04 September 2008

bikefix Exclusive Review: Descente D-Vente Long Sleeve Base Layer

I'm a sucker for a gray long-sleeved base layer. Somehow, I have three or four in my closet, and they tend to be in heavy rotation from fall straight on through spring, extending the comfort range of my favorite jerseys and jackets, especially on cool mornings- and even over a tee on Casual Fridays. After having very a positive experience with Descente's D-Vente sleeveless base layer, I decided to add the company's long-sleeve version to my collection.

The D-Vente is made in Canada of a fairly tight, but still open, stretchy mesh material and cut fairly (very?) snug. When not posing, the tail is on my Large is long enough to tuck in nicely without adding too much bulk under Lycra shorts (I'm 6' tall) and the arms are long enough to stay at the wrists even in the drops. The slinky fabric doesn't get hung up on other layers, no doubt aided by the cut. Unlike other baselayers I've owned, Descente's D-Vente mesh fabric is really not designed for standalone warmth. With nothing over it, the wind just blows right through- not as cool as wearing nothing at all, but pretty close. Unlike most, it's not cozy, in fact, it usually feels somewhat metallic and weird until the fabric warms up to my body temperature. Under a zipped-up jersey, windbreaker or rain jacket, though, it adds a noticeable amount of warmth. As a result, it's become one of my favorite tops for high-altitude rides where rain threatens (which happens to be virtually all of my high-altitude rides). On bare arms, rain jackets don't offer much in the way of warmth. Sure, you'll be dry (a good thing), but if that rain's 45 degrees, you're going to get cold. The D-Vente is enough to keep me warm down to about 45 or 50 degrees with nothing but a short-sleeve jersey and rain jacket on top. When the sun pops out, just taking the jacket off is enough to keep me cool well into the 60s and reducing the number of stops needed on flaky weather days.

I think that the Descente ran me about $40- not cheap, but a bargain for a technical piece made in North America. Sadly, it's been discontinued in favor of a pair of tops made of different weights of Descente's Pro-V fabric, which is intended to be cozier and dry more quickly (I haven't had the opportunity to try the new version yet). Overall, the D-Vente Long Sleeve Base Layer is a very nice, functional baselayer for moderately cool days that won't cause overheating as the day warms or skies dry.




Richard said...

Hey Ribby, I like the club gear. I didn't think you'd want to expose your treasure trail on the internet.

ojulius said...

Nice gut shot...oh, was this about the shirt??

bikefix said...

Aww, yeah- the ladies love it. Well, and Rich.


Matt said...

I did not need to see that.