Sombrio's MoBE

Sep 7, 2013
by Sombrio Cartel  

Dave Watson’s grace on his bike has had the biggest influence on me, more than any other rider. He has a long bodied ability; a natural panache that sent him over the rough stuff looking like he was more than just hanging on. Back in his heyday, he was long, he was low, and he represented everything that got me fired up – root ensnared deep woods trails been torn apart by a badass dude on a DH bike. I had seen Dave in person at the races: on Hornby Island racing dual slalom, at Parksville in the DH, and also on the screen; flowing Kelowna step downs in NWD, and flying high above Howe Sound in Ride to the Hills. For my friends and I, addicted to riding our local trails, Dave Watson was a hero: The guy who rode the bike we wished we had, rode the trails we wanted to ride, and wore the clothes we craved.


Back then, the entire culture of North Shore riding was the coolest thing to me. It was an emerging scene of pioneering people, misty forests, high end bikes, and a new way of riding trails in the hills. For me, being just across the water on Vancouver Island, the Shore was so close but so far away. It was a place of big trees, fog, and rain that captivated my mind’s eye. As a teenager my riding buddies and I learned how to hop up and over big piles of logs on our local trails, we bought Roach vests and shorts, and started to build ladder bridges in the forests. Our progression came from our dedication to riding, but also from emulating those on the forefront.

Dave Watson in Squamish BC while working on his segment for Ride to the Hills summer 2000.

New films and magazine photos of our heroes fueled the fire: Johnny Smoke ducking the noose on Hangman, Andrew Shandro’s tires praying for traction over the most gnarled mess of roots imaginable, Dave Watson riding the craziest looking trail we’d ever seen on Cypress Mountain, for the lens of Sterling Lorence. Mitchell Scott’s article in Bike Magazine, ‘Fear and Loaming.’ Images of soaking wet cedar slats, Rocky Mountain’s Purple Pipeline, and Todd Fiander’s teetor-totter above a pond. Trail names like ‘Ladies Only, Severed Dick, and Flying Circus’ were like hedonistic phrases falling upon the ears of the untainted…….The North Shore was as foreboding as it was tantalizing.


It’s been a cool experience to watch my heroes of the North Shore evolve: Nowadays some of them own bike shops, guiding companies, coaching programs, and others are still riding professionally for the magazines and films. But Dave Watson did something unique, he founded a clothing company: Sombrio. He transferred from being a core rider to someone addressing an issue: What we wear while riding our bikes. Some people shun style and the latest fashions, but the reality is mountain bikers require functional clothing. And back when Sombrio started up, there wasn’t much in the way of riding specific gear for us to wear out on the trails. Riders are out there in the forests, in erratic weather. Dave saw a need for us to ride comfortably, in stylish stuff instead of a mix of clothing designed for other sports. The years have passed and Sombrio has gone from hatchling to full-fledged firebird: tons of awesome gear, team riders, sponsoring events, you name it.

When I saw photos of Sombrio’s new ‘Mobile Brand Experience’ (MoBE), I was super intrigued because it looked like such an expensive fancy looking hunk of shiny metal. It seemed a little over the top for driving around town, and since Sombrio doesn’t have a DH racing team, I was wondering: What the hell is that!?!


I asked around and found out that there is a super unique concept behind the Rig. It is essentially a mobile clothing store, with the entire Sombrio lineup of clothing and footwear displayed, change rooms, and even iPADs to access their website and make orders. On top of that, there is a staff of young folks piloting the movable mother-ship all over North America, pulling the parking brake at bike shops, festivals, races, and all sort of mountain bike events. The crew even has a portable pump track they set up out front for people to ride. I did a little research and couldn’t find much in the way of other companies doing something like this, especially from the North Shore. It’s inspiring to me that Sombrio continues to push the scene and come up with innovative ways to reach people. Dave Watson started off as a North Shore dude riding and racing hard at the forefront of the West Coast riding scene, and now he is spreading that vibe all over North America.

It’s been well more than a decade since my Junior High School days. Back then I was riding as much as possible on my Kona Explosif hardtail and conquering new challenges every ride. The time has flown by, and all the trails I’ve ridden (and re-ridden) up until now have brought me so many experiences and stories. Back in the day, bike companies flogged their products out of simple tents at bike races. Things are much different now and Sombrio’s MoBE is a huge, in-your-face example of that: a way to get the product and culture to riders who haven’t yet heard of or seen the brand. Progression and innovation is part of our sport, and Sombrio is at the forefront.

In the last decade, I have had the opportunity to ride with some of my heroes from back in the day. Although I’ve followed Dave Watson’s progress from professional rider to owner of Sombrio Clothing, I’ve still haven’t ridden with him. I’ve been trying to ride like he does for years and years but have yet to follow the man down a trail. Dave’s influence has gone far beyond just me. Back in Junior High the riding community that became ‘Shore’ or ‘Freeride’ or whatever you feel like calling it was quite small. Not anymore, and Sombrio has been there from the beginning. It’s a great thing to see. I look forward to visiting the Sombrio Big Rig and checking out Sombrio’s latest and greatest. And who knows, maybe I’ll even get to hit the trails with the man himself.

