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I try and ride year round and the most crucial thing I've learned is that it's far too easy to get overcold and thus I've invested a lot in warm clothing over the years. While this year I missed riding in January, I have been out in February a few times when the roads were clear. Most of those days, it's been hovering around the 0C mark and normally I'd just use my heated kit over my EDZ base layer http://www.edzlayering.com/motorcycle/mens/baselayer/baselayer.html. Sadly, the EDZ has seen better days and the knees started to go through so it is time for a change - Note, this is not a reflection on the EDZ kit other than the fact I've now worn it a lot over the past three years.
While searching around, I ran into the Virus stay-warm range - http://virusintl.com/shop/men/series/stay-warm.html - which, because of the user of the word coffee, caught my eye.
The claims are pretty impressive: Specifically designed for use in cold temperature sports (such as snowboarding), it's a high tech fabric imbued with Coffee Charcoal, which I assume is the basis for it's odor protection. It also promises upto a 10F heat retention all whilst wicking moisture from the skin.
Upon receiving it, the first thing I noticed is that it didn't smell of coffee at all. Now, that's not surprising, but I am a coffee junky and I had held faint hope for a caffeine wiff as I put it on.
The most obvious thing about this gear is the fit. It is a compression layer and thus it's skin tight, though the four-way stretch fabric means it's still pretty easy to put on. The only complaint I had in this regard is the hem of the pants, which I found to be very tight in pulling over the ankles. If anything, this would be the first thing to go, but the quality of the materials and stitching is very high and should last very well indeed. My guess is that they will probably loosen slightly with time.
My first test was to wear the compression suit around the house and it certainly feels warmer than my regular t-shirt and jeans. it's also incredibly comfortable. This bodes well and it's time for a ride.
Virus recommend the best results are given by wearing the Stay Warm beneath a wind-proof layer. I did this by wearing my Dainese Gore-Tex outer shell, as well as my heated liner, though the latter was not turned on at all.
My riding was typical city riding, with a brief stint on the highway. The temperature by the time I got out was 2C. I'd ridden a week earlier in basically the same temperature and the same gear, albeit with the EDZ base layer and needed to use a gentle heat to stay warm. Not this time. The Virus layer kept me sufficiently warm that I didn't need to use the heated kit at all, even on the 120km/h highway stretch. After 40 minutes, I'm still toasty warm and incredibly comfortable as I ride back into my garage and it's the Virus layer that's made the difference.
Overall, I am incredibly impressed with Virus kit. it's certainly a step up from the EDZ base layer I used to ride in and streets ahead of more traditional thermal clothing. If you ride in colder weather, I can't help but recommend the Virus Stay Warm range.