15 February 2009

bikefix Exclusive Review: Canari 1801 Sleeveless Baselayer

This product came to me by surprise when the boys down at Bikeworks ordered some various Canari pieces to try- as a precursor to perhaps bringing in more Canari clothing to hang on the racks. They told me to pick through the pile and see if there was something I wanted to try. I have all sorts of baselayers, but I didn’t have a sleeveless one, and to add to my interest- it was thin, super-light, and was a mixture of synthetic and wool fabrics. I grabbed it with the thought that it could pair-up nicely with other clothes on those days that were just cold enough that you couldn’t quite decide how much to wear. Also, considering it’s feathery weight, if it proved too warm I could stuff it in my pack without even noticing it.

Canari has almost no info on their website about this product. In fact, finding it was very difficult- it isn’t listed with all the other clothes on the main product links. You have to go down to the bottom of the page to “catalogs” and click on it- then scroll through the catalog until you find it. Once you do this you will read a few words that tell you very little about the baselayer. Not something I would have ordered off the description alone.

Website issues aside, the baselayer's Dri-Release fabric is made mostly of synthetic materials to pull the moisture off quickly, but has just enough wool (11%) to give it a bit of warmth (the catalog has no mention of wool being used-it was a pleasant surprise). Make no mistake, this is not a product designed to keep you warm- it is primarily a moisture transfer device. You can feel the warmth that the baselayer adds though, and as I said, it is the perfect addition to your outfit on certain days. For me it is those days at the end of fall or early spring (or unseasonably warm winter days- like this year) that are sunny and warm-ish in the middle of the day- but hold quite a chill in the mornings and late afternoons. For instance, last October I did a ride in Chama, NM that started at about 8600 ft and went to almost 11,000 at its highest. We started late morning on a beautiful day and all I wore was this baselayer and a lightweight long-sleeve jersey. This combo worked for me the whole day- from the mid-day temperature in the 70’s to the high elevations where a light snow was left from the night before. There are all sorts of temperatures/riding conditions that this baselayer could be invaluable for. This baselayer is a worthy addition to your riding kit. While I haven't seen Canari's MSRP, I have seen it selling for around $36, which is about the going rate for similar pieces.



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