It’s been a couple months now since MAAP launched its 2016 winter catalogue with the Base collection. CyclingTips’ Australian tech editor Matt Wikstrom put the clothing range to the test and wrote the following review.
True to its name, each Base garment has a simple, utilitarian design and is intended for long training days. However there is a cost-be-damned element to the collection, so it won’t appeal to occasional riders.
MAAP designs all of its garment patterns but it took advantage of its connection to the UCI Continental team State of Matter MAAP Racing for testing prototypes for the Base collection. According to Oliver Cousins, one of the co-founders of MAAP, “We spend a lot of time in the sampling process refining prototype samples. It’s not uncommon to go through 3-4 rounds of fit samples before we’ve confirmed a new pattern and the State of Matter MAAP boys have been a great resource”.
The Base collection is manufactured in Italy, like the rest of MAAP’s clothing, but with the goal of building what Oliver describes as “the ultimate training gear”, there was a variety of different considerations. For example, the long-sleeved jersey, thermal vest, and jackets all have larger pockets with more durable openings than MAAP’s race kit.
3M reflective transfer material was incorporated into the graphics to improve visibility, and an elastic hem was developed for the bibshorts that could accommodate a wider range of thigh sizes as well as warmers.
I spent a couple of months wearing the Base bibshorts, long-sleeved jersey and thermal vest, and all lived up to MAAP’s premium branding. The fit was immediately sure and comfortable, though it favours a race-oriented physique. MAAP’s size-guide recommended a medium for my height and weight (178cm, 75kg) and while each was close-fitting, there was a measure of stretch in each garment, so I didn’t find any of them constrictive.
The Base bibshorts are constructed from nylon-elastane that makes use of “Interpower”, a weaving technique that promises to reduce adhesion as the shorts become moist with sweat, and Coldblack, a treatment that blocks sunlight to reduce heat buildup. As for the padding, MAAP opted for extra density over their race pad for extra comfort and added a “bio-ceramic fabric” interface that acts to improve temperature regulation while keeping bacteria and odour at bay.
The long-sleeve jersey is made from polyester/elastane (80/20%) that is lightly brushed on the inside. As a result, the jersey is quite inviting on cool or cold mornings. As mentioned above, there are three generous pockets at the rear of the jersey, a full-length zip at the front, and an elastic hem with silicone dots.
The thermal vest is heavier than most vests to the point where it feels more like a softshell. The extra bulk translates to plenty of wind protection, and while the material is water-resistant, MAAP doesn’t recommend it for wet weather. Like the jersey, the thermal vest has a full-length zip at the front, three pockets at the rear, and an elastic hem with a silicone strip.
I found that when combined, these three garments offered plenty of comfort for long rides on chilly autumn or mild winter days (at least by Australian standards). Without any extra fortification against the cold, the bibshorts weren’t a good choice for cold weather (<10°C), and the long-sleeved jersey wasn’t dense enough to contend with the same kind of temperatures.
The thermal vest worked really well for keeping the cold off the chest and maintaining my core temperature, so it went part of the way to bolstering the performance of the long-sleeved jersey. However, my arms inevitably suffered from the chill unless I was putting in a high-tempo effort, so I normally swapped out the vest for a jacket to stay warm on cold days.
I’m pleased to report that the length of the sleeves is generous, easily reaching my wrist where the cuffs provide a cosy fit. While there were instances where I found myself wishing for some extra insulation on cold days, the long-sleeved jersey worked well with my winter jackets. There was no unnecessary bulk, so it was easy to pull on a jacket over the sleeves, and it seemed to breath well once I started to get warm.
The Base bibshorts worked really well for me with plenty of padding that didn’t slide about. I was able to wear the shorts for long rides without any discomfort, but compared to a dedicated cold weather bibshorts, such as Assos’s T.tiburuShorts_s7, the Base bibshort definitely lacks insulation. Nevertheless, I expect I’ll be able make more use of these shorts come spring (and even summer).
All told, MAAP have done a fine job with their Base collection. Each garment is well made with the kind of small, thoughtful touches that typically define a premium brand. The value of MAAP’s tailoring shouldn’t be underestimated either, even though it means that the garments fit so well that any appreciation for it is generally fleeting.
Base bibshorts, jerseys (short and long-sleeved), thermal vest, and jackets (thermal and rain) are available in five sizes (XS-XL). There is a choice of two colours for the bibshorts and long-sleeved jersey (black, navy), and three for the thermal vest (aqua, black, navy). For more information, visit MAAP.
RRP: Bibshorts, AUD$310 (~US$235); long-sleeved jersey, AUD$235 (~US$179); thermal vest AUD$230 (~US$175).