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The Spatz BASEZ 2 baselayer offers excellent warmth for colder training and general riding. It has some really novel design features that add up to create a baselayer that might make you think differently about such layers. The high neck with no zip opening can make variable temperature days a little uncomfortable at times, but for the coldest days little beats it.
Spatz is a British company run by a former pro racer and team director from Yorkshire, where the weather is about as 'British' as it gets. That seems to have inspired Tom and his small but growing team to develop kit that pushes boundaries and fits what riders and racers want but often doesn't exist. The Spatz Roadman overshoes are a prime example that I found to be absolutely incredible.
The BASEZ 2 has some features you don't always see on baselayers. First, the sleeves go over the wrist, with thumb holes to keep it in place, providing a little extra warmth over the part of the hand it covers. It is simple and works well, with just a little extra care needed to keep it in place when putting gloves on. On warmer days you might not need it, and the material of the baselayer means if you choose not to have the sleeve so far down it doesn't bunch up or cause problems.
There is also a longer dropped back section, which goes right the way down below your back – on me reaching to just the edge of the chamois pad in tights/shorts. It gives a little extra wind protection, or if you are riding without mudguards or protection from spray then it helps keep that area a little warmer and more comfortable.
Perhaps the most contentious feature is the high neck. It does add incredible warmth and helps keep the wind off your chest – great on really cold days – but I found it limits the range of temperatures in which the baselayer is comfortable. On cold days it meant I could head out without a separate neck scarf, but if temperatures rose to near double figures, because of the baselayer's lack of any form of opening to help regulate body temperature, I had to rely on the outer layer zip, which isn't always ideal. Not only is rain a potential issue but you also don't want your jacket flapping around, and I found I was having to undo my jacket further than with other baselayers.
The high neck is exactly what it says, too – just a neck warmer. It doesn't provide as much coverage as some, such as on Rapha's Deep Winter Windblock and Pro Team Thermal baselayers, which can also stretch over the mouth and nose.
Whether the neck and warmth is a problem will likely depend on how warm you run and the intensity of your ride. I find my core runs quite warm, and my extremities cold. I used the BASEZ 2 in temperatures down to -4°C with just a single insulated layer on top and it felt fine, although a few degrees lower and maybe a third layer would have been required. The upper temperatures for me were close to 8°C for being comfortable, and anything above 10°C and I found it too warm, albeit only around the neck area.
The material does wick sweat away from the skin quickly, which was especially noticeable on cold days when working hard and still sweating going up hills, where there's the potential to rapidly cool on longer downhills. The baselayer draws sweat away from the skin and you stay warm.
There's no windproofing – you'll need to rely on other layers for that – although Spatz has included thicker areas of fabric where the wind will have most effect, such as the chest and front of the arms, which should help improve warmth here.
There are small 'roundels' in the fabric that contribute to it feeling so stretchy and elastic, with huge flex and movement possible without any feeling of constriction or compression. Despite there only being three sizes available, this stretch should mean a comfortable fit is possible if you are between sizes. You can feel the small roundels within the fabric but they aren't uncomfortable, and though they can leave a mark on your skin, again it's not uncomfortable and fades away reasonably quickly.
Nearly £75 seems a lot of money for a baselayer, although the Spatz is not alone, with the likes of Castelli and its Flanders Warm LS Thermal Base Layer costing the same, and the Pro Team Thermal from Rapha mentioned earlier being £70. And it's positively cheap compared with some – Santini's Grido Thermal baselayer is £120 (full review to come – but not by me, so I don't know how it compares) and the Deep Winter Windblock from Rapha is £130.
The warmth and wicking performance is excellent, and if money were no object the BASEZ 2 would be my choice when temperatures start to dive. But it does carry a premium price (if not as premium as some!) and the extra performance and warmth on offer is not massively better than you can find in a cheaper option, such as the £40 dhb Aeron Polartec. Even adding a separate neck warmer for colder days you're looking at a decent saving.
