5 Men's Kits Tested - 2018 Summer Gear Guide

May 25, 2018 at 9:32
by Colin Meagher  



The riding year kinda looks like this for me in Hood River, OR: Fall is awesome because all the dusty, crusty trails turn back into Velcro dirt… for a little while, anyway. Then winter comes in and dirt time becomes limited to a few select trails that are below the snow line and road trips to the desert. Springtime rolls around again and I start remembering how to ride by about mid-April. Next thing I know, it’s summer and I’m constantly checking trail reports to see which trails have melted out. Rinse and repeat. But summertime rules. Mainly because all the trails are snow-free and ready to rock, even if they start getting dusty and loose by mid-summer.

This year the drear of winter finally gave way to golden sunshine sometime in mid-April. As the trails have melted out, care packages have arrived, allowing Nikki and I to start reviewing a fresh batch of clothing for Pinkbike. As Nikki mentioned in her woman’s clothing review, it will be a three part review this year: five different kits from each of us, a clip shoes review (neither of us have ever really been flat pedal riders despite numerous attempts), and then a summer gear essentials piece.


About the tester: Colin Meagher

Height: 5’9” (176 cm)
Inseam: 30.5” 9 (77.5 cm)
Weight: 165 lb (75 kg)
Waist: 33” (82 cm)
Chest: 40” (101 cm)

Colin Meagher typically wears an M or L glove (depending on the manufacturer), size M helmet, and wears a size 9.5-10 US size in shoes (again, depends on the manufacturer).

Full disclosure: Colin’s worked as a photographer in the industry since 1996, and while he has no industry affiliations (i.e. sponsorships) nearly every company making bikes, bike apparel, or gear has at some point been a client. This doesn’t mean he has any particular bias either for or against any of the clothing or gear reviewed here.





Patagonia
Men's Dirt Roamer Short and Nine Trails Bike Jersey

Patagonia needs no introduction as a manufacturer of performance outdoor apparel. What’s new, though, is that they have stepped deeper into the mountain bike apparel pond than last year’s introductory offer. They now have two different shorts, and a number of jerseys. We opted to go for the more well-rounded Dirt Roamer Shorts and the three-quarter sleeve Nine Trails Bike Jersey for our review.

Jameson Florence riding trails in Leavenworth WA
Patagonia s Dirt Roamer Short and Nine Trails three-quarter sleeve jersery.
Patagonia's Dirt Roamer Short and Nine Trails three-quarter sleeve jersery.

Men's Dirt Roamer Shorts
$99
Size 28-40 in whole sizes (tested size 32)
Colors: Coriander Brown (tested), Dolomite Blue, and Forge Grey

Patagonia's new Dirt Roamer Bike Short utilizes a 4-way stretch fabric (87% recycled polyester/13% spandex) in the body of the short with sonic welding on all seams. This reduces weight and allows the short to stretch and move as a single garment when riding, regardless of whether that’s out of the saddle, full tilt boogie pedaling or hours of grinding uphill. It has an articulated cut at the waist to accommodate the riding position, with a scalloped cut at the knee (it’s slightly longer in the front of the knee than behind) to eliminate fabric bunching. The fit is managed via Patagonia’s OppoSet waist adjuster. The inseam measures at just under 12 inches long, and while the cut of the short is more fitted, it is designed to work well with low profile protection. There is a single zip pocket on the left thigh. Integrated snaps on the inside of the waist are meant for Patagonia’s Endless Ride liner short ( sold separately for $79); these liners were designed in conjunction with the Dirt Roamers for seamless performance but any chamois short will work just fine (although they won't clip in).

Patagonia s Dirt Roamer shorts fasten securely with a button.
What seams Sonic welded seams leave nothing to snag on under layers.
Details of the Dirt Roamer Short: button fly and sonic welds.

