You may wonder why many pro riders wear an undershirt when it’s a scorching 35C outside. Doesn’t it seem intuitive that a base layer make you feel even warmer?
A good base layer is one of the most underrated pieces of kit. It’s obvious why layering will keep you warm when it’s cold outside, but why would a good undershirt keep you cool when the mercury rises?
A thin base layer will wick the moisture from your body to the outside of the garment which will evaporate as the wind hits it. Evaporative cooling is a wonderful thing.
The other benefit to wearing a base layer in the heat is comfort. An undershirt will wick away the moisture from your skin reduce that wet, clammy feeling which will make you much more comfortable during your ride.
A good summer base layer will probably cost you between $50-$100 and seems like the biggest waste of money when you’re contemplating it in the LBS. However, it’s something you’ll buy once and it’ll last you for years. Money well spent I say!
My DeFeet summer base layer that I bought over 10 years ago. Still going strong.
Champion Systems supplies our team kit. They provide some excellent base layers for a fraction of the price of rack brands. I wear this one all the time in the summer and winter. The sleeves protect you from road rash on the shoulder if you fall. This is my “crit undershirt”. I only wish it prevented broken collarbones!
TIP: Bring along a spare undershirt if you’re doing a supported ride. The best thing you can do for yourself it change it mid-ride. It’ll make you feel like you just put on a brand new kit!