Dakine is one of the big mountain bike apparel companies that really keeps an eye on performance as well as style. Add in durability and a good fit and you have the recipe for the perfect mountain bike gear! I rocked Dakine for more than half the summer and now I’m ready to share my review of the Descent long sleeve jersey and shorts.
Descent LS Jersey
The Descent LS Jersey has a familiar DH cut with a high v-neck collar and a rather roomy fit. The Raglan-cut jersey naturally has a nice-fitting arm in the long sleeve version thanks to the tubular cut. If you’re planning on wearing full armor you need to buy one size larger than normal for a proper fit.
Made from a durable 220 gm/yd polyester, the Descent jersey takes abrasion fairly well. I have had a few close calls with trees and even a crash or two on the rocks, and with the exception of a small tear (I was using elbow guards at the time), everything has held up great. Sewn into the jersey’s left side seam is a protected chamois to clean up your lens when things get really down and dirty. And to prevent stinking like a trash can, the fabric has an anti-microbial treatment which manages the deluge of bacteria that can cultivate while riding (or leaving you jersey in the trunk of your car for a week after a big ride).
As far as style goes, the asymmetrical graphics are a bit different but I think they’re pretty cool. What looks like simple stripes from afar is actually an intricately printed maze – the graphics are definitely eye-catching.
The Descent shorts are purpose-built: constructed from 400D plain-weave nylon, they feature a mesh-polyester liner. That makes for a durable and comfortable short.
As far as fit, Dakine has you covered with perforated panels for better air flow, a ribbed crotch gusset for comfort, and a bit of extra stretch to provide maximum range of motion. What makes this a truly downhill-specific short is the 16″ inseam legs: perfect for just covering the knees, even with armor. The ratchet-type waist adjustment and back lumbar pad add to the durability, fit, and comfort.
If you didn’t already pick up on this from the pics, the Descent shorts and jersey are designed to match. Running both together makes you almost feel like a sponsored rider! But critically speaking, the jersey and shorts do fit together perfectly with approximately the same fit and a similar feel to the materials.
The Descent shorts and jersey found themselves used and abused on the slopes of Blue Mountain and Horseshoe Valley resorts. Coincidentally, the instructors at Blue also use the same gear. You can imagine the confusion that arose from time to time. I was informed that the guys at Whistler also use the Descent jersey and shorts. With that kind of street cred, I feel like I’m in good company!
During the late summer months and into the fall, the Descent gear held up superbly! Despite taking various spills on rock gardens and hard-packed berms, the jersey and shorts endured, with very little sign of wear. I personally loved the feel of the material and the roomy fit that the Dakine gear provides. In case you haven’t been on a downhill or freeride bike before, there is a lot of body movement going on, with the legs and arms really working it. The combination of roominess and cut keeps the clothing from snagging up. Nothing bugs me more than having my clothing snag and pinch while I’m trying to get my groove on.
Not only do the Descent jersey ($60 MSRP) and short ($100 MSRP) look good, but they measure up in the performance and comfort arena as well.
Thanks to Dakine for sending out the Descent short and long sleeve jersey for review.