Gear Guide: 10 Summer Riding Kits for Women

Aug 5, 2021
by Nikki Rohan  


Summer is in full swing here in the Northern Hemisphere. Temperatures are hot, trails are dusty, and sunscreen is a must. After some COVID-related delays, we decided to throw things together and find out what some of the 2021 riding kits look like out on the trails.

Below you will find a selection of ten women's kits from ten different brands. These reviews are based on short-term testing with a focus on fit, comfort, style, initial durability, and function. I am a size small-and-a-half so I typically switch back and forth between a small and medium size short and jersey depending on the size chart descriptions (and how much winter padding I've put on).





Table of Contents
Giro
Raceface
Fox Racing
Troy Lee Designs
Rapha
Pearl Izumi
DhARCO
Dakine
100%
POC




Nikki Rohan riding at Mt Hood Ski Bowl
Giro

• Women's Havoc Short
• Women's Roust Jersey
giro.com/


Giro is a Santa Cruz, CA based company that needs next to no introduction: lids, eyewear, footwear, gloves, and—starting a few years ago—riding apparel that continues to just get better and better.

Nikki Rohan in Post Canyon
Giro Women's Havoc short and Havoc jersey.

Women's Havoc Short
MSRP: $130.00 USD
Sizes: US 2 - 12
Colors: Black, Midnight, Urchin (tested)

The Havoc shorts Giro's go-to for aggressive trail riding. The shorts feature a 4-way stretch fabric with DWR coating, laser-cut ventilation, exterior elastic waist adjusters, hand pockets, and one zippered hip pocket for phone storage. They come in a larger range of sizes than just your standard small, medium, and large and follow the US size chart from a size 2 to 12. I tested the shorts in a 6 and they offer a nice fit: comfortably loose in the waist, hips, butt, and thigh areas, but trim enough to look good and not snag on the seat when pinning it down the trail. The inseam is long enough to eliminate the "gaper gap" between knee pads and the bottom of the shorts, and the leg opening is wide enough that most knee guards easily fit under them.

The Havoc shorts are one of my daily drivers—I just can't seem to take them out of rotation. I love the lightweight, stretchy-yet-durable feel the shorts offer, the ventilation is a nice way to keep things cool under the summer sun, and the DWR is key for unexpected rain drops. The shorts don't ride up when pedaling hard, either. And I really like that the cut and sizing allow for a closer fit while still offering full freedom to move (although I'd love to see Giro offer larger sizes—I know a few people who would love a larger size run). With an average price tag and a stylish look, these are the perfect trail riding shorts for summer adventures. And consider picking up the Havoc H2O if your riding demands more protection from the weather: same fabulous fit, but water proof.

Nikki Rohan in Post Canyon
Nikki Rohan in Post Canyon

Giro Women's Havoc Short.

Women's Roust Jersey
MSRP: $65.00 USD
Sizes: XS - XL
Tested Color: Gray Green Wavy

The Roust jersey is a basic yet technical short-sleeve moisture-wicking polyester fabric jersey. It features mesh ventilation side panels, an interior lens wipe, and comes in a whopping ten different color or pattern options. The jersey is part of the Giro Renew series of cycling apparel that is made from reclaimed fishing nets and other ocean debris. I tested the jersey in a medium. While I fit a size small in Giro jerseys per their size chart, I like the loose fit and feel that the medium offers.

The 100% recycled polyester fabric does a good job of wicking sweat in the heat and the mesh panels on the sides keep things nice and breezy. I do notice that most polyester fabrics readily catch on things like velcro or blackberry bushes, which tends to create little annoying snag marks in the fabric, but that seems to be the price you pay for a non-stinky polyester style jersey. For $65, the Roust is a pretty sweet and stylish jersey to add to the collection.

Nikki Rohan in Post Canyon
Nikki Rohan in Post Canyon

Giro Women's Roust jersey.





Nikki Rohan riding at Mt Hood Ski Bowl
Race Face

• Women's Indy Shorts
• Women's Diffuse LS Jersey
raceface.com/


Race Face has a history of designing high-quality gear meant for use in the ultimate testing ground: Vancouver's North Shore. Race Face is also one of the few companies that offer multiple lines of apparel created just for women, which allows women to pick and choose their styles based on what kinds of riding they like.

Nikki Rohan in Post Canyon
Race Face Women's Indy Shorts and Diffuse LS jersey

Women's Indy Shorts
MSRP: $110.00 USD
Sizes: XS - XL
Colors: Dark Red, Grey, Scorch, Black (tested)

The Race Face Women's Indy Shorts are labeled as an "all mountain short with an enduro focus." They feature a nylon/spandex blend fabric with a DWR coating, external waist adjusters, a zippered left thigh pocket, zippered outside thigh pockets, and laser vented front thighs. I tested the shorts in a size medium and the fit was perfecto. The shorts were easily snugged up in the waist with the velcro adjusters and were fitted—but not too tight—in the hip/butt region. The shorts have a 33-35cm (13-ish inches) inseam, which means they are long enough to be compatible with most knee guards without any major gap between hem and guards while descending.

