A high quality base layer forms the foundation of your cycling outfit, even in warm weather, and the Craft Zero Extreme Windstopper base layer adds superior wind protection for beating the chill.
Swedish company Craft add a Gore Windstopper membrane to the chest panel of this base layer, which adds impressive protection against the wind. With wind protection next to the skin, it frees you up from having to wear a windproof outer layer and gives you a little more versatility.
The rest of the base layer is made from a polyester fabric with channels to help breathability with good air movement, and it's very soft next to the skin.
The fit is very good, but the Windstopper membrane lacks much in the way of stretch so it produces a slightly tighter fitting base layer. Once on though, it's very comfortable, with a tapered torso and short sleeves, and a comfortable collar.
It's been a good choice for the crazy spring weather with its rain one minute, heatwave the next. Because the base layer provides such good protection from the wind, I've been getting away with a long sleeve jersey over the top and coped where I would typically reach for a gilet to keep the wind at bay. For that reason the Craft base layer means you can wear fewer layers which is undoubtedly more comfortable.
The Zero Extreme is really a good choice for autumn right through to spring. Even as the weather has started warming up I've still found it a good choice on blustery days when the wind can provide a chill.
It costs a bit more than a regular short sleeve base layer because you're paying for the Windstopper material. The flexibility of clothing options it provides you with, not to mention the protection from the cold wind, makes it a very versatile choice. It's a premium base layer and does work very well, and is ideal for spring weather.
Versatile wind-cheating base layer that earns its keep.
road.cc test report
Make and model: Craft Zero Extreme Windstopper short sleeve
Size tested: 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?
Developed to keep you at the optimal temperature throughout any workout in fair , cold and windy conditions. Be Active Extreme Windstopper® is made of a thin, lightweight and elastic micro polyester fabric and Gore Windstopper® panels. The polyester combines CoolMax Extreme and Thermolite fibers to provide excellent moisture transport and body temperature management. The Windstopper® panels are placed in exposed areas and move individually, providing wind protection and freedom of movement simultaneously.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Windstopper® Front and shoulder panels
Temperature range: 0° to 10° Celsius
Fantastic, removes the need for a gilet on windy days. Good in the winter too.
No concerns here.
The polyester is very comfortable but the Windstopper membrane does prove a little restrictive when pulling it on.
It's more expensive, but then if you factor in the cost of the gilet it can essentially replace, it's not so bad.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Very well, combining Windproof performance into a base layer is the work of a genius.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The Windproof front panel.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.
Would you consider buying the product? Yes.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes.
About the tester
Age: 31 Height: 180 Weight: 67
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, mtb,
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.