High tech fabrics and moto-inspired design
Base layer clothing is popular among sports enthusiasts of every type and we motorcyclists are no exception. Properly selected undergarments will regulate body temperature, enhance athletic performance and improve rider comfort. To this point, we riders have been making due with garments designed for other sports. Twisted Core is out to change all that. The one and only mission of this company is to make motorcycle-specific base layer clothing for both hot and cold weather applications.
Base layer history
A decade ago, we were happy enough that our leathers were equipped with fabric liners. Then came mesh under-suits, which promoted airflow and prevented the leather suit's inner lining from sticking to the wearer's skin. This innovation kept us somewhat cooler and allowed us to don and remove our leathers more easily. The performance of mesh suits was soon exceeded by shirts and pants made from fabrics which wick sweat away from the rider. Compression fabrics were the next innovation, with Under Armor and other brands offering garments which enhanced blood flow and muscle performance, controlled body temperature and made it easier to get in and out of a set of leathers. With each advance in technology, there have been motorcycle-specific undergarments made from the latest fabrics; however, Twisted Core is the first company to approach the concept of motorcycling base layers with a clean sheet of paper.
Engineered by riders, to fit riders
We were introduced to this product by Bob Blandford, the founder of NESBA. Bob was heavily involved in the creation of the Twisted Core shirts and pants. Needless to say, Blanford is a very experienced rider who knows exactly what he wants in a motorcycle-specific base layer. Construction details include an extra long shirt tail that doesn't become untucked in a racer crouch, longer sleeves and legs that won't ride up the limbs when the user reaches for a motorcycle's controls and more room in the back and shoulders for wrestling a set of handlebars. The garments are tagless and feature Flatlock seams, which means that they fit as smoothly as a second skin. A technology called "Gradient Compression" is used to supply a snug fit in varying degrees to the torso, thighs, forearms and calves, thus increasing muscle performance while reducing fatigue. The entire back is made from a technical mesh which allows maximum temperature exchange between the rider's skin and the environment.
We tried Twisted Core's Summer Base Layer shirt and pants at Barber Motorsports Park on an October weekend. Upon donning the garments, we were delighted to discover that this is extremely soft and supportive clothing. In fact, it feels so good against your skin that you might find excuses to wear it even when you aren't riding. Having put this gear on when getting dressed after our morning shower, we found the Twisted Core shirt and pants to be quite comfortable under jeans and a sweatshirt. Soon it was time to suit up in our riding gear for the first session. The combination of Twisted Core's engineered fit and the overall slipperiness of the base layer allows your leathers to float over them slightly, enhancing your ability to move around while suited up. Sunrise temps that weekend were in the forties with afternoons rising into the high seventy degree range. Those cold mornings made it clear how well this hot weather gear flows air, as every perforation in our leather suit became an icy needle to the flesh, even when just standing around in a gentle breeze. On track and at speed, we were extremely cold. As the day first warmed and then became hot, we kept our cool completely and found sweat to be an absolute non-issue.
Our Twisted Core Summer Base Layer shirt and pants gave us every reason to praise them and very little to complain about. In fact, our only two initial gripes eventually proved unfounded. The pants don't have a fly. This is annoying if you're wearing the base layer under jeans but that isn't what they were designed for, is it? Certainly women won't mind this issue and in truth, most men find it easier to go up and over the waistband anyway when they're trying to do the urinal dance in an unzipped set of one-piece leathers, which is where the base layer was intended to be used. (And trust us, a two-piece base layer like Twisted Core is much more convenient than a one-piece if you're contemplating a sit-down job....) The arms and legs seem overly long when you view these clothes as underwear; a design element which validates itself the moment you assume the sportbike position and discover that your wrists and ankles remain covered.
Twisted Core Base Layer clothing comes in winter or summer weight. In either case, the shirt costs $59.99 and the pants sell for $49.99. This pricing places it on a par with Under Armor, well below Alpinestars and slightly above the economy brands. Does it offer value for the money? Honestly, we've yet to wear anything under our riding gear that we liked better. If you're looking for base layer garments designed specifically to outperform all comers in a two-wheeled environment, Twisted Core has no equal.