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Motorcycle Base Layers As Part Of Riding Gear: Is It Fashion Or A Must-Have?

January 08, 2022

A simple garment that goes underneath your clothes can give you some extra comfort during your rides. Motorcycle base layers have grown in popularity over the last few years. Some motorcyclists swear by base layers; they wouldn’t get on the saddle without them. Others have questioned how useful they are; at the end of the day, nobody can see your base layer, and it is an added piece of garment that perhaps we could do without. Let’s explore baselayers’ characteristics and see what they can do for you.

What are the benefits of wearing motorcycle base layer?

One of the primary purposes of a base layer is to absorb the excess moisture produced by our skin; in fact, the right baselayer keeps our skin dry and isolated, thus adding an element of comfort to our rides. It is not just about the feeling of improved well-being. The base layer can also prevent skin irritation and various complications that arise from it. It can even keep odours under control, particularly helpful if you are driving to work or a meeting!

Nowadays, many base layers feature armour parts. Motorcycle base layers add an extra level of protection to your rides – it makes the base layer a lifesaver in the event of an accident. Manufacturers are careful about striking the right balance between wearability and safety. They don’t want to make base layers that are too restricting because this will put motorcyclists off. On the other hand, they can’t make them too light because the element of protection would be lost. Good quality base layers benefit the rider, so investing in a certified item that can give you peace of mind on the saddle is worth investing in.

Base layers are an essential addition to your riding gear, and they are relatively low maintenance. You don’t need to wash them after every ride; they do an excellent job at preventing excessive sweat, so you can use the same base layer a few times in a row without losing the feeling of freshness of the garment.  Furthermore, taking care of your base layer is extremely easy; high-quality base layers are made of highly durable materials so that they will last you for a very long time. They are also easy to wash and speedy to dry; the material is resistant, so the fabric is compact and feels light. Additionally, base layers are not expensive. So for a small cost, you can add superior comfort to your rides.

What are base layers made of?

There could be a variety of materials used in base layers, but the most common is a combination of UHMWPE and lycra fabric. UHMWPE is a solid type of thermoplastic polyethene, much more robust than steel.

Base layers of this type tend to be so comfortable that they almost become like a second skin for the rider; you will feel as if you are not wearing them at all. However, in the unlikely event of a crash, they will do their job in adding an extra level of protection and minimising impact abrasion. UHMWPE is a highly heat-conducting breathable fabric, perfect in all seasons of the year. It is highly stretchy, which ensures that the armour of the base layer stays in place and doesn’t move around while you are on the saddle.

When should you use a base layer?

If you have invested in base layers, it makes sense to wear them on every ride. Initially, it may seem like an extra hassle, but it will take just a few days to get adjusted to your new routine. Base layers are handy during all seasons and in all weather conditions. It may seem that wearing less clothing will keep us cool during the summer months, but motorcycle gear is not the case. The unique protective apparel on our outer garments is made of high-quality well-tolerated materials. However, if you keep it in contact with the skin for too long, it will dramatically increase sweating, making our ride a summer nightmare. It is essential to wear a good base layer that isolates our skin from the rest of the gear in hot climates more than ever. The base layer should be the only part of our apparel that comes in contact with the skin. Pants, a t-shirt, and a motorcycle jacket should go on top; and no, you definitely won’t be too warm.

Many people confuse motorcycle base layer with thermal leggings. But despite their similar looks, they have different characteristics and different functions, and they are definitely not interchangeable. As we have seen, one of the primary purposes of a base layer is to absorb moisture. So you can use it during the summer. More importantly, base layers are armoured garments that will protect you in the case of a crash. And thermal leggings are mainly designed to keep us warm. So you can use them during freezing winter rides. Many people find this garment a good ally during skiing trips, hikes, or even as part of their everyday casual wear if the temperature drops significantly. And thermal leggings have no armour. So they do not provide any protection in the event of a crash. So, if you are serious about your motorcycle gear, it is worth investing in a good base layer. Get it from a specialised company that makes protective gear, and don’t purchase thermal leggings unless you want to use them just to keep warm.

What you should know when shopping for a base layer?

Always make sure you get base layers in the correct size. One size up or one size smaller will make you uncomfortable and fail to provide enough protection. Furthermore, you may end up with sore joints and limbs at the end of your ride. Always check the manufacturer’s instructions regarding size, and make sure the garments are fully CE approved.

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