Saturday, 16 November 2013

Review: 74Degrees Merino Long Sleeve Base Layer

74Degrees was set up to create high quality cycling kit that would inspire cyclists “to ride, to celebrate the heritage of our sport, and to honour the legends, landscapes, theatre and passion of the sport”

In this review I take a look at their Long Sleeve Merino Wool base layer. A top designed to keep your core warm and comfortable in the worst conditions.

Not all merino wool is equal. This base layer uses a 19.5 micron wool blend, in a 215 gsm knit. Translating those numbers into something most of us can understand, it means this is around 40% thicker than many other merino base layers on the market; meaning it is warmer, softer and puts up better with abuse than other merino tops.

Slipping the long sleeved base layer on you can instantly recognise that it is thicker than many of its counterparts. It feels as thick as a long sleeved t-shirt, rather than a thin base layer. That thickness translates into great warmth and comfort out on the bike. Even when damp, merino wool stays warm, absorbing the moisture and keeping it away from your skin, making it a great material for winter base layers.

The fit and sizing of the base layer is good. I've got a medium (my normal size), and it is close fitting and a decent length in the arms. It has a low cut back, and a comfortable crew cut neck and ribbed cuffs; all these features help to keep the warm in and the cold out.

The thicker weave of the material really does translate into a more durable top as well. It’s barely shown any sign of wear or tear after many uses and many machine washes. That’s a significant attribute, as some cheaper merino tops I have used (none of which I have reviewed/recommended on this blog) have thinned quickly with washing, making them prone to ripping.

At £54 RRP this definitely isn't a budget base layer, however the thickness of the material and the quality of the manufacture strongly suggest that it will provide several years of service; making it a worthwhile investment given the great comfort and performance that it also provides.

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