Want a technical winter baselayer that will allow you to keep the other layers off? B'Twin's Aerofit Windproof Long Sleeve Cycling Baselayer could be the answer.
Baselayers – generally speaking – tend to be thin layers of fabric that help provide a passage for sweat to move from skin to the outside, and as a result perform a key function in keeping the body warm when needed, and cool when not.
B'Twin's Aerofit is a technically constructed top with a race cut that's designed to do the former and help you resist the cold thanks primarily to its slightly thicker construction and front windproof panel. Putting it on is like donning body armour – genuinely making the cold outside seem a little less hostile compared with thin merino-blended baselayers and giving you the confidence to shed a layer when heading out.
Layering up is a key component of winter clothing for me, but a lot of the time I find myself feeling just a little too laid down; a little too heavy to be able to ride as comfortably and naturally as I'd like. Not so here – where normally I'd wear baselayer, normal jersey and jacket, with the Aerofit I only felt the need to wear it and either a thick jersey or jacket.
That seems like a small change, but what it does do is allow moisture to escape from your body more easily, through two layers rather than three. The Aerofit is also very adept at this, alongside its windproofness: moisture and excess heat is allowed to escape through carefully constructed seamless mesh panels on the rear and around the armpits, while the front does its job of insulating you from the cutting wind, in tandem with a nicely high neck.
Make no mistake, this is a baselayer for temperatures in the mid to low single figures, and unless you genuinely struggle in cold temperatures, this plus a good quality long-sleeve winter jersey will do the job.
That's chiefly because the front black panel (called an 'Extrem Protect' layer) is a slightly softshell-like fabric, and functions as a physical barrier from the cold. Your torso is kept well insulated, and you barely notice the extra thickness when riding. Over three hours of riding, as B'Twin states, it performs as well as any winter baselayer I've tried – and not a merino fibre in sight!
It's also long in the cut so can reach right down to your midriff no problem, especially if you size up, which you can do because the fit is so snug. There aren't any rubbing seams to speak of, and as baselayers work best when flush against the skin, this works in its favour. Throw in the fact that as long as you wash it with care (I went for a 40 degree delicate spin), it'll keep its shape, and soon become a go-to piece of clothing.
At the excellent price of £24.99 direct from the Decathlon website, this baselayer is a steal, and makes winter riding much more bearable if you really feel the cold.
An excellent winter baselayer – superb performance and value
road.cc test report
Make and model: B'Twin Aerofit Windproof Long Sleeve Cycling Baselayer
Size tested: Large
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?
Decathlon says: "This B'Twin Aerofit men's cycling base layer offers excellent perspiration wicking. The windproof membrane stops your body heat from escaping. Very stretchy fabric."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
- Moisture management: The fabric absorbs perspiration to keep your skin dry.
- Warmth: Thermal barrier that keeps you from chills while cycling.
- Stretch: Seamless product with very elastic micro perforations. Slim fit.
- Windproof: Windproof membrane on the chest to stop you feeling cold when cycling.
Looks and feels like a baselayer worth twice the price.
Performs that magic trick of keeping you warm without overheating or drowning you in sweat in testing conditions superbly.
No worries from my uses so far.
The snug fit will appeal to many – and so it should. A large works well for me, which is an indicator of the tight fit.
Comes up slightly small, but isn't too much of an issue bearing in mind the cut and flexible fit.
Slightly beefy for a baselayer in general, but reassuring on a winter's day.
It's a superbly comforting baselayer – ideal for tough winter days.
£25 for a baselayer with this much ability in cold weather? Superb value, if you ask me.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Incredibly well – the best winter baselayer I've ever used, and I tend not to like long-sleeve garments.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Fit, windproof panel on the front, ample venting on the back.
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
Use this box to explain your score
For a baselayer that didn't meet my usual first-glance wishes, it surprised me no end. Superb performance at an excellent price.
About the tester
I usually ride: Canyon Ultimate CF SL 9.0 SL (2016) My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 5-10 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding