Stay cool! It's the best summer motorcycle base layers

Best summer motorcycle base layers
Best summer motorcycle base layers

Summer motorcycle base layers for the hot weather are just as important as thermal base layers for winter. While they may be intended to carry out a slightly different role, there are several similarities and indeed, properties that are shared between the two.

One of the key requirements of a summer base layer is to wick moisture – sweat – away from the skin and allow the clothing you are wearing to dissipate that moisture.

You might be wearing breathable textiles and the membrane will allow the moisture vapour to escape or you might be wearing vented or mesh clothing and direct airflow will carry it away.

Whichever form of outer clothing you are wearing, then the base layer will carry that moisture away from your skin.

They will also make it easier to get clothing on and off, particularly if you are wearing leathers on the road or you are doing a track day, for example.

Damp skin can stick to the inside of all sorts of clothing and it is rarely a pleasant feeling and if you are wearing long-sleeved tops, for example, then you may also get less irritation from seams and material changes than in a T-shirt.

What types of base layer are there?

There are generally two forms of base layers; compression fit and against-the-skin. Compression-fit layers generally are very tight and use that tightness as well as potentially different textures and materials to provide support to the muscles, which can be useful on longer or more strenuous rides, such as off-road.

Against-the-skin items, on the other hand, are not as tight though they do need to be touching the skin as much as possible to wick the sweat away. Size is key with these to make sure that they contact as much of the skin as possible.

Here is a selection of the best summer motorcycle base layers we reckon are worth a look.

The best motorcycle base layer to wear under leathers

Price: £66.49 (was £69.99)

Tested by Adam Binnie for six months, 1000 miles. "If you wear a one-piece leather suit, you need a one-piece base layer - it's so much easier to get your suit on over the top and there's no risk of the dreaded shirt coming untucked at the back just as you've got your arms in.

"It's comfier too, with less material around your middle and no waistband, and means you can get your suit back off again without also pulling your top off half way.

"The RST Tech X Coolmax suit has all the features you need for summer riding under leathers - it wicks away sweat to keep you comfortable and makes it so much easier to get your suit off at the end of the day. The front zip provides a large opening to climb in and out of and the material is super stretchy and light."
  • <strong>Quality</strong>
  • <strong>Valu</strong>e
Price: £42.74 (was £44.99)

RST Coolmax top and pants are made from nylon and Lycra for a stretchable semi-compression tight fit but it isn't overly constrictive, meaning it contacts the skin all over. These summer motorcycle base layers have a good feel to them and expand easily.

There is a tall collar and the arms and legs appear long compared with the size of the torso. They do a good job of wicking moisture away and dissipating it though.

The Knox Dry Inside range is a next-to-the-skin design, so it's intended to fit snugly but isn't meant to be as tight as say a compression-fit style of garment. Its Polyester and Elastine stretch material has a smooth, silky feel to it and the proportions seem to be very good, between torso size and arms, for example. Reviews are excellent and it won a summer motorcycle base layers Best Buy award recently when tested by sister magazine RiDE.

Price: £49.99

This one-piece set of wicking base layers from EDZ is also available in a two-piece set and while it isn't specifically a summer base layer, it is designed to wick moisture away from the skin while helping to maintain an even body temperature.

Made in polyester, it can feel slightly thicker than pure summer base layers but it is designed to be used with additional layers in colder climates and does a good job of removing moisture.
Price: £26.24 (was £34.99)

This top from British kit giant Oxford has what appears to be a more solid outer layer but wicks moisture away from the skin nonetheless. Online reviews are good and it's a loose-fit garment, designed to sit against the skin where possible though not be overly tight.

It features flatlock seams for comfort and the matching pants are also a loose fit but come with stirrups to help keep these summer motorcycle base layers in place.
Price: £69.95
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This is the ladies' version of Dainese's D-Core Dry base layers and there is also a men's version available, as a two-piece set as well as a one-piece item. The D-Core has a semi-compression-fit design, so that it features differing material constructions to offer not only wicking qualities but also, support the muscles and promote blood flow in use. They are stretchy though and not overly tight and mesh panels help with cooling.

Price: £52.49 (was £69.99)

It's not cheap but these technical garments from Forcefield are very good indeed. If you like a tight, compression-fit then these are for you. With multiple-material construction using different textures for different parts of the garment, they are designed to wick moisture away and dissipate it while supporting the body's muscles and helping promote blood flow.

Another one-piece suit that is also available as separate top and pants, this garment from Alpinestars is designed to be worn tight with a compression fit to support muscles and promote blood flow.

These summer motorcycle base layers tend to come up smaller than other brands so consider sizing well but once on, they do a good job of removing moisture from the skin though they can feel constrictive for some people and arms and legs can seem a little long.
Price: £34.99 (was £44.99)

This two-piece set from Rukka is designed specifically to wick moisture away from the skin and prevent it from becoming damp and uncomfortable. They are best-sellers on Sportsbikeshop in Base Layers and at this price and with Rukka's reputation for quality, it's not hard to see why. They are described as 'year-roundy but that moisture-wicking ability makes them perfect for summer too.

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