Designed from the ground up to meet and exceed the demands of downhill, enduro and freeride, the Troy Lee Designs Sprint range has been the brand's staple bicycle race kit for a number of years now. Released initially as a shorts and jersey combo, it has grown over the years to include the brands first bicycle specific race pant, while receiving incremental refinements across the board, year on year. For 2016, TLD added a redesigned jersey and some brand new gloves to the existing shorts and pants, with a range of seven new colors and designs to choose from. With regional and national race series already under way and with the bike park season almost upon us, we decided it was time to take a closer look at the gear worn by the likes of Brandon Semenuk, Cam Zink and Brendan Fairclough.
Sprint Pants and Shorts
Pants and Shorts Details:
• 600 Denier, 500 poly mesh venting and 2-way stretch polyester spandex construction
• 2 zipped hip pockets
• Elastic Velcro waist adjusters
• Lycra stretch inner panel
• Rear stretch yoke
• Mesh liner
• Pants: $115 USD | Shorts: $90 USD
• Drop tail rear
• Mesh arms
• Stretch side panels
• Moisture wicking 4-way stretch collar
• Jersey: $60 USD
• Lightweight DH glove
• Reflective logo
• Single layer palm
• Silicone print on finger
• Touch-screen compatible
• Sleek Velcro closure
• Gloves: $28 USD
TLD have incorporated four separate materials strategically throughout the Sprint pants and shorts to maintain durability, comfort, and breathability. They've done this by using a heavier and more durable, 600 weight Denier material for the crotch and inner thigh area, where wear and tear is an ever present issue. A softer and more pliable two-way stretch fabric is incorporated in the front, extending from the knee, over the thigh, and around to the rear. A large portion of mesh paneling runs from inside of the knee to the waist to help airflow in and heat to dissipate out. The full-length pants have a similar layout, but have additional mesh paneling on the front of the leg, with two-way stretch fabric on the outside and the more durable 600-weight Denier once again, on the inside.
A portion of stretchable material known as the 'rear stretch yoke' sits below the elasticated waist adjusters on the rear which, when combined with the silicone gripper strip on the inside of the waist, add up to a short that's not going anywhere. Up front, a fly zipper and button keep them up, while two small, zipped pockets reside on each hip. The elasticated waist adjusters offer a large range of adjustment, should you often find yourself between sizes. Internally, a full-length mesh liner (knee length in the pants) helps to keep you cool and promote air flow in through the front mesh panels. Sprint Jersey
Like the shorts, the jersey is constructed from more than one fabric to optimize performance and comfort for the end user. Combining an unrestrictive four-way stretch (stretches vertically as well as horizontally) mesh fabric around the collar, sleeve cuffs, underarms, and lower back - which also helps air flow and heat management. The remainder of the jersey is made from a two-way (stretches horizontally only) stretch fabric. Sprint Gloves
With a focus on comfort and boosting dexterity over that of protection, the new Sprint gloves follow the trend for minimalist gloves that deliver a heightened connection to the bike. The thin and sensitive palm contains 18 strategically placed holes to help manage heat buildup, while the mesh portion of fabric on the insides of the fingers adds an additional element of cooling. The palm contains a silicone TLD logo which is paired to additional silicone strips on the index and middle finger to boost grip in the wet. Unlike other gloves of a similar lightweight construction, the new Sprint gloves aren't cuffless, and incorporate a sleek and decisively snug Velcro closure.On the Trails
Handling the Sprint pants and shorts for the first time, you're greeted with a reassuringly light yet purposeful build. Adhering to a refined and perhaps more 'athletic' cut, which isn't surprising considering that they are a race orientated product, they are a touch tighter around the leg than TLD's popular Ruckus short for example. After trying on the 32" waist and legs, which are typical for the average guy my height (5'9"), I had to upsize to 34" in both the pants and shorts. Thankfully, the range of adjustment in the elastic waist adjusters and the way they fit around the waist (and butt), meant that it avoided a potential sizing issue and only drew attention to the fact that Sprints are perfect for riders who often struggle to find shorts that fit them.
The jersey in a size medium was (thankfully) a perfect fit for me, if not one of the best I've tried in a while. Once again, the cut is quite athletic, especially around the arms, although the 2-way stretch fabric will go a long way to ensure that they won't feel too tight for those who like to spend time in the gym. The gloves were similarly a superb fit with well-proportioned palm and fingers and minimal bunching or excess material. On the bike and riding, the Sprint kit did little to detract, if anything, from the task at hand, proving to be exemplary in all situations.
On the trails, the venting at the front of the shorts, and the pants made itself known from the outset, especially on warmer days. A good thing too, as overheating in your kit can really put a downer on a day's racing in the summer months. Similarly, in colder temperatures, being mindful of the amount of airflow that they promote is advantageous, although I never felt too cold - having used the pants on a number of occasions this past winter. Another highlight of the pants has to be their compatibility with knee pads, which is something I've struggled with in the past. There's enough room on offer and, thanks to a strategically placed stretch panel just above the knee joint, they work a treat.
The shorts are similarly impressive - light enough for trail riding, much like the Sprint jersey, which has proved to be pretty awesome for long rides this spring, even if they were far from the local DH track or bike park. But, it is these two environments where the Sprint kit has been designed to shine. Thanks to the positioning of a more durable material in areas prone to abrasion, they've come out of a day blasting through ankle deep puddles and ruts with their heads held high. (The all black option I opted for was a bonus in such a scenario, I might add.)
The two pockets, however, are just too small for anything but your car key, or a lift pass, a credit card and perhaps some small change. They have certainly compromised a few Instagram moments recently, but then, who really rides with a phone in their pocket anyway? I'm clutching at straws here with the small pockets looking for something negative to mention, but they could certainly be a bit bigger. When it comes to pricing, we are of course talking about TLD here, with MSRPs that put all four of the items in the ballpark of premium race kit, but considering the durability that's been engineered into them, you'll easily get a few seasons use, especially the shorts and pants. On the bike, where it matters and charging down a trail, the Sprint kit did little to disappoint, and with versatility throughout, Sprint remains one of my favorite products in the TLD line up.Pinkbike’s Take:
|A great selection of kit that individually stand tall in their own right, with the shorts, jersey and gloves proving to be highly versatile for just about any kind of mountain biking and equally at happy away from the gravity fueled action they were designed for. But, it is the pants that are perhaps the standout product here, especially for downhill riding, offering superb venting, which for a bicycle-specific pant, is paramount. Styling is of course. subjective, but with seven 'strips' to choose from, Troy Lee offers a good range to ensure that you look the part as well as feel it, come race day. - Olly Forster|
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