Nikki Hollatz and Justin Fernandes putting some winter clothing to the test with a November float on the Hood River.
Welcome to part two of Pinkbike's 2016 Winter Gear Review, where Nikki Hollatz and Colin Meagher continue with their reports on cold-weather protection from Gore Apparel, Alpinestars, Maloja, 7Mesh, Ion, and Scott. If you have already read part one, then you have been briefed on the intricacies of layering, the definitions of waterproof vs. water resistant, and the science behind breathable fabrics. If not, the introduction of part one
is worth a read, because most of the value and effectiveness of winter gear can be attributed to the materials from which they are crafted.
Before we delve into jackets, base layers, and shorts - the meat of this review - we'd like to take some time to cover two often overlooked winter essentials: gloves and shoes. It doesn't matter how warm your legs and core may be, if your feet and your hands are cold as ice, your ride will soon become a suffer-fest.
There's no single glove to rule them all. It depends on how your hands handle the cold, how much dexterity you need, and the severity of the conditions.
Everyone has a different tolerance for cold temperatures. Some riders are happy to go out in the snow with nothing more than a light summer glove. Many with lower thresholds, or those who venture out in Arctic conditions use poagies, an over-glove that wraps around your brake and shift levers to provide maximum protection from all forms of winter nastiness.
Keep in mind when choosing gloves rated for cooler temperatures, that the insulation required will bulk the glove up more, making it more difficult to manipulate shifters, brake levers, and dropper-post controls. Poagies or handlebar mitts
can solve that problem by shielding your hands from wind chill and allowing the use of thinner gloves. Think of it as layering for your hands.
POC's Index glove (left) is a lightweight and suitable for cool fall temperatures. The Giro Ambient glove (right) is more suited for temperatures below freezing. Proper insulation means additional bulk and less dexterity.
If you’re really going to get into winter riding, you'll need to protect your feet. Oversocks are a starting place, especially if you’re on a budget. Bontrager's Stormshell oversocks are featured here, but you can source them from a number of brands. Insulated over-boots are another option for riders who may not want to invest in dedicated cold-weather shoes, but the ultimate way to protect your feet from the ravages of winter is to pony up for the real deal. There are also a number of specialty winter mountain bike shoes available. They are waterproof, breathable, and insulated. If you ride regularly in absolute s**t conditions, they’re what you want.
(From left) Shimano SH-MW7, Northwave Celsius2 GTX, and the Northwave Arctic Celsius2 GTX are excellent examples of specialty winter shoes.
I sneered at the idea of winter shoes. Initially, I’d just wear thicker socks. Then I moved to the Pacific Northwest, where my feet got soaked and turned into blocks of ice. I tried SealSkinz oversocks, then overboots (which worked well, but were a pain in the butt to wrestle on and off my shoes). Then finally, I stepped up to winter shoes. One word: "Nirvana."
If you do invest in a full-blown winter shoe, here are a few thoughts on what to look for besides a breathable Gore-Tex type outer and waterproof insulation:
• Some sort of speed lacing is a key. It makes lacing up a winter boot ridiculously easy, and the ability to customize your fit quickly and easily while wearing gloves is awesome.
• Mud-flap over the laces: A shield to deflect the crud is essential, and it will extend the life of your lacing system.
• A stiff sole is good, but you'll be walking and pushing, so choose a curved sole (rocker) and one with real lugs, not a couple of cyclocross spikes.,
• Easy clearance: Choose pedals that will shed Ice and packed crud easily. Soles with roomy cleat pockets are easier to clear.
• Pull tabs on the back of the shoes are helpful when wearing gloves or trying to pull on your shoes with numb fingers.
Bontrager Stormshelll oversocks can keep your feet dry inside your warm-weather shoes.
Hood River riding in the autumn is hard to beat.
Gore has been involved in cycling apparel since 1985. However, the Gore Apparel items I tested last year were not my cup of tea. And with 230 female specific Gore Bike products in their line, it was difficult to decide which to review. I asked some ladies I know who regularly ride Gore products, which items they would recommend. Based on their, and Gore’s suggestions, I was able to review gear that compliments my layering system.
