Should I wear a base layer when cycling?

Should I wear a base layer when cycling?

April 04, 2023

Argument 1: In Favor of Wearing a Base Layer When Cycling

Temperature regulation

Wearing a base layer helps maintain your body temperature, keeping you warm during cold weather and wicks away moisture when it's warmer. This ensures optimal comfort throughout your ride.

Moisture management

Base layers are designed to wick moisture away from the skin, reducing the chances of chafing and irritation caused by sweat. This can make for a more comfortable and enjoyable cycling experience.

Reduced muscle fatigue

Some base layers provide compression, which can help improve blood circulation and reduce muscle fatigue. This may lead to better performance and quicker recovery times after rides.

Improved safety

A base layer can serve as an additional layer of protection, reducing the impact of road rash or other injuries in the event of an accident.

Sun protection

Some base layers have built-in UV protection, shielding your skin from the sun's harmful rays and reducing the risk of sunburn or long-term skin damage. 

Argument 2: Against Wearing a Base Layer When Cycling


Wearing a base layer can lead to overheating, as it may not allow your body to cool down efficiently. This can result in discomfort and diminished performance. If your ride starts when conditions are cool but the temperature will increase an alternate to a base layer is to wear a vest that can be removed.

Modern fabrics

Most jersey fabrics provide excellent moisture management thereby making a base layer redundant.


Some cyclists may find base layers to be uncomfortable or restrictive, especially if they're not used to wearing them. In these cases, a base layer might detract from the overall ride experience.

Increased laundry

Wearing a base layer every time you cycle means you'll have more laundry to do, which can be time-consuming and may not be environmentally friendly.


Investing in high-quality base layers can be expensive, especially if you need multiple sets for different weather conditions. This may not be a feasible option for everyone.

Which side of this debate are you on?

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