The Sugoi Carbon Base Layer is a warm, soft and breathable long sleeve undershirt, though the multi-purpose cut isn’t as dialled in as a cycling-specific garment.
The base layer gets its name from the ‘FinoCarbon’ fabric from which its made. It’s a ‘double jersey knit’ designed to offer 360 degrees of stretch and, with it, freedom of movement.
The fabric contains silver ions and carbon particles, with the former said to eliminate odour causing bacteria and the latter believed to then banish any left over bacteria. We can’t vouch for the science behind the fabric other than to say it does has plenty of stretch, so it follows the body as you move on the bike, and it remained stink-free through the course of our test.
The fabric is softer, both on the inside and outside, than many synthetic base layers. It’s not a particularly thick fabric but that softness gives it a luxurious feel and that’s a good quality in a garment which sits directly next to the skin.
Sugoi is a Canadian firm which makes technical clothing for cycling and running and the Carbon is pitched as a “multi-purpose long sleeve tee which is a comfortable, technical layer for year-round fitness.”
Comfort we’ve covered. As for its technical properties, the base layer does an excellent job at wicking sweat away from the skin. That moisture then continues its outward journey, rather than being retained in the material as it would a merino base layer, and that ensures the Carbon stays dry when working hard on the bike.
It’s a fairly warm mid-weight base layer, one that’s got plenty of use through the last few weeks, so we’d describe it as most suitable for winter riding and the shoulder months of spring and autumn, rather than year-round use.
As a multi-sport base layer the Carbon’s cut isn’t as cycling-specific as an undershirt designed solely for riding your bike. It’s still cut a little lower at the back than the front and on the whole that’s fine considering it’s likely to be tucked in to bib tights or shorts, but we did find it a little prone to riding up if not properly secured. The sizing is also very generous and you’re likely to need to go down at least one size in order to get a close fit.
The contoured sleeves have thumb loops at the end to stop the sleeves riding up. To be honest, that’s not a problem we’ve experienced with other base layers and we found the loops tugged a little on the area between the thumb and index finger when riding. So while the thumb loops were useful when pulling the jersey on to ensure the sleeve didn’t disappear up inside the jersey or jacket, we didn’t use them when riding.
The Sugoi Carbon ticks the boxes as a long sleeve base layer: it’s warm, soft next to the skin and does an excellent job at keeping you sweat-free. It’s a decent price, too, and while the multi-purpose cut isn’t as tuned in for cycling as it could be, it’s fine on the whole and does extend the base layer’s remit across a number of sports. Just watch out for the sizing.