By Colin Dennis
Sizes: XS - XXL
Size tested: M
The latest incarnation of Craft’s fast-wicking Extreme baselayer system gets a swift upgrade with a new knitted pattern that features bodymapped mesh panels at the armpits and wrists.
Aimed fully at the performance end of the cycling spectrum, the Extreme 2 is just the right combination of warmth, wicking and protection on cold days.
I often sweat like a rabid dog during a cyclocross race, and now at the end of October, the noticeable dip in temperature requires me to wear a layer underneath my race jersey. I can put up with the added warmth, it’s the before and after race moments that I want to stay warm and comfortable as well as remain dry from the inside during a race (rain notwithstanding, of course)
Already a big fan of Craft’s original Extreme Baselayer, I found the upgraded Extreme 2 thankfully remain lightweight and body contouring, thanks to its built-in elasticity, but now include under arm mesh vents for greater comfort and enhanced wicking properties.
Craft have also extended this mesh fabric to the wrist collars, and if you’re anything like me and for some unknown reason, sweat horribly at the wrists, the enhanced mesh fabric allows the moisture to escape easily without any discomfort, or tightness at the offending wrists.
I appreciate that only readers who sweat profusely at the wrists will know what I’m driving at here.
The usual high-quality Flatlock stitching normally found on Craft's baselayers ensures there's no discomfort along across any of the seams when pressed hard against the skin by wearing a rucksack or such like.
Made entirely from a double layer of Coolmax Pro fabric, this man-made Polyester baselayer includes a smidgen of Elastane for good measure to ensure it fits snugly against the skin. The Extreme 2 also fits reasonably high at the collar, and even with my scrawny neck, manages to sit close enough to the skin to help keep the heat in.
The mesh venting at the armpits certainly makes for a comfortable fit. The fabric, both here, and at the wrists, is very soft and Gossamer-like.
The arms of the Extreme LS Baselayer 2 are plenty long enough to cover my wrists when stretched fully along any bike. The overall long, body length of this baselayer is very welcoming.
There’s nothing worse than a baselayer riding up your back and exposing cold skin to the elements. No chance of that happening with the Extreme 2; it’s long enough to make Mary Quant proud!
In summary: a performance baselayer works best at wicking away moisture when it sits directly next to the skin, and Craft’s new Extreme 2 Baselayer does exactly that, yet is so light and comfortable you hardly notice it’s there.