These are the first shorts from Race Face that I can say without a doubt that I really like. The fit is bang on, and the pockets are exactly what I like and where I need them. The material feels durable, but is not as heavy as RF's original woman's shorts offering, the Khyber, and is stretchy enough that there is no tugging or snagging. I did some big test rides with the Indy in hot, muggy weather and the laser-cut ventilation was much appreciated. While I might prefer lighter shorts for XC-style summer riding, these shorts win for shoulder season adventures; the kind where you don't want to break the bank but want to be prepared for occasional showers with maybe a little extra protection from the overgrown bushes.

Nikki Rohan in Post Canyon
Nikki Rohan in Post Canyon

Race Face Women's Indy Shorts.

Diffuse LS Jersey
MSRP: $53.00 USD
Sizes: XS - XL
Colors: Black, Rouge (tested)

The Diffuse LS jersey is an ultra-lightweight riding top that features a UPF 30 (UV) rated main body, goggle wipe, mesh underarm and side panels, and a slit at the lower hem. I tested the jersey in medium and the fit was perfect. Torso length was also perfect, coming down to mid-bum, and with that side slit to prevent bunching when in a riding position. The sleeve length was good, too; a tiny bit loose on the wrist, but fitted enough to stay in place.

Without a doubt, I am impressed with the Diffuse. I really like having long sleeves for both sun and feral trailside vegetation protection. Even on hot days, the Diffuse felt super light and airy. The fabric kept me dry with minimal sweat marks while offering excellent ventilation. Despite the long sleeves, this jersey was probably the lightest weight jersey of this review—although the material was thin enough that it might snag on branches or velcro more readily than a more robust fabric. For someone who prefers to ride with a long sleeve jersey (even in the summer), this is definitely a piece you should check out. The ultra-lightweight fabric will surely exceed your expectations.

Nikki Rohan in Post Canyon
Nikki Rohan in Post Canyon

Diffuse LS Jersey.





Nikki Rohan riding at Mt Hood Ski Bowl
Fox Racing

• Women's Flexair Lite Shorts
• Women's Flexair Jersey
foxracing.com/


The hive mind approach to crafting cutting-edge mountain bike and MX apparel in the design studio at Fox Racing continues to produce exceptional products. Designers are users. Designers share ideas. Designers share the passion for two-wheeled excellence. And when they have an idea, an in-house seamstress or tailor is on hand to stitch that sketch into reality for testing mere steps away on the company pump track or the nearby trails in Laguna Beach.

Nikki Rohan in Post Canyon
Fox Women's Flexair Lite Shorts and Flexair jersey.

Women's Flexair Lite Shorts
MSRP: $69.95 USD
Sizes: XS - XL
Colors: Matte Blue, Olive Green, Black (tested)

The Flexair Lite Shorts are crafted from Fox's superlight, all-way stretch TruMotion fabric and are designed for maximum airflow with epic, all-day riding comfort in mind. They feature a race-ratchet closure that doubles as a waist cinch, a zippered pocket, water-resistant coating, laser perorated ventilation on the front panels, and a 12" inseam. I tested the size medium which felt like a perfect fit. I have worn the Fox size small before and for all-day shorts with lighter fabric, I prefer a looser fit.

These shorts are all about the lightweight airy feel. While they resemble a pair of boardshorts, the stretchy TruMotion fabric is more durable and the DWR coating is always a nice bonus to have so you don't end up with an unexpectedly soaked pair of shorts. I liked that the ratchet closure system made it easy to tighten the waist up exactly where I wanted it with no worry about having to re-adjust it. And while these are pretty simple—they have minimal added features—the zippered pocket met my simple storage demands and the price tag puts these as one of the better summer riding purchases available. I highly recommend these shorts for anyone looking for super comfortable, lightweight riding shorts for hot summer adventures.

Nikki Rohan in Post Canyon
Nikki Rohan in Post Canyon

Fox Women's Flexair Lite shorts.

Women's Flexair Jersey
MSRP: $59.95 USD
Sizes: XS - XL
Colors: Black Purple, Black/Pink, Teal (tested)

The Flexair is the "ultimate mountain bike jersey for speed and performance," according to Fox Racing. The jersey features abrasion resistant sleeve and should panels, a slit lower hem, flatlock seams to prevent chafing, a drop tail, and all-way stretch fabric (95% polyester/5% lycra).

I tested the size medium and it was a solid fit on my frame—slightly loose in the shoulders and sleeves, but snug enough to not feel like I was wearing a baggy tee. The fabric has a lightweight, silky feel and managed moisture really well; I stayed dry and didn't notice any sweat marks on some of the hotter climbs. The torso is longer than some of the other jerseys—it easily covers the waist band; and the side slit prevented any bunching up at the hips. The Flexair was high on my list as one of my favorites on the hotter days. It doesn't hurt that the jersey looks good and offers that light, breathable feel while at the same time not costing much more than a technical tee.


Nikki Rohan in Post Canyon
Nikki Rohan in Post Canyon

Fox Women's Flexair Jersey.