I tested the Dirt Roamers in a size 32. I am currently measuring as a size 33, but there’s enough stretch that they fit me comfortably. The sonic welded seams made for surprisingly easy movement when riding; there were absolutely no seams to bind on either my skin, my liner shorts, or knee guards (G-form for this test), so I had full range of movement. Enough so that minutes into the ride I kinda forgot about the test and was just focused squarely on dirt surfing my way through Post Canyon. The light fabric composing the body dries fast and breathes exceptionally well. The OppoSet waist tab adjuster is easy to grab and adjust and stayed in place when I used it. I tend to prefer hip pockets, and I’m right handed, so getting used to a left hand only thigh pocket had me a bit grumpy at first, but I can't fault how functional it is: my phone slipped to a corner and remained unnoticed there for the duration of my testing.

I wasn’t particularly a fan of Patagonia‘s first mtb short offering, the Dirt Craft shorts. It was a good short, but too XC oriented for my taste. However, Patagonia's nailed it with this particular short. I do prefer a longer inseam—14” (give or take an inch) is my preference as it offers that extra bit of coverage from brush whips on some of the more remote trails I like exploring; but I had no complaints with the 11 ¾ inch inseam of the Dirt Roamer Shorts. This was by far the lightest weight pair of shorts that I tested. Given their weight, breathability, and purely functional design, I think these are perfect for spending hours in the saddle on extended back country missions. Think classic long hauls like "Comfortably Numb" or "Angel's Staircase", but they're just as good for lunch rides, too.

The Dirt Roamer s OppoSet waist tab adjuster.
Room for a phone.
The Dirt Roamer's OppoSet waist tab adjuster and the zippered stash pocket.

Men's Nine Trails Jersey
$59
XS-XXL (tested size M)
Colors: Black (tested), Dolomite Blue, and Coriander Brown

Patagonia’s Nine Trails three-quarter length sleeve jersey is designed to be a highly breathable performance mountain bike jersey. It utilizes a 100% polyester fabric with Patagonia’s “Polygiene” odor control. It’s Bluesign approved, meaning that it's created from the ground up with an environmentally friendly footprint. The jersey uses articulated seams and a slight drop seat to contour to a riding position. There’s a small zippered pocket at the right hip for keys or other valuables. Last, flatlock stitching on all seams minimizes (if not eliminates) chafing. The sleeves are roomy enough to allow for elbow guards if that's the way you roll.

the Nine Trails Jersey offers a slight drop tail.
Easy to reach zip pocket
Details of the Nine Trails Jersey: Drop seat and the small zip pocket on the back of the right side.

Three-quarter length sleeve jerseys rule in my humble opinion for the simple reason that they offer more coverage for sunny days without the heat of a full sleeve jersey, and the extra coverage tends to ward off “whip” marks from brush on high speed or overgrown sections of trail. That’s not to say that a short sleeve or long sleeve jersey doesn’t have its place. I just happen to like a jersey that’s right in between.

The fit of the Nine Trails was excellent. The fabric is soft on the skin— it felt more like cotton than polyester, but it wasn't clingy like cotton and breathed pretty damn well. Mobility on the bike was excellent, and while I can definitely sweat, the Polygiene odor control kept stink at bay. The flat lock seams ruled; they were pretty much unnoticeable when riding, both with and without a pack. The sleeves are a bit roomy at the cuff to allow for the use of protection but were still tapered enough that they didn't flap. I don't typically use pockets but this one was easy to access, and handled essentials like credit card, ID, and a bar easily enough.

This is a great choice as an understated go-to summertime jersey. It fits and breathes well, yet also wards off brush strikes without snagging. Nor is it so gaudy that it screams “bike nerd!” I do like a bit more taper at the end of the sleeve, but that's a personal nit pick; from a functional and aesthetic perspective, this jersey is a great choice for whatever riding you like to do.

Collar detail of the Nine Trails three-quarter sleeve jersey.
Flat stitched dedtails.
Nine Trails Jersey collar and flat lock seams.





Fox Racing
Indicator Pants and Attack Pro SS Jersey

Fox Racing is all in when it comes to design; rather than a paint by numbers approach, the design studio is staffed by people who ride, and there's a pump track out back for lunch time or after work sessions, which also doubles as a quick fit/function test track for prototypes.