Nikki wears a Gore-Tex Power Trail Lady Active jacket and the Element Lady short. Accessories: Giro Xara helmet, Gore Apparel's Power Lady Windstopper gloves, Universal Gore Windstopper socks.
Gore-Tex Power Trail Lady Active Jacket: $279.99
“For the active female cyclist who demands the best, this functional jacket is lightweight and feels comfortable. Designed with style in mind, the jacket is soft to the touch." The Power Trail Lady Jacket utilizes a Gore-Tex Active membrane for 25k breathability, and optimum comfort in high aerobic conditions, while still offering a 28k windproof and waterproof rating. The jacket features two front zip pockets, an adjustable draw cord at the waist, a small zip pocket on the sleeve, and wave shaped cuffs. The hood is adjustable and, thanks to magnets embedded in the fabric, it stays put when not deployed. The Gore-Tex Power Trail Lady Active Jacket comes in pink, black and grey, and in sizes X-small through X-large.
I tested the medium-sized Power Trail Lady jacket in black and it fit me perfectly. Sleeve length, torso length, and overall fit were spot on. I had enough room to wear multiple layers under the jacket and I liked that I could cinch down the waist for protection from the cold and easily fit the hood over the helmet when the rain started coming in sideways. I wore this jacket in cold and fairly wretched conditions and what I discovered is, that in spite of the Power Trail Lady's rather steep price tag, it is a top-tier jacket. All the little details: the style and cut, and the superb waterproof technology that Gore Apparel utilizes, made it my favorite pick of this review among the jackets designed for true winter riding. It's a worthy investment, and a jacket that is probably going to last many seasons.
Gore Power Lady Windstopper Gloves: $79.99
Warm and comfortable option for winter riding,.Power Lady Windstopper gloves are thicker than I prefer to wear, but the dexterity was still okay. Some loss of dexterity is a small price to pay for having toasty hands as the temperature drops below freezing on a long ride.
Gore Universal Windstopper Socks $49.99
“These windproof cycling socks are worn like normal socks, ensuring easy and practical wear.” If you can manage to pull them on your feet, they are a stellar option to consider if winter riding shoes are not in your budget. "If you can pull them on" is the key phrase. I have fairly average size feet – women’s US 8.5. The problem with these socks is that they lack an elastic ankle cuff, so pulling them over my heel required both hands, lots of swear words, and the sound of stitches breaking. I understand the cuffs have to be tight to work effectively, but Gore should consider adding some elasticity to key points. Once I got the suckers on, however, they kept my toes and feet warm inside my standard riding shoes.
Alpinestars needs no introduction to anyone with an MX or Moto GP background. Their roots in motorcycle competition has handily translated to their cycling gear, with materials and fit that are top notch. As you may expect, the functionality of their gear is A-grade.
Justin with the All Mountain 2 WP jacket and the All Mountain 2 pants. Accessories are: Giro Montaro Mips helmet, Alpinestars Status glove, Paragon knee guards, and the Northwave Celsius 2 GTX winter boot.
Alpinestars All Mountain 2 WP Jacket: $239.95
The All Mountain 2 Waterproof Jacket is Alpinestar’s top-tier foul weather cycling jacket. It’s constructed of a reasonably lightweight, three-layer material with a 10k waterproof and breathability rating. Two torso vents at the armpits ensure ventilation under heavy exertion. Additional details include; two side pockets and a sleeve pocket for secure and waterproof protection of valuables. The attached hood is helmet-compatible and has shock cord adjusters, and mesh vents in the collar for extra air flow. Reflective detailing allows for visibility when wearing the shell in low light, and its drop seat back will help keep trail debris off your backside. It’s available only in black/steel gray and sizes are small through XX-large.
All Mountain 2 WP Jacket details: (clockwise) Zip vents, helmet-friendly hood, three-layer waterproof fabric, and secure zip pockets.
