Merino wool has fast become the material of choice in high performance base layers from brands such as Howies, Sugoi, Ground Effect and Woolistic - apart from the fact it feels great it doesn't get as smelly as a polyester alternative. Rapha has been making its own merino base layer for a few years now, but for this season the design has been tweaked and an old favourite has been improved.
The superfine New Zealand wool feels fantastic next to the skin; it's incredibly light and contours perfectly to your body. Flatlock seams are used throughout, and the arm seams are kept away from the tops of your shoulders to avoid any potential irritation if you're carrying a rucksack or courier bag.
In use this base layer does its job extremely well, keeping you warm on cold mornings and wicking moisture away; it also managed to stay pong-free even after a week of duty on my daily commute.
The highest praise you can give something like a base layer is that you don't notice you're wearing it (aside from remaining comfortable) and this Rapha base does just that. It's available in either cream (shown) or black, and sleeveless at £40 or long sleeve at £50. As a base layer it's expensive. As a merino wool baselayer it still costs a bit over the odds but it is very good.