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Verdict: 
Comfortable and performs brilliantly in cold conditions
Weight: 
151g
Sportful 2nd Skin Long Sleeve Top
8 10

The Sportful 2nd Skin long sleeve baselayer is incredibly comfortable and performs brilliantly in cold conditions, keeping you warm and dry when you're putting in a lot of effort on the bike.

The Italian company has used a Dryarn polypropylene and polyester material with a seamless construction. There isn't a uniform texture to the baselayer; instead, Sportful's body-mapped construction uses different fabrics in key areas to provide greater support, warmth and breathability.

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A piqué weaving texture with raised patterns is used for the main body to boost warmth, and fabric with a higher loft structure is used in the shoulders and elbow inserts to increase insulation. A lighter mesh is used for the arm and back panels to raise the breathability factor.

Sportful 2nd Skin Long Sleeve Top - arm detail.jpg

Sportful 2nd Skin Long Sleeve Top - arm detail.jpg

When it comes to fit, boy, does it ever live up to its second skin name. Getting it on is a bit of a struggle, but once on it sucks into every curve and contour of your body, ensuring the material is flush with your skin. That's really how a baselayer should be, so the fabric can pull sweat away from your skin effectively.

Sportful 2nd Skin Long Sleeve Top - back.jpg

Sportful 2nd Skin Long Sleeve Top - back.jpg

It's a really good shape, and comfortable with it, the fabric providing enough stretch that it moves with you. A benefit of the close fit is that it slips under even a close-fitting jersey or jacket with ease.

> Buyer's Guide: The best cycling baselayers

Performance is impressive. It provides a really high level of insulation, such that I was able to tackle sub-zero rides with just a jacket over the top with no fear of hypothermia. Yet breathability was similarly impressive – I never overheated. I put it through some strenuous workouts and hill repeat sessions and it didn't get bogged down in sweat or ever feel like it was struggling to cope at all.

It's quite a lot of money for a baselayer but there is a lot of design evident, with all the strategically placed panels, and it compares favourably to other high-performance baselayers that use a similar approach. The fabric is lovely and soft next to the skin and stayed that way after a dozen washes.

Verdict

Comfortable and performs brilliantly in cold conditions

road.cc test report

Make and model: Sportful 2nd Skin Long Sleeve Top

Size tested: Small

Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?

Sportful says: "When you want to train hard but stay warm the Sportful 2nd Skin Long Sleeve Base Layer is here to help. Its light compressive fit ensures you get the most out of your ride and the polypropylene and polyester mix make sure you don't end up a sweaty mess.

"A stretch seamless construction enhances the fit, providing both comfort and support, while the body-mapped construction ensures excellent levels of breathability and moisture wicking.

"Lighter mesh arm and back inserts further enhance breathability, while Sportful's recommended temperature range of -0-5˚C shows the company's confidence in this base layer's winter credentials."

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

Light compression fit

Polypropylene and polyester - moisture wicking and fast drying

Stretch seamless construction for perfect fit

Body-mapped construction - strategically placed textures enhance breathability, support and warmth

Main body in piqué structure - increases warmth

Shoulder and elbow inserts in higher-loft structure for insulation

Lighter mesh arm and back inserts for enhanced breathability

2 different side inserts for increased support

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
9/10
Rate the product for performance:
 
9/10
Rate the product for durability:
 
8/10
Rate the product for fit:
 
8/10
Rate the product for sizing:
 
8/10
Rate the product for weight:
 
7/10
Rate the product for comfort:
 
8/10
Rate the product for value:
 
6/10

How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?

No problems going through a normal wash.

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

Keeps you warm and dry even in sub-zero temps and hard efforts.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

Tight fit and insulation.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

It's a bit tight to get into.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes

Would you consider buying the product? Yes

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes

Use this box to explain your score

You can certainly spend less on a baselayer but this one strikes that balance of insulation and breathability really well.

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

Age: 31  Height: 180cm  Weight: 67kg

I usually ride:   My best bike is:

I've been riding for: 10-20 years  I ride: Every day  I would class myself as: Expert

I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo-cross, commuting, touring, mountain biking

David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.

6 comments

Avatar
me [84 posts] 5 months ago
0 likes

very technical no doubt, but 50 GBP buys a decent merino baselayer?  Which won't get smelly as quick as nylon?  Don't know; just asking.

Avatar
unconstituted [2341 posts] 5 months ago
2 likes

For high intensity stuff where you're sweating buckets, you really are much better off with synthetic. I've used merino in the heat on hard rides before and it's gross. Soggy mess. Never again.

Merino cold weather, synthetic warm weather. 

 

Avatar
me [84 posts] 5 months ago
0 likes

But it's got long winter sleeves so summer heat doesn't really come into the equation.  Nor am I going to be wearing it on the turbo in winter.

Avatar
unconstituted [2341 posts] 5 months ago
1 like

My bad for saying summer and winter, clearly you now believe there's only two temperatures in the world and this is what they're called.

Anything over 5 degrees I'd wear a synthetic like this, especially to help with wind chill on the arms. Closer to 10 I'd wear a short sleeve version. Going closer to 0 degrees I'd have the thicker merino out. 

People really need basic shit like this spelled out to them.. honestly to goodness. What are you making out, that there's no market for long sleeve synthetic base layers? The best wicking materials in the world have no place in intense activity?

Get a grip.

Avatar
PhillipM [3 posts] 5 months ago
0 likes

Owning 3 of these, I can certainly say they are brilliant, especially the high neck version. A real shame that Sportful no longer make the. Down to 7C under a long sleeve Gaba I feel nice and warm but don't get too hot when the pace or gradient rises.

In spring the short sleved version is great under a summer jersey with armwarmers. 

It really is a shame that Sportful replaced it's logical base-layer sequence of warmths with the current range of nonsensically named items.

In terms of smell, they have been used pretty much every weekend of winter for the last 5 years and are as good as new.

Avatar
Anyone seen my ... [32 posts] 5 months ago
1 like

I've really struggled with base layers this year and its a constant irritation.  I have four, an Assos 4 Seasons - which doesn't keep me warm with the combinations I wear it with; a Rapha merino base layer which has totally lost its shape so you can't tell the difference between the waist and the neck; and an X-bionic short sleeve which is fine with arm warmers, but not really made for the job.  In the end I've been reverting to an old Craft base layer I bought from JE James for a tenner....goes to show.  But I'll look the Sportful up.   Look out for my Shrek Rapha merino on eBay  1