- Riley Mcintosh / sombriocartel

Author Info:
SombrioCartel avatar

Member since Dec 2, 2011
28 articles

  • 9 0
 I own so much Sombrio clothing, It's unreal. The stuff is absolutely the best lasts forever. I've ridden in the stuff for at least three seasons had many many crashes and it's all still together. Gloves, shorts, jerseys, shoes, You name it. If I had to pick a brand they would be my number one!
  • 5 0
 Nice JOB ! I am a fan of Dave Watson and I guess Im about the same age as you are just pretty damn far from out from the SHORE . I own a pair of Sombrio shoes and they are rock solid ! Super stylish and comfy ! They do represent FREERiDE !
  • 5 1
 I love Sombrio! I'm a big dude, 6'3" 255lbs, 38' waist, 21" chest(not fat just a big celt boy). So it's hard for me find cool gear that fits me! Dakine never fits, and although Fox does, it's become kind of "bro-ed out" and just meh... So props to Sombrio for thinking about us Hoss riders!
  • 3 0
 The gear Sombrio makes is top-notch, for sure. But the thing that I have appreciated almost as much is the awesome crew working there. Every issue, every need, every email, and every question is handled personally, with a smile and an informed sense of customer service. In an impersonal worl, full of faceless companies, they shine. Truly, I am amazed by the staff there, and their dedication to us, the customer. Keep doing it just like you are Sombrio, and you will have me as a loyal customer forever!
  • 1 0
 I love Sombrio and have a decent amount, but if the guys are listening, please get your sizes in check. There is so much variance, it's a bit puzzling. For example, I had three Sombrio jackets in Medium. One fits perfect. The other two were HUGE. Should be an XL. I know some sizing is meant to fit pads underneath, but there was waaaay too much extra space it may as well be an XL. Shorts. I have no idea what to order because they seem to have different fits given the same "size" between models. Unfortunately there is no retail store near my area, so it's online ordering only. All I ask is more consistency in sizing please.
  • 1 0
 Can you give us a few more details on this? Model? Year? etc.
  • 1 0
 sure, if i recall correctly, as an example I have a Vapor Storm jacket. Not sure what year, it was a while back. It is stated to be a size medium. But it is much larger than any medium or large jacket i've ever had. As for shorts, I can no longer recall as that was a few years ago and i gave them away as they were too small. But those shorts were also sized "medium" or 33-34 I think. They fitted like a size small (maybe 28-30). Granted, I am in the USA and we do tend to run larger in size than elsewhere in the world. But this is very confusing in that medium was either too large or too small from my experience.

If I can find my Vapor jacket, i'll be happy to mail it to you to check out in person, since i cannot use it.
  • 1 0
 I actually found it. Here are the specs from the tag:

Style: JKSS1001
Color: Black
Size: Medium
Description: S-Tek II.V Series

Tried it on again and the sleeves are very long, overall fit is looser than a comparable size M jacket I have from other MTB brands. I guess it's not quite XL large as I stated earlier, but it definitely seems to be more of a Large size with long sleeves than a size Medium.

It's a lovely jacket, don't get me wrong. I would love to use it but it's just way too big.
  • 2 0
 Sombrio is representing The Art Of Freeride and the Friendship between each Rider(in my opinion) The Clothes are still the best, i´ve ever wear in my Bike-Life Smile
  • 4 2
 Sombrio. Make hemp shorts! Hemp is the strongest fiber to make clothes from. Then I might actualy throw down more than a hundred bucks on a pair of ridin shorts.
  • 2 0
 worn my sombrio shoes for two season so far any they show no signs of giving up! love sombrios stuff
  • 2 1
 Love sombrio clothing , but their gloves fall apart soo fast it's unreal , I got two pairs last year and both lasted about 1 month
  • 3 1
 Really, I had a pair last forever, like 2 seasons.
  • 2 0
 My old pair of Sombs didn't last either. Sombrio graphics on finger hardened up when I washed them and every time I went to wipe my face or nose the gloves would scratch me. BUT looking at their new gloves looks like they have been improved a great deal. My 2cents
  • 4 1
 I have the best job ever!
  • 3 0
 Ya u do Liam. And u r good at it. So keep workin hard homey..Sombrio is repped well at the events with u and Ashley. Seth and I will see u at rampage??Later Steve
  • 1 0
 Unfortunately no, i wont be travelling with them till near end of summer again due to school, but i greatly appreciate the kind words man!
  • 3 0
 An event near me???? BRING IT ON!
  • 3 1
 They say "hey, look for the rider wearing Sombrio on a Banshee".....that's me!!
  • 3 2
 You say that like if you we're proud of it...
  • 4 1
 id be proud, banshee makes super solid frames, and sombio jerseys and shorts look rad! imo better than most of tld's pyjamas!haha
  • 2 0
 To this day, people still compliment my Vapor jacket, with the "mosaic" Camo pattern on it...Its Bad ass, I love wearing it
  • 3 0
 That is very cool.
  • 2 0
 This is why it's 40 bucks for a T-shirt lol
  • 2 0
 While trying no to sound like a sales pitch... $29 regular, $14.50 right now.

To give you a bit more detail, the MoBe actually saves us a load of money through the year. It sleeps 4, so when we're doing any sort of dealer event, trade show or race support, and all the travel in between, we're not spending $100's of dollars on hotels through the trip.
  • 1 0
 Dig the company! I would like to meet up with the Mobe. Any chance of it visiting sandy ridge?
  • 2 0
 I trust you're joking. It was at Ski Bowl today for OES.
  • 1 0
 Yeah, we were there all weekend for the Oregon Enduro finals. Did you make it down?

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