The Claim: New to the U.S., RACE is an Italian brand of technical apparel and accessories. They claim that because their RACE All Season Base Layer Top features a combination of hydrophobic polypropylene and non-static carbon you can use it year-round to help keep your body temperature constant. RACE also makes a bold claim about the fabric’s anti-odor capabilities.
The Trial: RACE sent us the top to try out around the time of the first cool-weather bike rides of the fall. I wore it on three consecutive outings with temps mostly in the 50s. I didn’t wash it between uses.
The Verdict: Editorially, we stand behind polypropylene for exactly what RACE claims: because it doesn’t insulate so much as it simply moves moisture away from your skin, you can employ it as a base layer in a range of temperatures. Meaning polypro keeps you dry under insulation layers, but you don’t feel you need to shed it if the sun comes out just as you hit the climb. As for the stink-proof factor, it did indeed outperform my other polypro, but only by a day. It took gumption to don the shirt on ride three. But other than on a multi-day backcountry ski trip, that’s pretty much a nonissue. We don’t know quite what to think about the carbon yarn claims, but even in Colorado’s dry climate the RACE Top didn’t spark with static electricity like typical polypro, so maybe it works. We should also mention the piece is exceedingly comfortable. It’s softer and silkier than the 10-year-old polypro in your closet—perfect for cold weather biking, trail running, and skate skiing. $78; greenaerousa.com —Marc Peruzzi