Summertime means dry trails and post-ride parking lot hangs, and WE ARE HERE FOR IT. It’s time to break out the shorts and riding tees for trail rides, and lightweight pants for endless bike park shreds. Here are a few of the pieces we tested just ahead of the season.
Chrome Sutro Men’s Shorts
The new Chrome Sutro shorts have a surprisingly heavy-duty feel to them despite their relatively short, 14-inch inseam. The stiff, straight fit lends almost a preppy, khaki look to the world of mountain biking, while the thick yet stretchy fabric is clearly designed to take a beating on the trail. An externally adjustable waist and a double fly closure ensure these shorts stay in place, and there are two zippered pockets in addition to the hand pockets for storing important items you don’t want to lose during the ride.
- Price: $130
- Colors: black, olive branch (tested), and gray
- Available at Chrome Industries and other online retailers
Fox Ranger Women’s Pants
Overall I’m not wild about the color schemes available from Fox this year. However, the simplistic style, comfort and function of this kit is hard to beat.
I know what you may be thinking, “pants in the summer?” Yes. Pants in the summer. The new Women’s Ranger Pants are as lightweight as they are versatile. Though they are technically MTB pants, the relaxed, yet slim fit, coupled with the low waist and easy to adjust cinch and snap closure system make these pants perfect for any outdoor adventure, be it biking, hiking or just chillin’ on a mountaintop somewhere. The fabric is slightly stretchy, breathable, durable and with the tapered lower leg, quite easy to pedal in. I haven’t had the pleasure of wearing these on a proper hot or humid summer day, however they are comfortable for pedaling up to 80 degrees in an arid climate.
- Price: $109.95
- Pant Colors: black, bark (pictured)
- Available at Fox Racing (men’s and youth pants also available)
Fox Women’s Ranger Moth Jersey
The Fox Ranger Moth jersey pictured above is constructed with TruDri recycled fabric, which moves sweat away from the body and keeps you dry and comfortable. The color is “meh,” but the fit is relaxed and tailored for mountain biking with a longer back panel and a slightly slimmer middle to highlight the lady form. It’s a pretty simple jersey overall, but you can’t miss the branding.
- Price: $54.95
- Colors: Dark Shadow, Bone (pictured)
- Available at Fox Racing
ilabb Women’s Traverse Ride Short
ilabb is a New Zealand based bike and sporting apparel brand, established in 2007. The men’s and women’s MTB apparel color schemes (black, greys, and neutral green and cream, or moonbeam!) are the same throughout both lines. Fun Fact: I was told that ilabb is written upside down so that YOU, the rider, can see it while you’re pedaling. That makes sense on the shorts and pants, but I am not often looking at my chest while riding, so I’d say the tops are for consistency’s sake; a conversation starter at the very least.
The ilabb Traverse Short is an ideal short for slim individuals. I tested an XS which fits perfectly and I love the feel. The Traverse features a slightly high waist and is constructed using DRI-RYDE Fabric, a premium polyester composite that is said to be lightweight, breathable, and moisture wicking. The fabric feels buttery soft yet bomb-proof at the same time, with reinforced knee panels and reflective detailing for protection and style. There are inner thigh perforations for ample air flow and a custom silicon waist gripper that hold the shorts in place with or without a hip pack over top. All of those features combined with the slim profile side zip pockets, and well thought out hip seams, create a clean and flattering aesthetic all around.
- Price: $150.00 CAD
- Colors: Black (pictured), Grey, Army Green
- Available at ilabb (men’s also available)
ilabb Women’s Traverse Capsize Jersey
The ilabb Traverse Capsize jersey is a piece I’ll be wearing throughout the summer. First and foremost, the fit is relaxed. The material is ultra lightweight and breathable throughout, with ample venting through the armpits and pack panel. The back panel of the jersey is made with a very thin, perforated, slightly see through material and it dumps moisture like a champion even with a full backpack on. It also has a hidden zipper pocket for small items such as chapstick or a key, and includes a glasses wipe cloth, affixed with a small elastic piece so it doesn’t get lost along the way. I especially like the look of the back with a sports bra, because it adds a little peek-a-boo pizzaz to the whole outfit.
Price: $77.99 CAD
Colors: Black, Grey, Army Green (Pictured)
Available at ilabb
Mons Royale Men’s Icon T-Shirt
The Icon T-shirt is about as simple as it gets, and in mountain bike jerseys that can be a good thing. Aside from the 16 different color/branding combos you can get with the Icon, that is. The shirt is a cool, soft wool tee without added extras. It breathes well, dries quickly, and with it being 83% Merino wool, it doesn’t stink up. The only that does stink about the Icon is the price. $90 is a lot of money for a really basic tee, no matter how many cool points it comes with.