Nikki Rohan riding Surveyer s Ridge
Troy Lee Designs

• Women's Luxe Short
• Women's Lilium SS Jersey
troyleedesigns.com/


Troy Lee Designs has been involved in two-wheeled sports since 1981. It’s quite literally in the blood: Troy Lee's father was both an artist and a motorcycle racer, a tradition Troy followed. From his start painting helmets for fellow pro MX racers to founding TLD to make helmets, starting a line of MX clothing, and branching out to include mountain bike clothing, too, a passion for two-wheeled endeavors has always been at the core of Troy Lee Designs.

Nikki Rohan in Post Canyon
TLD's Women's Luxe Short and Lilium SS jersey.

Women's Luxe Short
MSRP: $119.00 USD
Sizes: XS - XL
Colors: Black, Floral Black, Deep Fig, Snake Multi (tested)

The Luxe Short is all about comfort and fit. They feature a 4-way stretch fabric that is Bluesign approved, an elastic stretch waist (no buttons/velcro), three zippered pockets (including one that is phone specific), and laser perforated zones for ventilation. I requested the shorts in either a small or a medium (note: I tested a previous version of these shorts in medium which was a tad bit big for me), and TLD sent me the small. While the small shorts technically fit, as you can see they are definitely clinging to my frame—kind of like a pair of pleather lizard skin pants that I might have partied in back in my early 20's. Thankfully the elastic waist is super comfortable and the fabric is stretchy enough that I had no issues pedaling, nor was there any bunching up at the top of the quad.

My main thoughts on the Luxe shorts are that they are a perfect blend of comfort mixed with pedaling performance. And they have well-designed pockets. Seriously! I have a deep appreciation for any shorts that have a pocket for my phone that keeps it both snug and off to the side of my leg. After coordinating some Plus Size gear reviews, I also think elastic waisted shorts are a great addition to any company's line-up, as they tend to more readily conform to a wider variety of shapes and sizes. While I wouldn't want to wear these specific shorts in cool, wet weather, if you are looking for super comfortable and stretchy shorts for post-work hot laps, then the TLD Luxe is worth a look. Don't want to go crazy with the snakeskin look? It's also available in the plain old vanilla solid black flavor.


Nikki Rohan in Post Canyon
Nikki Rohan in Post Canyon

TLD WMNS Luxe Short.

Women's Lilium SS Jersey
MSRP: $60.00 USD
Sizes: XS - XL
Colors: Heather Smoke Blue, Heather Ginger (tested)

The Lilium is TLD's short sleeve jersey which features a 4-way stretch knit quick-drying UPF 20 fabric, a drop tail hem, and a jacquard style weave for added ventilation. I tested the jersey in size small, which was comfortably snug (like the shorts).

Like most of the short sleeve jerseys in this piece, there isn't a huge amount of tech that goes into them aside from fabric, so differentiating the performance between all the various jerseys is tricky. The Lilium fabric seems to offer good wicking and is quick-drying for those sweat-fest rides, but it's definitely not up to the same standard as the Rapha jersey. I would, however, give the Lilium props for having minimal branding. I'd also like to note that the slight drop tail works well to keep debris out of my liner short. The price is competitive, the colors are stylish, and TLD has done a great job expanding their women's MTB apparel to meet the demands of all types of mountain biking, from park to paved pathways.

Nikki Rohan in Post Canyon
Nikki Rohan in Post Canyon

Women's Lilium SS Jersey.




Nikki Rohan riding Surveyer s Ridge
Rapha

• Women's Trail Shorts
• Women's Trail Technical T-Shirt
rapha.cc/us/


Rapha has been squarely focused on creating the finest road cycling apparel available since 2004. That's a lofty mission statement, but in pursuit of that goal, the brand works with top tier athletes to refine their gear, utilizes top shelf materials, offers a repair service for damaged clothing, and incorporates recycled materials whenever possible in its products in an effort to reduce waste and adding to landfills. On top of that, the list of environmentally sound and societal changes it is pushing is impressive. What Rapha doesn't do is compromise. And now, Rapha dipping those no-compromise toes into mountain biking apparel.

Nikki Rohan in Post Canyon
Rapha Women's Trail Shorts and Trail Technical T-Shirt.

Women's Trail Shorts
MSRP: $150.00 USD
Sizes: XXS - XL
Colors: Purple, Black (tested)

The Women's Trail Shorts are Rapha's first mountain bike specific riding shorts and are designed for all day comfort. The shorts feature a low profile stretch waist, two zippered side pockets with an integrated phone sleeve, an extended inseam for use with knee guards, and a durable, breathable and flexible fabric (88% nylon/12% elastane) that is Bluesign and Oeko-Tex certified. Rapha sent me the trail shorts in a size small and per the size chart, they were a bit on the snug side in the waist region, but the fit everywhere else was fairly good. Higher waisted shorts tend to not fit me as well as lower waisted designs, so I would probably size up to a medium for a slightly better fit next time. That said, the stretchy waistband offered a comfortable fit that adjusts well to the size range, and the shorts stayed put during my test rides.

