The Bontrager B2 Windshell Long Sleeve Baselayer is comfortable next to your body and keeps cold air off your torso, shoulders and sides.
The back and the sleeves are made from a Profila Dry fabric, a blend of polyester and merino wool, while the front and sides are made of Profila Windshell, which stops cold air getting through.
Bontrager says that the B2 Windshell is suitable for mild conditions. For me, it has to be really cold before I crack into a windproof baselayer. I usually want to move sweat as far away from my body as possible before it encounters a windproof layer, because windproof fabrics always hamper the dispersal of moisture to some extent. That's why I've only been using the B2 Windshell when the temperature has been below about 5°C. Anything above that and I'll stick with windproof outer layers.
When the temperature does fall that low, this baselayer does a good job, the windproof panelling extending right over the tops of your shoulders to keep you well protected when you're hunkered down low over the handlebar.
The Profila Dry fabric used for the back and the sleeves is stretchy – so you can get a close fit – and comfortable, and it shifts sweat pretty well, although not as effectively as some purely synthetic materials. One of the the B2 Windshell's strengths, though, is that the merino wool content means it retains warmth even when wet. That's not just some PR hokum, it's actually true!
Those arms are a generous length so you shouldn't have any draughts around your wrists, and the dropped tail tucks well into the back of your tights.
The only real issue is that if you sweat a lot – you know, if all hell breaks loose when your group ride hits a long climb – the windproof front panel can't cope. As with much cycling clothing, there's a compromise between windproofing to keep you warm, and breathability to keep you sweat-free. You don't get cold because no air is able to blow in there, but the windproof panels aren't particularly comfortable if you do overload them.
That's why, as I mentioned, I've been keeping the B2 Windshell for very cold rides. In conditions like that, it provides extra protection from the outside world to keep you feeling comfortable for longer.
Comfortable merino-blend baselayer with windproof panels that keep out cold air well
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Bontrager B2 Windshell 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?
Bontrager says, "May the wind be always at your back. But for those times when it's not, our B2 Windshell Baselayer is here for your protection. A soft blend of Profila Cool and wool regulates your body temperature while Profila Windshell shields your chest, shoulders, and sides from biting winds. It's like having a windbreaker under your windbreaker."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Bontrager lists these features:
* Profila Windshell on chest, shoulders and sides protects the core from biting winds
* Profila Dry powered by 37.5 technology and Merino Wool on back and arms provides a great balance between moisture transfer and warmth when wet in mild, variable conditions
* Tuckable drop tail
* 8cm (3") drop tail for a precise on-bike fit
* Fitted - Streamlined fit for all-around cycling performance
* The Profila Dry fabric is a knit blend of polyester fibres powered by 37.5 active particle technology and merino wool. This unique content allows rapid moisture dispersion while retaining warmth even when wet, letting your body perform at its ideal relative humidity of 37%
It's very well made with flat seams and the care labels on the outside, away from your body.
I've found it to be most impressive in very cold temperatures where keeping the cold air out is more of an issue than dealing with sweat.
The fit is close without being tight, thanks to plenty of stretch in both of the fabrics. The arms will be long enough for pretty much everybody and the drop tail keeps things comfortable around the back.
It's very comfortable when worn in the right conditions. If you sweat too hard, the windproof panels aren't particularly comfortable. Mind you, if you sweat too hard, you probably made the wrong baselayer choice in the first place.
Merino wool always jacks the price up (it's 49% merino) compared to synthetics.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
It goes in the machine on a cold wash and comes out just fine.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
It performs very well, but whereas Bontrager says it's best for mild conditions, I found it far better in the cold.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
It's a good, close fit and very comfortable.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Like any baselayer of this kind, the windproof front can't cope if you sweat heavily.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Perhaps
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Perhaps
Use this box to explain your score
This is a good baselayer for cold conditions. I wouldn't say it's outstanding but it doesn't have any particular weaknesses either. I'd say it's a clear 7.
About the tester
I usually ride: My best bike is:
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding
Mat has in cycling media since 1996, on titles including BikeRadar, Total Bike, Total Mountain Bike, What Mountain Bike and Mountain Biking UK, and he has been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. Mat has been road.cc technical editor for over a decade, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer. Now pushing 50, he's riding road and gravel bikes most days for fun and fitness rather than training for competitions.