Zerofit Heatrub review | Ultimate & Move: best motorcycle thermal base-layers?

Heatrub Ultimate review thermal base layer_THUMB


Date reviewed: January 2022 | Tested by: John Milbank | Price: £55 |


“I love this. I’m never taking it off.”

That was my wife Helen’s reaction after her first day in the Zerofit Heatrub Ultimate base-layers. And true to her word, she’s worn it every day since (except in bed), not just on the back of the bike, but while walking, looking after her horse and running. All at temperatures as low as -5°C. Oh, and while sitting at her desk working where it’s not quite so cold, though I am reluctant to have the house heating turned up.

I’ve also been using the ‘Ultimate’ top and trousers, as well as the ‘Move’ while riding my Honda VFR800 and BMW R1250GS, along with walking our dog, helping at the horse yard and sitting here writing this review…


Pros & Cons

  • Outstanding warmth in Heatrub Ultimate
  • Unrestrictive and comfortable fit
  • Similar price to other premium base-layers
  • Care needed when washing
  • Wool in ‘Ultimate’ might irritate some

The black material in these pictures is the Heatrub Move, while the grey is the Heatrub Ultimate.


Material and construction

It’s important to note that there are two versions of the Zerofit Heatrub base-layers – the ‘Ultimate’ and the ‘Move’.

  • The Zerofit Heatrub Ultimate base-layer has what’s described as a “‘double-loop’ barrel fabric” that’s claimed to provide heat insulation, and to generate warmth through friction of the fabric against your skin. It’s made up of 68% acrylic, 21% nylon, 7% wool, 2% polyester and 2% polyurethane.
  • The Zerofit Heatrub Move base-layer is a thinner design that’s intended for more sporting activities. It’s claimed to be warmer than many other base-layers, but promises to prevent overheating and to wick away sweat. It’s made up of 50% polyester, 45% polypropylene and 5% polyurethane.

The Ultimate and the Move feel quite different to wear, the latter being around half the thickness, and more like a traditional sports base-layer.


Shown here shot with my macro lens, then through a microscope, you can see the loose knit of the fibres on the inside of the Zerofit Heatrub Ultimate. It feels a lot like a thin, lightweight jumper when you first pick it up, but it doesn’t feel bulky when you’re wearing it.


This is a macro and microscope shot of the Zeroft Heatrub Move, which has a much shorter, more densely-packed construction on the inside. It feels more like a traditional base-layer with a fine fleecy lining.


Fit and feel

Fit is of course subjective, but Zerofit has a useful guide on its website. It’s recommended to sometimes go up a size, but I only found that necessary with the leggings, in which the XL fitted me better; in Large, the waist tended to pull down at the back when bending over or sitting on the bike.

Here are the sizes of Heatrub that suited Helen and me best:



Usual sizes

Heatrub top

Heatrub leggings



42” chest, 34” waist, 32” inside leg





Size 10-12




Note that the tops are unisex, while the men’s leggings have a pouched front with a Y-front style fly hole, and the women’s are plain. When ordering, the choice of male/female is on the leggings page.

The top has a long body, which extends down well over the top of your bum, meaning there’s no chance of it pulling up and exposing your back, even when tucked over a sportsbike.

Zerofit isn’t meant to be particularly tight, like compression base-layers are; Helen I both found the ‘Ultimate’ tops and leggings to fit comfortably, and gently snug all around the body. The ‘Move’ top is a little more loose on the arms.

The neck of the ‘Ultimate’ isn’t tight – as you might expect – leaving a slight gap around my 16” neck, though Zerofit says this is intentional, and helps limit overheating by letting some warmth escape. I did notice that it goes a little baggier after wearing, not sitting as neatly on the neck.


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After use, the Heatrub Ultimate neck becomes a little more loose, though it’s never tight even when new.


While not really noticeable on the ‘Ultimate’, you do need to hang onto the ends of the cuffs of the more loose ‘Move’ when putting anything else on over as they tend to pull back up, not being strongly elasticated at the ends.

Something that is worth being aware of is that the Zerofit Heatrub Ultimate has wool in it. While Helen has no problem at all, I do find the 7% composition feels a little prickly at times, even after repeated washing. However, I am mildly allergic to wool (which I found out only after years of Mum making me wear woollen trousers for best), so the fact that I’m still happy wearing the Ultimate should tell you that it’s not a big problem.

Merino wool (and alpaca) doesn’t cause me irritation, though this has finer fibres than traditional wool.


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This is the Heatrub Ultimate. The only problem with reviewing base-layers is having to show pictures like this… sorry!


