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Craft Active Intensity base layer review

29 Jan 2018
Verdict:

A technical, comfortable and warm base layer that hits a sweet spot in price

Cyclist Rating: 
Price: 
£34
For 
Versatile, technical, comfortable and well priced
Against 
Not cycling specific (although very suitable)

Buy the Craft Active Intensity base layer now from Evans Cycles

A good base layer is one of the seasoned cyclist’s most critical weapons against the tricky demands of the late winter and early spring. Layering up means overheating during efforts, while underdressing can make stops and starts unpleasant at best and dangerous at worst.

Craft is now famous for its base layers, and of course it is a brand with broader horizons than cycling alone. That’s why in some ways it’s surprising that the Craft Active Intensity base layer, most likely conceived for cross-country skiers, is so well suited to cyclists.

With a long body cut, very neat form hugging and a nice mixture of elasticity and firm compression over shoulders and arms, the Active Intensity lends itself very naturally to cycling.

This is on account of what Craft call a body mapped structure. Certainly the contours of the base layers blue-stripe pattern already seems to speak to a precise map of the upper body, and the consequence is feeling of being vacuum moulded into the base layer.

The same can be said of the sleeves and collar, which sit tight on the extremities where some base layers with less compressive material can be a little loose.

Hot and cold

The intelligent form of the Active Intensity plays a big part in the heat management, as the fabric doesn’t bunch up and give way to sweaty heat spots.

Like most good base layers the Active Intensity does a nice job of wicking away sweat, and during hard efforts I found the absorption to make a great improvement to regulating my heat, whether feeling too hot or too cool.

Despite some bulky stitching at the seams, the base layer feels smooth and non-abrasive to the skin thanks to the flatlock seam design – where the fabric is butted together and stitched together in a flat profile rather than exposing bulbous stitches to the interior.

It’s a small feature but helps when a bag or bib-strap applies pressure to the seam.

As the weather turns to spring, I may look more toward the cooler Craft Active Extreme base layer, which offers a highly breathable and naturally cooler long-sleeve base but without the protection against the colder, wetter seasons.

For now, the Craft Active Intensity has become a standard fixture of my weekend rides, along with a merino short sleeve base layer when I opt for a short-sleeve jersey and arm warmers.

Coupled with intelligent wind-stopper jerseys, it can take credit for reducing what may have once been four layers of winter weather gear to two. 

It’s a highly technical piece that doesn’t carry an enormous price tag but lacks none of the versatility as a result.

Buy the Craft Active Intensity base layer now from Evans Cycles

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