Vangard Men's Windflex L/S Zipneck technical base layer  £74.99

7/10

A well-made base layer with a wind-stopping front panel, although that panel does limit breathability

Weight 202g   Contact  www.todayscyclist.co.uk

by John Whittington   February 27, 2012  

Vangard Men's Windflex L:S Zipneck techincal base layer

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The Vangard Windflex base layer isn't just your average base layer in that it includes a wind stopping panel across the chest. It's an unusual feature although it's not unique; we've just reviewed the competition in the form of Craft's impressive Extreme WS. So how does the Vangard perform?

Material choice and stitching is very similar to the Craft base layer. It is constructed from 100% polyester, knitted in a sort of corrugated/ribbed way that provides a good level of stretch. That means you could probably go a size below normal for a hugging fit, almost like a compression layer. Neat, flat seams did not cause any noticeable chaffing and a good, long cut means you can tuck the hem right into you tights and avoid any unpleasant draughts. The collar is high also, with a zip for getting it over you head – although with the stretch, I didn't see this as entirely necessary. You can get a version without the zip-neck for £69.99. Overall, the base layer wasn't noticeable when I was wearing it - a good thing.

A windproof section is what marks this base layer out from the crowd. The panel spans the full length of the chest along with the shoulders, and is stitched on top of the existing wicking material. However, I found that this front section could get very sweaty because not enough moisture was escaping through it. Craft managed to pull the windstopping layer off, so it is a shame Vangard's doesn't seem to work quite as well. It's not a failure by any means, it's just not quite as successful at Craft's. The difference is in the material: while Craft used Gore's WindStopper fabric, Vangard's Windflex perhaps doesn't have the same level of performance.

The front panel does keep the wind out, though. It provides an excellent added element of protection from the elements, doing a similar job to a gilet. You can't take it off mid-ride like you can a gilet, or open it right up when the going gets tough, but for those rides where you know you are going to be battling a constant gale, it is a great option. The panels reaching across the shoulders give complete wind cover when you're in the riding position and make descending on a cold day a bit more pleasant. I found this base layer best suited to milder winter/autumn days, when you're not going to have too many layers on top which could create the waterlogging I mentioned.

Verdict

The Windflex is a good base layer. The cut is a strong point, as is the wind protection created by the Windflex panel. At around the same price point as Craft's similar offering, however (£50), I'd have to choose Craft's WindStopper Extreme. Vangard's offering is a still a strong base layer, it just has some tough competition.

road.cc test report

Make and model: Vangard Men's Windflex L/S Zipneck technical base layer

Size tested: Black, Medium

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?

A long-sleeve base layer with a Windflex (windproof) front panel. Made for colder, windy days when you need an added layer of protection.

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

Stretchy wicking material, windproof panel across chest and shoulders, flat stitching, zip up collar.

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
8/10

Well made, it doesn't feel like it will fall apart any time soon.

Rate the product for performance:
 
6/10

Wind protection is excellent. Wicking is good other than at the windproof panel which did tend to get a bit wet and soggy.

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

Good long cut. Not noticeable once on. Flat stitching is good to prevent chaffing. Polyester could have a nicer feeling.

Rate the product for value:
 
6/10

I'd go for the Craft WindStopper Extreme given the similar price.

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

As a windproof base layer it lived up to its name.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

Stretchy, almost compression-like material

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

The fact that not enough sweat could get through the Windflex front panel.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes, mostly, but I got a bit sweaty

Would you consider buying the product? I'd get the Craft WindStopper Extreme, unless I found this on offer

Would you recommend the product to a friend? As above

Overall rating: 7/10

About the tester

Age: 23  Height: 184cm  Weight: 66kg

I usually ride: Orbea Onix (Carbon) - Summer, Orbea Asphalt (Alu) - Winter  My best bike is: Orbea Alma G10

I've been riding for: Under 5 years  I ride: Every day  I would class myself as: Semi pro

I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo cross, club rides, mtb,

 

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