This is a pretty serious jacket. When you pull it on, you just know that it will repel water like garlic repels vampires. The fit was good - roomy in fact - compared to some of the more fitted jackets in this review. Consequently, it offered a full range of movement although it tended to bag a bit when riding low over the bars. Accessing the zipper pulls for the venting was adequate with a pack on. And, the vents allowed a generous amount of airflow for those times when the 10k breathability wasn’t quite cutting it. The hood's helmet compatibility was also good. There was a bit of binding when I craned my head all the way to one side or the other, but I blame that more on the helmet I was wearing than the design of the hood. Adjustability, even with thicker winter riding gloves on was easy. I’m uncertain as to how effective the mesh vents in the collar are, but when I was pedaling hard and it was raining icepicks on my head, the less I needed to open up to get some extra ventilation, the warmer I remained.
The only dis I can level at the All Mountain 2 WP jacket is that it’s a heavyweight. It pedals well, but even with a 10k breathability rating, it heats up in a hurry when you’re going full gas. I was forced to open the venting all the way up on a 40-minute climb, in addition to opening the main zipper nearly all the way to the waist. Luckily, it wasn’t really raining much. It wasn't particularly cold (about 40F/6C), which may have contributed to the sauna in my jacket. The sheer heft of the All Mountain 2 WP suggests that it is more of a shuttle and less, a pedal-all-day-in-the-rain kind of jacket. Drop the temperature to below freezing, and I would probably change my tune on that assessment. Overall, it’s a solid performer, particularly if you’re riding the lifts or shuttling.
Alpinestars All Mountain 2 Pant: $144.95
The All Mountain 2 pants are ergonomically cut with a slim-fitting design, with enough room inside for the use of lighter-weight knee guards. The main shell is a two-way stretch fabric with a DWR coating. The thighs are lined with a micro fleece to the knees for a bit of lightweight insulation. There are waist tab adjusters, zippered thigh vents, and Cordura reinforced panels on the knees and also a panel on the back of the waist. Velcro adjusters at the cuffs help reduce fabric flap. The outside of each leg has a zipper that runs from mid-calf to the ankle for quick dressing and adjusters on the cuff of the ankles. Lastly, there are two stash pockets at the waist, just large enough for a smartphone. Sizes are 28 to 40 in even numbers.
Alpinestars All Mountain 2 pant details.
I found the All Mountain 2 pant was snug at the waist, but perfect otherwise. The thighs offered a comfortable fit without giving me the impression that I was going cycling in a pair of baggy pajamas. And, I was readily able to wear a set of Alpinestar’s Paragon knee guards underneath them without any binding sensation when on the pedals, or scrambling over downed trees. Maybe it’s the two-way stretch fabric, but the pants moved exceptionally well, compared to other pants I’ve worn in the past. They kept me dry while pedaling for an hour in the rain and they breathed surprisingly well, considering the micro fleece insulation in the upper thighs. I’d say these are perfect for cool, damp, cold, and moderately rainy conditions, but my impression is that they may eventually wet out if you’re pedaling in Squamish, BC, during a November monsoon.
Alpinestars Status Glove: $39.95
All I know is that the Status glove is warm and has a terry cloth nose wipe on the thumb (it says dirt on the website). I also noticed that the thin palm offered excellent handlebar feel, but I have fat fingers, and this glove caters to more slender hands. Colors are yellow, black, red/black and blue, and sizes are small through X-large.
Maloja (pronounced “mah-low-yah”) is a German company that was founded 11 years ago. The brand was born out of a desire to make better mountain bike clothing in an era when the two available options were Lycra XC kits or ridiculously baggy gravity gear. Since that early beginning, Maloja has grown to a mid-size company that employs a cadre of full-time designers who create gear for cycling, lifestyle, and winter sports.
Nikki with a Betsym snow jacket and Janism snow shorts. Accessories include; Giro Montara Mips helmet, Warrenm gloves, Concordiam long-sleeve base layer, Sock Guy Wooligan socks, and Shimano shoes.
Maloja Betsym Snow Jacket: $300
The Betsym snow jacket from Maloja, is a women-specific rain jacket made with Gore-Tex Paclite - a fabric with a waterproof-breathability rating of 23k/15k. The jacket also features a DWR treatment on the face fabric, taped seams, reflective elements for visibility in low light conditions, and water-resistant zippers. It comes in Avocado Cadillac, Nightfall, and Whiskey, and is available in sizes X-small through X-large.
