything synthetic will feel clammy when wet.
Thinner is usually best if active. Put two on if too thin.
Its a vest . A base layer is a marketing mans cobblers.

iandriver
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Re: Base Layers ... Much Difference Between Them

Postby iandriver » 20 Jan 2019, 7:10pm

In practice, I do find some items have much nicer feeling material against the skin. That doesn't always equate to price. Decathlon seem to be really on top of their game right now. Their own brand base layers are doing everything I need them too on a sensible budget. I suspect the sports direct type outlets will vary hugely in quality.
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gbnz
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Re: Base Layers ... Much Difference Between Them

Postby gbnz » 20 Jan 2019, 7:21pm

While my instinctive approach is always to buy the cheaper, unbranded options, have to admit that in most cases the more expensive branded options always seem better. I.e. I'll wear breathable shirts when out on the bike and the Berghaus versions are way better than the cheaper alternatives from the likes of Mountain Warehouse

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NUKe
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Re: Base Layers ... Much Difference Between Them

Postby NUKe » 20 Jan 2019, 7:56pm

The ones in sports direct are just fine, it depends on what you combine with them. Base layer wicks, next layer insulates,outer layer weatherproofing.
None of these need to be cycling specific if your on a budget.

Base layer any wicking material, that doesnt hold moisture, that is why synthetics are good.
Mid layer fleece or wool are good. This layer has 2 jobs insulates and takes the moisture vapour away. An old lambs wool jumper is both and thin and warm, or a cycling jersey.
Outer layer really depends on the conditions wind proof for dry cold days waterproof for the wetter ones
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Cunobelin
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Re: Base Layers ... Much Difference Between Them

Postby Cunobelin » 20 Jan 2019, 8:03pm

I have a range of Base layers form companies like Paramo, Jack Wolfskin and others.

However recently I was away and got caught by a sudden cold snap so bought a couple of Campri base layers from Sports Direct to tide me over (a fraction of the price)

Surprisingly they are as good, but I do not know how they will wear long term

PH
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Re: Base Layers ... Much Difference Between Them

Postby PH » 20 Jan 2019, 8:58pm

Some people are obviously lucky and find stuff with good fit, function and longevity from Aldi or Sports Direct, I'm not one of them. Every time I've bought cheap it hasn't offered good long term value. To counter this, I buy stuff that I think will be good whatever the price and economise by buying less of it. I currently own three base layers, two S/S and one L/S, Showers Pass L/S (£65, 4 years ago) Uniqlo S/S (£25, 6 years ago) Rohan S/S (£35, 8 years ago) the Rohan and Uniqlo are getting near the end of their life and will be replaced sometime this year. In contrast, I know plenty of people who won't pay more than £10 for a baselayer, yet think nothing of buying new ones every year. I've read on here, more than once, X was so good I went back and bought another three! If you know you like the Altura one and it's looking like it'll last, £40 doesn't look bad value to me, better still if you can find a discount somewhere. You could quite easily waste more than that looking for something else you'll like - OTOH you might love the first £10 one you pick up in TKM...
EDIT - You ask about differences, all three of mine have some form of anti bacterial property, I can wear them for several days without washing and without losing any friends. This isn't usually the case with cheap stuff.

Witterings
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Re: Base Layers ... Much Difference Between Them

Postby Witterings » 20 Jan 2019, 10:28pm

PH wrote:EDIT - You ask about differences, all three of mine have some form of anti bacterial property, I can wear them for several days without washing and without losing any friends. This isn't usually the case with cheap stuff.


Cheers for all the replies and some really useful info ^^^^ this anti bacterial may be relevant as I certainly wear it a couple of times before it gets niffy.

I may just try one the cheap ish ones this time and see what I think in comparison ... will have a look at Decathlon which was suggested and also possibly PlanetX ...... and if it doesn't work out that well I'll just keep it as am emergency spare and get a 2nd decent one in the not too distant future.

Thank for all the help / suggestions!!!!

PDQ Mobile
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Re: Base Layers ... Much Difference Between Them

Postby PDQ Mobile » 20 Jan 2019, 10:33pm

Merino's good.
Aldi and Lidl have pretty low cost stuff at times.
Worn ok for me.

thelawnet
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Re: Base Layers ... Much Difference Between Them

Postby thelawnet » 21 Jan 2019, 12:27am

iandriver wrote:In practice, I do find some items have much nicer feeling material against the skin. That doesn't always equate to price. Decathlon seem to be really on top of their game right now. Their own brand base layers are doing everything I need them too on a sensible budget. I suspect the sports direct type outlets will vary hugely in quality.


