Home sweet home is about an hour from Dakine’s headquarters, so naturally I was stoked to get my hot little hands on a piece of Dakine’s fresh lineup of locally-inspired shred threads for 2015. No, I don’t live in Maui, but as of 2013, neither does Dakine.
Originally founded in Hawaii, the company moved its home to the banks of the great Columbia Gorge in Hood River, OR, where brown and white pow are within an hour’s reach any day of the year. Dakine is “the kind” of company that understands the outdoor lifestyle and, aside from mountain biking, specializes in sportswear and equipment for a slew of other disciplines, including: surf, skate, snowboard, ski, windsurf, and kite board.
For this review, Dakine was kind enough to offer us its revised Syncline Short and Dropout Jersey 3 Qtr (sleeve). And where would I test the Syncline/Dropout combo? It just wouldn’t seem right not to review it anywhere else than on the trail it was named after. Across the river from Dakine HQ, rising 1,700 feet through fields of wild sunflowers and lupine, skirting the shear cliffs of Coyote Wall, is the venerable Syncline trail.
Fit & Comfort
The hallmark of a good MTB short is its dynamic ability to increase and decrease volume where and when you need it through the full range of motion during a ride. In other words, shorts need to give way to your junk in the trunk while not drowning your junk in the front, and Dakine nailed it here with a beefy, but super stretchy, rear yoke panel just beneath the waist line. The AM/Trail shell was nothing short of a perfect, true fit for me. Waist adjustment is a cinch with interior Velcro tabs, and the 14-inch inseam is spot-on coverage for bare and guarded knees alike. The inner leg vents are zippered, giving you the option to ventilate.
With a crew cut neck, dropped hem, and 3/4 length Raglan sleeve, Dakine’s Dropout Jersey made me feel like I was back in little league only this time, instead of a charging crow hop from left… ok, right field, I felt right at home charging Syncline’s rocky, open range. The Dropout’s construction is heavier than expected, which sparked some skepticism as to how cool this jersey would keep me. While I couldn’t exactly feel the breeze about me, the Quick-dry polyester did wicking wonders in the exposed 80 degree F temperature.
A month in the saddle isn’t exactly a fair shake in regards to durability, but I have little doubt the Syncline Short is one of the toughest in its class. The body is composed of a 4-way stretch 92% Nylon 8% Spandex blend coated with a durable water repellent (DWR). Exteriorly, each panel appears to be double stitched, while on the inside you’d be hard-pressed to find anything less than triple stitching and additional reinforcement in the seat and crotch. Zippers can be a weak spot as they are prone to breaking, but two of the three zippers here cover the ventilating mesh (that may snag if not protected) and all three zippers are covered with sewn facings.
Consistent with the Syncline’s construction, Dakine didn’t cut corners with the Dropout, either. The 100% Polyester appears tightly woven, thick, and well-stitched inside and out.
The waistband sports five belt loops, which I find unnecessary and redundant given the inner Velcro waistband adjustment. The zippered fly is covered, and the waistband secures with two metal snaps. The Syncline has two zippered front pockets and, according to Dakine’s description, “2 back pockets,” however I could not find any compartment for said back pockets, despite there being sewn tabs suggesting so. And if I haven’t already mentioned the inner leg vents, they are zippered, which may add a little weight and bulk, but protect the mesh and give you the option to ventilate.
The Dropout has about as many features as I would want in any jersey00as few as possible. Near the bottom left hem, interiorly, is a 3 x 3″ microfiber lens wipe which I find a very subtle, but wise, addition to any jersey, obviating the need to haul those sunglass baggies.
I typically limit my comments on style given its subjective nature, yet it’s probably the most important criterion driving your decision when it comes to apparel. While most clothing manufacturers play it safe with colors, patterns, and graphics in order to appeal to the widest range of people, Dakine offers a touch more pizzazz and playfulness to their designs. If you’re tired of choosing between black, not-so-black, and blue, check out Dakine’s Pace Short in Camo or Strata (think zebra), the Ridge Short in denim, or the 8 Track Short in Acid Wash while you’re head-banging down Post Canyon. As far as the Dropout goes, you have a selection of three different graphics (carbon, rasta [reviewed], paradise) which all come in short, 3/4, or long-sleeved. Man, that’s 9 choices for 1 product!
The added rear stretch panel allows for impeccable articulation whether cruising or crushing the trail, and extra stitching in all the right places will probably survive more beatings than you will. I do question the use of belt loops and the advertised back pockets in the presence of an integrated adjustable waistband, and the fact that the back pockets don’t actually exist. These issues, however, do not take away from the Syncline being a well-constructed, durable, yet comfortable AM/Trail shell.
The Syncline Short comes in sizes 30, 32, 34 (reviewed), 36, 38, and 40, and in three colors: black, blue, cypress (army green, reviewed).
The Dropout’s baseball cut has been my favorite fit among a long line of jerseys smelling up my closet. When the trail gets rowdy, you’ll rally in confidence thanks to Dakine’s high-quality material and construction.
The Dropout Jersey comes in sizes: S, M (reviewed), L, XL and in three graphics: carbon, paradise, rasta (reviewed). As mentioned, you can get any Dropout graphic as short, 3/4, or long-sleeved.
MSRP: $45 USD
Thanks to Dakine for providing the Syncline Short and Dropout Jersey for review.