I tested a size small Betsym snow jacket in Avocado. The jacket had a slimmer style fit on my frame, but still allowed full, unrestricted movement of my upper body. On colder test rides, I was able to comfortably wear a long-sleeve base layer and a mid-layer underneath it. The Betsym jacket felt light in comparison to some of the shells I reviewed, but it is also a minimalist design that lacks a hood and side pockets.
The Betsym had excellent breathability and despite the lack of pit zips or other vents, I didn’t sweat inside the coat on prolonged climbs. It effectively repelled cold and I was able to stay bone dry in torrential rain which, in turn, meant that I wasn’t grumpy (my happiness is directly proportional to how warm I am).
Betsym snow jacket details.
Overall, I was impressed with the ability of this high-tech jacket to withstand the elements while offering a simple and stylish appearance. This is a get-what-you-pay-for jacket. Gore-Tex waterproof technology is proven, but it comes with a higher price tag than a jacket utilizing, say, only a DWR-treated fabric. Maloja has put a lot of time and effort into their design and, you should add a Betsym to your list of must-try items.
For those of you who want a more affordable option from Maloja, I included some pictures of the Zulam jacket - a windproof, multi-sport, soft-shell jacket. It’s both stylish, comfortable and features premium insulation, a storm hood, and a DWR-treated fabric. I’ve been wearing this jacket a lot lately – to work, travel to both Arizona and California, and during “snowpocalyspe” 2016 at home in Hood River, Oregon. It is the perfect soft-shell or mid-layer piece for enjoying a cold ride on the trails, or a foray around town, particularly when it's too cold for a single layer and too warm for a heavy coat.
Zulam snow jacket
Maloja Janism Snow Shorts: $200
“Whether you’re a commuter who often arrives with soggy shorts or a trail enthusiast who doesn't let a little damp weather keep her off the dirt, the Maloja Janism Snow women's tech shorts plug a glaring gap in most inclement weather wardrobes. We have a glut of jackets and jerseys and vests with DWR treatment but shorts that keep your engine dry are in short supply.” These all-weather freeride bike shorts also feature Gore-Tex Paclite membrane with its 23k/15k waterproof breathability rating, taped seams, a DWR coating, water-repellent zips, adjustable waistband, and one small zip pocket. Like the Betsym snow Jacket, it’s available in Avocado, Cadillac, Nightfall, and Whiskey, in size X-small through X-large.
I tested the size small Janism shorts in Avocado (not my favorite color) with the matching jacket, and I felt like a chameleon blending into the surrounding forest. That aside, the shorts fit a bit tight in the waist and hips. They were sized correctly, but because the material is less stretchy, I felt more restricted in my movements than I like. So, I would consider sizing up if you fall towards the top of a specific size and like a looser feel.
Janism snow short details
The shorts had a 13.2-inch inseam so they come to about the top of the knees in a static position, a bit more of an XC length than a freeride short. These shorts are the ultimate rain short, and they were the only waterproof short I had for testing in this review. Rest assured, having a pair of these supremely lightweight shorts in the arsenal of riding gear is a guarantee that you will stay dry in nasty conditions and prevent that clammy, damp feeling you get after your water repellent shorts soak through.
Maloja Warenm Gloves: $50
"A breathable, non-slip, tough glove that will make you feel like you want to Rock and Roll."
Maloja Concordiam Women’s Base Layer: $95
Concordiam long-sleeve women's base layer in "Nightfall" - a slim-fitting, multi-sport women's long-sleeve undershirt that is fast drying.
Being based in Squamish assumes that the designers at 7Mesh not only ride hard; but that they also ride in some of the worst kinds of weather. Consequently, their gear is famous for being built for the purpose of remaining comfortable in absolutely miserable conditions.
Justin with the 7Mesh Revelation jacket and Revo short. Accessories include Giro Chronicle Mips helmet, Giro Blaze gloves, Troy Lee Designs Speed knee sleeves and Ace wool socks, and Shimano MW7 Shoes.