While I don't have a specific inseam number, these shorts are on the longer side and came down to the lower part of my knee cap. The longer design integrated well with a variety of knee guards and there was no gap when in an aggressive descending mode. The material felt light and unrestrictive, but also durable enough to handle the wear and tear of everyday riding. The pockets were easily accessible, well placed, and my iPhone fit nicely into the integrated sleeve. If quality is important to you and supporting a company that offers free repairs to products damaged in a crash, then the Trail Shorts are well worth the price tag. I would say my entry to the Rapha world has exceeded my expectations... and who knows, now that the Walmart heirs own Rapha, maybe we'll see an expansion into the 'affordable to everyone' realm without skimping on quality?


Nikki Rohan in Post Canyon
Nikki Rohan in Post Canyon

Rapha Women's Trail shorts.

Women's Trail Technical T-Shirt
MSRP: $75.00 USD
Sizes: XXS - XL
Colors: Dark Grey, Purple (tested)

The Women's Trail Technical T-shirt is a light, breathable short-sleeved T-shirt style jersey made with recycled materials. The tee features a 100% polyester fabric with a lightweight knit and a high strength, honeycomb structure for wicking and cooling, as well as an antibacterial finish to help maintain freshness. I tested the jersey in a size medium and it was a spot-on fit.

This jersey absolutely blew my mind. While there are almost no fancy features aside from the fabric, that fabric far exceeded my expectations and won me over. I have had no previous experience with any Rapha gear but now I understand why the brand has such a cult following. I did multiple 6+ hour rides in this jersey, including one blistering ride under the sweltering PNW heat dome, and the sweat wicking and cooling abilities were ah-mazing. The jersey fits my frame really well and looks good. Yes, it's a pretty penny, ringing up for $75 USD; but this jersey is leaps and bounds my favorite of this grouping.

Nikki Rohan in Post Canyon
Nikki Rohan in Post Canyon

Women's Trail Technical T-Shirt.





Nikki Rohan riding Surveyer s Ridge
Pearl Izumi

• Women's Elevate Shorts
• Women's Midland Graphic T-Shirt
pearlizumi.com/


For over 50 years this Japanese brand has been building cycling clothing that’s driven by a function-first design principle. And it shows: that attention to detail is clearly visible in every stitch, every gusset, and the selection of every fabric of every piece of cycling gear they make.

Nikki Rohan in Post Canyon
Pearl Izumi Women's Elevate Shorts and Midland Graphic T-Shirt.

Women's Elevate Shorts
MSRP: $175.00 USD
Sizes: US 2 - 14
Colors: Fog, Phantom (tested)

So we had a little shipping SNAFU and the shorts I was originally supposed to test never showed up at my doorstep. Considering this was the only issue that arose coordinating apparel for both men's and women's reviews, we feel pretty lucky that this was the only "oops!" we had. That being said, I was happy to throw the Elevate shorts back into the mix as an "oh shit" substitute; they are some of my all-time favorite summer riding shorts. I wear a US size 6 and the Pearl Izumi size 6 is true to size, fitting me perfectly.

You can find my review of the Elevate Shorts from last summer here/.

For me, these are well worth the hefty price tag. After a year of hard riding, they have held up phenomenally well to repeated washings and endless blackberry bush attacks on overgrown trails. I don't see myself getting rid of these anytime soon.


Nikki Rohan in Post Canyon
Nikki Rohan in Post Canyon

Pearl Izumi Women's Elevate Shorts.

Women's Midland Graphic T-Shirt
MSRP: $45.00 USD
Sizes: XS - XL
Colors: Flaxen Woodland, Dawn Grey Moon, Black Rainbow, Dark Violet Ranges (tested)

Pearl's marketing tag of "Ready to ride or chill" pretty much summarizes this recycled polyester fiber jersey. This v-neck t-shirt features a technical sweat-wicking 30 UPF fabric (87% recycled poly/13% elastane) with a dropped rear hem. I tested the medium, which offered an ideal fit.

This jersey is really just a technical t-shirt with a little bit of flair. The shirt itself fits fairly well—not too snug in the shoulders, but not too loose, either, and the drop hem in the rear adds a nice bike-specific feel. The next to skin feel of the fabric is pretty much standard for a tech tee, so nothing to rave about (although it does use recycled material, so a nod to being eco-conscious), but obviously performs better than the 100% cotton Go-To Tee that my partner Jameson reviewed over in the men's kit reviews. The fabric kept me fairly dry except for some sweat stains under the armpits and along the hip pack belt line. But what I really like about this jersey is the stylish colors and patterns offered and the reasonable price tag. Pearl Izumi has some style, and I imagine there are some pretty rad women behind the scenes helping them continually expand their riding selection.

Nikki Rohan in Post Canyon
Nikki Rohan in Post Canyon

Pearl Izumi Women's Midland Graphic T-Shirt.





