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Endura Transloft base layer review – vented back, bike-specific base layer

Endura’s new Transloft base layers are bike-specific and bi-material but are they best as a base or a superlight mid layer?

Endura Transloft baselayer
(Image: © Guy Kesteven)

Our Verdict

Added warm air entrapment makes Endura’s Transloft base layers great for lightweight sub-shell insulation and they’re well priced too. Wicking and drying aren’t the fastest though and they need a shell to work/last best.

For

  • - Excellent strategic insulation
  • - Added sub-shell warmth and comfort
  • - Low weight and bulk
  • - Great value
  • - Super stretchy fit
  • - Generous length
  • - Synced back panel venting
  • - 47 percent recycled

Against

  • - Slower wicking/drying than a pure base
  • - Needs shell for warmth
  • - Threads pull easily

Endura’s new Transloft base layers use a bike-specific cut and high loft material placement to put warmth where it’s needed most. Wind proofing and wicking/drying performance mean they actually work best as a superlight mid layer rather than a base layer.

Our testing explained

For information on Bike Perfect's testing procedures and how our scoring system works, see our how we test page.

Design and performance

As the name suggests Endura’s new Transloft base layers use 47 percent recycled Primaloft Energy honeycomb fleece-backed fabric for everything but a lighter mesh spine strip. The Primaloft is doubled over for the cuff, hem, and mid-height collar too but as the fabric is so stretchy there are no worries about strangling or need for a woman’s specific cut. The arms are cut to rotate slightly forward too so there’s no armpit bunching, the flat seams are unobtrusive and arm/body lengths are long enough that if you want a really snug fit you could size down without gaps. They pack up really small for bikepacking/back pocketing too.

The honeycomb fleece backing boosts warmth by trapping hot air in the ‘cells’ and under a windproof shell the results are obviously cozy without being too roasting once you start working hard. It also adds extra space between the skin and wet shell fabrics so if they wet out or you sweat out you don’t feel as cold and clammy. 

Endura’s 0-15 degrees Celsius temp range definitely seems based around a relatively steady work rate though, so take that 5 degrees Celsius or more lower if you tend to hammer rather than hibernate. It doesn’t hold the hot air as well as some more structured (and much more expensive) layers without a shell over the top though so it’s best teamed with a vented jacket (like Endura’s Pro SL 3 Season than with a full removal layering set up.

Endura Transloft baselayer

The back of the baselayer has a strip of mesh material that extends the length of the back (Image credit: Guy Kesteven)

The thin back panel lines up with similar strips in other Endura gear (including the F260 Jetstream jersey) to add a minimal material exhaust panel right through to the outside world. That can backfire if the weather really turns and there’s bouncing rain driving off your back, but otherwise, the syncing is great for stopping a soggy spine.

The difference in fabric performance is clear too as the Primaloft material unsurprisingly can’t suck as much sweat off your skin as a full-contact fabric and it doesn’t seem to evaporate it out as fast either. That meant we often finished test rides wetter than we would in a conventional base layer and it took noticeably longer to dry out when sat around after a ride or when hung up to dry. The fabric also seems to snag on undergrowth/zips/velcro more easily than most so you need to be more careful with your lines and laundry loading if you don’t want it looking tatty fast. They still dry a lot quicker and need less laundry care than merino wool base layers. They work really well as a superlight mid-layer over a skimpy fast-wicking base where warmth for weight and price are excellent.

Verdict

Endura’s Transloft layers are a really well-priced mid/base layer crossover. They do a great job of adding noticeable warmth and cozy comfort under shell layers at a low weight/bulk and excellent price. They don’t wick or dry as fast full contact base layers though and they need the wind/thorn protection of a shell.

Tech Specs: Endura Transloft baselayer

  • Price: Long sleeve $64.99/£39.99, Short sleeve $59.99/£34.99
  • Sizes: S, M, L, XL, XXL
  • Colors: Black

Guy Kesteven is Bike Perfect and Cyclingnews’ contributing tech editor. Hatched in Yorkshire he's been hardened by riding round it in all weathers since he was a kid. He spent a few years working in bike shops and warehouses before starting writing and testing for bike mags in 1996. Since then he’s written several million words about several thousand test bikes and a ridiculous amount of riding gear. To make sure he rarely sleeps and to fund his custom tandem habit, he’s also penned a handful of bike-related books and talks to a GoPro for YouTube, too.


Rides: Pace RC295, Cotic FlareMax, Specialized Chisel, Vielo V+1 gravel bike, Nicolai FS Enduro, Landescape custom gravel tandem

Height: 180cm

Weight: 69kg