7Mesh Revelation Jacket: $450
The Revelation Jacket is a no-holds-barred, get-outside-no-matter-how-wet-it-is jacket - a minimalist design, made from Gore-Tex Pro fabric with a 28k/25k rating, engineered specifically for those who demand the most from their clothing and tend to abuse their gear - exactly the conditions that core mountain bikers in Squamish, BC, experience for much of the year.
The cut of the Revelation was designed with riding in mind, but it’s not so fitted as to prevent proper layering for serious cold-weather riding, and you won't look like a bike nerd if you’re wearing one to the pub for drinks after the ride. It has two zippered torso vents, and a zippered intake vent on the forearm of each sleeve. There are two pockets at the waist for storing critical items like a smartphone and there’s a lightweight, removable hood for when things really get nasty out. The adjustable hood is designed to fit under your helmet, which reflects the minimalist 7mesh design philosophy. Adjustable waist with a slight drop tail, reflective details, and adjustable cuffs round out the design, which comes in black and Goldstone, and in sizes X-small through XX-large.
Revelation Jacket Details.
My wallet cried a little bit when it saw the price tag on this jacket, but throw one on and you’ll realize that it’s the real deal. Actually taking the Revelation out for a test spin inspires more lust and appreciation. The jacket is semi-fitted, but they designed this one right: it’s roomy, but not too roomy, and it moves well without binding in the shoulders - or anywhere else, for that matter. The torso vents have zipper pulls for easy operation and are placed to allow a hand to access a jersey pocket. Despite its impressive performance, the Revelation is a no-frills jacket. Sure, there’s vents, pockets, and a removable hood, but those features are absolutely what you need. Consequently, the Revelation was noticeably more lightweight than any of the other jackets tested - 9.5 oz (270 grams).
The performance was everything that it should be in a jacket of this quality. The Revelation is easily light enough to stuff into a pack as a just in case item for threatening weather, but hardy enough to throw on when it’s sleeting outside. In keeping with that minimalist design ethos, too, the hood fits easily under the helmet, and wears almost like a skull cap. My only beef is that the three snaps on the hood are almost too easy to unsnap. Losing the hood of a $450 jacket would be a financial disaster. I stowed mine in one of the side pockets when I wasn’t using it. Yes, it rings up at an astonishing price at the cash register, but this is definitely a go-to jacket for crap weather, particularly if you’re striving to go light and fast.
7Mesh Revo Short: $225
If the Revelation jacket sets a benchmark for quality and performance, the Revo Short is its match. Constructed of Gore-Tex 3L fabric (also with a 28k/25k rating). It has an over the knee cut - almost like a knicker, but not quite that long. There is a scalloped treatment behind the knee to minimize excess fabric, and the crotch gusset seams have been moved to the side to prevent mud on the saddle from abrading the stitching there. The fit is tailored for the riding position and articulated for freedom of movement. There are two non-zippered hip pockets and low-profile waist adjusters backed up by belt loops. Everything is secured by a single, industrial-size snap closure.The Revo Short comes in black or blue, in sizes X-small through XX-large.
Revo Short Details.
My wallet cried even more when I slipped into these shorts. Like the Revelation Jacket, they inspire nothing but appreciation for a well-crafted piece of equipment. The fit on the Revo short is spot on. It’s semi-fitted, so there’s no sag in the crotch area to hook a saddle, and while there’s no excess fabric on the legs, it still offers a full range of movement when salsa dancing over greasy root lines. The length of the scalloped knees is only noticeable in the mirror and serves the more practical purpose of offering some abrasion protection from brush. Despite the fitted cut, there’s still plenty of room inside for knee guards. I rode these during a miserable day on the trails and had zero complaints on the cut, the way they shed water, or their breathability. They pretty much ruled. You'll need to pay attention to 7Mesh’s size chart: I wear a size 32 waist, which is a size small at 7Mesh, Typically a 32-inch waist translates to a size medium, so take note.
Ion has been around since 2004. They began as a watersports based clothing company and worked hard to create innovative and progressive designs for everything from surfing to kiteboarding. They launched their cycling division in 2012 with functional clothing, accessories, gloves, and protection. Ion is an innovative and environmentally sensitive business that has earned a loyal following.
