Hackney GT Stars and Stripes unisex base layer - review - Road Cycling UK

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Hackney GT Stars and Stripes unisex base layer – review

Striking design backed up by excellent performance

Hackney GT aim to deliver funky and visually interesting kit – and the Stars and Stripes base layer does that with aplomb. Made in England from a material sourced in Belgium, this is a base layer which also impresses with its fit, performance and styling.

It’s not often you get excited by a base layer – perhaps the most functional of all cycling kit – so getting something made here in the UK and visually unique to test made for a refreshing change. If you’re not familiar with Clapton-based Hackney GT, check out this video which reveals the back story to the brand.

Made from a fabric called Aviatar, a perforated polyester material which is designed to work in all seasons and weather, I found it to perform really well in the recent muggy and warm summer weather, while also effective in summer rain storms. This certainly isn’t a thermal base layer but it has the potential for year-round usage as it does an excellent job at wicking away sweat, working to keep you cool and comfortable in the summer, and helping to avoid a chill in colder temperatures.

The Hackney GT Stars and Stripes base layer’s striking design is backed up by excellent performance
  • Specification

  • Price: £38
  • Sizes: XS-XL
  • Size tested: M
  • Website: Hackney GT

The side panels are made from lycra and the added stretch helps keep the fit close, while also ensuring the base layer conforms with the body and moves comfortably while riding. The whole thing is double stitched and well finished.

The fit described by Hackney GT as a “UK tailored fit” and this translates to more realistic fit than some European brand, which may have more of a focus on race-focused clothing. The medium I tested was spot on – close fitting, but not restrictive. That’s helped by the sensibly-shaped panels and the stretch of both the polyester and lycra fabrics, ensuring there are no tight or baggy areas. The base layer has a second skin feel to it, but getting in and out of it is pretty easy – sometimes an issue with base layers after a wet or hard, sweaty ride.

The smooth rolled hems on the arms and neck add to the overall comfort and in terms of length, it’s right in the Goldilocks zone – neither too long or short, just right. While the sizing is meant to be unisex, I can only comment on how it fitted me.

As for the styling, this isn’t like your normal, plain white base layer which is going to go grey or murky after a few months of use. It’s a design unique to Hackney GT, with green, red and yellow starts laid on top of the blue and white stripes. Hackney GT’s smart logo on the hip, hem and centre neck line are a reminder of who made it.

The base layer combines a fast-wicking and quick-drying polyester fabric with lycra side panels

Hackney GT also offer two alternative designs: the ‘flowers’ base layer is white with multi-coloured flowers, and the ‘bang’ base layer is a little more understated, white again with blue and red blocks. Design aside, all three base layers are exactly the same.

Conclusion

I appreciate some people might not like the ‘jazzy’ look, but as most base layers are seldom seen, this shouldn’t necessarily be a reason to ignore this one – though having one as smart as this pays off in the style stakes when you’re climbing, jersey unzipped, on a hot day. Design aside, the Hackney GT Stars and Stripes base layer has a great fit, performs very well and has the added bonus of being made in the UK. All that does mean, however, that it’s at the more expensive end of the spectrum at £38.

Pros

  • Excellent fit
  • Fast-wicking and quick-drying fabric
  • Interesting design

Cons

  • Design may not be to everyone’s taste, but don’t let that put you off

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