ION isn’t a very common name on the lips of mountain bikers. Rather, ION is a part of a much larger group of watersports gear companies that excel in producing high-quality wind surfboards, kites, and everything else water-related!
ION has just created a new clothing line, providing just about everything a mountain biker could desire. I decided to review the Scrub line of clothing. Since I spend most of my time on a downhill bike playing around in the bike parks, the long-sleeve Helium jersey and baggy Avid shorts were just the ticket.
Helium Jersey Specs
ION approached the age-old issue of stink with a “fresh” idea of treating the Helium top to reduce the growth of bacteria that causes bad odors, allowing you to ride longer and smell better. Even if you don’t wash your gear right away, the anti-stink will keep it fresher. The Sanitized freshness treatment is proven by strict tests that meet the highest requirements and is certified by OEKO-TEX 100 – Class I-IV as well as bluesign®.
The Helium is a loose-fit jersey, with plenty of room for armor and elbow pads. Some loose-fit jerseys aren’t loose at all, but the Helium lives up to the description.
One neat feature is the soft cleaning patch for the lens on your goggles or glasses. Tucked away on the side, I almost forgot it’s there. A convenient ticket pocket on your left arm is the perfect size for stashing a park pass, bank card, and cash. It’s located just below the shoulder, which is about the safest place possible. I cannot remember ever scraping my bicep.
Avid Shorts Specs
The Scrub series Avid shorts put an interesting spin on mountain bike shorts by using a distinctive board short design borrowed from water sports. They utilize both a flap-over and lace system to keep your britches up. This is probably one of the more secure designs I have seen, albeit a pain if you have to go all of a sudden. Made from a medium-weight nylon and spandex mix, the Avid short is packed with features.
The longer, relaxed cut provides room for everything to breath, and the four-way stretch feature of the fabric also means no hang ups.
As mentioned above, these shorts use a board-style lace system. As a part of that system, ION incorporates a feature called lace ports. These neat little ports allow you to keep the laces from dangling once you’re ready to go. If you think about it, this is a great way to keep the strings from snagging on your bar or anything else that may be in your way.
Waist tabs and an elastic pad along the back take care of final fit adjustments.
Other cool features (literally) include the mesh zips that open to allow cool air to flow around the boys, keeping you “fresher.”
A neat neoprene pocket that holds most phones, and protects from the elements and smaller impacts, is sewn in the right top pocket. Speaking of pockets, there are four in these shorts, all with zips to prevent your valuables from flinging off into no mans land.
To finish things off, a treatment of water repellant keeps the material from soaking up the unavoidable splash associated with our beloved sport.
Out on the Slopes
As far as durability, I have had no issues with anything coming apart or even tearing.
ION spoke in length about how their gear won’t smell. Yeah, it doesn’t, but I still wash my gear all the time–force of habit. Besides, no matter how hard I try, I always get covered in mud. So, both the Helium top and Avid bottom have been through the wash more than their share of times.
As for sizing, the jersey has enough room to fit elbow pads and even a vest underneath. So if you’re in the habit of going up a size with armor underneath, then these fit the same.
I did think the shorts went a bit overboard with the lace-and-velcro closure. I generally like shorts with double snaps, but I suppose the virtue of a lace-and-velcro closure is the adjustment and ability to easily change the string if it wears out.
Overall, I’ve really enjoyed using the ION gear. It feels good, doesn’t snag when in riding position, and looks good too.
Unfortunately, there currently are no American distributors who carry ION gear, so bug your local LBS and maybe, just maybe, someone will listen. Otherwise, you’ll have to order online. But don’t let that stop you from wandering over to ION’s website and checking their gear out in more detail!
Helium Jersey MSRP: 79 Euros, about $105 US.
Avid Shorts MSRP: 109 Euros, about $145 US.
Thanks to the folks at ION for sending down the Helium top and Avid shorts for review.