The turbo is alright I suppose, no what am I saying it's evil and I hate it. Outside it is and if you want to stay warm dry and comfortable then you need to get the baselayer right.
I've lots and lots of baselayers from walking, climbing and skiing. I've got merino wool, synthetics and fusions of the two. I've long sleeve, short sleeve, crew neck , V-neck , half zip, quarter, zip and full zip. Base layers are vital if you want the rest of your layers to work properly. I've used a number of cycling specific summer base layers for years but I've never really bothered with a winter one. Surely my skiing layers are good enough to do the job. Well yes to a certain extent they are so when the skinFoil evo7 arrived I was eager to see how and if it would be better.
I'll be honest. Part of the reason I've never used a cycling winter baselayer is the cost. Decent baselayers aren't cheap for any sport and with the premium that "cycling specific" seems to incur it's an option you can rule out. The winter skinFoil is expensive even by these standards at an RRP of £90 but being ASSOS that's expected.
Part of the reason for expense from ASSOS is the build quality that goes into every item and on opening the winter skinFoil feels like a premium piece of kit. The baselayer equivalent of a fine wine. ASSOS also don't buy in their technology or materials. Everything is developed in house and this contributes to the price as well. Now this could mean it's doesn't work as well as named fabrics or it could mean that ASSOS can design without compromising. Well the only way to test is to actually get out and use it.
The skinFoil is a tight fit. Good, for one thing that's how baselayers should work and secondly I'm a road cyclist/mamil and don't want any flapping about. My medium size was fitted and felt compressing without being constrictive. After a few minutes it felt like a second skin and with the crew neck didn't get annoying around my neck. It also looked fantastic with the block design, nicely proportioned logo and "enjoy the ride" motivational quote on the rear. It also smelt warming. Like a wool museum. Maybe that's just me.
Combining it with an insulated jersey and softshell jacket, I set out around the local hills and soon forgot what baselayer I had on. I'll keep banging on an on about it but the mark of decent kit is not noticing it, especially baselayers. At no point did I feel cold damp or sweaty. On numerous rides ranging from -5 to 10 degrees, the baselayer has performed. Over the ten weeks I've been using the skinFoil on the bike I've not found a fault with it. BUT. This winter has been horrible to road cyclists. Rain has been followed by freeze and the ice situation has curtailed the mileage I've managed to do has been severely curtailed. So I was in a quandary. Yes the skinFoil seemed brilliant but had I tested it enough.
ASSOS started developing when thier founder, Toni Maier-Moussa, starting testing riders in a wind tunnel. When discovering that a lycra skin-suit when downhill skiing would be quicker than being naked he started applying that science to cycling. After that the first lycra shorts were developed to much mirth. Then after Ti-Raleigh started to wear them and win a race or two they became de riguer. And the path to the evolution of the Mamil has commenced.
But I digress. I decided to take the company back to skiing and last week I took the ASSOS winter skinFoil to Obergurgl, in the Austrian Alps, to see how it would cope with the temperatures ranging from -29 to 4 degrees and with the exertions created by table top ski boot dancing in the Nederhutte.. I'm happy to say it was outstanding. It's quite honestly the best skiing baselayer I've ever used to. The body mapping technology ( ie putting wicking fabrics and insulating fabrics where they'll be most utilised), works effortlessly. I never once felt cold and only once came close to over heating. Although that may be more to instigating a mosh pit to Mamma Mia.
Yes I like the ASSOS skinFoil winter evo7 a lot. A real lot, but I'll be honest the £90 rrp stings without a doubt. I'd be hard justified paying that for the amount of riding I've sone this year but like all quality kit it should last a few years. It works brilliantly and I'll use it skiing. You know what? Who needs two kidneys anyway. I'll take two skinFoils please.