Fox Racing Indicator Pants and Attack Pro SS Jersey.
Fox Racing Indicator Pants and Attack Pro SS Jersey.
Fox Racing Indicator Pants and Attack Pro SS Jersey.

Fox Racing Indicator Pants
$140
Size 28-40 in whole sizes (tested size 32)
Colors: black is the new black (tested)

Fox states that their Indicator Pants are designed for enduro racing and all day singletrack adventures “for all but the warmest days”. It utilizes their TruMotion 4-way stretch fabric for unimpeded movement with a generous amount of laser venting on the inner thighs for cooling air flow. The idea behind this pant was for a durable, abrasion resistant garment to protect the rider from trailside hazards: cuts, scrapes, poison oak, and whip marks from high speed brush encounters. It has a more fitted cut than classic DH pants so it’s not loose, but it’s not really a pair of pajama pants either; rather it sits smack dab between DH pants and Lycra. The cut is fitted for Fox's Rider Attack Position (RAP). It features a ratchet waist closure with a half fly for a dialed fit, and a highly elastic "Y-Fold" waist band to keep the pant in place. There are also elastic cuffs at the ankle to keep the pant legs from riding up. A zippered pocket on the left hip rounds out the details.

Super band waist band
Ankle cuffs to keep the pants in place.
Details on the Indicator Pants: The Y-Fold waist band and ankle cuffs.

I’m not usually a mountain bike pant kind of guy, but these ones have me rethinking that concept. The fit was excellent. They are definitely cut for the riding position: in no way did they hamper my peddling, nor did they interfere with my body movements when piloting the bike on my favorite trails. I tested them with both 7idp’s Transition knee guards as well as Fox’s Launch Enduro knee guards, but even with the bulk of lighter weight knee protection, the pants offered easy movement on the bike. The Y-Band Waist Band (or as I referred to it: the “super band waist band”) elastic was somewhat disconcerting at first: it’s stretchy enough I was concerned that the pant would slip down during riding but they stayed securely in place the whole time and were super comfortable against my skin. Last, they breathed reasonably well, keeping me from overheating despite a few aggressive climbs in warm weather.

The Indicators are a solid offering: they fit well and performed flawlessly. I have no idea how well they would hold up in a crash, but they kept my skin in one piece despite a bit of high speed whipping on one particularly overgrown section of trail. However, I do have a couple nitpicks: despite the laser venting, they are warmer than a pair of shorts; you just can’t get around the fact that more fabric will impede breathability. The laser venting in the crotch is a big help; but with knee guards on, the knee and shin area tends to heat up noticeably on warmer days. The second is that the Y-Band waist is almost too elastic; I’m a solid 33” waist and the size 34” pant I first tried on was way too loose, even with the ratchet snugged as tight as it would go; I had to go down a size. So size accordingly when buying.

The Indicator fastens securely shut but also has a half fly for relief.
Laser cut venting on the inner thighs
The ratchet closure and half fly as well as the laser cut venting.

Attack Pro Jersey
$75
Size S-XL (tested size M)
Colors: Red/Black (tested), Black, and Yellow/Black.

The Attack Pro jersey utilizes two different fabrics for its construction. On the one hand you have Polartec’s Delta fabric throughout the body of the jersey. This is a cutting-edge fabric designed to mimic the body’s ability to cool itself. It's meant to be a next to skin item so that the Delta Fabric's wicking and breathability can function to actually lower your body temperature as you ride. It doesn’t cling, either, and it resists body funk, too. The sleeves utilize a laser-vented, light weight Cordura fabric to resist abrasion from brush and pack straps. There’s a slight drop tail to keep roost at bay. There are no pockets or goggle wipes. Last, seams are flat stitched to guard against chafing.

The Attack pro also has a nice drop seat.
Lasdr vented sleeves.
Details on the Attack Pro jersey: the drop seat and the laser vented Cordura sleeves.

