Review: Belgian Crew Full Gas Short Sleeve Base Layer (€45)
(2018) Poke around road cycling circles long enough and it is certain one will fall into a sock debate of old. In olden times black was the color choice of socks for a ride occurring among inclement weather. I like to think the argument was ‘Why bother with white socks when they will directly turn brown?’ I am not sponsored by anyone who has agreed to give me endless white socks for muddy days, so black it is.
The same, I would say, is true for the base layer. I have often shuddered at the thought of being caught out in weather wearing a coveted jersey. The thought of having splatter up my backside is reserved for a handful of jerseys, ones that are meant to take a pounding. The base layer is also reserved for muddy outings, instances when wardrobe concern hardly cracks the top of the list.
Last weekend found me digging around my offseason bin for a much-coveted piece of kit. The late summer weather took a turn for fall temperatures and I wanted to be comfortable throughout the ride. Before I saw the Belgian Crew (by Belgian Boys Club) Full Gas short sleeve base layer, I knew I had found it by feeling it. It is a stout garment meant for cooler conditions, say, a Spring Classic or two. I reach for this base layer twice a year: in the spring and in the fall. Wearing it means either the season is starting up or it is coming to a close. Either way the ride will be comfortable.
I use the Belgian Crew base layer because of its fit, feel, and basic warmth. The garment has the right amount of compression. It hugs the upper body to move moisture away while keeping body heat in. It’s all designed to be that way. Though base layers have a tendency to be scratchy over time, we continue to enjoy the feel of the Full Gas base layer for years. It still feels as though it were delivered yesterday. Add the layering on the shoulders and across the chest to provide warmth and Belgian Crew have made a layer that fills in all the holes many other companies have overlooked.
The length all around is another feeling I enjoy. I am a fan of longer sleeves and this base layer features it. The bottom of the garment is long but not too long. It won’t bunch up in the bibs and leave a weird-looking roll circling the lower half. With the base layer being black, the low-level sunrays will be absorbed to help with keeping the wearer warm. Seriously, this is a piece of kit that belongs in your cycling closet.
With fall about to be ushered in around the northern hemisphere, the Belgian Crew Full Gas base layer will bolster the off-season ride’s bottom line. With it’s black offering any road spray can be neglected. I can’t imagine any other place the Full Gas base layer would work wonders. I know of no other cycling discipline in the fall that concerns itself with mud, cooler temperatures, nor any natural obstacles. Maybe I should invent one.
Belgian Crew sells Full Gas base layers singly or in pairs of two. Currently the price for a two-pack of Full Gas short sleeve base layers is €80.