- Price: $90
- Available at Backcountry
Mons Royale Men’s Virage Pants
The Virage pants have quickly become a springtime favorite. Starting a long ride in the morning when it’s only 45° out, though it’ll be 65° later? Pull up the Virages. For a black pair of pants, the fabric is thin, breathable, and super homey. There’s a stretchy waist band in the rear of the pants and it adjusts easily without feeling like there’s too much pressure. The knees are roomy enough for a pair of knee pads and they are casual enough to wear into an aprés joint without changing. Mons Royale gear isn’t what I’d call affordable and $190 is pricey for a pair of mountain bike pants, but they are supremely comfy and breathable.
- Price: $190
- Available at evo (women’s style also available)
Norrøna Women’s fjørå flex Shorts
The Norrøna fjørå flex1 shorts and fjørå wool t-shirt have been upgraded with recycled materials and are among my favorite riding pieces this season. I tested the both the shorts and shirt in size XS and the fit is immaculate.
The fjørå flex1 short is longer that most mountain bike shorts, with a 14.5″ inseam, and the tapered, articulated knee construction accommodates knee pads with ease. The fjørå flex1 short is made from a thickish, flex™1 fabric that makes a “swishing” sound when walking and is said to be both breathable and wind resistant. The shorts have two hand pockets, a thigh pocket, and two zippered thigh-to-knee mesh lined vents. Silicon grippers keep the waist in place and the back side is higher than the front for good coverage on the bike. Overall these are constructed with quality and longevity in mind and are well worth the slightly higher price tag.
- Price: $139
- Colors Schemes: Olive, Indigo (pictured), North Atlantic, Campanula
- Available at Backcountry
Norrøna Women’s fjørå Wool T-shirt
The fjørå wool t-shirt is impossibly thin and breathable, made with 53% recycled polyester and 47% wool. It is more fitted than other wool MTB tee’s, offers excellent moisture management, and next-to-skin, odor-reducing comfort. Thanks to the sporty, stylish and clean overall look I’ve been wearing the fjørå wool t-shirt pretty much everywhere.
- Price: $79
- Available at Backcountry
Outdoor Research Ferrosi Shorts
Outdoor Research’s Ferrosi shorts have quickly become a favorite, especially off-the-bike. They are a casual pair of outdoor athletic shorts that are light, flexible, and breathable enough to ride in, but not so serious that you can’t wear them to the grocery store or while doing yard work. The shorts are made of almost 50% recycled material and have a loose fit if you want to wear a chamois underneath.
- MSRP: $79
- Available at Outdoor Research
Pearl Izumi Men’s Summit Short Sleeve Jersey
The Summit short sleeve is another jersey where less is more. No annoying graphics that age terribly or heavy zippers or pockets in the rear. Just a simple, well-made jersey with performance in mind. The Summit is breathable and dries quickly thanks in part to the laser-perforated vents near the pits. It comes in a few colorways, with a brighter 90s-like pattern for those who like to spice it up. At $60, the jersey is a good choice for warm rides.
- Price: $60
- Colors: Black, Pale Olive (pictured), Retro Geo Camo, Ocean Blue Palm
- Available at Pearl Izumi and other online retailers
Pearl Izumi Men’s Summit Pro Shell Shorts
Pearl Izumi’s Summit Pro shell shorts are a pretty sweet piece of kit. I wasn’t sure if I’d like the lack of a fly, but the design has proven highly functional and it feels like there’s less material bunching in the crotch. It’s just one strap to loosen or tighten the waist and down or up they go. The Summit Pros are made from a really lightweight recycled nylon material and have pockets along the sides which keep cargo out of the way. They come in two colors and are an excellent summer trail bike short option.
Pearl Izumi Men’s Prospect shirt
Pearl Izumi’s Prospect shirt is a fun reminder of the different stages of bikes throughout life, and you can’t be in a bad mood while wearing it. The fabric feels a little less pliable or stretchy than other button-up jerseys, but it’s still pretty light and breathable. It wouldn’t be my first choice to don for a long ride, but it’s a solid choice when you’re ready to get that other sweaty jersey off.