I tested the size M of the Attack Pro. I’m a 40-inch chest, which is right at the upper edge of Fox’s size medium, and the lower end of their size large, but I prefer a more fitted cut, so Fox sent me the size M. The fit was bang on for my taste. More importantly, the breathability was off the charts—I can tolerate a poor fitting jersey but I tend to sweat a lot. As a result, I refuse to wear anything that breathes like a trash bag (unless it’s raining cats and dogs; then I’ll gladly don a trash bag). The Attack Pro offered the closest thing to riding without a shirt on that I’ve experienced. It breathed like a champ and even though I was putting in a hard effort on the climb up Post Canyon, I stayed cool and dry. I wasn't in a lab, but I make a pretty good lab rat, and I'd say the Delta fabric performed as it's supposed to.

This is another solid choice as a great summer mountain biking jersey. It doesn’t matter if you’re into just trail riding, all day epics, or enduro racing; the Attack Pro SS jersey flat out performs. When you take into account the fit, the breathability, and it’s overall performance, this is a tough jersey to beat. I can’t help but wish that it came in a three-quarter sleeve offering but despite that, it has a place on my “go to” jersey list.

The Polartec Delta fabric has a weave designed to wick moisture away from the skin.
Flat stitched seams.
The collar and a detail shot of the flat stitching of the Attack Pro Jersey.





7Mesh
The Glidepath Short and Desperado Merino Henley Jersey

By now 7Mesh needs no introduction. Their position as a top-tier mountain bike clothing manufacturer is well established. This year I revisited the Glidepath Short: 7Mesh’s flagship mountain bike shorts, and test drove their classic take on a Henley style of jersey, the Desperado Merino Henley Jersey.

7Mesh Glidepath Short and Merino Henley SS Jersey
7Mesh Glidepath Short and Merino Henley SS Jersey
7Mesh Glidepath Short and Merino Henley SS Jersey.

Men's Glidepath Short
$140 US
XS-XXL (tested size M)
Colors: Rust (tested), Two Ball Blue, and Bad Ash Grey

The Glidepath short is designed to be a lightweight, exceptionally rugged, top-shelf trail riding short. Soma 2-way stretch fabric makes up the body of the short, offering a combination of durability and abrasion resistance despite the lighter weight of the fabric. It utilizes two hand pockets, two securely zippered side pockets with integrated phone/wallet sleeves, reflective bits for after dark visibility, and the user’s choice of either belt loops or a low profile locking waist strap to secure the fit. There is a single snap closure and a DWR coating to help repel showers and mud. The short has a 4-way gusset at the crotch for ease of movement and to eliminate seams that could chafe. The inseam measures 15”.

Secure storage for a phone and whatever else will fit.
Belt Loops anyone
7Mesh Glidepath short details: zippered back pockets for valuables and belt loops or a locking waist strap to dial in the fit at the waist.

This is – as are all 7mesh garments— a phenomenal article of riding apparel. The size M fit me with a bit of room to spare. It moved well against the body and light protection. It’s not as fitted as some other garments in this test, yet isn’t so roomie as to flap annoyingly when ripping down the trail at warp factor ten. The pockets are well placed, making it easy for me to reach anything I stored in them, and the zippered rear pockets offered secure storage for my phone. Breathability was ok--I never overheated, but it wasn't a particularly hot day, either.

This is a fairly expensive short especially since it doesn't come with a liner short. However, given 7mesh’s reputation and my personal experience with a previous version of this short (tested spring of 2016, and still going strong), shelling out $140 for this short is money well spent: It’s light (although not as light as the Patagonia), it’s comfortable, performs well, yet it’s also incredibly durable and based on my last experience, it should last for years.

single snap waist closure
Easy to grasp zipper pulls.
Glidepath Shorts fasten securely closed with a single snap; the zipper pulls on the rear pockets are easy to grasp with gloves on.

Men's Desperado Merino Henley
$80 USD
XS-XXL (tested size M)
Colors: Stone (tested), Blue Steel, Black, and Pine (blue steel and pine are currently 40 % off).

