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Reviewed: Capo Torino SL base layer

  • By Logan VonBokel
  • Published Sep. 13, 2013
The Capo Torino SL is the fastest-drying base layer we’ve tested. Photo: Logan VonBokel | VeloNews.com

Pros: Driest base layer we’ve tested
Cons: Pricing reflects its superiority

For years, clothing manufacturers have pushed “summer base layers” on us, claiming quick drying and lofty performance expectations. We do our best to ride them in the hottest conditions we can, and even in the arid climate of Colorado; every base layer is a sopping mess of artificial fibers at the end of a ride.

Recently at the Gateway Cup criteriums in St. Louis, I put another pair of base layers to the test in the heat and high humidity of the Midwest. Both were from Capo cycling, dubbed the Torino 3D and Torino SL.

The 3D is the more complicated of the two, utilizing multiple patterns, with mesh patches in strategic locations. The SL is all mesh. Both are intended for year-round use and are designed around moving as much moisture off the skin as possible.

Though they differ in weave and fabric thickness, both the SL and 3D are made from the same material, one piece of tubular fabric that Capo calls Dryarn. Both come in one size that Capo claims will fit anyone who normally wears anything between an XS woman to a 2XL man. The 3D is available in long- and short-sleeved versions, while the SL comes with short, long, or no sleeves.

I wore the Torino 3D on day 1 and the Torino SL on 2 two while racing Gateway. Temperatures were similar, in the mid-90’s with a hot sun and high humidity, though day 1 was slightly warmer. But most importantly, the humidity levels were nearly identical.

The “holy cow” moment was post-race on day 2, while wearing the meshy Torino SL, when I took off my soaking wet jersey and realized my base layer was bone-dry. I had never been so comfortable in a base layer in such heat and humidity. The only base layer I’ve tested that holds a candle to the Torino SL is the lightweight sleeveless base layer from Gore — and even that doesn’t quite reach the same level of moisture management.

Of course, with most products that have thoroughly impressed us in recent years, the Capo Torino SL and 3D base layers are some of the more expensive lightweight base layers on the market. The super-airy Torino SL with short sleeves costs $80 and the Torino 3D comes in at $90. The Torino is still less expensive than lightweight offerings from Assos and Santini and is right on the same mark as Rapha’s Pro Team base layer, which sports a very similar mesh design.

So if you can get past the $80 price tag and build the confidence to rock this base layer — despite it looking like something Chris Kattan would have worn in A Night at the Roxbury — you’ll be impressed if not a bit shocked at how dry it keeps you. It’s one of the best summer layers around, and the benefits of a dry core shouldn’t be discounted with a cold winter approaching, either.

FILED UNDER: Bikes and Tech / Reviews TAGS:

Logan VonBokel

Logan VonBokel

Equally at home on a mountain bike above treeline and chasing down moves in the heat and humidity of a Midwest criterium, Logan Vonbokel is something of an oddity in cycling. Since he first swung a leg over a road bike as a freshman in high school, Logan has been a lover of both cutting-edge technological innovations and the clean lines of classic handmade bikes. Logan joined the tech team in May 2012, bringing with him nearly a decade of high-caliber road racing experience and his undying love for the mud, cowbells, and culture of cyclocross. Logan still races at the Cat. 2 level on the road and in cyclocross, and carries a seldom-used Cat. 1 mountain bike license.

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