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Buyers Guide: Autumn/Winter Base Layers

Maintaining a comfortable body temperature when riding is important for concentration as well as enjoyment. Ensuring your core (where your vital organs exist) is warm is the key. If your core temperature drops, blood is concentrated in this area and you will lose dexterity in your limbs and your mental focus. Our buyers guide will help you choose the appropriate base layers for the environment and temperature range you ride in.

For the purposes of this guide we will consider two temperature ranges.

1. 8-15 Centigrade (45-59 Fahrenheit) - Short commutes/rides, mainly urban riding. Autumn in England.

2. 0-7 Centigrade (32-44 Fahrenheit) - Mid-Long commutes/rides, touring.  Winter in England.

1. 8-15 Centigrade (45-59 Fahrenheit)

  • Head - Neck tubes / collars are ideal.  Fabrics range from fleece which insulates through to Primaloft which insulates even when wet.  Fabrics are windproof and elasticated.

We recommend:  Holy Freedom Primaloft Tubes (various designs), Holy Freedom Fleece Tubes (various designs), Rev'IT Urbano Windcollar, Rev'IT Irving Windcollar

  • Torso, Legs & Hands - A thermal base layer worn next to the skin is highly effective and comfortable to wear all day.  Usually Polyester based, the fabric will wick sweat from the body whilst retaining the heat you generate.

We recommend:  Tucano Urbano North Pole Top, North Pole Trousers, Polo Thermal Inner Gloves

2. 0-7 Centigrade (32-44 Fahrenheit)

  • Head - A neck tube isn't going to cut it.  Time for a balaclava and one with wind breaking capability as well as thermal insulation.

We recommend:  Knox Cold Killers Hot Hood, Rev'IT Maximus Balaclava.

  • Torso & Legs:  There are a few options that come down to personal preference and the kit you might already own.

Option 1. A Polyester based base layer that has wind breaker panels to keep the wind chill out.  Best if you already have an insulating outer jacket.

We recommend:  Tucano Urbano North Pole Wind Breaker Top, South Pole Wind Breaker Legging

Option 2. A Merino wool base layer to insulate under a mid-layer to keep the wind out.  Great if you have a spring/summer jacket you want to extend the life of.

We recommend:  Knox Dry Inside Jacob Base Layer, Knox Cold Killers Sport Top

Option 3.  A heated jacket.  Usually 12V and connected to your bike's battery.  Wires extend throughout the jacket converting electrical current into heat.  Typically used instead of the removable thermal liner in your jacket.  Best for when all else fails!

We recommend:  Gerbing Heated Jacket Liner

  • Hands - When a thermal inner glove isn't enough nor a decent pair of winter gloves it's time to turn to a heated glove.  For shorter journeys and low speed riding a 7V battery will suffice which can be charged much like your phone and sits inside the glove.  For anything more than a 5 mile commute a 12V glove will be needed which connects to your bike's battery.

We recommend:  Gerbing XR7 Heated Gloves (7V), Gerbing XR12 Heated Gloves (12V)