Nikki Rohan riding Surveyer s Ridge

DHaRCO

• Women's MTB Gravity Shorts
• Women's 3/4 Sleeve Jersey
dharco.com/


This Australian surf lifestyle inspired mountain bike clothing company believes that technical apparel starts with good, eco-friendly fabrics, and should be designed for both performance and style, with a great fit and “common sense” technical features instead of marketing buzzwords and gimmicks.

Nikki Rohan in Post Canyon
DHaRCO MTB Gravity shorts and 3/4 Sleeve jersey.

Women's MTB Gravity Shorts
MSRP: $107.00 USD
Sizes: XS - XL
Colors: Black, Clay, Camo (tested)

The Women's MTB Gravity shorts are DHaRCO's "on-trend and understated" daily driver riding short with an all mountain personality. The shorts feature an updated design that includes an extended inseam, exterior velcro waist adjusters, Blue Sign approved 4-way stretch breathable (95% nylon/5% spandex) fabric, and two zippered hip pockets. The size chart has me as either a small or a medium, but from past experience, I know I prefer the fit of their medium. With the updated design, the waist fits great, but the hips and butt are a bit tight: as you can see the new, more tapered leg design has the shorts hugging my quads "snuggly."

In general, I am a big fan of DHaRCO's products. I always get plenty of compliments when I am wearing the kit and I like the general design and functionality the shorts offer. The side pockets are big enough to stash a phone or accessor, and the shorts are stretchy enough that even with the tighter fit, I have zero issues pedaling in them. The updated material seems to hit the mark and breathes on par with most riding shorts. I especially like that the inseam is extra long (similar to POC shorts). These shorts would be ideal for someone who is tall and lanky, although for those of us that run a little thicker in the lower body, sizing up for a looser fit (if that's what you prefer) is always a good idea.

Nikki Rohan in Post Canyon
Nikki Rohan in Post Canyon

Women's MTB Gravity Shorts.

Women's 3/4 sleeve MTB Jersey
MSRP: $60.00 USD
Sizes: XS - XL
Colors: Tropical, Tie Dye, Byron, Vintage Paradise (tested)

The Women's 3/4 sleeve MTB Jersey is DHaRCO's classic riding jersey. It comes in short sleeve, long sleeve, or 3/4 sleeves, and offers a blend-in, but stand-out style. The jersey features a recycled polyester quick-drying fabric, mesh side panels, and a small side zip pocket for essentials. The size medium fits me perfectly and is a staple in my riding closet.

I tested this jersey in a mix of hot to obscenely hot temperatures (snicker if you want if you're from Arizona, but I am NOT used to 100F/38C+ riding temps). The fabric did an excellent job of wicking the massive quantities of sweat pouring out of me under the sun but also dried quickly on the descents. The mesh side panels are a nice addition that seems to increase the airflow and probably helps the fabric to dry faster—particularly if you are someone who sweats a lot. I like the length of the 3/4 sleeves and appreciated that the jersey has just a long enough torso hem that I didn't feel like I constantly needed to pull it down. All in all, I feel like DHaRCO jerseys are well worth the investment: they are competitively priced while also being stylish. You know you want one (especially the tie-dye one)!

Nikki Rohan in Post Canyon
Nikki Rohan in Post Canyon

Women's 3/4 sleeve MTB Jersey.





Nikki Rohan riding at Mt Hood Ski Bowl
Dakine

• Syncline 13" Women's Bike Short
• Thrillium Short Sleeve Women's Bike Jersey
dakine.com/


Dakine not only has a roster of amazing and talented athletes but also has an office full of designers who are shredders. It's a potent combination that's generated a loyal following of snow, surf, wind, and bike athletes that help shape their designs. Their gear is functional, stylish, and typically comes with a reasonable price tag.

Nikki Rohan in Post Canyon
Dakine Syncline Short and Thrillium SS Jersey.

Syncline 13" Women's Bike Short
MSRP: $70.00 USD
Sizes: XS - XL
Colors: Olive, Black (tested)

The Syncline women's bike short is Dakine's "weekend epic or after-work hot lap" mountain bike short for women. The shorts feature a 92% nylon/ 8% spandex 4-way stretch fabric, one zippered side pocket, exterior plastic-style waist adjusters, and a DWR coating.

I tested the size medium per the size chart, which offered me a comfortable and relaxed fit. While the shorts had a 13" inseam, they felt shorter in length than some of the others I tested. Despite that, there is no taper in the cut of the leg, so they easily fit with my knee guards; I only noticed a small gap due to the shorter length when pinning it in particularly aggressive terrain. The shorts are stretchy enough I didn't have any kind of restrictive feeling when pedaling, and the fabric seems to be durable enough to handle minor crashes without tearing or ripping. Despite their recent move from the PNW, Dakine appears to be continuing to make some of the most affordable, stylish, and well-designed riding shorts on the market.

Nikki Rohan in Post Canyon
Nikki Rohan in Post Canyon

Syncline bike short.

Thrillium Short Sleeve Jersey
MSRP: $52.50 USD
Sizes: XS - XL
Colors: Black, Crest Blue (tested)

The Thrillium SS jersey is a casual, durable jersey designed for gravity riding. It's crafted using a 4-way stretch, quick-drying 100% polyester fabric with an antimicrobial odor control technology, offers UPF 20 sun protection, and has a slightly dropped rear hem. The size chart put me as a medium, which gave me a perfect, comfortably loose (but not baggy!) fit from top to bottom.