Nikki with a Shell Amp Vario women's jacket and a Scrub Amp women's short. She's also wearing a Giro Cartelle Mips helmet, Haze Gloves, K-Lite R knee guards, Mid Pole socks, and Giro Terradura shoes.
Ion Shell Amp Vario Women's Jacket: $299.95
The Shell Amp Jacket is touted by Ion as: “the perfect jacket for those rainy and cold days on and off the bike.” It is a waterproof jacket, using four-way stretch, three-layer material, with taped seams and YKK waterproof zippers. The fabric has a waterproof-breathability rating of 20k/20k, and the design features a venting zip on the back of each arm, two pockets and adjustable shock cords at the waist, hook-and-loop adjustments on each cuff, and a hood with a 3D shock-cord adjustment. Color is Combat Red and sizes range from X-small to X-large.
Shell Amp Vario jacket details.
I tested the size medium Shell Amp Vario women's jacket, and it was fairly loose and baggy on my frame, with a more relaxed fit than the other shells in this review. It is designed to have what Ion described as “classic T-shirt fit, not slim, not wide, just right in the middle.” Given that, I would probably err on the side of sizing down if you are on the fringe of a particular size and prefer a more classic fit. The jacket had a long torso that I could pull or cinch down using the adjustable hem.
I wore this jacket in a slew of weather conditions - from cold and windy, to full downpour. At 20,000mm/20,000 g/m2 /24h, this jacket is on par with the Gore, Scott, and Maloja kit as my top choice for waterproofness and breathability. It has fully taped seams, which assures maximum protection in bad weather conditions, and is a requirement for any true waterproof designation. Despite its breathability ratings, I found I was using the zip vents often on prolonged climbs to prevent overheating. Vents are a really important addition to most rain-specific riding jackets (nobody likes to be dripping with sweat inside their jacket). I also utilized the hood in the wind and it easily pulled up over my helmet. I stayed dry and warm, and throughout testing, I had a lot of people complement the kit, especially when I showed them some of its unique features like the built-in glass cleaning fabric that you can pull out of the right hand pocket. Last but not least, the price tag is on par with other jackets with similar technology and design.
Ion Scrub Amp Women's Shorts: $134.95
“Ion's top notch bike shorts: The Scrub Amp Women's! Lightweight and flexible bike shorts in Ion’s unique surf short style, with a relaxed, loose fit.” This four-way-stretch material has a double-weave construction that is treated with a water repellent. The idea is to offer protection on rainy and muddy days without losing breathability. They feature two zip pockets on the front, including an integrated neoprene phone pouch and Velcro waist adjusters. For added durability, all seams are triple stitched. There are laser-cut ventilation holes for ventilation, and color options are black and Dark Night. They are available in sizes from X-small to X-large
Scrub Amp women's bike short details.
I tested the size small Scrub Amp in Dark Night. The shorts fit me perfectly in the waist and hips, and had a loose cut with a lightweight feel on my legs. The longer inseam (approximately 13 inches) fit easily over all of my knee guards. The four-way-stretch fabric gives these shorts an incredibly comfortable feel and allows full, unrestricted movement.
Scrub Amp shorts have a stylish look and, yes, they do match well with the Ion jacket I reviewed. It’s not often you see normal people out shredding in a full matching kit, so when you do, make sure to give them s**t. Like the jacket, Ion's shorts include unique add-on features like, the built-in neoprene phone pouch in the side pocket and the laser-cut ventilation. The shorts are also DWR treated to prevent the fabric from absorbing rain, but it’s not as waterproof as a Gore-Tex type fabric. Despite that, I stayed dry during all our testing and breathability was good. Scrub Amp shorts were my second-favorite shorts of this review, and would be perfect for all styles of riding, from the bike park to all-day adventures in the mountains
Ion K Lite R Knee Guards. $119.95
K Lite R features a very breathable neoprene called Super Perforator to create a lightweight, flexible knee guard that pedals easily, but offers protection for riders looking to go fast and light.
Ion Haze gloves: $64.95
Haze gloves utilize neoprene and "Wind Hater" technology for comfort and a secure fit. The result is a warm, fully articulated glove that's touch screen friendly and warm.
