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Rapha Base Layer – Merino Rules

Rapha Base Layer – Merino Rules

The Rapha Base Layer short sleeve crewneck is probably the best performance cycling base layer I have to used.  Heck even though they designed the base for cycling, I find I am always using them when venturing out on cold chilly runs.

Rapha Merino Wool Base Layer Crew Neck

Base Layers

Base layers are the first piece of clothing you should invest in.  Base Layers are designed to wick moisture away from body and help regulate body temperature.


Rapha Base Layer – Merino Wool

Rapha uses merino wool, which has become hugely popular in the cycling industry.  This isn’t the wool your father wore.  Ralpha’s base layer is soft and feels fantastic on.  There are of course all sorts of new types of materials that are also designed to transfer moisture away from the body, but Rapha seems to have nailed it with their base layer design.   Base layers are designed to remain on you the entire ride.  These are your first line of defense against changing temperatures.  Typically most rides only require one base layer.  I prefer, to use a short sleeve base layer, but sometimes a ride might require two and perhaps long sleeve versions.

What makes the Rapha base layer unique, is you can actually wear the layer around town when not cycling.  I absolutely love the look of the shirt and it works well by itself or as an under shirt.  I might add that if you have a good physique, the Rapha base layer will certainly add to your overall look.  The shirt just looks great on.

Another benefit to the Rapha base layer is the wool material actually helps to diminish body odor.  Most of today’s synthetic fibers used in fitness apparel, actually increase body odor.  Over time many synthetic materials actually create a breeding ground for bacteria.  Sweat generally has no odor.  It’s the bacteria, which creates unpleasant smell.  Wool is naturally anti-bacterial and thus helps to eliminate bacterial growth.

Technical Highlights

Rapha Base Layer Technical Highlights

The Rapha base layers come in no sleeve, short sleeve and long sleeve.  For me the short sleeve is the best option.  This allows me to have both a cycling shirt as well as a nice undershirt. To save money, you can buy a 3 pack for $160 vs the normal $80 for 1.  Yeah I know the base layer might seem way too expensive, but you’re going to love it once you put it on.  For me it was worth the money every time I wear it.

The base layer comes in 3 colors black, grey and white.  I opted for black and haven’t looked back.  That said it would be cool to have some other color options, say a blue or a red.

  • Beautifully soft and itch-free
  • Naturally anti-bacterial and odour resistant
  • Close fit with flat-locked stitching for comfort, seams positioned behind shoulders to avoid rub from bags or bib-shorts
  • Short sleeves and sleeveless versions
  • Washes beautifully
  • Fabric weight is 150g/m2
  • Super fine New Zealand merino wool
  • Retail $80.00

Bottom Line

Bottom Line

The Rapha base layer is really the bomb.  I have used 2 for the last 5 or years and they are still going strong.  Best money I have spent on a base layer yet.

Retail for the Rapah base layer is $80 or 3 for $160 (Sometimes it’s on sale).  Rapha products can be purchased direct from the Rapha website

About The Author

Tom Crandall

Tom has been writing about photography, cycling, running and fitness since 1988, covering everything from the product reviews to the latest in fitness trends. Tom is the Editor-in-chief of,,,, and a few other publications, he began racing in college while getting an Information Resource Management degree at George Mason University. Based in the photography and cycling-crazed city of Austin, Texas, with his wife Kathleen and pug Olaf, Tom enjoys running, walking or riding most every day.

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