Ion Vertex Shorts and Helix Jersey - Review

Aug 2, 2016
by Mike Kazimer  
Ion Helix jersey Vertex shorts review

Ion first made their mark by manufacturing wind- and kitesurfing apparel, but in recent years they've expanded their reach to the mountain biking world. The Vertex short and the Helix long-sleeve jersey are part of the German company's Traze series, aimed at trail and all-mountain riders.

The Vertex shorts are constructed from CoolMax, a moisture wicking polyester, and use a stretchy back panel to help keeps them in place no matter the wearer's position on or off the bike. There's a zippered pocket on the outside of each leg, and the right pocket has a built in neoprene pouch designed to hold a phone and keep it protected from rain or sweat. Two velcro straps on the waistband provide a wide range of size adjustment to fine tune the fit, just in case all those miles on the bike melt away the pounds, or if you decide to stop for a mid-ride feast.

Ion are well known for their flashy surf-inspired color choices, and in addition to the basic black option shown, the Vertex short comes in blue, olive green, or crimson red in sizes 30, 32, 34,36, and 38. MSRP: $96 USD.
Vertex Shorts Details
• 2-way stretch CoolMax material
• Regular fit
• Colors: black, blue, olive green, crimson red
• Size: 30, 32, 34, 36, 38
• Price: $96 USD

Helix Jersey Details
• Nano-tech bamboo charcoal fabric
• Colors: black, crimson red
• Size: S, M, L, XL, XXL
• Price: $90 USD / @IONbike

The Helix looks like your standard-issue long sleeve jersey, with a fit that's relaxed but not overly baggy fit, but it's made from a mix of high-tech fabrics, including polyester mixed with nano-particles of bamboo charcoal that's claimed to offer improved moisture wicking over standard polyester. The jersey's side panels have also undergone an antibacterial treatment in order to keep those funky smells at bay. Along with the fancy fabric, there's a glasses wipe on the inside of the front right side, a small zippered pocket on the lower left side, and reflective highlights for those times when your ride extends past sunset. Available in black or crimson red in sizes S, M, L, XL, and XXL, the Helix jersey retails for $90 USD.

Ion Helix jersey Vertex shorts review
Ion Helix jersey Vertex shorts review

Ion clothing review
An internal neoprene pocket helps keep moisture away from your phone.
Ion clothing review
A goggle or glasses wipe is sewn into the right side of the jersey.


I've been wearing the Vertex shorts and the Helix jersey on a regular basis for the better part of a year now, and over that time they've been through everything from hot and sunny summer conditions to the muck and mire of winter. They've held up impressively well, although the jersey does have some stubborn stains on the white shoulder fabric, visual reminders of those sloppy rides – there's a reason I usually avoid white jerseys or shorts at any cost. The fabric is nice and light, and breathes well - I tend to overheat pretty easily when climbing, but it seemed to take longer for me to reach my boiling point when wearing the Helix than with other jerseys, which meant I didn't need to constantly take it on and off. I appreciated the triangular swatch of fabric sewn on the inside of the jersey (provided I remembered it was there); it proved its worth on multiple occasions when I needed to wipe fog, sweat, or mud from my goggles or glasses.

The Vertex shorts are very comfortable, if a little on the short side for my liking. I wear knee pads on most of my rides, and the 13” inseam had the bottom seam sitting a little higher than I prefer, just above rather than just below my knee cap. On rides sans-pads the length wasn't an issue, and I have absolutely no complaints about the overall fit or construction. The fabric has the perfect amount of stretch to keep the shorts matched to my movements on a ride without snagging on seats or shift levers. The zippered side pockets are located right where you'd want them to be, and the neoprene inner phone pocket is a nice touch – I regularly used it for those quick rides without a pack, times when I wanted to carry my phone without worrying about it bouncing around or falling out.

Pinkbike's Take:
bigquotesFor riders in search of well thought out trail riding apparel that's available in styles as subdued or as flashy as you'd like, Ion's Helix jersey and Vertex shorts are excellent options. - Mike Kazimer

Visit the high-res gallery for more images from this review.


  • 16 1
 *generic angry at price comment*
  • 8 0
 I was expecting it for the shorts as shorts have always been expensive, but $90 for a jersey? C'mon, how is that justifiable?
  • 4 0
 While i understand the materials are expensive, Let me know when you have an argument as to when that jersey proves to be worth 90 bucks to you.
  • 3 0
 @joalst: but it comes with a goggle wiping cloth
  • 2 0
 @gibbon-on-an-orange: I know!! Its not even enduro specific
  • 4 0
 For only $180 you can own this hideous setup that even comes with its own buttwiper.
  • 1 0
 @Grizzlycycles661: I know you're being sarcastic but so do the newer dakine jerseys. Except they don't feel the need to even mention it as a selling feature because the prices are spot on.
  • 1 0
 @Grizzlycycles661: I've always felt that goggle wipes are useless due to my profuse sweating. basically they just push the sweat around without making anything clearer
  • 3 1
 This isn't a "general angry at price" comment, as I am not angry haha, but I think 99% of people are going to stick to the pearl izimi, fox, tld options which are better known and cheaper. For a company like ion, which seems invested in mtb clothing / protection, I think they need to distance themselves more in terms of products or pricing.
  • 7 3
 Guessing you don't have any personal experience with their products? I prefer my Ion jersey much over my Fox jersey. It breathes incredibly well, all the sweat just just breathes through the material, and once I got soaked during the rain, and 10 minutes later my Ion jersey was as dry as if nothing happened.

Ion is one of the most respected names in surfing and they use their knowledge of materials etc to create great cycling products since not too long ago. They're not just a random new kid on the block. And their price is worth the quality.
  • 2 0
 @Mattin: Actually I do. I have a helix and a voltage long sleeve. I'm not saying they are bad, and the material is awesome, but at least for my body in my weather in California my troy lees feel better and lighter.
Ion is doing a lot of good, but I don't think many people are not pleased with fox or troy lee equivalents, and I can't see Ion having a ton of sales. Their pads look awesome. I wasn't trying to imply that I'm not an ion fan because I really like their brand and products, I just think they could assert themselves more by having a few more budget options.
  • 1 0
 I'll also add as said in the article that my helix holds stains much more then my white tld ruckus.
  • 3 1
 I love ION products if I'm honest and the quality of the garments is only noticeable when you see them in the flesh and feel them. Yes they are expensive but they are very different to most others in the market.

However I'm a bit mifted to why Pinkbike chose to review this range of the ION Bikewear range? Surely the Scrub series is far more fitting to the Pinkbike audience?
  • 4 0
 After that incident in Oz the other day, I dont think I want my phone in my pocket any more!
  • 1 0
 More riding gear for small guys. What about those of us that carry 200-210 healthy weight? I beat a LOT of skinny guys up the hill on a regular basis and I have a HARD time finding MTB specific clothing that fits well. Mainly chest and arms.

I know I'm not in this boat alone. So far Dakine and Fox are the only companies that make an XXL that actually fits like an X-Large.

Not sure what is up with sizing but I'm sick of buying shit and having to return it.
  • 4 0
 but do the shorts come in size 26? it is my prefered size
  • 3 2
  • 3 0
 Won't these non-neon colour ways slow me down though?
  • 3 4
 *generic lame style comment*
  • 2 2
 love the ION collection

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