The Desperado is designed to be as good looking and as practical off the bike as on the bike. The fabric is a merino/polyester blend (47% merino, 53% polyester) designed for next to skin comfort, and to breathe and wick, yet able to resist the body funk of an all day ride. It’s cut and fit are optimized for the riding position, with a slight drop seat to keep the backside covered. The three snap Henley style neck works somewhat for ventilation, and offers loads of style. It doesn’t look like a cycling jersey. Just a nice, yet understated short sleeved Henley shirt.

It can t be a Henley without a few buttons at the neck.
The "Henley" in the Desperado Merino Henley Jersey

I tested a size medium, and the fit was, well, fitted. But that was fine for me – I don't like Lycra for riding in the dirt, but I don't like wearing a tent, either. But for more of a street casual look, you may opt to go for a size larger. Like most 7Mesh apparel, at first glance it appears pretty basic: there’s no pockets, there’s no goggle wipe… it’s just a short sleeve jersey with a few snaps on the neck. But that’s the point: the quality is hidden in subtle details: the fabric feels silky smooth, the seams are flat lock stitched so as to be unnoticeable, even when wearing a pack. And the merino wool blend did what merino wool does only better: it wicked sweat and breathed like a champ, but after a two-hour sweat fest of a ride, I didn’t smell like an escapee from a commercial pig farm.

All in all, a great performing item. If you're intent on flying under the radar at a BBQ or in the pub immediately after a summer ride, then this is the jersey for you. Its understated look doesn’t scream bike geek, and even if you’ve been out for a three or four hour ride, as long as you haven’t been bathing yourself in mud, no one will be the wiser when you stroll in.

Henley collar
Flat stitched seams
Desperado Merino Henley Jersey details: Henley snaps and flatlock stitched seams.





Race Face
Men's Indy Shorts and Ambush Three-Quarter Sleeve Jersey.

Race Face is about as OG as it gets. They've been making rider inspired apparel seemingly since the first roadies left the pavement to dip their toes into the primordial muck of mountain biking and discover how much fun sideways on dirt can be. And they keep making better stuff every year.

Jameson Florence riding trails in Leavenworth WA
Jameson Florence riding trails in Leavenworth WA
The Race Face Indy Short and Ambush 3/4 Sleeve Jersey.

Men's Indy Shorts
$95
Sizes S-XXL (tested size M)
Colors: Black, Grey (tested), and Moss

Race Face revised their popular Indy Short during the dark months and made a good short into a great short. Improvements include a 4-way stretch fabric in the body for better movement when deep in mtb karate sessions, laser venting on the inner thighs to keep you cool on hot days, a raised back to keep trail debris out of the dark star, and a slip surface to help the short glide over knee guards. There are Velcro external waist adjusters and a dual snap waist fastener. It features three pockets for stashing gear: two zip pockets on the thighs, and an ID/credit card pocket on the raised back panel. Bonus: all seams are double-stitched throughout the body for added durability.

Jameson Florence riding trails in Leavenworth WA
Jameson Florence riding trails in Leavenworth WA
Details of the Race Face Indy Shorts: Velcro waist tabs to dial in the fit and zippered pockets for secure storage.

These were tested on a semi-technical trail with a lot of flowy berms. The Indy Short moves well, and never bound up on either the bike or my liner short. The high back was welcome as I did some loam mining while testing, but no dirt infiltrated my back side. The pockets were easy to reach and the zipper pulls made opening or closing them easy, even when wearing gloves. The best thing, though was not hearing the "zzzzzt, zzzzzt" of my knee pads rubbing the inside of the short. That slip surface both quieted things down to a whisper and kept my short from binding on my protection. They also breathed quite well; I tested these on an unseasonably warm spring day (82F/28C) and wasn’t stewing in my chamois, even on the exposed climb back out.

This is a great fitting, great performing short. The 15-inch inseam was a perfect length for me, too, offering maximum protection from abrasion by eliminating gaper gap between knee guards and the hem of the short while pedaling without going so long as to even come close to being called knickers. The Raceface shorts tend to have an exacting fit—M is meant to max out with a 31.5” waist. Thanks to the 4-way stretch fabric, I was able to squeeze my 33” waist into them without a worry (although it was a tight fit!). Realistically I should have sized up to an L, but I sized with the intent of working off the winter weight. Unless you want to muffin top, keep that in mind when purchasing.

