Apparel Featured Reviews

F-Lite Ultralight Base Layer

F-Lite Ultralight Base LayerThere are a multitude of options when it comes to picking a high performance base layer but those multi-brand quandaries have now grown to include the F-Lite Ultralight Base Layer. Available for the first time in the UK and part of a wider offering of functional base layers, socks and accessories from the German brand the F-Lite Ultralight lays claim to being the lightest of its kind in the world.


The F-Lite Ultralight, as with all the base layers in the newly-launched collection, use the brand’s own F-liteTEX knitting technology – a ‘tubular knit’ system not unlike that used to create the Buff, which means there are no side seams to rub, chafe or distort the figure-hugging shape. The base layer is flat-hemmed at the bottom and the seams that do remain (attaching the short-sleeved arms) are also flat-locked, laying more or less flush with the material and presenting no real risk of irritation even when things warm up on the run or ride.


When it comes to the claim of being the lightest of its kind in the world, it’s hard to disagree – the F-Lite Ultralight weighs only 70 grams/m² (presumably giving rise to the garments full name of F-Lite Ultralight 70 GP Base Layer), which means a medium size comes in at a gossamer whisper 75g. The lack of weight, to put it mildly, combined with the seamless/flat-seam construction, makes for an exceptionally comfortable experience.


Thermal properties impressed Cyclo too, living up to the ideal of keeping us warm on colder training sessions, but effectively keeping things cool when temperatures climbed. It achieves this unconventionally: constructed of otherwise fairly industry standard polyamide, polypropylene and elastane, the F-Lite Ultralight adds a carbon antistatic finish (cyclists love carbon, no?), which prevents the material sticking to the skin, ensuring a layer of air is permanently on hand to regulate heat.


Sticking with the unconventional the F-Lite Ultralight employs a polka dot styling, part of the design input that came from American free-rider and extreme skier Glen Plake. It’s never really occurred to us that design aesthetics matter with a base layer, but it’s kind of nice that F-Lite took the trouble don’t you think?


To date the F-Lite has impressed and Cyclo looks forward to testing through greater extremes – both hot and cold – over the coming year. We’re in little doubt it will hold up incredibly well and if you’re looking to layer up over this the newly launched adiZero cycling jersey, at just 65g, could prove to be the perfect partner.


The F-Lite Ultralight Base Layer is available in unisex sizes M-XL and retails at £34.99. Further details and online purchase at


Apparel Featured Reviews

No Nonsense Merino Base Layer

No Nonsense Merino Base LayerMerino wool has been prized for its luxurious qualities for more than 1000 years; Cyclo’s no Simon Schama, but we’re almost certain this predates both the bicycle and man’s need for technical base layers. Sooner or later these things were going to converge though, and they do so beautifully in the No Nonsense Merion tops from 74 Degrees.


Made in New Zealand the cut and style of the No Nonsense is commendably simple, elegant and unadorned (no nonsense, you might say) with a black-on-black logo so discreet it’s like a mini-game trying to spot it. Using only 100% fine merino wool – ecological, sustainable and biodegradable – the 215gsm knit is heavier than many base layers that use the same material; whilst others skimp on the costly fabric, 74 Degrees indulge to create a layer that not only works well across a broader range of temperatures but should prove longer-lasting and retain shape far better. Because the wool is naturally antibacterial, keeping ‘bike stink’ in check and (relatively) strain resistant this is one piece of apparel that should serve you for many years.


Comfort is superb and if you think wool is itchy, think again. Merino is almost silky soft and although the side seams look slightly bulky they sit perfectly flat on the ride and apart from the noticeable temperature regulation (merino helps retain heat in the cold, but keeps you cool as things heat up) we hardly noticed we were wearing the No Nonsense.


Yes, there are cheaper base layers to be had – there are even cheaper, if lighter, merino bases out there (Altura and Endura both around the £40 mark for example) – but the 74 Degrees No Nonsense Merino Base Layer is demonstrably a superior beast. The men’s long-sleeve retails at £54.00, the women’s equivalent and men’s short-sleeve option at £49.00


For further details on the No Nonsense Merino Base Layer and other products from 74 Degrees see


Apparel Reviews

Altura Thrermocool Base Layer

Altura thermocool base layer long sleeve top rated best Arguably nothing beats natural fibres for pure comfort, but when it comes to outstanding man-made tech we haven’t found better than the Altura Thrermocool Base Layer. This long-sleeve top – a blend of 73% Thermocool Eco (basically polyester), 22% nylon and 5% Elastano (Lycra) – not only fits snuggly without compromising movement, but comes close to being an on-board thermostat with an outstanding ability to keep the ride temperature regulated.


Fast drying, wicking away sweat from the skin and with a 10% antibacterial ‘Body Fresh’ yarn to deter bacteria and help keep ride-related stench at bay, the Thermocool’s real secret to success is its variable knit ‘body mapping technology’. Stripping away the sciency speak this basically means that the top is constructed with a range of fabric densities – a little like panels with a mesh-look – thinner along the sides and under arm, thicker across areas more prone to cold such as the back and shoulders.


Comfort is paramount, particularly when you’re battling the elements as much as the terrain, and Altura have worked hard to ensure this top is almost second-skin comfortable. The fit is incredibly close – almost compression gear close – yet it moves completely fluidly with the body and with no side seams to irritate and the why-doesn’t-everyone-do-this idea of embroidering the care instructions to the waistband rather than sticking in a flappy label the Thrermocool is as close to perfection as a base layer comes.


This is, by far, one of the most comfortable and responsive tops that Cyclo have ever had the pleasure of riding in. You’ll stay warm when the temperature drops and cool when the heat is on – that, surely, is the point of a temperature regulating base layer; if only all manufacturers realised this simple truth.


The Altura Thrermocool Long-Sleeve Base Layer has an RRP of £44.99 (short-sleeve alternative at £39.99). Further details and retailer information at