The Isoler Merino base layer from Madison is made from 190gsm 100% merino wool with a tall zippered collar that is ideal for staving off frosty cold mornings as the foundation of your cycling clothing layering.
The merino wool is luxuriously soft next to the skin, and keeps you dry even when you're cycling hard. Even when it does become a bit damp from excessive sweat, it retains the heat so you never feel the chill.
The fit is really good, with a nice length in the body ensuring there's enough to tuck into your bib tights or shorts. The sleeves are generously long with nicely shaped arms and cuffs, and the collar is tall to keep your neck warm. The zipper lets you introduce some cooling air when you do get a bit toasty, such as riding up a long hill.
Flat-lock stitching is used throughout and provides added comfort, as there are no seams to irritate. There are some reflective details, useful if you wanted to wear it on its own in warmer conditions, but at this time of year it's a good foundation for layering with a jersey or jacket, or both, to suit the weather and temperature.
At £49.99 the Isoler is on a par for what you can expect to pay for a merino base layer, but it's nudging up against the likes of better known, and arguably more desirable, brands like Rapha and howies. It's also possible to pay quite a bit less than this as well, though our experience suggests that there's merino and merino, and you do get what you pay for in general.
Really comfortable and warm merino base layer but the price will put some off
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Madison Isoler Merino Mens Long Sleeve Baselayer
Size tested: medium, black
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?
An ideal first layer, the Isoler Merino baselayer provides unrivalled moisture absorption
The 100% Merino wool is 190gram in weight, ideal for sports by keeping you warm on the cool days and quickly wicks the sweat away on the warmer days
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Unlike man-made fibres, Merino wool retains its thermal properties when it's wet to better regulate the body's temperature
As Merino is a natural fibre it naturally wicks sweat away from the body and doesn't hold the odours that man-made fibres do, keeping you dryer and odour free for longer
The Merino hugs the body and stretches as you move making it the perfect fabric for a base layer
Worn by itself, over a jersey or under a jacket as a mid-layer, theIsoler merino base layer is perfect forcycling, skiing or hiking and everything in-between
The all over flat-lock stitching avoids any discomfort
High zip-neck collar to aid temperature regulation
Reflective detailing for added visibility
It might be wool, but it's still machine washable
Limited lifetime warranty
Available in five sizes and two colours.
Solid construction and durable, and comes with a limited lifetime warranty which offers some peace of mind.
Unless you don't get on with merino, it's hard to fault the performance for a winter base layer, so warm, soft and comfortable and retains heat even when damp.
You need to pay a bit more attention to the care instructions with 100% merino base layers, but do that and it'll last a long time.
Supremely comfortably, even the neck zipper didn't cause any irritation.
The price puts it in sight of better known and more desirable brands and look the other way and you can pay quite a bit less for an equally good merino base layer. It's very good, but probably needs to be a bit cheaper.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Does everything I'd expect from a merino base layer.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
High collar and good fit.
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.
Anything further to say about the product in conclusion?
Very nice but a little dear.
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.