UK moto apparel and protection company Knox knows what it’s like to be cold. The Brits have a special kind of cold all their own — it’s a damp, nasty, bone-penetrating chill that’ll freeze your marrow solid in minutes — so Knox recently released their Cold Killers underwear (or base layers) line, designed and made in the UK using top-notch materials. Someone in England had to do it.
I ordered up a Sport Top and Sport Pant. Take note of the sizing before you order, as the XL top and pant fit me fine, but without a lot of room to spare. These things fit snug.
The front is a sandwich of soft shell fabric on the outside, air flow fleece inside and a wind-proof, breathable membrane in between. The back employs one layer of fleece only. The arms also get the front-back differentiation, with wind-blocking material on the fronts and fleece only on the backs. The design is crisp and sparse. There’s not that much stretch to the wind blocker fabric, so it’s a bit of a wrestling match pulling it over the head, and the sleeves are just a touch short (considering I’m wearing an extra-large), but not overly so. Once on, the Sport Top doesn’t bind or restrict movement and the collar is lined with a nice, soft velour-like material.
I wore the top for a few weeks during our late riding season, and as you might expect it’s nice and cozy. The wind blocker material is highly breathable, but it keeps a fair bit of heat in, so you stay warm but don’t get sweaty — the holy grail of layering. The fleece parts are a fairly open-weave, so they’ll also exhaust a fair bit of excess moisture. While riding, I wore the Sport Top and Sport Pants underneath my normal cold-weather riding gear — a BMW Rallye 3 jacket and Joe Rocket textile waterproof pant. Two degree mornings had me feeling borderline cold until I added my rainsuit jacket on the outside of the Rallye 3. I also usually wear a mid-weight fleece inside as well. I tried substituting the Cold Killers top for my mid-weight fleece, and I remained pretty much just as warm, which surprised me considering there’s much less bulk in the Cold Killers top.
The Cold Killers stuff really shines as a top layer while walking or a bicycling, too. This behaviour leads me to believe that these products would also be sensational worn under body armour for spring and fall off-road riding.
I see the Cold Killers’ use as street undergarments as a thrown-in bonus that comes along with a very versatile, comfortable and stylish set of clothing. If I were buying a set tomorrow, I think I’d probably spring for the Wind Buddy jacket version, as it’d add even more versatility as a spring and casual fall jacket. At retail prices of $89.95 for the Sport Top and $69.95 for the Sport Pants (USD — Canadian pricing hasn’t yet been set) the Cold Killers underwear is certainly worthy of consideration if you’re looking for a versatile set of base layers.
Price: $89.95 (Sport Top), $69.95 (Sport Pants), USD
Sizing a little small
Arms a touch short