Review: Is The Rhino Thermal Base Layer Good For Cycling?
My Rhino Rugby Thermal Base Layer Top Review First Look:
Okay, the nights are well and truly closing in.
It is now around freezing point during the day and even colder at night.
There’s been snow on the ground recently and I am committed to cycling to as much as possible still to ensure that I keep some modicum of cardiovascular fitness as well as trying to ensure that all of the Christmas over indulgences are kept away from my midriff.
Obviously a decent fat burner helps with this, too.
I am also keen to continue with my application to the Army Reserves during the new year as well, so I need as much anaerobic fitness as possible.
Weightlifting is fine and dandy but it will not necessarily help me with a 5 mile run laden with kit.
With the cold snap here for a while, I wanted to ensure I am warm on my bicycle but do not want to layer up with overly bulky fleece tops that leave you dripping with sweat.
When the temperature drops I have either the choice of a very lightweight softshell jacket or a Rapha + Paul Smith waterproof.
Both are close fitting, so lots of layering or thick under shirts wouldn’t be suitable for my 7 mile cycle in to the city center to get to the office.
This made me look at base layers, they’re thin, lightweight, dry easily and supposedly regulate body temperature.
Like some mythical material they are supposedly able to keep you warm when the outside temperature drops and cool your body when the outside temperature is high.
Now, as I woke up this morning and it was 30 degrees Fahrenheit/ -1 degree Celsius I had a little pessimism about just how warm this top could keep me.
I opened the bag it came delivered in and slipped it on. I have two of them.
One in vivid fluro pink and one in purple.
It supposedly regulates your body temperature acting as a second skin.
It keeps you warm when the outer temperature is cold and keeps your body cool when the outer temperature is hot.
It feels pretty good when on.
Now, I did not go for a particularly tight fit.
I normally wear size large for tops. This is XXL.
It is pretty tight around my shoulders and chest but hangs around my stomach and waist area.
I just cannot deal with really tight fitting garments as I feel suffocated.
A size L in this would have killed me off.
However, when on, around the house everything just felt at a nice temperature. I didn’t feel hot at all.
So, this made me a little concerned when all I had to wear over the top of this was a thin waterproof jacket with no lining when outside and on my bicycle.
With a little trepidation I donned my jacket, put on my helmet and went outside to get my bike from the shed.
All of the cars parked up are frozen over, there’s a light dusting of snow on the ground that has frozen solid and the grass is rock hard to walk on.
All I had on was my Rhino Rugby base layer, waterproof rain jacket, pair of shorts, ankle socks, Adidas shelltoe’s, a neck buff, my helmet and now a pair of thermal and waterproof winter cycling gloves.
I jumped on my bike and started cycling.
Immediately my eyes were watering, my cheeks and shins felt like they were being whipped by the cold air…
As I continued along the canal trying not to slip on the ice and fall in to the frozen over water by shins and knees were becoming increasingly red raw, my finger ends were hurting and becoming a bit numb.
Yet, my upper body was absolutely fine. I wasn’t sweating at all and I wasn’t cold either.
I felt just right. Being lightweight and a thin material I didn’t feel restricted at all nor did it feel like a tight fit between my body and the jacket.
When I arrived at work my shins hurt, my finger ends hurt but my core was just the right temperature with no sweat nor being cold.
This is such a vast improvement over cotton tee shirts which become sweaty and then hold the cold sweat against your body making you feel damp and uncomfortable.
I have yet to see how it performs in hot weather, but in the cold it was an impressive performance from such a thin garment.
Because I wasn’t sweating I am not sure of the odor capabilities either, but realistically I cannot find fault with it.
Okay, you probably do not want to be walking around wearing it as a casual top with jeans, but for sports it is incredible.
It would be nice to have seen some reflective piping or details for when it is not being worn under something, especially for those who go jogging or on a bicycle.
My Rhino Rugby Thermal Base Layer Top Review Conclusion:
Okay, I had heard about compression tops and base layers but always stuck with the usual cotton tee shirts for gym or cycling.
Now I have felt the amazing benefits of these thermal base layer tops I am an absolute convert.
I had to suffer windchill but wasn’t cycling like a madman to heat up, yet this thin layer beneath just a thin rain jacket with no lining kept me at the perfect temperature when my shins and fingers were burning from the cold.
There’s no frills about this top, no fancy graphics or reflective detailing but the cost is low; yet the effectiveness and benefits are amazing.
I have recently tried one from Under Armour and it performed no better but the cost is much higher.
I have two of these from Rhino for a reason. They’re amazing.