The Isoler Merino Mens long sleeve baselayer from Madison offers plenty of versatility for when things turn chilly. With casual looks and fit it's just at home as part of a layering system as it is on its own.
Merino baselayers can be found cheaper than the Isoler's £44.99 price tag but the key fact is that the Madison version here is manufactured from 100% of the wonder wool, rather than a mix. That means you get the full range of benefits from the Isoler: impressive wicking, maintaining warmth when wet and probably the most important, the whiff killing antibacterial properties.
Once temperatures started to drop into single figures the Isoler really came into its own. I found on evening rides with temps around 8-9°C and a long sleeved jersey above I could still ride pretty hard without building up too much of a sweat. Even on the steepest of climbs, once overwhelmed and becoming damp with perspiration, the Isoler would still keep you comfortable. You didn't get cold even when you've stopped and the material didn't become clingy like some man-made fibres can.
The cut is a decent compromise between performance riding and a more relaxed pace too. This means it's just at home on the commute in civvies as it is under lycra. The fact that it's not skin tight allows you to wear it as a stand-alone top without it screaming "Cyclist!" should you wander into a café. There is plenty of length in the arms for when you're stretched out on the bars and a dropped tail keeps out any draughts.
Against the skin the merino wool is soft and totally itch free, and the flatlocked seams mean you don't get any irritation from those either making the Isoler the perfect choice for those long steady winter rides getting the base miles in. The fact that the merino doesn't suffer from odours due to bacteria means it's also ideal for a week of touring if travelling light.
In value for money terms I reckon the Isoler is pretty much on the money for a 100% merino wool baselayer especially when you take into account its comfort, fit and performance.
You get a limited lifetime warranty and as long as you follow the washing instructions (and keep it away from the moths) I can't see too many issues. The Isoler looks and feels pretty robust so there are no issues with quality.
As far as options go the Isoler is available in two colours – black and blue – and in a range of five sizes. We also reviewed a zipped version back in January which costs an extra fiver. There is also a women's model available.
Highly versatile baselayer just at home racing as it is pootling about.
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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
Unlike man-made fibres, Merino wool retains its thermal properties when itÂ's wet to better regulate the bodyÂ's temperature
As Merino is a natural fibre it naturally wicks sweat away from the body and doesnÂ'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, the Isoler merino base layer is perfect for cycling, skiing or hiking and everything in-between
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
100% Merino Wool
Round-neck collar for casual jersey look
Reflective detailing for added visibility
Limited Lifetime Warranty
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Exactly as you'd expect a merino baselayer to work, breathable, warm, cool and non-stinky.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Its ability to deal with varying temperatures and conditions.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
A slightly closer fit would be better for performance rides.
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 Madison Isoler is a good quality product, it's well made and considering it's 100% merino I think the price is good. A solid score for a solid baselayer.
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.