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Nalini's Trail base layer is supremely comfortable thanks to the seamless construction and strecthy fabric. The variable weave adds a bit of bulk where you need warmth, and opens up to a light single layer in high-wicking areas. In terms of comfort and performance, it's difficult to find fault with it. It's even pretty good at not retaining odour, especially for a synthetic.
The fabric used is Meryl Actisystem, which is a polyamide and polyester mix. It's very lightweight and naturally elastic, so the Trail is designed to be skin tight; only three sizes cover all bodies. I was wearing a L/XL top which was figure hugging all over. The Trail uses a variety of different weave patterns to give different properties. on the shoulders it uses ribbed panels, which increase the amount of air trapped in the fabric and help to keep you warm. For the areas of your core where you sweat more there's areas of a more porous weave to help with wicking. The idea is to maximise the insulation where possible whilst also allowing plenty of moisture transfer.
And it works. The most notable aspect of the Trail is how comfortable it is. It's honestly hard to imagine a more comfortable base layer. It's skin-tight all over but without ever feeling restrictive at all. You'd genuinely not know you were wearing it. That comfort is backed up by good performance too. The fact that it fits so tight to the body helps with the wicking, and the fabric does a good job of transferring moisture to outer layers. If you're wearing something over the top that's not good at carrying on that work then it can get damp, of course. But it doesn't hold a lot of moisture, and never feels uncomfortable next to the skin.
The neck is cut quite low, so you shouldn't rely on it for keeping your neck warm, but that's really the job of your outer layers. There's lots of length in the arms and the body, plenty enough for me to have no issues and I'm 1.90m tall. It's easy to care for with a machine wash, and it's a lot better at resisting odours than a lot of synthetic base layers that I've tried.
Overall it's hard to fault, really. £38.99 isn't exactly cheap for a base layer but it's far from the most you can spend, and you're definitely getting your money's worth.
Super comfortable form-fitting base layer that's the first thing out of the drawer
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Make and model: Nalini Trail L/S Base Layer
Size tested: Large - 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?
Long sleeved jersey made of Meryl Actisystem, a system of fibres that guarantees a lightweight material and at the same time protection and strength as well as maximum comfort. Rapid drying capacity.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Extreme tight fitting
New lower neck line
Made in Italy
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Supremely comfortable, good wicking performance.
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.
Age: 42 Height: 190cm Weight: 100kg
I usually ride: whatever I'm testing... My best bike is: Kinesis Tripster ATR
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mtb, Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling, track
Dave is a founding father of road.cc, having previously worked on Cycling Plus and What Mountain Bike magazines back in the day. He also writes about e-bikes for our sister publication ebiketips. He's won three mountain bike bog snorkelling World Championships, and races at the back of the third cats.