The ever popular explorers base layer finally makes it to the Baroudeurs. But, can something designed specifically for elite-level expeditions work for every-day winter cycling?
Comfort can often be overlooked in the search for improving performance. We argue that it is vital to remain comfortable on the bike, because you can only perform well if you’re feeling good. With this in mind, a seasoned cyclist will know that the foundation for kit starts from the inside.
In the search for a comfortable base layer, we discover a performance base layer too. This is a review of the Brynje LS Base Layer.
Why this base?
For the longest time a merino base layer for the bitter winter months were the staple for many cyclists. Advanced understanding and design of modern synthetics now provides riders a wider variety of choice. Besides, merino wool isn’t for everyone.
Personally, what I like about merino is plenty: it is a natural fibre; largely resilient and long lasting; holds antibacterial and feels great on the skin. However, there are ethical questions around its production. Moreover, when most cycling kit, from jerseys to bibs, are a synthetic blend, it’s sometimes practical to do just one wash on a busy week.
The added stars on the photos are there for a reason.
Why consider the Brynje?
As ever, personal recommendation was a convincing factor here: Michael, a Baroudeur, and accomplished explorer, advised us on Brynje. His adventures and conversations with fellow travellers are a testament to the quality of these layers.
How does it work?
According to Brynje:
“Different layers with a mesh base layer are the backbone of the Brynje System. The insulating properties of the mesh are only one reason for the unique functionality of Brynje underwear. The mesh fabric not only forms an insulating air cushion next to your body. It also transports moisture and dries faster.
The Brynje system was tested among others by the Military Acedemy of Norway, the Royal Marines in the UK, professional athletes and numerous expeditions (like the first ascent of the Mount Everest 1953)
BRYNJE — keeps you warm, dry and strong.”
Does it work?
Yes. Several of the Baroudeurs have had the chance to test the Long Sleeve in a variety of guises.
Matching the right base layer with an outer garment is the solution to cold-weather-riding. The outstanding feature about the Brynje is its moisture management.
For me, even the very finest merino, currently 15 microns, cannot effectively wick away moisture quickly enough. The danger here, in my experience, is that the combination of wet clothing and cool temperature is a recipe for quickly catching a cold. Unlike merino, the mesh of a Brynje, not only keeps warm air in; the absence of that all consuming blanket-material means moisture doesn’t cling.
Interestingly, Brynje also have an 80% merino blend available too.
The Super Thermo comes in regular neck and polo-neck. It’s also available in a variety of colours. This not only allows you to select your favourite hue, but accessorise to compliment the rest of your wardrobe.
What could be improved?
There’s no getting around the look. Granted, it’s a base layer, and no one but you and your select people, family and friends will see you fully revealed.
Perhaps a tad longer tail would help, but is not something that should prevent you from trying the Super Thermo.
As with all garments, it’s important to get the sizing right. The Baroudeur brave (crazy) enough to pose for the sake of this review weighs 73kg and stands at 5″9′. They are wearing a size small. Like all good base layers it should be fitted, but not restrictive.
What tips the scales in favour of the Super Thermo is that in the search for a comfortable base layer, we’ve also discovered one that performs second-to-none.
The low down
Brynje may not be a brand you’re familiar with, but the Super Thermo range, is worthy of being a part of your kit selection for adventures.
At the time of writing, the Super Thermo LS retails for €50. It can be found in the off season for circa €36.
:: The review is independent and the club does not have any involvement with Brynje. We simply like their ideas. You can find a range of reviews here ::