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The Kostume EDIT002 Men's Sleeveless Base Layer is designed to work with the brand's signature jersey or as a standalone garment for both indoor training and in hot riding conditions. Made from recycled fabrics and with a limited-edition print, it's the most comfortable, summer-weight synthetic base layer I've used.
Our best cycling base layers buyer's guide rounds up 20 of our top choices with both short and long sleeve choices covered.
In keeping with other garments in the Kostume range, this is made from a 157gsm certified OKEO-TEX polyester/elastane (78/22%) yarn that is derived from recycled plastic bottles. Kostume has employed a 3D waffle texture, which theoretically increases the overall surface area while improving wicking capacity. Continuing the 3D narrative, Kostume apparently uses a sleeveless silhouette and positions the shoulder seams at the rear that theoretically reduces bunching around the neck.
The design features no grippers or silicone at the hem, an open neck and flatlock seams designed to minimise friction for improved comfort. The science behind base layers is that they should cling to your body without feeling restrictive, moving moisture away from your skin without leaving you with a wet, cold or clammy feeling.
Unusually for a base layer, this comes with a small back phone pocket, which I found a very handy addition, especially handy for indoor training sessions.
Our test top came in medium, which is my usual size, and the Kostume felt as if it was custom-made just for me. But it's probably worth saying I'm unusually proportioned – short in the body and broader across the shoulders, typically running a 44cm or 46cm bar on my road bikes. It didn't feel overly long in the body and the tailored shoulder sections felt very good to me.
The construction and material feel durable, which is particularly relevant when it comes to the pocket, which holds a smart phone without sagging. I also found the material extremely comfortable against my skin – no matter how long I was riding.
The material has ample give too, so I could switch between hoods, drops and tribars without any chafing or gathering.
I found that this layer performed impressively regardless of the temperature, and to a lesser extent the jersey I paired it with. As you would hope, it pairs excellently with the matching EDIT002 Men's Short Sleeve Jersey, in long rides around 23°C at a steady 20mph. Yes, there's a faint misting at the chest and lower back after 20 minutes or so, but this evaporated within a few minutes.
Not everybody buying this is going to have the matching Kostume jersey, so I also tried it with other high-end summer jerseys including the Craft Cadence Recycled Performance Classic Jersey, and while wicking was a little slower in similar riding conditions, dropping the zip a little levelled things out.
Older waffle-weave polyester jerseys predictably induced a little more dampness along my sides and lower back but I still never felt clammy.
It was a similar story when I was caught in an unexpected shower without a packable shell. And it also performed well when the temperature tumbled to around 8C, the fibres doing a decent job of keeping some warmth in.
Which leads me to the turbo test, during which I rode 90-minute sessions on the turbo trainer with and without the jersey to test Kostume's claims. And despite my usual scepticism I found the fabrics kept pace with my efforts very well.
The base layer's wicking prowess proved palpable, holding back any clamminess.
Odour control is also reassuringly good. Admittedly, our test top was crawling its way to the washing machine following those turbo sessions, but in every-day road riding use I was managing half-a-dozen rides before that low-level hum crept in. I would like to say that this is not my usual practice...
Pretty much the same as most other cycling kit – throw it in the machine at 30°C with minimal detergent and it'll arrive smelling of, well, whatever scent you've added. It also came out well when I washed it by hand with mild soap and warm water.
Out of the washing machine it was dry in about 20 minutes after being hung on the line in a gentle breeze at around 20°C.
And after testing and numerous washes there's not so much as a loose thread, so with care I'd expect it to last for a good few years.
While not outlandish £40 is at the upper end of what you'd expect to pay for a base layer.
The dhb Aeron Lab Polartec Sleeveless Baselayer is another sophisticated layer I rated very highly. The fabric has a soft-to-the-touch feel and regulates moisture effectively, and while the same price as the Kostume when we tested it, it's now £45.
I've been impressed by the Kostume range – and the EDIT002 Base Layer is no exception. The design might not be to everybody's taste but the material feels good against your skin, wicks moisture away well and manages odours very effectively. And I also really appreciated the phone pocket, especially on the turbo.
Highly effective base layer with lovely detailing, a comfortable material, great wicking and good odour management
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Kostume EDIT002 Men's Sleeveless Base Layer
Size tested: Medium
Tell us what the product is for
"Our sleeveless base layer uses a waffle-texture 3D mesh recycled fabric to increase the overall surface area of the garment, significantly boosting its wicking ability.
"A good base layer acts like a second skin, actively moving sweat away from the body so that an external layer (typically your jersey) can allow it to evaporate without feeling cold or clingy in the process.
"For maximum efficiency, a base layer needs to be hyper-fitted to every contour of your body without feeling restrictive. We achieve this by using a sleeveless silhouette to stop outstretched arms affecting the main body, and by positioning the shoulder seams at the rear of the shoulder, which limits bunching behind the neck.
My feelings: "A very comfortable base layer for warm weather and indoor trainer duties."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Certified OEKO-TEX® 100% regenerated yarn made from recycled plastic bottles and recycled elastane
Extremely breathable, lightweight and fast-drying
Discreet rear phone pocket
Flatlock seams to avoid irritation
Tailored open neck
Made in Romania
78% recycled polyester
Well made with uniform stitching.
Performed well across the board, beneath a jersey, or on its own.
Wearing and washing well to date.
I'm 1.81m tall and weigh 70kg and this felt like a bespoke item of clothing.
Felt absolutely perfect for me.
A few grams heavier than some, but it feels reassuringly hardy and also features a 'phone' pocket.
Feels good against your skin and the material is fast wicking.
Though not outlandish, especially given the performance, £40 is still at the upper end of the market.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Very straightforward – just stick to the 30°C, minimum detergent/soapflakes narrative. It responds equally well to handwashing and dries swiftly too.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Overall performance has been excellent. The fabric is incredibly tactile, and wicks very efficiently but has retained some welcome warmth when temperatures dipped. The pocket is another nice touch and offers decent support to the contents. The snug fit was bang on for me and though very supportive, offers lots of give-making for seamless movement.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Good odour management
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
DHB Aeron Lab Polartec Sleeveless Baselayer is another sophisticated layer that I liked a lot when I tested it. The fabric regulates moisture very effectively though at £45 it's now a fiver dearer now than when we tested.
The Craft Active Extreme X Crew Neck also comes in at £45 and George was very impressed with it when he reviewed it.
Lusso's Pain Cave Eco Summer Base Layer is another top made with a large proportion of recycled material, and while at just £30 it's much less expensive, I didn't find it as versatile as the Kostume.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Definitely
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
Kostume has created a very capable base layer with a great performance and really nice detailing.
About the tester
I usually ride: Rough Stuff Tourer Based around 4130 Univega mtb Frameset My best bike is: 1955 Holdsworth Road Path and several others including cross & traditional road
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo cross, commuting, touring, fixed/singlespeed, mtb,
Shaun Audane is a freelance writer/product tester with over twenty-eight years riding experience, the last twelve (120,000 miles) spent putting bikes and kit through their paces for a variety of publications. Previous generations of his family worked at manufacturing's sharp end, thus Shaun can weld, has a sound understanding of frame building practice and a preference for steel or titanium framesets.
Citing Richard Ballantine and an Au pair as his earliest cycling influences, he is presently writing a cycling book with particular focus upon women, families and disabled audiences (Having been a registered care manager and coached children at Herne Hill Velodrome in earlier careers)