Price aside, though, the performance is generally excellent, and on a very cold day this would be the baselayer I'd reach for, with extra features that add up to create a very good garment overall. Just hope that it doesn't warm up too much while you're out.
Superb baselayer for cold temperatures with brilliant warmth but also good sweat wicking
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Spatzwear BASEZ 2 Black Baselayer
Size tested: Small
Tell us what the product is for
Worn next to your skin, the BASEZ 2 is designed to trap a layer of warm air and actively move moisture away from the skin. Cyclists have needed a base layer like this for decades. Here it is...
A base layer developed from scratch and rigorously tested by the current Olympic Champion. Very warm and comfortable with yarns, thicknesses, weaves and cut designed specifically for cycling in the cold / wet. There is nothing like this.
A word from the designer:
"The most important garment is the one which sits next to your skin. In the winter many cyclists (myself included) like to wear garments like the Castelli Gabba or Perfetto jackets. The problem with these jackets (and even specific winter jackets) is their poor thermal qualities especially when wet. We resort to using 3-4 layers underneath them. I have trained as a pro cyclist for much of my life wondering why (despite being sponsored by premium clothing brands) I am wet, cold and uncomfortable after 1-2h of winter riding. It seems nobody has designed a base layer from scratch specifically for cold weather cycling. I designed the BASEZ 2 using my own yarn choice and dedicated weaves, where pockets of air are trapped by the fabric design to suit the needs of that particular body area. When cycling, each area of the body has specific thermal/wicking/comfort needs. The BASEZ 2 chest area and front of the arms are thicker and warmer to guard against wind chill where the cold wind cuts through your jacket. The BASEZ 2 boasts a dropped back section to cover and insulate the kidneys and lower back - right down to the saddle. It features an extended neck (to stop drafts and keep the neck warm and mobile) and thumb loops to keep the glove/jacket junction insulated".
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Spatz lists these details:
Totally re-engineered. The most technically advanced base layer you'll ever own.
Extended rear section
Moisture managing fabric
Thermal yet lightweight design
75% PES, 20% PA, 5% EL.
Excellent moisture wicking and brilliant for cold days. On warmer days the high neck can limit the ability to regulate your temperature.
No issues seen, and if used and washed correctly I do not envisage any.
Stretch within the fabric keeps it on your skin to maximise moisture wicking.
Plenty of stretch within the material should mean that although there are only three sizes, fit will be fine for most.
You can feel the small roundels within the fabric but they aren't uncomfortable, even if they make a mark on your skin (which fades away reasonably quickly too).
Performance is generally excellent, but you pay a price for that. That said, it's not the most expensive out there.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Washed many times, within recommended guidelines, and no issues seen at all. No shrinkage, fading or deterioration.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
On cold days, tested down to -4°C, it was fantastic, with brilliant warmth and comfort. The high neck is great when cold, but as it is not adjustable at all, on warmer days I did find it a little constrictive when temperatures started climbing close to double figures.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Fantastic warmth but also able to wick away moisture, which is key for harder paced efforts on cold days.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
No adjustment on the high neck. Some form of zip or maybe Velcro would be good, although this was only an issue on days when the temperature was variable.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
Quite expensive, though similar to other premium brands: the Castelli Flanders Warm LS costs the same, and Rapha's Pro Team Thermal is £5 less (though its Deep Winter Windblock is £130); but there are very good cheaper options, such as dhb's Aeron Polartec at £40.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes, but only when the temperature really dropped.
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
The warmth and performance are fantastic, and when temperatures start to dive this would be my go-to choice for a baselayer. The high and close-fitting neck can become a little too warm when temperatures approach double figures, which limits its use slightly, but if you like to ride on the coldest days it's very good, and worth the high price.
About the tester
I usually ride: My best bike is: Cannondale SystemSix
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, cyclo cross, sportives, mtb, Lots of gravel style riding
Matt is an endurance nut who loves big rides and big events. He's a former full-time racer and 24hr event specialist, but now is also happy riding off-road on gravel bikes or XC mountain bikes and exploring the mountains and hills of Mid Wales.