Review: Belgian Crew Full Gas Sleeveless Base Layer (€35)
(2018) I have found my new favorite base layer for the balance of the summer months. It had to happen; the old garment in heavy rotation was exhausted. Getting summer layers right is a hard thing to do. But Belgian Crew (by Belgian Boys Club) pulled it off.
Belgian Boys Club has undergone a slight change in the last few months. Instead of being in a club, one now aspires to be amongst the Crew. Clubs make one think of party nights after a successful race. Crews make us think of cobble custodians responsible for the well being of northern Europe’s Spring Classic sections. Crews go to work. When a rider pulls on Belgian Crew attire that is exactly what happens: we go to work.
I have three items in my cycling kit that are aged over ten years. My reliable pair of Oakley Radars are still shielding the eyes after a decade. Also an aged device, my rear Princeton Tec blinking light has given me no excuse to replace it. Finally the thin sleeveless base layer that has logged more miles than my current bike is showing signs of giving in. There are few items from the Belgian Boys Club collection I don’t own, it became time to order up their sleeveless base layer.
Summer base layers are a hard sell. It feels counterintuitive to recommend adding layers to cool off, especially when the mercury is residing in the sweltering range. A summer base layer has to be efficient in removing the body heat and sweat away from the body for the next layer to deal with. Remarkably it cannot be bulky. Compression is necessary, too. I knew it was time to retire the old base layer when it no longer hugged the body. Belgian Crew’s Full Gas Sleeveless Base Layer has all the attributes I wanted in a replacement.
The main focus of the garment is comfort. The Full Gas garment provides comfortable compression despite my size being on the lower end of the option. Those in the upper size will feel even more compression. What it also succeeds at is a layer that is itch free. There are minimal seams to build up an irritation while sweating. The deep mesh provides comfortable airflow when the jersey gets unzipped, either for long grinding climbs or for hot rides.
As always the Belgian Crew fabrics come with immense attention to detail. For starters there is the ubiquitous Belgian flag on the front collar area. The label FULL GAS is visible whence the jersey has become unzipped. It becomes visible when the riding gets serious. There is also the Belgian Boys Club stamp as well as the Lion of Flanders, both visible when putting the kit on to remind you of your duty to set the pace with the group.
The quality Belgian Crew garment available by Belgian Boys Club is just the base layer you’re looking for to cover up with a jersey and forget about. That’s one of the unsung properties of base layers: you forget about them when they work for you, but you’ll know if they work against you. The only problem is I only ordered one; their sleeveless base layers come in a two-for deal. I expect to order more before the end of summer. That’s a good thing. That means I am out riding in the heat because my kit selection does the trick. Get the two pack, and then get two more.