The figure-hugging RS Core Long Sleeve is from Sugoi's Pro range. It's warm, breathable and being so thin fits easily under a race jersey. Priced at £39.99 it's not bad on value either.
The RS Core is manufactured from the Canadian company's FinoPro material, which sits towards the top end of its quick drying, wickable fabrics. A Dri Active Core, as Sugoi calls it, and it works very impressively as well.
It's been a mild winter so far, making layering decisions even more crucial, and the few times I've got it wrong the RS Core has been overwhelmed. Get it right, though, and you still get hot if you push it on the climbs, but the baselayer soon wicks sweat away and keeps you dry and, more importantly, warm.
I've worn the Sugoi beneath a long-sleeved jersey on days between 5-10°C and it was about perfect, so adding a gilet or jacket over the top should see it comfortably dealing with below freezing temperatures.
The material is very soft and very thin, which for a garment designed to sit next to your skin means it's damn near perfect. It doesn't itch or irritate one bit, and even though it's cut very close the RS Core moves with you thanks to the amount of stretch in each direction of the weave.
The sleeves offer plenty of length when you're stretched on the bike, preventing any gaps between sleeve and gloves and making sure no draughts can get in. The torso offers the same, with plenty of length in the body, even though the RS Core does lack a significantly dropped tail. It's not a problem at all if you're wearing bib tights but if you go more traditional it could be an issue when really stretched out.
Sugoi kit has always stood up well to long-term testing and I certainly don't see anything that would cause concern from the RS Core. The stitching is tight and well finished, and even though you have to pull it on you don't feel any threads letting go.
Taking all of this into account certainly makes its £40 price tag a bit of a bargain. It's going to last you for plenty of seasons and its thinness makes it very versatile, so you'll get a lot of use out of it.
Great fit, great breathability and great comfort all at a great price
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Sugoi RS Core Long Sleeve Base Layer
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?
"ANCHOR EVERY WINTER RIDE WITH THIS ULTRA SOFT THERMAL BASE LAYER TO BE WORN NEXT TO SKIN, WITH POWERFUL MOISTURE WICKING TO MAXIMIZE COMFORT." That's what Sugoi says and I'd happily agree. It ticks pretty much all of the boxes.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
*Dri Active Core wicks moisture away to keep you dry and regulate your temperature
*Low profile pattern and construction fits easily under a pro-fit jersey
*Flat seams for increased comfort and abrasion resistance
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Absolutely brilliantly, my go-to baselayer at the moment.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The comfort of the soft material against your skin.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
A slightly more dropped tail would be nice.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your score
The RS Core is a great bit of kit which really performs in a large temperature range, depending of course on what you layer it up with. Its wicking properties are great, and as far as comfort goes it's one of the best I've worn. Add value to the mix and it's hard to knock.
About the tester
I usually ride: Kinesis T2 My best bike is: Mason Definition
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: time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed
Stu knocked out his first road.cc review back in 2009 and since then he's chucked the best part of seventy test bikes around the West Country, a couple of them quite literally! With three alloy and two steel bikes in his fleet he's definitely a metal man (that'll be the engineering background) but is slowly warming to that modern carbon fibre stuff along with fat tyres & disc brakes.
It's not all nostalgia though, after spending the last few years in product design Stu keeps banging on about how 3D printing is going to be the next big thing and he's a sucker for a beautiful paint job too.