You might have come across Funkier on sites such as Chain Reaction and Merlin Cycles. It’s good value stuff. Funkier actually started off as a women’s clothing brand and branched out into cycling gear. So they’ve got experience in putting stuff together and great knowledge of materials. It’s an American company, based in Wisconsin.
I’ve been testing their Merano base layer over the last couple of months. And it’s been a very nice thing to wear. Base layers vary widely between your traditional merino, to synthetic wool-a-like to the ‘Under Armour’ type compression gear. And Funkier’s Merano is very much from that latter school of base layers.
When it arrives, you wonder how on earth it can fit you, it’s much smaller than me. I opted for a a L/XL size on my 39.5″ chest and it really is ‘poured on.’ But it’s also very comfortable indeed. The stretch on it is outstanding.
The Merano is a synthetic mix; Nylon makes up most of the material mixed with Elastane and Polyester. It stretches wonderfully and feels great next to the skin. It’s very well sized as as well. The arms are absolutely perfect on me and there’s a little added length in the body to tuck into your winter bibs or tights. There’s quite a bit of useful tech going on here but, broadly, it’s quick drying, very well ventilated and, above all, warm.
The patterning is fairly unique. I can’t say that I can perceive any real difference between the different parts of the design but I can say that it holds its shape very well. Despite giving the appearance of a multi panelled affair the base layer is actually an all in one and absolutely seamless. So there’s no irritation caused by wearing it for long hours. And that’s pretty important as the compressive nature of the base layer means that it will be in close contact with your skin.
Turn it inside out and you can see that it’s not fleecy but there’s a certain warmth to the material.
This is actually a very well priced base layer but there’s a slight wrinkle with current availability. It does appear quite hard to come by in the UK at the moment. Merlin have the ‘older’ model for £35.99 but in limited sizes. There are some on ebay (again the older one). So the best bet at the moment is to buy direct from Funkier themselves for $39.99. There’s a ten dollar shipping charge so that all comes out at about £39 assuming no customs charges. Alternatively an email to UK importer Bob Elliot might be in order.
Anyhow, how is it? Well, it’s pretty great actually. Although it takes a very different path to being warm than, for example, the Helly Hansen wool or the Craft Warm, it performs very well indeed. In fact, though I referred to it as being from the ‘Under Armour’ school earlier on it comfortably exceeds the warmth of one of their ‘cold’ base layers.
One of the other pluses to the Merano is that because of the close fit, it’s a tidy base layer to wear underneath a short sleeve jersey on those cool spring days. It creates the look of a jersey plus arm warmers. And despite the warmth it creates it’s never over powering. Breathability is always top notch. It’s also a pretty versatile thing. I’ve been using it under running jerseys and it would also make a pretty great football or rugby base layer as well.
This is an excellent base layer and well worth investing in even as we come to the start of more spring like conditions. I’ll see if I can find some more links to where you can buy.