Hackney GT's Bang Unisex Performance Base Layer is a functional and versatile piece of kit that has fast become one of my favourite 'essentials'. Its performance in both hot and cold weather is superb, making it a great all-year-round choice and even better value.
The vest is super-lightweight and very soft to the touch. It's made from a fabric called Aviatar, a perforated polyester designed to work in all seasons and weathers, with the side panels made of Lycra to offer a little more give.
I was surprised by how well the layer fitted, given that it is unisex. It is gently tapered without being tight (perhaps this is where it might be a snug fit on a male torso – as the photos suggest). Not being that snug on me did mean there was a bit of gathering of material when I wore it under a tight jersey – sizing down would probably help.
The length is perfect; it offers a little lower back protection without being so long as to create a ridge halfway down your bum when tucked into shorts. The hem is flat and minimises this issue too.
Hems on the arms and neck have been rolled to add to the overall comfort; details that should help the garment stand the test of time as it will be less prone to fraying.
It might seem a strange thing to say at this time of year, but the vest is at its best in hot weather; I tested it in sunnier climes and under a jersey it provided super ventilation. It's perfect for when things get really hot and you need to unzip your jersey.
Don't despair, though, you don't need to move abroad to get good use out of the Bang, it performs equally well as an insulating layer in more moderate British weather – think autumn and spring – and even came up trumps in lower temperatures; use it as a second baselayer on really cold days and it traps air to help keep the torso warm. The thin material and looser fit mean you can get away with wearing it over a long-sleeve baselayer under a long-sleeve jersey.
After performing to the highest of standards it was noticeable how easy the vest was to remove – likely aided by its slightly looser fit, the lightweight material and its reluctance to cling to moisture. It is worth noting too that it hasn't lost any of its bright white appearance through wearing and washing, often a problem with white baselayers.
Hackney GT offers the baselayer in three designs – Flowers and a striking Stars and Stripes as well as the Bang. Design aside, all three are exactly the same.
Although nearly 40 quid isn't cheap for a baselayer, it's a competitive price for a piece of kit that will serve you well all year round. The design features are an added bonus if you get a chance to expose them.
Great Bang for your buck – whether it's the middle of winter or a scorching summer's day
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Hackney GT Bang Unisex Performance Base Layer
Size tested: Medium
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?
This baselayer is a unisex cut designed to work in hot and cold weather.
Hackney GT says: "Hackney GT made in England base-layer. Built to last and perform and always looking good.
"Made to our own exclusive patterns and to a UK tailored fit which we believe represents a true body size. The fabric is sourced from a pro-team supplier in Belgium. The main body of the jersey is made from Aviatar perforated polyester performance fabric which is designed to help regulate body heat in all conditions and all seasons. For the summer months is helps to remove moisture from the body and in the winter it acts as insulation. The side panels are made from lycra for extra comfort and good fit."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
~ Made form Aviatar perforated polyester temperature control, wicking, performance fabric
~ Side panels made from lycra for extra comfort and good fit
This is a top notch garment – seams are neat, discreet and smooth. Potential for fraying is minimal.
The vest was exceptional on warmer rides when you could unzip a jersey and promote ventilation without a direct chill. For colder rides it provided an extra layer to trap warm air without adding bulk.
The material is very light weight and I'd imagine it could easily catch and snag on a sharp object, but no problems so far.
I was initially sceptical about a product that claimed to be unisex but was pleasantly surprised by how well the vest fitted, with no excess around the midriff. The length and taper is perfect for tucking into shorts. It's inevitable that it's not going to be the conventional snug fit of a female cut baselayer but it is still very good!
Some might find it a little on the loose side so it might be better to size down.
Near-weightless on and off! An ideal piece of kit if you are travelling to ride or race.
The silky texture of the vest feels great against the skin. The neck line and sleeve seams are spot on in terms of cut – non-restrictive and discreet.
Stylish, versatile and functional; most definitely worth the money.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Very easy – wash it and it's almost dry immediately. It has lost a little of its silky feel but it is getting a lot of use. It certainly hasn't lost its whiteness.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
The vest does exactly as Hackney claims on the website.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The unique design and the performance in hot weather. Knowing that it's been manufactured in England just makes it an even more appealing purchase.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Nothing to say.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes, more than one of them.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your score
It's an exceptional garment.
About the tester
I usually ride: Road My best bike is: Carbon road.
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, touring, club rides, general fitness riding