Giordana Body Clone Short Sleeve Over/Under Base Layer
The pictures in both our catalogue and Giordana's make their Body Clone Over/Under base layer seem more like a fashion item than a utilitarian garment. The red at the sleeve ends. Set-in sleeves rather than raglan. Shoulder panels rather than a single seam running across the shoulders. Even the "hand" seems to be more fashion than function; it's smooth and soft on the outside, rather than meshy or rough of both. It looks thicker than other base layers, and as such appears "warmer," if you can judge base layers by their appearance.
Putting it on our gram scale, we weighed the Over/Under at 133g. A short sleeve Craft Pro Zero base layer in a Small weighs in out 122g.
In keeping with the rest of the Body Clone line, it's fashionable and can be worn alone. Not that we expect you to wear the bibs to a stylish fusion restaurant. Still, style is very important. But appearances can be deceiving. It is a base layer first, and a comfortable one at that.
First, a note about sizing. As with all Body Clone base layers, this top should fit snug, like a second skin. Unfortunately, we couldn't find a Small size anywhere in the US, so we went with the Medium. The Medium fits us like our standard cotton T. Looks good as a shirt matched with jeans or baggy shorts on a casual commuter ride. But the size isn't ideal for the base layer to do what it's supposed to do. That is, when it isn't touching skin, it's not doing all the wicking it should be able to do. Tucking it under bibs and under a snug jersey can help, but it still isn't quite the same.
The Medium still worked. It looks warm compared to a Craft top that has all those channels or the fishnet of Campagnolo or Castelli, but it is neither warm nor cool. We've worn it as a single layer under a light long sleeve jersey or our team-issue short sleeve jersey on easy rides in the low 50's Fahrenheit to around 70 degrees. Raced in it under a long sleeve base layer and short sleeve jersey when the conditions were in the low 40s. It actually felt neither warm nor cool in any of these conditions. The layer felt pretty dry just about all the time.
The Over/Under is made of two different fibers, one for the inside and one for the outside. The red stuff on the inside, which appears to be a kind of mesh, is polypropylene. The black on the outside is Dryarn. The polypro wicks away moisture quickly and transfers it to the Dryarn, where it either dries in the atmosphere or then transfers the moisture on to another layer. The Dryarn is a bit more durable and abrasion-resistant than the polypro, which makes it good for heavy-duty use.
Dryarn is also supposed to absorb minimal odors, moisture, or stains. We wore this top for multiple days between washings. In terms of odor, we can report minimal stink even when worn on three multi-hour rides in a row. Others may have noticed, but we didn't have the sensation of not even wanting to be in the same room with the top, which sometimes happens with lesser base layers. On our hydrophobic/philic Hind winter tops, we can get an impressive salt stain on the outside after a long winter ride. Sweating caused no salt rings to appear. We don't know if this is because we didn't overheat enough, or the jersey on top of the base layer wicks better, or if it's thanks to the Dryarn. Whatever it does, it works.
In terms of moisture management, the Over/Under did great. The top rarely felt damp, either during a hard threshold effort, or climbing at our limit, or when we backed off the gas at the end of a ride. Usually, by the time we were taking off our jersey, the base layer felt pretty dry.
Giordana recommends washing this top on cold and air-drying. Interestingly, when going this route, the top seemed to take longer to dry than the Rapha base layer we tested out in the fall. Since the Rapha sometimes felt damp next to our skin, the longer drying time was a surprise. We did, however, start machine-washing the Giordana top with the rest of our cycling clothing. Wash on warm, dry on low heat. Seemed to do fine.
In terms of comfort, the top against the skin is great. Our only issue, and it's a small one, is that the sleeves seem a bit bulky. They don't get in the way or lead to overheating, but under a jersey that has snugly fitting sleeves, there were times when it just felt like more material than we're comfortable having around our arms. But this gripe is one that we have with all short sleeve base layers; our preference is for sleeveless when riding.
The two things we didn't get to do was test out the Over/Under on a warm day or on a cold day under a second layer and a windproof jacket. By the former, we mean riding hard on a day when the temperatures are in the low 70s Fahrenheit. We usually leave the base layers at home in this kind of weather, but it would have been interesting to see how well it managed wicking on a day when other base layers typically get sweaty and uncomfortable. By the latter, we'd be interested to see how it feels after a long ride with next to no venting coming from the jacket.
This Giordana Body Clone base layer surprised us. It functioned much better than expected in a wider variety of conditions than we expected. Now if we could just get it in a Small and sleeveless, our base layer quiver could be complete. Until another great base layer comes along.