Scott is perhaps better known for their bikes, but they have been in the clothing business for some time. And, they bring the same focus and precision of their bicycle range to their clothing designs. With their location in the Swiss Alps, and a slew of top-shelf athletes on tap for design feedback, it goes without saying that the fit and functionality of their gear is among the very best.
Justin wearing the Scott Trail Mountain Dryo Plus jacket, the Scott Trail Mtn Polar Plus jacket (mid layer), and Scott Trail AS short. Accessories include the Scott Stego helmet, Giro Blaze gloves, Scott Soldier 2 knee guard, and Shimano MW7 winter shoe.
Scott Trail MTN Dryo Plus Jacket: $239.99
This is a three-layer shell jacket that utilizes Scott's Dryosphere fabric with a waterproof-breathability rating of 10k/12k. It features an athletic cut with venting zippers on either side of the torso, a main chest pocket, and an ergonomic and adjustable hood. There’s a security pocket within the chest pocket, and another pocket on the upper portion of the left sleeve for lift passes or other small essentials. It has a drop seat in the rear, and shock-cord adjusters for the waist. The Dryo Plus comes in four colors: Fiery Red/Seaport Blue, Seaport Blue/Macaw Green, Empire Blue/Blue Nights, and Zinnea Orange/Hawaiian Blue. Sizes range from small to XX-large.
Scott Trail MTN Dryo Plus jacket details.
The Trail Mountain Dryo Plus Jacket isn't in the cycling portion of Scott's website. It's found in their running apparel, but it makes a great cycling jacket. The color on this piece is the first thing to catch one's eye, especially the Zinnia Orange and Hawaiian Blue combination. The Dryo Plus has a fitted athletic cut and it wears well. It was a bit snug while standing, but this jacket is obviously cut for a riding posture, and that snug fit vanished once I was on the bike. The Dryo Plus moved easily over my mid-layer, too. Breathability was more than adequate, but I definitely appreciated the accessibility of the side vent zippers if I started to overheat on a climb. What little rain I encountered when testing this jacket was easily repelled by the Dryosphere fabric, and like the 7Mesh jackets, this is a very utilitarian design. It has only what a rider needs and nothing extra - other than a pocket on the left sleeve. The drop-seat did its job without hooking the saddle or otherwise making its presence known. It's reasonably lightweight and could conceivably be stuffed into a hydration pack as a just-in-case-the-weather-goes-to-hell item year 'round.
My one beef was with the hood. Like the Race Face Agent, it couldn't decide whether to be an over-the-helmet or an under-the-helmet-hood. When worn over the helmet, and zipped all the way up it constricted my movements. But wearing it under the helmet wasn't a better solution, because there’s extra fabric that wadded under my helmet and drooped into my field of vision. Otherwise, the jacket worked well and was definitely something I'd take for long missions in miserable weather.
Scott Trail MTN Polar Plus Jacket: $119.95
Touted as a jacket, but really more of a mid layer, this zip-up design uses Polartec PowerDry material composed of a stretchy polyester/Spandex blend. There is a single zip pocket on the left side of the chest for some essentials and it comes in Blue Nights, Hawaiian Blue/Empire Blue and Macaw Green/Seaport Blue. Sizes are X-small through XX-large.
This is a fitted piece that works well as a mid-layer, where the waffle pattern of the Polartec PowerDry weave works well to trap heat and move excess moisture to the surface of the Polar Plus jacket where it can vent out. I found it to be a good piece to wear solo on cool dry days., but it also layered under the Mountain Dryo Plus jacket with minimal bulk. The only downside is that spandex-a component of the fabric blend-tends to hold water, but the stretch that spandex offers is what allows the garment to fit well without hampering movement. But they got the blend just right: I never noticed the Polar Plus Jacket was holding excessive moisture while reviewing this garment.
Scott Trail MTN Polar Plus jacket.
