There's not getting away from it Scott's Next2Skin base layer is pricey but there's also no escaping the fact that it does a good job, it's well constructed using technical fabrics to keep you comfortable during cool-weather rides.
The shirt is made of three different polyester fabrics, all of them very lightweight. The white material is the heaviest weight but that's relative; it's a fine grid pattern and highly breathable. The lower front and most of the back are made from Meryl Microfibre panels that are even more open and stretchy while the underarm areas are the lightest of the lot.
There's loads of give in all directions so you can get a close fit without it feeling uncomfortable (I went for a large but I think a medium would have been better). You want a technical top like this to fit snug with minimal creasing so that it can get on with its job efficiently.
The fabrics shift sweat very successfully, sucking it outwards away from your skin and passing it on to your mid-layer or outer layer clothing. The shirt has a Sofileta Hydrophile treatment that's designed to improve the durability of the wicking function. It might be responsible for the impressive performance but I couldn't tell you for sure. What I do know is that your sweat gets absorbed and moved away quickly.
The other thing that's really noticeable about this shirt is that it doesn't get especially heavy with moisture. Rather than getting sopping and staying that way for the rest of your ride, it dries out fast. That's another of the aims of the Hydrophile treatment. The idea is that it spreads out the moisture over a large surface area so that it'll disappear rapidly. Whatever the cause, it works well.
This shirt doesn't offer loads in the way of insulation although that doesn't bother me particularly. The primary job of a technical base layer is to keep you dry on the basis that if you get damp and stay that way, you're likely to get cold at some stage. I'll wear thermal base layers in the really cold weather when I know I'm not going to sweat much and need every bit of warmth I can grab, but at other times I'll wear a lightweight, wicking base layer like this and rely on a mid-layer and/or outer-layer to provide most of the heat.
The other advantage of a lightweight base layer is that you'll get loads of use out of it depending on what you put on over the top. You might wear this one in autumn, winter and spring.
Most of the seams are flatlock stitched so there's no irritation and Scott have printed the washing instructions on the fabric so there's no label to get on your nerves either. Very considerate.
The Next2skin shirt is also available in short sleeve (£44.99) and sleeveless (£39.99) versions.
Lightweight, technical base layer that disperses moisture and dries fast.
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Make and model: Scott Next2Skin LS Base Layer
Size tested: Light Grey - L
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?
Scott don't give this shirt a write up as such, but list these features:
"Placement of 3 different fabrics according to body function
Fast drying functional fabric
Contrast flatlock seams
Scott Next2skin branding at hem
Technical Scott branding label at collar
Soft, wide elastic binding at hem and armhole for a smooth transition to body."
It's a technical base layer for people who ride hard/long enough to work up a sweat. It's a performance product, really.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Meryl Microfibre, as the name suggests, is made up of extremely fine fibres: each one less than 10 microns (a micron is a millionth of a metre, so each fibre is less than 1/100mm).
It is very light and has a high capacity for absorbing water.
It's really well made with flatlock stitching everywhere except around the top of the shoulders. We'd actually have liked them there.
It does its job really well to keep you dry and comfortable even when you push the intensity right up.
It's looking good so far.
Definitely a high performer when it comes to keeping you sweat-free.
You're paying extra for a couple of branded products here: the Meryl Microfibre fabric and the Sofileta Hydrophile treatment
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
It puts in a strong performance.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The lightweight and the fast wicking.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
There's nothing I dislike particularly. A bit cheaper would be good... although you could say that about anything.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Age: 40 Height: 190cm Weight: 74kg
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: time trialling, commuting, 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.