Best summer motorcycle base layers

Base layers are just as important in summer as in winter – here are our favourites

Riding motorbikes in the summer

by Jim Blackstock |

Just as they are in winter, base layers are key to your clothing system in summer. 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 trackday, 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.

Related: Best mesh motorcycle jackets

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 summer base layers we reckon are worth a look.

RST Coolmax

RST Coolmax
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RSTu2019s Coolmax top and pants are made from nylon and Lycra for a stretchable semi-compression tight fit but it isnu2019t overly constrictive, meaning it contacts the skin all over. They 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.

Knox Dry Inside Dual Active

Knox Dry Inside Dual Active

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The Knox Dry Inside range is a next-to-the-skin design, so itu2019s intended to fit snugly but isnu2019t 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 Best Buy award recently when tested by sister magazine RiDE.

EDZ Wicking Suit

EDZ Wicking Suit
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This one-piece set of wicking base layers from EDZ is also available in a two-piece set and while it isnu2019t 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.

Oxford Cooldry

Oxford Cooldry

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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 itu2019s 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 them in place.

Dainese D-Core Dry Ladies

Dainese D-Core Dry Ladies
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This is the ladiesu2019 version of Daineseu2019s D-Core Dry base layers and there is also a menu2019s 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.

Forcefield Tech 2

Forcefield Tech 2

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Itu2019s 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 bodyu2019s muscles and helping promote blood flow.

Alpinestars Ride Tech Suit

Alpinestars Ride Tech Suit
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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.

They 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.

Rukka Mark

Rukka Mark

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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 u2018Base Layersu2019 and at this price and with Rukkau2019s reputation for quality, itu2019s not hard to see why. They are described as u2018year-roundu2019 but that moisture-wicking ability makes them perfect for summer too.

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