Providing excellent wicking and a reasonable amount of warmth, Craft's Zero Crew long sleeved base layer is the best cold-weather base layer out there, in my opinion.
The Craft top is made from 100% polyester that’s extremely soft and comfortable next to your skin, and the stretchy ribbed design means it fits snugly without any tightness, whatever your shape. Don’t underestimate how much influence that has. A base layer can only wick sweat from the surface of your skin when it’s actually touching it, so a body-hugging fit all round makes a big, big difference.
The torso is completely seamless while the raglan shoulders and the seams on the arms are flatlock stitched so there are no ridges to get on your nerves. The tail is extended so it provides plenty of coverage even when you’re stretched right out on the bike, and you certainly won’t need sleeves any longer than these – if anything, you’re more likely to find them too long than too short.
Work up a sweat and this base layer performs brilliantly, shifting moisture away from your body quickly and efficiently so you stay dry inside – and if you’re dry, you’re far less likely to get cold. Even on hard training rides when you sweat a lot, it’ll keep you feeling comfy. Of course, you can get it waterlogged if you wear too many layers over the top and sweat buckets, but it’ll still dry out fast.
In terms of warmth, Craft reckon this top is suitable 30 to 60°F (-1 to 16°C). In a long sleeve cut (a short sleeve version is available at £23), we wouldn’t be wearing it in temperatures as warm as 16°C – below about 10°C is more reasonable – but we’ve been using it on rides down to freezing point and below and stayed perfectly warm. If it gets mega cold, we just add an extra mid-layer for more insulation. In other words, it’s suitable for use in the UK from autumn right through until spring.
The only real downside is that the fabric is easy to catch, particularly on Velcro, so you have to be careful not to pull threads.
First-rate wicking base layer for use from autumn right through until spring; our all-time favourite at a reasonable price
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Craft Zero Crew long sleeve base layer
Size tested: Large, white
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?
"A legend among functional underwear and the most trusted base layer for work-outs in fair and cold climates.
Craft Zero Layer creates the best microclimate for extreme endurance in fair and cold weather. Air-channeled polyester expels excess heat away from the body while filament yarns move the moisture. Zero Layer is the most trusted base layer for moisture transport during extreme endurance training or racing. The function dictates the form. Lab and race tested. Zero Layer fabric 100% Polyester. Weight 175 g/m2.
- Soft and breathable crewneck
- Keeps your body dry and comfortable
- Seamless torso
- Flat lock stitched
- Perfect fit
- Excellent moisture transportation"
We wouldn't argue with any of that.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yep, I have done
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Definitely
About the tester
Age: 40 Height: 190cm Weight: 74kg
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: time trialling, commuting, 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.