We know that base layers are a crucial part of our motorcycle clothing system; not just for winter and cold rides but also, in higher temperatures. Not only do summer base layers improve comfort – personally, I despise the feel of the inside of a textile or even leather jacket against my skin – but they serve an important purpose, helping remove moisture from the skin and keeping the body cool. And this technical set from armour specialist Forcefield does all this and supports the muscles and promotes blood flow as well.
The Tech 2 base layers from the company have recently been superseded by the Tech 3 versions – we’ll be reviewing them soon - but in the meantime, while this means the Tech 2s are no longer listed on Forcefield’s site, you can still find them at discounted prices if you look around. And they are worth the effort…
Out of the packet, they seem small but that’s normal – they are a compression fit, which means you wear them tight and this is part of the way they support the muscles as you ride. They feature various structures and patterns in the material depending on where they sit against the skin and they feel pretty weird when you first put them on but you soon get used to them.
They are formed from a combination of Dryarn and BeCool fabrics that are designed to wick moisture away from the body and dissipate it so that the outer layer can get rid of it, so you need to be wearing them with something that either has an effective breathable membrane or something with plenty of vents… or both.
As you can see from the images, they are designed with a fairly standard relationship between chest, waist and arm length. However, if, like me, you are… ‘stocky’… you may find that by the time you have gone large enough to comfortably squeeze everything in fit across your torso, the arms may be a little long. Similarly, if you have short legs, you may find excess material at the bottom – both the sleeves and legs have sections to go over the elbow and knee joints respectively.
As I said, initially they feel strange but once you start to ride, you soon forget all about them and they begin to do their thing. Wicking is excellent though they sometimes feel a little on the thick – and hence, heavy – side on very warm rides; this is something the Tech3 versions promise to address. However, irrespective of their weight, they achieve their objective successfully.
They carry moisture away from the skin to be disposed of by the outer layer well. If the membrane isn’t particularly effective and you begin to open vents after riding for a while, you instantly feel the familiar chill of air movement removing moisture from the layer. And even if your outer layer doesn’t get rid of all of the moisture, they dry very quickly and I have never, ever noticed any unpleasant odours in them and I have worn them on some very long, warm (AKA sweaty) rides.
It’s difficult to pin any degree of effectiveness on their ability to support your muscle structure and promote blood flow though I have never got off the bike feeling achy or sore so one can only assume that they help satisfy that objective as well.
Although now discontinued, these primarily warm-ish-weather (spring, summer and autumn) base layers are a great option if you can find them. As they are now run-outs, they are typically being discounted which makes them even more attractive.
They do a great job of not only improving comfort and wicking moisture away from the body but they also support the muscles thanks to the compression fit. I have tried the newer version and although I really liked them (a separate test will appear in due course) I am still keeping these handy.
Great at wicking moisture from skin
Compression fit supports muscles
Superb comfort despite initial odd feeling
Now becoming scarce