Review: Review: Rapha Merino mesh base layer
A high-performance base-layer to see you through hard winter rides 8/10
Ok, so I was asked to not really highlight the 80’s German disco aesthetic going on with this base layer, but when it’s the first thing that you notice, your wife notices, and your class mates mention it straight off the bat, then its got to be best to get it out of the way, put it to bed and never mention it again. It’s camp, it’s so camp it could come with poles and a stove. There’s really no getting away from it, unless you’ve got down to racing weight then it’s a risky item to be wearing without something over the top.
And that’s that bit over and done with, because as the title says – it’s a base layer, hence it goes under everything else, so it’s unlikely it’s going to be visible by anyone unless you are actively asking for opinions!
Now moving to more practical aspects of use, the Rapha Merino Mesh Base Layer is a lightweight, super fine garment whose weight belies it’s technical prowess. It weighs about the same as a Mars Bar, and is close fitting enough to be worn underneath a long-sleeved jersey without adding bulk.
Amongst my initial thoughts when opening the packet were about the fragility of the mesh, but it seems it holds up to the rigours of Team Sky who use it – so thats good enough for me! In use it’s holding up to daily wear nicely, no loose seams, stretching or tears – I’m pretty rough with my kit in general so I was worried about longevity with it.
Out on the bike it’s both comfy and practical, wicking sweat away nicely and keeping you fresh, well as fresh as can be expected whilst out on a bike. Smell management is capable, ably handled by the merino wool, with my wife happy to hug me after getting some miles in (although the aesthetic does put her off a little!)
As autumn and winter have progressed the Rapha merino mesh base layer has entered into my riding staples collection, frequently being searched for in the draw (well actually it doesn’t even get into the draw as I root around in the clean pile for it!)
At £60 for the long sleeved version (£55 for the short sleeve) it’s pricey no doubt about hat, but actually not that pricey compared to other merino base layers on the market – however I would say that performance-wise it justifies its price pretty jolly well.