The Pella Long Sleeve Cycling Base Layer is a comfortable, close-fitting undershirt that does a decent job of keeping you sweat-free.
It's made from Tactel, a lightweight nylon fabric that's very soft. This top is also very stretchy thanks to ribbed sections and the inherent stretch in the fabric so you can get a good, close fit all round (the model in our pic could have gone a size down). I found the fit spot on, without any tight, restrictive areas.
The body section is seamless and the seams around the shoulders and down the arms aren't really noticeable. I certainly wasn't bothered by them. There are no labels inside to irritate you either; the washing instructions are woven into the hem. All good on that front.
Although this isn't a thermal base layer, once you get out on bike it provides a reasonable amount of warmth. Not loads, but some. It also does a good job of transferring moisture away from your skin. I wouldn't say it's the best fabric ever in that regard but it puts in a decent performance. It does absorb some water and takes a little longer to dry than many polyester and polypropylene base layers I've used, so I've tended to avoid this top for high intensity rides when I'm likely to sweat a lot. The trade off is that the fabric itself feels more comfortable next to your skin.
In terms of care, you just bung the Pella base layer into the machine at 30°. It has come out smelling fresh every time so far.
Comfortable, close-fitting base layer that does a good job of keeping you sweat-free
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Make and model: Pella Long Sleeve Cycling Baselayer
Size tested: Small
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
Pella say: "A soft long sleeve top ideal for wearing under a cycling jersey or winter jacket. The fabric features an advanced capillary type construction which allows moisture to be transported away from the skin very quickly. The top is ideal as a 1st layer ideal for staying warm and sweat free."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
According to Invista, the company behind Tactel: "Throughout the global textile industry, INVISTA's TACTEL fibre is well known and valued for its wide range of benefits. A dynamic, specialty fibre, TACTEL fibre creates garments that are soft, supplely smooth, breathable and lightweight.
"According to rigid testing, TACTEL fibre is at least twice as soft and 20 percent lighter than most other fibres. It also dries eight times faster than cotton. In addition to being soft and lightweight, TACTEL fibre is strong. The inherent strength of TACTEL fiber enables the production of fabrics that are three times as strong as those made with natural fibres."
It's well made with no seams on the body.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
It performs pretty well. It's more comfortable than most base layers for low intensity riding but loses out to some when it comes to moisture management and speed of drying.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The fit and the feel.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
I'd prefer something that dries faster after hard efforts.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes, in certain circumstances.
Would you consider buying the product? Nothing is tempting me away from Craft long sleeve base layers at the moment.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Possibly.
Age: 43 Height: 190cm Weight: 75kg
I usually ride: My best bike is:
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding,
Mat has been in cycling media since 1996, on titles including BikeRadar, Total Bike, Total Mountain Bike, What Mountain Bike and Mountain Biking UK, and he has been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. Mat has been road.cc technical editor for over a decade, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer. Now pushing 50, he's riding road and gravel bikes most days for fun and fitness rather than training for competitions.