VnM Sport ActivCool-GP Base Layer Review

The VnM ActivCool-GP top proved its worth at the launch of the 2023 Indian Sport Chief in Austin, where the afternoon temperatures soared to near-record high levels for February! The cooling and compression effects of the material were noticeable and welcome during a lunch break.

For most of my motorcycle riding, my baselayer has been basic. I usually wear a cotton short-sleeved T-shirt under my armored mesh jacket for hot weather. The VnM Sport ActivCool-GP base lay brings me into the 21st century with some features you don’t always see in base layers.

Where possible, seams on VnM Sport base layers are either eliminated or placed so they don’t fall on potential pressure or abrasion areas under the riding gear armor. VnM Sport base layer shirts do not have the seam running along the top of the shoulder to the base of the sleeve or seams that meet at the point of the shoulder seam, as is common in shirts.

VnM ActivCool-GP base layer review: For sale
VnM Sport base layer construction has no seams down the top of the shoulder, around the base of the sleeve, or down the length of the sleeve over the point of the elbow. This eliminates potential pressure points under your impact protectors.

Similarly, the common seam location down the back of the sleeve that typically traverses the point of the elbow is also located away from that potential pressure point. That allows shoulder and elbow armor to rest on smooth fabric instead of putting pressure on your skin at each seam. With VnM’s use of the smooth stretch fabric, chafing, bunching, binding, and hot spots are designed out of the garment. That makes a world of sense, but it is a feature I’ve never considered until now. The benefit of this feature becomes more evident the tighter and more aerodynamic your top gear or leathers fit.

In addition, VnM shirts include a collar designed to provide shade to the back of the neck and prevent collar interference with a helmet neck roll and other parts of rider protective gear. The back is longer than the front on the tops to ensure coverage at the junction of your riding jacket and pants.

VnM ActivCool-GP Base Layer Review: MSRP
The ActivCool-GP top in Ducati Red is a smooth, natural-fitting garment that works well when doing a physical workout with free weights, and when I hit the road with my motorcycle. The absence of seams under the shoulder and elbow impact armor locations in my jacket prevented the development of pressure spots under the armor.

Medical degree compression requires 20-25 Hg—a blood pressure measuring unit—while VnM tops are in the 12 to 25 Hg range. Compression-fit garments help reduce fatigue and muscle soreness by countering the effects of oscillation and vibration that occur with physical exertion and from riding and by reducing lactic acid build-up in the muscles. Compression also assists with shorter physical recovery time after exercise.

The fabric used by VnM Sport has a woven-in honeycomb pattern that promotes evaporation and ventilation of the skin for an enhanced cooling effect, even in its long-sleeved products. The Italian fabric is 80 percent polyester and 20 percent Lycra Elastane. According to VnM, it dries eight times faster than cotton, and offers SPF 50+ sun protection.

I put the ActivCool-GP top in DucatiRed to the test during the launch event of the 2023 Indian Sport Chief in Austin in February. The weather was perfect—clear skies and near-record high temperatures in some areas around Austin!

Even under my armored leather riding jacket in the heat of Austin, Texas, with the main zipper open just a bit, a cooling effect could be felt. The compression effect of the VnM Sport baselayer seemed to help offset the fatigue effect of several hours in the saddle, as well. Photo by Garth Milan.

With the ActivCool-GP baselayer in place and zippers opened a bit on my Cortech Idol armored leather riding jacket, I could feel a noticeable cooling effect when underway, even at low speeds. The result of placing the seam away from where the jacket’s impact armor rides over the shoulders, elbows, and back kept those areas from having any pressure areas that could develop at the seams. A special silicone gripper strip at the garment’s waist keeps it from shifting.

As a baselayer under an aggressive-fit non-perforated leather jacket, there is a sensation of coolness and ease of movement. Also, the jacket slides on and off with ease.

Vnm ActivCool-GP Base Layer Review: Price and Colors

I also tested the VnM Sport ActivCool-GP top as athletic gear during weight training. That revealed the fabric’s honeycomb design does create a noticeable cooling effect. The compression fit is sleek and comfortable. It works great during a workout, allowing a full range of motion.

Care instructions for the gear are not exotic—machine wash them (turned inside-out) without fabric softener or bleach. Hang to air dry. Contact with hook-and-loop closure materials should be avoided to prevent fabric pulls.

Thanks to close attention to detail, the VnM Sport ActivCool-GP top takes design parameters to the next level above the products I’ve been using, and it has the versatility to perform multiple duties, on and off the motorcycle.