True to product description (and experience with most polyester jerseys) the Dakine fabric did a good job of wicking sweat and keeping me from feeling like I was wearing a wet cotton tee, even during the recent "heat dome" that saw scorching test temps. While I am not a huge fan of branding across my chest (my eyes are up here), the jersey is a pretty simple but stylish top that is cut loose enough to fit a wide variety of frame sizes. It's polyester, so the material tends to snag on velcro and sticker bushes, but it also washes well and seems to be more durable than some of the other, lighter weight polyester jerseys I've worn. If spending $50 on a simple, short sleeve riding top is in your budget and you're looking for something with a slightly looser cut than other brands, the Thrillium might be a good option.

Nikki Rohan in Post Canyon
Nikki Rohan in Post Canyon

Thrillium Short Sleeve Bike Jersey.





Nikki Rohan riding at Mt Hood Ski Bowl
100 Percent

• AIRMATIC Women's Shorts
• AIRMATIC Women's Jersey
100percent.com/


100% began as a motocross brand, but nowadays they've branched out into a variety of other sports with mountain bike apparel and equipment a mainstay. They are known for loud, bold graphics across their protection, eyewear, and apparel ranges. The 2021 mountain bike gear line has improved from last year with upgraded fabrics and more colors, and the line continues to strike a balance between racing performance and budget-friendliness.

Nikki Rohan in Post Canyon
100% AIRMATIC women's shorts and jersey.

AIRMATIC Women's Shorts
MSRP: $89.00 USD
Sizes: S - XL
Colors: Black, Mauve, Seafoam (tested)

The AIRMATIC shorts are 100%'s stylish, purpose-built riding shorts for all-day comfort. They feature a DWR mid-weight polyester/spandex 4-way stretch fabric, a stretch mesh panel on the rear yoke, multiple zippered pockets (two on the left hip and one pocket on the lower right side for phone or tools) and a mountaineering-inspired adjustable hook and webbing ladder style closure for the perfect fit. The size medium AIRMATIC shorts fit me perfectly while the closure system allowed me to securely tighten up the waist more efficiently than with the external Velcro adjusters typically found on so many other shorts.

While the AIRMATIC shorts are not the lightest of the test group, the midweight fabric is stretchy enough to be comfortable while pedaling and does breathe well enough that I didn't notice any added heat buildup when out testing. The material also feels plenty durable and checks the box as shorts that can handle both bike park laps and epic forays into the alpine trails. While I tend to not use hip pockets, the ones on these shorts are ideal for stashing small necessities. More importantly, the lower pocket was perfect for securely stashing my phone or a snack bar. 100% has done a great job of creating a pair of shorts that is comfortable, stylish, and has all the features I want for a very reasonable price tag. These shorts easily provide the best value in the test.

Nikki Rohan in Post Canyon
Nikki Rohan in Post Canyon

AIRMATIC Women's Shorts.

AIRMATIC Women's Jersey
MSRP: $49.00 USD
Sizes: S - XL
Colors: Black Floral, Black Python, Seafoam Checkers (tested)

The AIRMATIC women's jersey is a short sleeved heathered fabric jersey that fits and feels like a casual t-shirt. The design is pretty straightforward with minimal added features beyond tech fabric and style, but it does offer a goggle/glasses wipe on the inside hem for cleaning lenses as needed. The size medium jersey fits my frame fairly well, although it is a little tight across the shoulders. The length is good (no whale tail sightings) and the arm openings were big enough for my bulging biceps.

The jersey is a bit thicker than the typical poly jersey, and correspondingly it runs a little warmer, but the fabric seemed to wick sweat fairly well. I did have some wet marks on the hotter, longer days in the saddle, but that's to be expected—I was sweating it out faster than it was evaporating. With limited features, there's just not a whole lot to say about this piece, other than it's a stylish and affordable option for someone looking for a t-shirt inspired riding jersey.

Nikki Rohan in Post Canyon
Nikki Rohan in Post Canyon

AIRMATIC Women's Jersey.





Nikki Rohan riding at Mt Hood Ski Bowl
POC

• W's Infinite All-Mountain Shorts
• W's MTB Pure 3/4 jersey
pocsports.com/


From a simple napkin drawing in a restaurant (or so the popular legend of POC’s beginnings is told) the Swedish adventure sports protection company has grown leaps and bounds and has become a highly respected cycling apparel brand that’s not afraid to dabble with new fabric technologies or designs. I just wish they’d use a few more colors in their palette.


Nikki Rohan in Post Canyon
POC Women's Infinite All-Mountain shorts and MTB Pure 3/4 jersey.

