Frankly Men's Basic Crew Tee  £59.00

7/10

Comfy and well made baselayer that's best in conjunction with a softshell jacket

Contact  www.franklyfrankly.com

by Dave Atkinson   January 26, 2012  

Frankly Men's Basic Crew Tee

Frankly are convinced that their Neobi fabric is "set to change the performance industry forever", according to their website. It certainly has impressive wicking qualities and in conjunction with a jersey of softshell jacket moves a lot of moisture away from your body quickly and efficiently. In more restrictive conditions, though, it tends to suck some of that moisture back in, and when it does it's fairly slow to dry.

Neobi is a similar concept to Sportwool, in that the Merino sits next to the skin with an outer layer above. In sportwool that's Polyester, here it's cotton; the mix is 65% cotton, 35% wool and the 200g weight fabric is at the heavy end of the base layer spectrum.

Putting it on for the first time the Frankly feels very comfortable and nice and snug. The neck is quite large; there's a half-zip version with a high collar available too if that's what you prefer. The flat seams don't rub and the whole top feels well made.

The Frankly website talks a lot about commuting, and the first thing i did was chucked a soft shell on, donned a rucksack and rode the five miles home. The last 2 miles is up a pretty big hill and I'm always, erm, glowing by the time I reach the top. It didn't help that I got into a race on the steep bit. Which I lost. The wicking qualities of the Neobi fabric are excellent. Take off the softshell and you can feel the dampness on the outside of the base layer from the exertion, but the inside was dry.

Well, almost dry. Left free to do its work the wicking of the Frankly base layer is up there with the best, but restrict the airflow - under a rucksack, for example, or a heavy winter hardshell jacket - and the wicked sweat starts to soak back into the fabric after a while and the fabric, being mostly cotton, is pretty absorbent. Frankly suggest that outdoorsy types could "limit the weight for their backpacks on a hiking trip so they can sleep and hike in their Frankly garment". Assuming you're hiking at a decent lick, and carrying a rucksack that makes your back sweat, you're not really going to want to sleep in your base layer. It's fine while you're moving but you start to feel the chill a bit when you stop.

I've worn it a few days on the trot and I can confirm that it's pretty odour neutral, about the same as a full Merino base layer. If you're the kind of person that mostly rides in breathable outer layers (softshells and jerseys) then this baselayer is well worth a look; The wicking qualities are up there with the best. If you favour hardshell jackets, or you wear a rucksack, or you're just really sweaty then you'll probably find that the fabric starts to get wet after exerted efforts, and you'd probably be better off with a synthetic baselayer that'll dry much more quickly. As an all-round performer it gets a 7, but if your riding attire is suited to the fabric then it's worth an 8.

Verdict

Comfy and well made baselayer that's best in conjunction with a softshell jacket

road.cc test report

Make and model: Frankly Men's Basic Crew Tee

Size tested: Khaki - L

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?

People want natural garments that perform. Garments that are comfortable, wicking, renewable, quite cool, durable, biodegradable, and that minimise odor.

Garments they can wear on the cycle commute, and keep on wearing through a day at work. Or climb a mountain and back down again. Or limit the weight for their backpacks on a hiking trip so they can sleep and hike in their Frankly garment.

Garments that work hard for the lives they live.

Frankly is not a brand that creates landfill or uses depleting resources. In fact, we like to say that Frankly grows old gracefully with you and gets better with age.

Neither is it about superheroes, muscle performance or high-tech chemical innovation.

It is about a refreshing and simplified way of looking at products that need to perform. Long term.

It is about getting back to basics.

And it is about having fun.

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

Neobi is a new fabric based on a combination of merino and cotton fibres. Soft, fine merino sits next to the skin and organic cotton forms the outer layer making it comfortable against the skin and more durable on the outer than regular merino garments making this product excellent for sports such as climbing due to this other benefit.

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
8/10

Very nicely made, flat seams and good attention to detail

Rate the product for performance:
 
7/10

Wicks really well, can get clogged under heavier layers

Rate the product for durability:
 
7/10

No issues during testing, survived a few machine washes with no deterioration. Frankly suggest it'll give out a bit in time and become baggier, which it has a bit.

Rate the product for weight, if applicable:
 
7/10

About right for spring/autumn

Rate the product for comfort, if applicable:
 
8/10

Very comfy dry, and pretty comfy when it does get wet, a bit chilly when you stop

Rate the product for value:
 
6/10

It's not super-expensive but there's full Merino baselayers out there for quite a bit less

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

Very well in the right conditions

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

Nicely made, comfy when dry

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

Absorbent in the wrong conditions, slow to dry

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes

Would you consider buying the product? Possibly

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes if they were the right sort of rider

Overall rating: 7/10

About the tester

Age: 38  Height: 190cm  Weight: 98kg

I usually ride: whatever I'm testing...  My best bike is: Genesis Equilibrium with SRAM Apex

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

I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, cyclo cross, commuting, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mtb, Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling, track

 

8 user comments

Oldest firstNewest firstBest rated

You can have Rapha or icebreaker baselayers for less though...

If I could have, say, 6 bikes, would it stop me drooling over others that I don't have?

posted by notfastenough [2883 posts]
26th January 2012 - 15:46

like this
Like (10)

notfastenough wrote:
You can have Rapha... baselayers for less though...

Surprise Surprise Surprise

Shome mishtake shurely?

Wink

Simon_MacMichael's picture

posted by Simon_MacMichael [7837 posts]
26th January 2012 - 16:17

like this
Like (12)

Simon_MacMichael wrote:
notfastenough wrote:
You can have Rapha... baselayers for less though...

Surprise Surprise Surprise

Shome mishtake shurely?

Wink


Rapha merino long sleeve base layers are a whole poond more expensive - £60.

Rob Simmonds's picture

posted by Rob Simmonds [251 posts]
26th January 2012 - 16:36

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Like (10)

Rob Simmonds wrote:
Simon_MacMichael wrote:
notfastenough wrote:
You can have Rapha... baselayers for less though...

Surprise Surprise Surprise

Shome mishtake shurely?

Wink


Rapha merino long sleeve base layers are a whole poond more expensive - £60.

True - but you can get a bundle deal on 3 Rapha ones for £110.

That said, Planet X do some nice merino base layers from time to time - and they usually end up around the £20 mark. The DHB ones are very nice too. I have some of each of the PX, DHB and Rapha ones, and my favourite are actually the DHB, even without taking into account the price Surprise

posted by step-hent [644 posts]
26th January 2012 - 16:48

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To be fair, I'd be inclined to lounge about in the house in the Rapha one it it weren't for the price - maybe I need some DHB ones!

For the record, I paid £47.50, but it is short sleeve.

If I could have, say, 6 bikes, would it stop me drooling over others that I don't have?

posted by notfastenough [2883 posts]
26th January 2012 - 19:02

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Like (11)

If it's lounging aroud the house you want to do, the frankly is up there with the best. makes a good nightshirt too when it's chilly Wink

Dave Atkinson's picture

posted by Dave Atkinson [7231 posts]
26th January 2012 - 19:03

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I can't quite figure out why cotton is being used for 65% of the material in a wicking garment.

A nomination for Endura BaaBaa merino as an inexpensive alternative. A non-itchy, nice fitting base layer that I'd say is even better than my Howies NBL.

Simon E's picture

posted by Simon E [1884 posts]
27th January 2012 - 22:50

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Like (11)

I love my BaaBaa! Got to the stage where I seldom wear anything else - on or off the bike!!!

posted by AlfCinelli [4 posts]
30th January 2012 - 12:03

like this
Like (8)

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