If you're a reader of a certain age, the name Caratti might mean something to you. The company (distributor for the likes of Sidi and Castelli back in the day) used to produce their own range of Italian made clothing during the 1990s, but disappeared towards the end of the decade. Well now they're back with a whole new range of clothing intended to offer performance and value for money.
This £20 Short Sleeve base layer is a good example of that mantra. It might not cost much, a price putting it at the more affordable end of the base layer pricing scale, but the performance on the bike is really very good indeed. It's not however made in Italy anymore; this base layer was manufactured in China.
That aside, the fit is really good. The main torso section of the base layer is constructed without seams, which Caratti says helps improve comfort. There are seams at the neck and sleeves. That seamless torso, and the high stretch factor, produces a really good fit around the chest and back without any seams to potentially irritate and cause discomfort.
Just two sizes are offered, but the high degree of stretch should ensure the two sizes cater for a wide range of body sizes and shapes well. I tested the S/M and it does seem to fall somewhere between a small and medium compared to other brands.
The base layer is manufactured from 92% nylon and 8% elastane, with fibres designed to give good sweat wicking ability and temperature regulation. It seems to do the job well on the bike.
During a couple of rides, including an eyeballs out chaingang and a couple of steady state club rides, the Caratti base layer did live up to the claims. It kept the sweat moving away from the skin well and provided good management of temperature, as good as many base layers costing twice as much in fact.
Styling is kept simple with just the brand logo below the neck.
Delivers good performance and fit for not a lot of money
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Caratti Short Sleeve Seamless Baselayer
Size tested: Small/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?
Established in 1976, Caratti Sport started out as a small family run business. With the family's Italian heritage, they were able to develop a close relationship with some of the best brands in the industry. Caratti were the first UK importers of many high end Italian made brands such as Sidi, De Marchi, Castelli, Colnago, Giordana. The company then developed into one of the largest distributors in the UK.
Over time, Caratti then developed their own range of clothing originally made in Italy. Famous for their 6 and 8 panel shorts and gloves, they were one of the biggest selling brands. Caratti sponsored and produced clothing for many pro teams across the UK.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Taylor designed to cyclists needs with a longer body and snug fit.
Fibre technology allows for sweat to wick away from the skin instantly, essential to regulating body temperature.
Minimal seams to ensure maximum comfort.
Fantastic performance for the money, really does everything you'd want from a base layer.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Better suited to warmer days but as part of a smart layering system there's no reason why it can't cope on colder days.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Lack of sizes offered.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.
Would you consider buying the product? Yes.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes.
Anything further to say about the product in conclusion?
Really nice base layer for the money with decent performance, but a shame they don't offer more than two sizes. Would be good to see a long sleeve version for colder days as well
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.