W's Infinite All-Mountain Shorts
MSRP: $130.00 USD
Sizes: XS - XL
Colors: Uranium Black (tested)

The Infinite All-Mountain Shorts are POC's mid-weight highly durable trail shorts and are designed to keep you protected and offer all-day comfort. The shorts are crafted using an abrasion-resistant windbreaking material with a DWR coating, and they have knee pad compatibility, velcro waist adjusters, zippered leg openings for ventilation, and have a mix of envelope style and zip-secured pockets for stashing the goods. I tested them in a medium, which (according to their sizing charts) is the correct size for me. While there is some overlap with the size small, the medium is a bit looser in the hips and butt and offers a more comfortable fit for me.

It is duly noted that these shorts have one of the longest inseams of the ten shorts I tested—they're far from capris, but noticeably longer than most shorts in this review. The articulated knee design is large enough to fit over knee guards and comes down below my knee (definitely low enough to prevent any gap). All the POC shorts have that durable feel with reinforcement where it's needed, and these shorts follows that trend. These are the first shorts that I have had the envelope style pockets on the hip, and I liked that I could easily stash my phone or snacks in them without a zipper and feel confident that whatever I'd stashed in them wouldn't fly out on a descent or during a crash. If you are looking for a longer inseam short that offers durability, comfort, and pocket space, then the Infinite All-Mountain Shorts should be at the top of your list.

Nikki Rohan in Post Canyon
Nikki Rohan in Post Canyon

POC W's Infinite All-Mountain Shorts.

W's MTB Pure 3/4 jersey
MSRP: $70.00 USD
Sizes: XS - XL
Tested Color: LT Fluorite Green/Sylvanite Grey/Alloy Grey

The MTB Pure 3/4 Jersey is lightweight mesh fabric top suited to warmer riding conditions. The jersey features a highly breathable, moisture-wicking mesh fabric, a small side-zippered pocket for a lift pass or snacks, and a loose fit for body armor compatibility. I tested the size medium and, as designed, it fit loose, true to the product description. For those who like a tighter fit and don't plan to wear body armor, I would consider sizing down, but if you plan to hit the bike park with elbow pads and a spine or chest protector, their size chart should lead you to what will fit best.

Exactly as described, this jersey breathes well and does a good job of wicking sweat on hot riding days. The 3/4 length sleeve design is on the longer side, coming down to the midpoint of my forearm; but providing nice sun and abrasion protection. The jersey has a stylish look and evidently POC has been channeling my desire for something other than black, white, and yellow: this jersey comes in five different, thoughtful color options with minimal branding.

Nikki Rohan in Post Canyon
Nikki Rohan in Post Canyon

POC W's MTB Pure 3/4 jersey.






About the Tester:

Nikki Rohan stands 5'5" and weighs 135 lbs with a 28-inch waist, 37-inch hips, and 35-inch chest and wears a size small helmet, size large gloves, and EU-40.5 shoes. She resides in Hood River OR with her husband, Colin Meagher, her two kids, a dog, and a grumpy cat. Nikki has been mountain biking for close to 20 years, including a short stint competing in the pro women category in enduro races in the PNW, as well as events like the Trans BC, the Trans-Provence, Downieville Classic, Grinduro, and the occasional CX race.



48 Comments

  • 17 0
 Ladies gear looks subtle like most outdoor gear, men’s apparel looks like a bird of paradise.
  • 2 0
 I am a peacock, let me spread my feathers!
  • 2 0
 You make that sound like it's a bad thing.
  • 4 0
 Can I get a shoutout to all my Gals above 5ft5?!

OK, at a 6ft1 stature, I don't expect girl's bike clothes to be made for me but can't a lady catch a break?! Even the dakine shorts on Nikki look hilariously short and she is pretty small.

I have two pairs of shorts that I can wear, they are both fox and I hate them both. They have a uncomfortable buckle where i bend to climb. bleugh.

Shorter ladies can just take up the shorts that are too long but taking shorts down doesn't work. I've tried. They look just.... awful.

Hear my cries, bike industry!
  • 2 0
 Those Rapha shorts might be worth a look. They felt like capri's on me. But I hear you. Tall men and women are constantly asking for more information on products for tall people.
  • 1 0
 I've heard good things about Rapha. Will take a look. Thanks!!
  • 1 0
 I measure in around 5'10 and hear ya sister. Ive been wearing the 7Mesh Glidepath shorts and I find them a comfortable length.. Also, NF pants were TOO LONG (?!!!) for me and I had to cuff them. That never ever happens for me. Easily the best fitting pants I've ever owned. Highly recommend. I'd go as far to say they're god's gift to women mountain bikers lol
  • 2 0
 I have a pair of NF! They're amazing!! Love the elastic waist. Worth every penny and fit like a dream. I would die of heat if I wore them to ride right now though...
  • 2 0
 Sweet protection women’s hunter shorts are long! Both my boyfriend and I have a pair of the women’s ones (he’s 6’3” and I’m 5’9”) and they’re great. POC has a pair of really long shorts too. Aside from that, I have some men’s Flylow shorts that fit nicely!
  • 2 0
 I'm a guy 5 foot ten . 150 pounds size 28 waist. Can I get men's clothing that fits me ? Nope .
Woman's cloths fit me perfectly and dam those colors are not neon flash or strange pastels. They look good! On or off the bike.
Men's pajamas or woman's sick down to earth garments. The choice is easy yet a bit strange for me.
Is North America fat or is this a trend in Europe as well?
  • 1 0
 TBH its because you are tiny (don't take this in a negative sense I wish I was 28-30 inch waist). Even when I was 155, 6ft I was a 32 inch waist.(23 years old) I'm not surprised nothing fits you right.

