I’m a base layers true-believer. For the past several years I have sworn by the benefits of wearing synthetic base layers under my riding gear. Hot days, cold days, wet days, mild days; whatever the forecast, before long rides I suit up in full-length base layers. Synthetic materials wick away moisture to keep the body dry, and when they do get wet, they dry out quickly. Stretchy, snug-fitting garments also provide light compression for better circulation and less fatigue. And, as the term “base layer” implies, they are the ideal foundation for adding other layers for warmth, weather-resistance, etc.
Many top sportswear companies such as Nike and UnderArmour make base layers, and the garments are commonly worn by amateur and professional athletes alike. The base layers you can buy at Target or your local sporting goods store are made for physical activity of all types, everything from aerobics to Zumba. TwistedCore, on the other hand, makes “high performance, compression base layer apparel exclusively for the motorsports industry.” Its base layer shirts offer gradient compression, with the greatest pressure around the forearms where motorcyclists are particularly vulnerable to fatigue. The shirts have wider shoulder and upper back areas to support a range of riding postures and movement, and the tails are extra long to make sure they cover the lower back.
I’ve had TwistedCore’s Summer Base Layer Compression Shirt ($59.99) and Pants ($49.99) for about six months (Winter versions offer additional warmth at the same price, and All-Season Compression Shorts are $39.99), and I’ve worn them on every long ride I’ve been on: road tests, photo shoots, weekend getaways, press launches, a week-long (and very wet) tour of Norway, a multi-day adventure ride in Utah and more. Both garments fit me snugly but comfortably. Once they’re on, they become a second skin and I forget they’re there. I’ve never had an issue with chafing or bunching, and flatlock seams and no tags means there’s nothing to irritate the skin. Compression is most pronounced in the forearms and calves, with less in the upper arms, shoulders, back and upper legs. There’s no tightness in the belly or crotch areas, which is especially important on a motorcycle. Such garments should never be so tight as to restrict circulation, so pay close attention to the sizing chart.
TwistedCore says its proprietary blend of advanced fabrics features melt-resistant technology to protect against intense heat or abrasion, technical mesh to promote airflow and regulate body temperature, and anti-microbial and UV-resistant properties. I can’t attest to the melt-resistant part (thankfully), but wearing the base layers under vented or mesh riding gear does a great job of mitigating heat and the anti-microbial part helps minimize odor. After dozens of machine washes and runs through the dryer, as well as many hand washes at hotels so I could wear them day after day (pro tip: roll them up in a towel and twist/squeeze to get most of the water out and they’ll dry within an hour or two), the TwistedCore garments have held up well, with no snags, tears, pilling or stretched-out elastic. I anticipate getting several more seasons of wear out of them.
I’ve worn synthetic base layers from various manufacturers, and the TwistedCore base layers are the best yet. They’re designed specifically for motorcycling, they’re comfortable and they’ve stood up to lots of intense use. Based in Reading, Pennsylvania, TwistedCore designs and manufactures its garments in-house and they’re covered by a lifetime guarantee.