Jerseys, bibs, socks...helmets and sunglasses too. Riders are notorious for putting extensive thought into assembling their kit for each ride. Surely for functional reasons, but undoubtably, style and expression play heavy roles too. What's often overlooked, however, is the lowly base layer. Tucked away below bright colors, graphics, and logos, base layers are quite commonly an after thought. But why? The base layer is what lies closest to your skin and has an immeasurable effect on comfort, body temperature regulation, and the performance of your kit as a whole.
Given that importance, it should be known that not all base layers are created equal. We're constantly trying and test pieces from all the brands, and none appear to put as much care, technology and passion as Q36.5. As soon as you pull one out of the box and get it into your hands, it's clear these base layers are something special. Today we're going to cover the details of each of their pieces, and when and why we choose each one.
The Standard Line up
At the core of Q36.5's base layer offering is their standard line up. Simply named models 1, 2 and 3, these bases share an identical construction, changing simply by the presence and length of sleeves. While we call them their standards. They're anything but.
Standards are made from high tech knit materials, seamlessly crafted on a Karl Mayer machine. These base layers are incredibly soft, stretchy, and light weight. The construction allows for varied densities and mesh patterns for perfected moisture and heat management. It results in an incredibly durable, rip proof garment, without bothersome stitching or seaming at the hems. Throw one on and you'll you amazed at what an experience having it on your skin is.
Base Layer 1
The level 1 Layer is simply the sleeveless model. This is easily out go to as it works great in all seasons. Under a summer short sleeve jersey, or a heavier thermal long sleeve, Base Layer 1 does a phenomenal job at keeping your core stable and comfortable. While all models 1-3 come in the dark anthracite color, this one is newly available in in a cool green. For those moments when you're hitting the climb hard fully unzipped, we know style counts.
Base Layer 2
Level 2 simply brings the addition of short sleeves. That extra bit of an under layer can extend the versatility of a lighter short sleeve jersey when riding in cooler temps. Same goes for wearing it under a long sleeve jersey like the Hybrid Que or our AC Long Sleeve. Easily our go to pairing in the brisk spring and fall months. The sleeves are a bit on the long side, which may influence what short sleeve jerseys you'd wear it with, however the ribbed hem section can be cut to tailor it to your needs.
Base Layer 3
Surely you've picked up on the trend here and could guess that Base Layer 3 is the long sleeve. When things start getting colder, the extended coverage provides improved insolation. Not just for warmth, there are circumstances where fully sleeved under layer can have additional benefits. Some winter outer layers heavily bias toward protection rather than breathability, and in often cases those materials can get quite uncomfortable against bare skin when you start to perspire. Having a thin barrier between your self and the that other layer can drastically improve your comfort on a cold weather ride.
With the core collection covered, there are a couple specialty base layers who deserve mention. As said before, models 1-3 use identical materials and construction. These specialty models are similar, but take the technologies into advanced directions.
The hottest days call for specialty equipment and that's where the Zero Mesh comes into play. it's Further exploring the Karl Mayer construction abilities, the fishnet-like construction make it even lighter and more breathable than level 1. So why not just go without a base at all? The barely there material is just enough to keep the jersey from sitting directly on your skin. That gap is essential to allowing air to pass and evaporate from both your body any your jersey. A drenched jersey is a heavy jersey, and that aid in moisture management makes all the difference.
Base Layer 4 PLUS
The final piece we'll feature is the new Base Layer 4 PLUS. While similar to model 3, this dedicated winter piece has a higher density and introduces the use of new, high tech yarns. Emana yarns are made of an organic ceramic polymade which wicks moisture at an even higher rate. It also uses Hollow Fiber which traps warm air in its hollow core for even greater insulation. It's got an extended collar to keep your neck and face warm, and comes in this cool deep navy blue.
Gone are the days of heavy, bulky winter base layers. The 4 Plus is light maintains a similar low profile to Q36.5's other models while providing insulation and moisture wicking performance at levels we've never seen. If you like to train hard in even the coldest seasons, this is the base layer for you.
Choosing the right base layer has the power to completely transform your experience on a ride. Hopefully this has shifted your mindset from treating them as an after thought to primary choice as you suit up to get on a the bike.