On the flip side at 210 6ft 34-36 inch waist most jerseys fit like crap. (39 years old now) Cycling gear is either super huge or super tight.
  • 1 0
 I have the same issue,M size clothing is too small and the L size is huge. Long pants are easier to fit me than most shorts and shirts. I worked as trail guide some years and my boss made a pink jersey for the stuff people. Mix that pink jersey and my long hair and some people was thinking I was a very fast woman ripping the trails hahahaha. It was fun
  • 3 0
 FWIW my wife has tried pretty much every brand...based on what she has told mer, DHaRCO seems to actually designed for women and not just unisex.
  • 1 0
 I really like Terry shorts as well, but it’s definitely more aimed towards road and xc stuff.
  • 2 0
 Wild Rye is women only designs, should tell her to check them out. Interesting PB didnt include them or any other women only clothing companies.
  • 1 0
 @whippsb: Check out last summers gear guide. I included Wild Rye. I love their stuff. I try to switch things up every year. Click on my name and go to blogs and whaabaam, its the first kit in the 2020 Summer Gear Guide.
  • 1 0
 @whippsb: Yea that brand does come up...her take on it is that its like Juliana bikes...it creates separation and labels her a woman rather than a biker...she bases that assessment on the designs. Its like that line from FERDA girls...'gimmie something black in a ladies fit' kind of idea.
  • 3 0
 With the exception of the snakeskin stuff (it’s personal I know) the women’s kits are far nicer than the mens.
  • 1 0
 agreeded.
  • 2 0
 Most enduro guys out there looks like Ali G movie cammo scene. Tons of ugly colors. I love black clothing for mtb,paired with a black bike .I´m love a stealth look.
  • 3 0
 Dharco stuff is amazing, can confirm as a woman their shorts and gloves are great. worth the order from australia
  • 3 0
 Who designs these shorts? Clearly not women!
  • 3 1
 To all the mtb clothing brands, my wife thinks all these styles are dorky and the shorts are way too long. Please advise.
  • 1 0
 These are trail and gravity oriented it seems. Lots of companies make 'XC' baggies which tend to be shorter since they dont take knee pads into account for the joey gap. Lots of stuff out there.
  • 4 0
 I’m okay with dorky if the quality is good and the shorts have the basic features I want. Velocio and Pearl Izumi make nice short XC style shorts for those who prefer less coverage.
  • 1 0
 How tall is she??
  • 1 0
 @nkrohan: I'll look into those companies' offerings for shorter shorts lol. She currently just wears cycling chamois shorts and laughs at me before I go out for a ride with my dorky shorts and fanny pack haha
  • 3 0
 @11six: Give it a little bit. She will recognize the benefit of both longer shorts and the hip pack haha. Whole lot better and more comfortable than stuff gel blocks in your chamois and busting up your knees in a crash.
  • 3 0
 Try venturing outside the bike industry - theres a few female riders I know that are loving the Patagonia quandry 5" and 7" for MTB. Get creative... turns out all kinds of clothes work great for riding and not just the styles cycling specific clothing companies are pushing.
  • 3 0
 The height question is a legit one. I’m 5’2 on a good day and even women’s specific shorts are NOT designed for women under approximately 5’5. I have to get most shorts hemmed or tailored.
  • 1 0
 @siobhananon: This is definitely true. My wife is 5'1" and struggles finding clothing she likes for her height.
  • 2 0
 @11six: I'm 5'3 and have terrible luck with MTB shorts. For example [Redacted two-page litany of fit and function complaints that no one wants to read] Eddie Bauer Guide shorts, on the other hand, are perfectly functional for MTB (Stretchy! Quick dry! Zip pockets! Room for my quads! Frequently on sale!) and a nice length for a small person with short legs.
  • 2 0
 I just go to Value village and always seem to score MTB riding gear. $179CAD for shorts is insane
  • 1 0
 How will people know its a TLD shirt without the huge logo like that on the men's?!
  • 2 0
 new pants havent ass... Wink
  • 1 0
 Snakeskin shorts are cool, maybe it's just me....
  • 3 0
 Yep, it's just you, Bart.
  • 1 2
 At least you chicks have run an iron over your kit before the shoot. The guys stuff looks so shit all creased!! Someone needs shot for that.
  • 1 0
 These all need to be tested in east coast humidity.
  • 1 1
 Why no Shredly in the mix here? Only shorts that fit my wife's curvy body.
  • 3 4
 I clicked on this article.
Below threshold threads are hidden

Post a Comment



Copyright © 2000 - 2021. Pinkbike.com. All rights reserved.
dv65 0.013493
Mobile Version of Website