Scott Trail AS Short: $129.99
The Trail AS Short is touted by Scott as a "must-have in your winter biking gear." It has waterproof fabric in the seat, insulation on the tops of the thighs, an adjustable waist, and two venting zippers on the thighs to offer relief if you're overheating. There are no pockets, and there is a single snap closure at the waist, and two waist tab adjusters in addition to belt loops. The fabric used in the main body of the short is 50% polyamide (the seat) and 50% polyester. The durable, three-layer polyamide fabric Scott used in the seat has a 20k/15k waterproof-breathability rating, but for comfort reasons, the seams aren't taped, so it can't be rated as a waterproof garment. The Trail AS short is only available in Blue Night/Seaport Blue, and it can be found in sizes small, through XX-large.
Scott Trail AS short details.
The fit of the Trail AS was good in the waist and the length was just right, resting just below the middle of the knee when standing, but still offering good overlap with knee guards. I found the short to be warm, but not overly so and it breathed quite well - enough so I never felt the need to use the zippered vents - and I tested them in a wide range of temperatures (0C to 6C). I stayed warm on the descents, and even on long, uphill slogs, I never overheated. I hit several boggy sections and while the seat of the short was liberally speckled in goo, I was still dry at the end of the ride. In monsoon conditions, you're likely to get seepage through the untaped seams, but I never did.
I had only two issues: a waist snap broke while fastening the short for a test ride. Scott sent me a replacement pair straight away and I have had zero issues since. And, the waist tab adjusters were so stretchy that they were useless. However, Scott includes belt loops, so you have an alternative. you can cinch them down just fine. Overall, though, these are a great pair of shorts.
Scott Trail MTN Dryo 30 Women’s Jacket: $199.99
Nikki wears a Scott Trail MTN Dryo 30 women's jacket and the Scott Trail AS women's short. Accessories are: Scott Fuga Plus helmet, Giro Blaze gloves, Scott Soldier 2 knee guards, Long Scott socks, and Shimano MW7 winter shoes.
Scott’s Trail MTN Dryo 30 is a women’s jacket “made out of a blend of stretch and Dryosphere 3L fabric. This clever combination allows it to protect you from wind and water with optimal comfort.” The jacket also includes under-arm laser-cut ventilation holes, an interior chest pocket to store your essentials, and reflective details for improved visibility in low light. There’s a hood with shock-cord adjusters, shock-cord adjusters at the hem, and Velcro adjusters at each sleeve. The jacket is available in Plum Violet and Carrot Orange colors only, and in and sizes X-small to X-large.
Scott Trail MTN Dryo 30 jacket details.
Scott's MTN Dryo 30 women’s jacket had a slim-style fit, but at the same time, it was loose enough for full movement in all the right places. My shoulders and arms had good articulation and the torso came down far enough to protect my backside from anything wet or gooey. The underarm laser cut venting seemed to do the job of aiding ventilation, keeping sweat to a minimum while I was climbing, and in spite of the slim cut, I was able to comfortably fit a base layer and mid layer under the jacket as needed.
While it is considered a soft shell, the Dryoshpere 3L fabric's 10k/12k waterproof-breathability rating is waterproof to a level that matches many of the hard shells reviewed in this article. While the MTN Dryo jacket may not be designed for torrential rain, it did hold up to every kind of weather we encountered, and I'd trust it to handle most of the riding conditions I would ever deal with. I received compliments on the color and style, and I even floated the Hood River with a beer in hand in this kit and survived to tell the story. If you are looking for a high-end soft shell that will keep you dry and cozy, I'd suggest Scott's MTN Dryo 30.
Scott Trail AS Women's Short $119.99
I tested the size medium Trail AS women shorts. I would categorize these shorts as puffy pants for my legs with an added waterproof bum. The medium fit me perfectly in the waist, and loose enough in the hips and legs to feel unrestricted in my dance party moves. They look warm, they feel warm, and they offer good breathability and a relaxed comfortable fit.
Scott Trail AS women's short details.
The shorts fell to a mid-knee length and were long enough to fit over my knee guards. Easy access side-vent zippers were a nice addition for anyone who might overheat. I rarely if ever need vents on my shorts, as my lower body never gets warm enough to sweat or overheat, but I can understand how useful they could be. We did run into a minor issue with the button on the shorts popping off on both samples. The replacement pair has held up so far, with two rides under my belt.
That's all folks. We'll see you next spring.
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