I had a look at the Decathlon cycling base layers

£8 https://www.decathlon.co.uk/100-long-sl ... 02034.html
£13 https://www.decathlon.co.uk/500-long-sl ... 69383.html
£22.50 https://www.decathlon.co.uk/roadr-900-b ... 02116.html
£30 https://www.decathlon.co.uk/920-long-sl ... 01842.html

The latter two seem to be the same except there is an extra outer mesh layer. The cheapest has no lycra, and the £22.50 eskews polyester, present in the cheaper ones. There's a clear 'bad, better, good, best' hierarchy, except that a £60 Rapha Merino jobby is still likely better still, but there is still something in the middle.

At any rate if you avoid Decathlon's very cheapest stuff, the others are ok. But their 'best' is rarely as good as the premium competition (which obviously costs twice as much, so....)

Oldjohnw
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Re: Base Layers ... Much Difference Between Them

Postby Oldjohnw » 21 Jan 2019, 2:36am

I am increasingly using natural fibres for environmental concerns (I also find I prefer them) and have just bought this merino wool top from Alpkit:

https://www.alpkit.com/featured/merino-mens

It is brilliant.
John

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SimonCelsa
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Re: Base Layers ... Much Difference Between Them

Postby SimonCelsa » 21 Jan 2019, 5:48am

Get a Buffalo mountain shirt...............no need for base layers.

Had a 40 mile blast early yesterday morning from Inverness to Strathpeffer & back to watch the closing stages of the 24 hour mountain bike event. Subzero temperatures but nice & cosy in the Buffalo. No base layers, I was a bit worried about falling off on the ice & ripping the fabric exposing some bare flesh, but the winter tyres did the job as well!! Went through a moderate shower & on bending my arm to wipe my face I could hear the ice cracking which was forming on the jacket. Good gear. Saying that, the Alpkit merino stuff looks good although the cheaper stuff I find a little scratchy.

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Sweep
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Re: Base Layers ... Much Difference Between Them

Postby Sweep » 21 Jan 2019, 8:26am

PDQ Mobile wrote:Merino's good.
Aldi and Lidl have pretty low cost stuff at times.
Worn ok for me.

Plus one for aldi merino, for cold weather where I am not moving too much I wear one of those, mountain warehouse micro fleece and an aldi waterproof breathable jacket. Snug as a bug. Quality fine, used to be about £15, now maybe a bit more, have the idea that more recent ones may be thinner/more delicate/not as good.
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Paulatic
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Re: Base Layers ... Much Difference Between Them

Postby Paulatic » 21 Jan 2019, 8:46am

SimonCelsa wrote:Get a Buffalo mountain shirt...............no need for base layers.

Had a 40 mile blast early yesterday morning from Inverness to Strathpeffer & back to watch the closing stages of the 24 hour mountain bike event. Subzero temperatures but nice & cosy in the Buffalo. No base layers, I was a bit worried about falling off on the ice & ripping the fabric exposing some bare flesh, but the winter tyres did the job as well!! Went through a moderate shower & on bending my arm to wipe my face I could hear the ice cracking which was forming on the jacket. Good gear. Saying that, the Alpkit merino stuff looks good although the cheaper stuff I find a little scratchy.


I’m always going to give +1 to Buffalo. It’s all I wear when cycling through winter. I do wear base layers when not on the bike and many a day wish my Helly Hansons from the nineties would wear out so I could try something else.

RE The Strathpuffer" a guy I know only went and won it! In the 2 man team he, who is an ex jockey turned roadie who hasn’t been on a MtB since a teenager, teamed with an 18 yo, won it. He says he’s not sure whether he’ll be back next year to defend it though :lol:
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eileithyia
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Re: Base Layers ... Much Difference Between Them

Postby eileithyia » 21 Jan 2019, 9:07am

I started off my cycling life with HH lifa base layers, they are comfortable do the job (and usually get washed daily I still have some of those originals from the 80's).
I have tried cheaper ones and have a mix of them in my underbed storage box..... they get worn usually as a combo of layers, but often they do not fit quite the same, due to that are not always quite so comfy to wear. though they usually do what I want which is generally provide insulating layers under my other cycling outerwear. But generally I always return to HH.
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