PNW Women’s Shuttle Short
PNW dropped their first women’s apparel line this year. While the feature list for the PNW Women’s Shuttle Short is pretty solid — a 13″ inseam, sustainable fabrics, water resistant DWR coating, 4-way stretch, two hand pockets, two hips pockets with inside mesh venting, and easy-to-use waist adjusters — the fit just isn’t very dialed, at least for me. I tested the smallest size available (XS) and found the shorts overly baggy with crotch hang in the front and extra fabric in the rear that threatens to catch my saddle even when it’s fully dropped. If you happen to have wider hips and a larger caboose then perhaps the fit will work well for you, or you may want to size down for a more fitted look. For my shape and size, the amount of fabric seems excessive and unflattering overall.
- Shuttle Shorts: $99
- Colors: Eclipse (pictured)
- Available at PNW Components
PNW Ozone Trail Jersey
The PNW Women’s Ozone jersey is comprised of a wool/polyester blend. It’s very basic in look and design, the type of jersey you can wear riding and easily transition to wearing with a t-shirt and a pair of jeans; very soft and cozy. I enjoy the minimal branding, relaxed fit and no-frills look.
- Ozone Jersey: $49
- Colors: Eclipse, Alien (olive green)
- Available at PNW Components
Shredly MTB Short
The Shredly MTB Short features a hybrid waistband that’s been optimized for maximum comfort and performance. The new waistband is partially elasticized in the rear with a mid-rise zipper and snap closure in the front and it works great, staying in place and looking great. Recycled polyester/spandex 4-way stretch fabric, two front hand pockets, one zippered front pocket, and a phone-sized, easy-access pocket on the side of the thigh round out the features list.
Colors: 15 flavors. The names won’t give you any idea what color they are. The shorts pictured are ‘Topo.’
Available at Shredly
Shredly Biker Tank and Raglan 3/4
All of Shredly’s tops are constructed using ultra-soft USA-made proprietary ecoFab performance fabric. A combination of recycled and natural fibers that are moisture wicking, anti-microbial, odor and wrinkle resistant; soft, cute, and begging for a French tuck. I tested the biker tank, and the raglan 3/4 top. Neither of these garments look like a jersey, which is the point. Unlike other jerseys, there are no hidden pockets or extra frills. The fabric feels buttery soft, is comfortable for biking or every day wear and doesn’t cause a stink fest after multiple rides.
Biker Tank: $48, 3/4 Raglan: $68
Colors: Ten flavors. The names won’t give you any idea what color they are. Teracotta tank and Wisteria raglan pictured.
Available at Shredly
Velocio Men’s Merino Trail Tee
It’s hard to beat the classic t-shirt fit and feel. The Velocio Merino Trail Tee is a faithful rendition of the style, adding a performance-oriented merino wool blend that’s soft and breathable at the same time. This riding shirt has been my go-to this spring and I plan to keep wearing it up until the heat and humidity arrive in full force. Available in sizes XS to 4XL, I found the fit to be on the casual / loose side (size medium tested).
- Price: $109
- Colors: navy, black, and rust (tested)
- Available at Velocio (women’s style also available)
Velocio Men’s Trail Access Shorts
The Velocio Trail Access shorts are the brand’s thicker, more durable baggy option, made with 180gsm fabric and featuring a slightly longer cut for pairing with knee pads. There aren’t any waist adjusters so be sure to order the right size (fortunately Velocio does have a generous exchange and return policy). An unusual slide button closure on the fly is confusing despite a label explaining how it works. I struggled to open the fly initially and after just a couple uses one end of the snap ripped out entirely. I also found the fabric became rough and crinkly over time, probably because I threw them in the dryer with all my other clothes in spite of the warning not to do so. Overall I found these shorts to be a little too high maintenance.
Velocio Women’s Trail Access Shorts
The women’s Trail Access shorts are designed similarly to the men’s, with the same durable, somewhat stiff fabric and color options and longer inseam. I’m all of 5ft tall so these 11″ shorts hit right at my knee. The stretchy yoga-style waistband is comfortable and the four zippered pockets are thoughtful, especially opening the side ones for a little ventilation. I wanted to love these shorts but the view from the front is terribly unflattering as the stitching in the crotch bunches up highlighting my lady parts even with my thickest chamois on. On the bike, however, these shorts have a ton of stretch and moved as effortlessly as if I were wearing a pair of workout leggings.
- Price: $189
- Men’s Colors: deep sea (tested, women’s) and charcoal (tested, men’s)
- Available at Velocio