Beauty is only skin deep
In sub-zero cycling, many benefits of technical cycling jackets, such as flexibility, breathability as well as water and wind resistance can easily be lost, if what’s inside is ignored. In winter riding, nothing is more important than what you have against your skin. A good winter base layer offers comfort, softness, breathability and warmth – even in the very likely event of getting wet and miserable. Yes, we’re talking about base layers, and in particular, base layer shirts.

Merino – nature’s best technical fabric
Having tried out numerous modern technical materials over the years, nothing – and we mean nothing, has ever come even close to the characteristics of merino wool. Several properties speak for merino as the cyclists’ number one choice for winter base layer.

Firstly, merino is superior to everything at regulating body temperature, especially when worn against the skin. The wool provides warmth, without overheating the wearer. It has an excellent warmth-to-weight ratio compared to other wools, in part because merinos’ smaller fibers have microscopic cortices of dead air, trapping body heat similar to the way a sleeping bag warms its occupant.

Secondly, merino is very efficient at wicking moisture away from the skin. The fabric is also slightly moisture repellent (merino fiber is hydrophobic at one end and hydrophilic at the other), allowing cyclist to avoid the feeling of wetness. Like cotton, merino absorbs up to a third of its weight of water. But unlike cotton, merino retains warmth when wet. This helps keeping warm post ride, even in cold winter weather.

Thirdly, merino contains lanolin, which has antibacterial properties. This means that merino is much less bound to begin smelling, once wet from sweat. That in turn means that the cyclist can get away with far less washing of garments, and hence, less garments in the wardrobe.

Swrve_blk label tees
Following our first feature on Swrve Milwaukee ES Hoodie, which Bikeminimalism team is testing for the autumn/winter season, it’s time to check another product from Swrve on the base layer front.

The Swrve_ blk label range of tees offers the winter cyclist all the abovementioned characteristics and some more. Available as a limited edition offering, the blk label merino tee is wafer thin, which avoids the feeling of bulkiness and restriction of movement.

The shirt is constructed with flatlock stitches, which reduces seam bulk – a feature particularly good when wearing heavy messenger bags or backpacks. The seamless armpit allows for an extra ease of movement. Additionally, the drop tail hem helps keeping the sensitibe lower back area warm and cosy.

Swrve_blk label tees come both in o-neck and v-necked versions, and both variants are available in black and dark grey. At 75 USD a snip, the price seems a bit steep. But having said that, and keeping in mind the merino characteristics, we dare to claim that one shirt will outperform two in any other given material.

The Swrve_blk label is exclusively available at swrve.us

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