Warm and cold weather use

I spent a long time thinking of ways to scientifically measure the performance of these base-layers, and while we did do it many years ago on RiDE magazine, I can’t come up with a repeatable method that I’d trust, so my findings – and Helen’s – are subjective.

Zerofit shows ‘CLO’ ratings for its garments on the activity guide page of its website. This rating is a standard that’s used as a guide to clothing’s thermal insulation, where a rating of 1 is equal to the amount of clothing needed by a resting person to maintain thermal comfort at an ambient temperature of 21°C. 0 represents a naked person.

Of course, this is room temperature and without a cutting 70mph wind, but it provides a useful comparison to how garments can perform, assuming of course you have wind-proof riding kit over the top. Here are Zerofit’s claims, along with some useful comparisons taken from the Engineering Toolbox figures that I found online:


CLO rating

Heatrub Ultimate




Down jacket


Thick sweater


Heatrub Move


Longsleeve underwear shirt






Putting on the Zerofit Heatrub Ultimate isn’t like popping on a heated vest, but it does feel immediately snug and warm. There’s a noticeable, well, ‘cosiness’.

The Heatrub Move isn’t as cosy, but when swapping between that and a merino wool base-layer, it does feel warmer.

Don’t expect to suddenly feel like you’ve snuggled under an electric blanket, but swapping between different base-layers does produce a noticeable difference, to the extent that I find myself wanting to get back in the Heatrub Ultimate almost all the time.

Trying to compare clothing like this back-to-back on the bike is tricky as your body warms up and cools down, and it’s very hard to guarantee the conditions are the same. But the Heatrub Ultimate is very noticeably warmer than other thermal base-layers I’ve worn, and even sitting here typing, I feel a lot more comfortable than without it.


Heatrub also offers a neckwarmer for £25, which has the same lining as the Ultimate top. This makes it thicker than most ‘normal’ neck tubes, but it offers a lot of warmth, and has a drawstring on the rear to easily cinch it up.

I don’t usually wear neck tubes, but for longer journeys in deep winter, this can be a really useful – and comfortable – addition.


Comfort when on and off the bike

The Heatrub Ultimate is thicker than a typical base-layer, but I’ve not found it restrictive at all when on the bike. More importantly, it actually helps movement as you need fewer layers when wearing it.

This is one of those bits of bike kit that you’ll almost certainly find yourself wearing far more than just when you’re riding – it’s absolutely brilliant when out walking, not least because you don’t need to pile on the layers anywhere near as much in order to stay very comfortably warm. And with the house thermostat set at 18°C during the day, I’m also finding it fantastic when working at the computer.


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Washing and care

Both the Heatrub Ultimate and Heatrub Move can be machine-washed at a maximum temperature of 40°C, but they should not be tumble-dried. My Ultimate accidentally got put though the tumble (which is always at its ‘gentle’ setting), and it did shrink a little, feeling tighter against my body.

Fortunately, repeated wearing does seem to have pulled it back to its original size – at first it felt like it had dropped down to a medium, but I’ve now found it’s still got its original length in the arms and the body, and no longer feels overly tight. I’d certainly still recommend avoiding tumble-drying though; we leave the Zerofit Heatrub kit hanging from a curtain rail above the radiator to dry overnight.

Well, I do. Helen wore hers for 12 days without washing it at one point. She assured me that it was purely in the interest of evaluating the material’s resistance to starting to smell, and I’m pleased to say that I noticed no unusual odours from her.

How long you can wear this kit before washing it will of course vary, but for a typical weekend or even a week away on the bike, it’s good to know that – in many cases – you should be fine with taking just one Heatrub base-layer.


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The fly hole on the men’s leggings is really useful when you’re fully kitted up and need to stop at the services. And frankly, because you’re more likely to be warmer, it’ll probably be easier to find what you’re looking for.


Three alternatives to the Zerofit Heatrub Ultimate & Move

Motorcycle base-layers are available at a huge variety of prices, but none – at least that I’ve tried – have offered quite the same thermal performance as the Heatrub Ultimate. Here are some other options though…

  • While not as warm, or giving that instant cosy feeling, the DXR Warmcores cost just £14.99. Here’s our full review.
  • A merino wool baselayer has long been a favourite for many, and EDZ offers some great kit from £40 to £65.
  • If you want instant heat for as long as there’s power, a heated vest or jacket can be a great option, if more costly. Some are available with battery packs for use off the bike, and we recommend looking first at the likes of Keis and Gerbing. You can see all our reviews of heated kit here.

