With the change in the weather and onset of winter I decided to sample some of the mid- and base-layer garments on the market and settled on the Tornado Advance products from Forcefield.
The Northamptonshire company are probably more famous for their body-armour clothing, the sort that many off-roaders and trackday riders wear, but their Tornado range, which includes shirt, under-trousers, balaclava, neck warmer and under-gloves is quite different.
Ten years in the development, the material that they use on the wind-ward side of the clothes, called Defender, is windproof and thermally efficient. The traveller in me is delighted that it’s also anti-bacterial, very light and fast drying. It’s even waterproof, with a rating of 8,000mm which is better than some outer jackets.
I haven’t yet found myself in conditions where the water has got through my outer clothes, but apparently the material that the kit is lined with – Thermolite® – remains breathable and maintains its thermal properties even if it does somehow get wet. What’s really important though is that the micro-fibre fleece Thermolite® material is engineered with hollow-core fibres to trap more air and it has a lovely soft feel against the skin.
The Tornado Advance is supposed to be a mid-layer not a base-layer, but ably works as both, especially because the ‘flat seam’ construction doesn’t irritate. Even better is that the seams around the seat of the pants area don’t run across your buttocks so that’s added long-distance comfort. If you need to choose between base or mid layers for a long trip, to minimise luggage, these Tornado Advance shirt and under-trousers will work well.
The kit has certainly proven itself during these fresh October and November mornings and it’s nice to use something that keeps the wind out and has thermal properties. I’m still able to ride in Kevlar jeans in temperatures I wouldn’t normally. The only downsides to note are that the nature of the windproof layer means it ‘rustles’ audibly and the high neck with small offset zip on the collar isn’t aesthetically ideal when off the bike.
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Sizes Available: XS – XXL