Design your own mountain bike clothing. That, readers, is the gist of Northwest Tech (NWT3K) gear. It is quality, and it is made in the USA, but most importantly, it is made by you. I mean, it’s not like you’re going to cut and sew the stuff, but you get to pick the cut, colors, and features you want. You want that lime green to match your DVO fork? Done. You want Yeti turq for that new SB5? You got it. Are you big and tall or short and small? NWT3K has your your back (and yer bum).
The NWT3K Custom Process
Your Northwest Tech custom creation begins at their website and ends at your doorstep. Using the Northwest Tech online customizer tool, you choose the size of jersey and shorts, as well as one of three sleeve and inseam length options. Sleeves come in short, 3/4, and long sleeve and the shorts are offered in short, regular or long inseam. NWT3K supplies actual inseam measurements as they vary with waist size. If you don’t have a clothing measuring tape, NWT3K has a printable one. The custom tool is intuitive and easy on the eyes, providing front, back, side, and 360º views using real images of the products as you mix and match colors.
The jersey has four panels–upper body, lower body, and two sleeves–available for customization with seven colors to choose from. The logo comes in white or black. If you choose to upgrade to the jersey’s stash pocket, the zipper can also be color-coded. Color options for the shorts include the main body, rear yoke panel, and five zippers. The shorts come stock with five zippers: two front, two rear, and one on the yoke.
Maybe you’re waiting for the next paycheck to drop, haven’t settled on a color way, or need to get the rest of your team on board. If you’re jones-ing to create a look, but aren’t ready to pull the trigger, you can save and email a link of your idea, no strings attached. When you are ready, checkout follows a standard shipping, payment, review, and submission process.
Remember, given the many combinations of sizes, sleeve and inseam lengths, colors, and extras, the piece you customize is unlikely to exist and must be built from scratch. That said, all NWT3K products are hand-made and shipped right from their warehouse in Seattle, WA. After processing the order, it took about two weeks for my kit to arrive.
NWT3K Shorts Features
- Made in USA
- DWR-treated, four-way stretch, rip stop fabric
- Five KEE sealed waterproof zippers
- Two-button/zipper front closure
- Integrated Velcro adjustable waist band
- Double-stitched seams
- Three inseam length options for each size
- Does not include chamois
- Sizes: XS-3XL
- MSRP: $139
NWT3K Jersey Features
- Made in USA
- Moisture-wicking, 4-way stretch polyester
- Drop tail rear
- Optional stash pocket with KEE waterproof zipper
- Three sleeve length options
- Sizes: XS-3XL
- MSRP: $79
On the Body
For reference, I’m a stocky 5’8″, 175 pounds and I customized a pair of medium shorts with regular (12″) inseam and a medium, short-sleeve jersey. I typically wear a medium top for a more snug, racy fit, and the NWT3K jersey was spot on. The jersey doesn’t appear to be tailored through the body, nor does it billow.
On the shorts side, I wear between 32-33″ waist, and the NWT3K medium fit me without even touching the adjustable tabs. According to NWT3K, the tabs can alter the waist comfortably up to six inches. If you wear knee pads, I wouldn’t recommend the short inseam, as the regular provided just enough coverage. Like the jersey, the shorts have a great overall fit – not too baggy, not too hipster. More specifically, the shorts are well-tailored around the rump and undercarriage and remain straight through the legs.
On the Trail
So, after getting the look dialed in, how does NWT3K quality hold up under the duress of riding? The jersey feels heavy in-hand, but has a disappearing effect once on. I believe this to be a good combination of durable fabric and stitching with a soft, silky feel. After taking to the trails on a balmy fall afternoon, I soon found that, while silky-soft and stretchy, the jersey doesn’t block an iota of wind. Not that it’s supposed to, but to be clear, this is a summer top through and through.
The jersey’s raglan sleeve design and dipped tail is a must-have for high tech tops, allowing adequate range of motion and rear coverage, respectively. I love me some stash-ola so I upgraded to the rear-side pocket colored in florescent lime to match the shorts’ zippers. The jersey stash pocket is perfect for stuffing lightweight items like gloves or Gu, but, given the jersey’s lightweight material, heavier items like keys or tools would bounce around too much.
The NWT3K shorts’ construction fall somewhere between downhill and enduro/trail riding. The DWR-treated rip stop fabric is heavy-ish and every seam is double-stitched for maximum durability. While the four-way stretch fabric is very compliant, it also has a certain stiffness that allows the shorts to maintain composure at high speeds and quickly recover its shape after a wash.
The adjustable waist tabs are hidden across the back and exposed on the front, making for quick and easy adjustments. The Velcro’s hook side faces outward with the pile surface sewn into the tab facing in. While this seems harmless enough, the polyester material on the shirt catches on the hook. This started pulling up the jersey fabric, causing accelerated wear. While not a deal breaker, I wonder if NWT3K might consider reversing the Velcro’s hook and pile sides in future iterations.
NWT3K uses KEE–yes, there are other zipper companies beside YKK–waterproof zippers for the the jersey stash and short pockets. I’ve used zippers that are more smooth, but these work well in keeping the elements out, and they have textured pull tabs for ease of use. What I found most intriguing is the rear zipper placements. Yes, the yoke pocket looks cool, but I rarely find it useful as a carrying compartment. The rear pockets, however, came in very handy as they’re situated off to the side and at an angle allowing me to actually ride comfortably loaded up.
Northwest Tech offers a 100% satisfaction guarantee on custom orders. If you find any fault in the fit, style, or manufacturing within seven days, NWT3K will refund your money on unused items. Note: this does not include problems with your color selection; the customizer tool is so well-designed, it’s your own fault if you don’t like the color. I was also pleased to be contacted by NWT3K via email after my order was placed, but before production commenced, to confirm that the colors and cut were what I intended. I’m sure the follow-up was put in place to halt any misfires on the customer’s end, but it’s a nice personal touch either way.
Who doesn’t get a little excited when they see that the shorts they’re looking for are offered in more colors than black and blue? Never mind those who do offer more colors, with NWT3K, you get multiple color options on the parts of the clothes you want! What’s more, you can choose from three different sleeve and inseam lengths. Of course, the price reflects the high degree of customization. I’ve certainly paid less for MTB wear of a similar quality, but clearly there is value in building a custom kit.
Thanks to Northwest Tech for the opportunity to customize and review the NWT3K MTB Jersey and Shorts.