Mons Royale Features Merino and a Relaxed Fit in Their MTB Wear [Review]

We tested the Mons Royale Tarn Freeride tee and Virage mountain bike shorts on the trails in northern California.
Mons Royale Kit

Mons Royale has spent over a decade perfecting the art of designing technical performance products without compromising style. Hannah and Hamish Acland founded the company in 2009 from Lake Wanaka New Zealand. Since then, Mons Royale has been designing performance merino clothing for the mountains. The brand makes men’s and women’s MTB gear and has some rad merino pieces that offer technical performance and keep you looking pretty stylish on and off your bike. Mons Royale’s fresh designs are thanks to Co-Founder and graphic designer Hannah Acland. 

Typically, merino wool is associated with base layers and cold weather, but in reality, merino wool fabrics can be worn in both cool and hot temperatures. The material gives clothing the ability to move moisture away from the body faster. This means when the external temperature is cold, you’ll stay warm and dry, and when it’s hot, you will stay cool. I dove deeper into Merino after testing several products, which you can check out here.  And yes, merino wool mountain bike clothing can be on the pricier side, but for all it offers, it is well worth it. 

I tested out the Mons Royale Tarn Freeride Tee and the Virage Bike Shorts throughout the changing of the seasons in the Bay Area of California.  

Mons Royale Tarn Freeride Tee

Closeup of Tarn Freeride Tee in Deep Teal / Pink Clay

Mons Royale designed the Tarn Freeride Tee for “the intensity of bike parks and freeride adventures.”  The Tarn shirt is made with a “blend of merino and polyester fibers which are then reinforced with an additional nylon fiber.” This blend creates a great mix, where merino is naturally fast drying and polyester breathes well to keep the sweat out and away from your body. Also, you can re-wear without washing a few times, leaving no stink behind.

I tested a short-sleeve size large, in the Deep Teal / Pink Clay colorway. The sizes range between XS and XL, and there are two other colorways in Dark Denim/Powder Pink and Lilac/Black, each with a small matching logo on the chest. I usually have a hard time with sizing and wanted to note my experience with their sizing guide. According to their online guide, my 38-inch bust is a large while my 36-inch waist is not even on the chart – their largest waist measurement is 34.5 inches. My best pick was to select a large. In the last few months, I’ve lost some weight and a couple of inches, so I am now at a 34-inch waist and 37 bust, which is still confusing. The tee fits a bit looser on me than when I first received it, but this is not a major problem. I usually don’t want my mountain bike jerseys to be too constricting. I suggest measuring yourself to ensure the best fit. 

Mons Royale Sizing Guide

With its relaxed fit, this short-sleeve hangs comfortably off the body to provide enough wiggle room for airflow to keep cool on climbs but is still decently tapered at the bottom to prevent any major fabric flapping while rapidly descending hills. I believe many women will appreciate the roomy chest area and the dropped tail length in the back for extra coverage.

A small detail that should honestly be a standard in all mountain bike jerseys is the hidden sunglasses wipe, which is super handy. 

What may look like a regular tee at first glance is in fact an impressively sweat-wicking, breathable, and comfortable jersey that feels long-lasting. It is a super versatile top and can be worn on and off the trails. The crossover potential to be used for other outdoor activities year-round makes the high price a bit more reasonable. I was impressed at how well the tee handled sweat and regulated my core temperature during long, climby rides. This is a year-round jersey, but for me, it would stay in the closet during the winter months. I personally love the pastel colorway options and the two colors add a little fun. I would love to see other colors available for women in addition to the pink hues. 

Closeup of fabric and small logo

While the pricing at $90 is on the steeper side, the tee holds its value thanks to the Merino Shift fabric’s performance, the colorful style, and usability for other outdoor activities or anywhere else.

  • Short-sleeve jersey
  • Mons relaxed fit
  • Drop tail for extra coverage
  • Hidden sunglasses wipe
  • Merino Shift blends merino and polyester for fast-wicking and durable material
  • Blend: 52% Merino Wool, 35% Recycled Polyester, 13% Nylon
  • Colors: Deep Teal / Pink Clay, Dark Denim / Powder Pink and Lilac / Black
  • MSRP: $90, men’s and women’s styles available
  • Available at at Backcountry and other online retailers

Mons Royale Virage Bike Shorts

Virage Bike Shorts

The Virage Bike Shorts are lightweight and high quality shorts that’ll keep you cool as a cucumber during those hotter riding days, thanks to the merino-like properties of the fabric. 

What’s impressive about the Virage Bike Shorts is the lightweight and high-performance fabric they are made of. They are very light and flexible, but at the same time feel durable thanks to their Wool Cordura and Wool Stretch fabrics. Mons Royale explains that the “polyester sheds weight and adds durability, elastane increases mobility and merino ensures it retains the performance of merino wool.”  Also, the fabric uses polyester made from recycled PET bottles. Eco-conscious elements are always a plus in my book! 

Slide these on and buckle your seatbelt – the Virage Bike Shorts include a belt for adjustability that makes up for the lack of velcro. A secure front zipper and two hidden snap buttons keep the shorts around your waist when riding. I found that the belt plus a waist pack were not an ideal option for me. During my test rides, my mid-section felt too compressed. However, these are great to pair with a hydration backpack or frame bag instead. The belt is removable if you don’t feel the need for it, which is something you don’t see in a lot of MTB shorts. 

One zippered pocket toward the right upper leg gives you a secure place to stash a small snack, gel, credit card, or cash. While it does not fit too much, it does the job. The single pocket is large enough to fit my iPhone 12, but as I’ve mentioned in my other reviews, I’d much rather stash my phone in my hip pack or backpack while out riding. 

One pocket is large enough to stash your phone, ID, and a snack or two

These shorts are standard fit, which ‘follows the line of the body, but sits away offering comfort and versatility’, according to Mons Royale.

Now, onto my not-so-favorite things. This pair of shorts does not come with a chamois, but Mons Royale does have a merino chamois available for purchase. I think if they included a chamois, it would be a killer deal. The leg cuffs are too wide for my thighs which caused the leg cuffs to flap around at times when I was descending faster and the wind picked up. I prefer a more slim fit around the thighs and knee since I mostly wear minimal knee pads such as G-Forms. 

Very wide leg cuffs

I’ve tested the Virage Bike Shorts for several months and the material has lived up to its claims. With such breathability, flexibility, and comfort around the thighs and legs. It is nice that the fabric also has some stretch to it when moving around those tight corners on the trails. 

  • Mons standard fit
  • Strategically placed inseams for comfort
  • Kneepad -compatible
  • Mons belt included
  • Zipped pocket for valuables
  • Stretch Wool Cordura is super light, strong and flexible.
  • Fabric: Wool Stretch
  • Blend: 81% Recycled Polyester, 14% Merino Wool, 5% Elastane
  • MSRP: $140, men’s and women’s styles available
  • Available at evo and other online retailers

Overall, the Mons Royale kit offers the (magical) fabric properties of merino wool, comfort and durability, and keeps you looking stylish on and off the trails. These pieces are on the pricier side, but you may consider them and Treat Yo’Self

Check out our mountain bike shorts buyers guide and our picks for the best mountain bike shorts.