These are just three of many alternatives – you can find all the motorcycle base layers we’ve tested here and be sure to regularly check for the discounts available through Bikesocial membership.


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I’m wearing XL Heatrub Ultimate trousers in both pics here, and the ‘Move’ top on the left with the ‘Ultimate’ on the right.


Zerofit Heatrub review: Verdict

Starting with the Zerofit Heatrub Move, when swapping between it and other base-layers it does feel a little warmer. My only slight gripe with this lighter-weight design, which is intended for more active use in warmer temperatures, is that the arms are a little loose and short on me so tend to pull up when under other long-sleeved kit. Those with larger forearms might not notice this as much.

The light fleecy lining of the Heatrub Move does a very good job, but it’s the Heatrub Ultimate that really shines with its outstanding thermal performance.

I wasn’t sure about the claims that Heatrub Ultimate actively warms you, but swapping between that and my DXR Warmcore base-layers, the difference was really stark. It’s comparable to popping on some clothing that’s just come out of the tumble. And that warm, cosy feeling just stays with you.

Of course, how warm you stay on the motorcycle will depend on where in the world you are, the weather conditions, the quality of your riding kit, and the fairing / screen on your bike. But this does an excellent job of maintaining your temperature for as long as possible, and significantly reduces the needs for multiple layers.

Based on how Helen and I have both got on with it, the Zerofit Heatrub Ultimate is worth the money, and while we’ve yet to see long-term durability, we’re both very impressed and wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it.

We’ll of course keep this review updated should anything change, but whether you’re using them on your motorcycle, push-bike, walking the dog, riding a horse, playing golf, skiing/snowboarding or simply want to feel warmer at home or work, this is proving to be a great bit of kit.

As someone who gets angry when she’s cold though, and usually spends all day in the house in her coat, Helen’s opinion is really valuable…


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Helen has the Navy Heatrub Ultimate on here – it is a very dark, almost black colour.


Second opinion: Helen Milbank

I’m extremely impressed with this kit. As someone who hates being cold I’m normally tucked up in many layers, but the Heatrub Ultimate has seen me in just that and a coat at the horse yard, with temperatures as low as -5°C. And when jogging in this cold, I’ve only had a tee-shirt on over the top.

Granted, I’m generating heat while jogging, but my steady pace still usually sees me chilly.

The Heatrub Move has been less useful to me as I really appreciate the Ultimate’s warmth, though I did try that in a medium, whereas the Ultimate is a small, which definitely suits my size better.

Focussing on the ‘Ultimate’, the fit is snug, but not too tight around my neck. The only way I can describe the claims of active heating through friction is that you do feel weirdly warm.

I really appreciate being able to keep the layers to a minimum, as well as the length of the top, which covers my bum well.

I’d heard about these base-layers before trying them as I’m a freelance sub-editor on Fall-Line Skiing magazine, where they got a glowing review. Now I’ve had the chance to try them for myself, I doubt there’ll be many days between now and summer that I’m not wearing the Heatrub Ultimate.


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Third opinion: Andy Shewbridge

Honestly, I’ve never been a big fan of winter riding; getting cold on the bike in sketchy conditions is not my idea of fun, but last November I decided to experiment in order to find the minimum temperature I was comfortable to ride in for my 70 mile commute.

It turned out that 10°C was about my comfortable limit in my old Alpinestars Valparaiso textiles and Dainese D-Core Thermo base layer top and bottoms, before my body started to get cold over the hour and a quarter journey. That’s with my 2016 BMW S1000XR engine temperature at a constant 70°C giving no warming air, and the heated grips at full blast.

I tested the Heatrub base layer for the first time on an hour and a half journey, with the ambient temperature at 3°C – far lower than I’d normally choose to ride in – and despite the slightly longer ride and colder conditions that saw my hands and feet start to get cold, the Heatrub Ultimate definitely kept my core comfortable for the duration.

Is it five times warmer than a normal base-layer? It’s hard to say, but I’m now far more likely to ride in cold conditions as the Heatrub kept me feeling much warmer for longer.

I should also say that the Heatrub neck warmer was a game-changer, helping me feel really comfortable both on the bike and when playing golf!

The top is quite long in the body, which I really appreciated as it doesn’t ride up, so your back stays warm. I also like the fly in the leggings; I was sceptical at first, but it turns out to be really helpful when you need a pee with all your bike gear on.

I was doubtful about Heatrub’s claims, but after a while on the bike in the cold I swear I could feel the warmth created by even fairly small movements.