Details of the Race Face Indy Shorts: Dual snap waist retention and laser cut venting.

Ambush ¾ Sleeve Jersey
$60
Sizes S-XXL (tested size M)
Color: Black (tested), Slate

The relaxed fit Ambush has been a standard Race Face jersey since forever. And since I’m a sucker for a three-quarter sleeve jersey, I was stoked to see the latest version retains the simplicity and performance I’ve grown to love.

Details of the Race Face Ambush 3/4 Sleeve Jersey: crew neck design and detail of the mesh back fabric.

The Ambush is made from 100% polyester fabric. It has a crew collar and utilizes flatlock stitching throughout the construction to minimize chaffing. It has a mesh back for breathability. The graphics are sublimated, so they’ll never fade.

For me, the Ambush ticks all the boxes. I tested the size M, and it was just the right fit for me: not so loose as to flap around but definitely not skin tight either. It moved great with or without a pack or hip pack on. Add in the great breathability of the mesh back panel and it’s a "put it on and forget about it" kind of garment. Sure, it could have a stash pocket or a goggle wipe to bling it up, but those aren’t really necessary. It’s great the way it is.





ION
Traze_Amp Shorts and SS Tee Traze_Amp Jersey

Ion may be best known for surf type apparel but they continue to make superior quality mountain bike riding apparel, too. But I suspect that Mike Hopkins' Dreamride III video will put a lot more eyes on how stylish their stuff is.

Ions Traze Amp Short and SS Tee Traze Amp Jersey.
Ions Traze Amp Short and SS Tee Traze Amp Jersey.
Ion's Traze_Amp Short and Tee SS Traze_Amp Jersey.

Traze_Amp Shorts
$100 USD
Sizes S-XXL (tested size S)
Colors: Sleet, Black, Blue Night (tested), Vinaceous

Ion’s Traze _Amp Shorts are designed as a go-to trail riding short. It’s a regular-fit short constructed from a rugged 4-way stretch fabric for on the bike freedom of movement. The beauty is in the details, though: triple stitched seams add durability, laser-cut ventilation holes on the inseam (“Jet Stream” ventilation they call it) for breathability, and Velcro waist tab adjusters for a dialed fit. Ion also has a privacy flap in the fly, which fastens securely with a single, Velcro reinforced snap. There are two zippered front hand pockets; the right-hand pocket includes an integrated neoprene phone pouch to help protect the contents against light rain and mild impacts. There are reflective details for visibility on evening rides. It has an integrated hanger hook in the back of the waistband.

Integrated neoprene phone sleeve.
waist tab adjusters check.
Details of the Ion Traze_Amp Shorts: The phone sleeve and the Velcro waist adjusters.

I tested this short in size S (30”-33” by Ion’s fit chart) on a trail loaded with flowy berms mixed with some semi-technical rock and root choked sections of loamy goodness. The price for that is a steep-ish 3km 750 vertical foot uphill grind through an old clear cut without a scrap of shade (a tough go on my test ride: it was 82F/28C out there in the heat). The short moved well while throwing shapes and limbo dancing down the slightly overgrown trail, never binding on my body, knee guards, or hooking the saddle. I can’t say as to whether it was the laser vent holes or not, but on the climb out I didn’t have any crotch pot cooking going on despite the unseasonably warm weather.

Overall the fit and function of the short were outstanding. I would definitely consider this a solid choice for an all-day trail riding short. The length was just about perfect in my mind (I measured a 13.5” inseam—when standing the lower hem came to just below my kneecap) and it moved well no matter what my position on the bike was. I have only two nitpicks: first, the sizing is a bit on the snug side. I am currently rocking a 33-inch waist (I blame the winter beer), so right on the upper edge of a size S by their fit charts, but I definitely had to suck it in a bit to snap them closed. Second, the smart phone sleeve is decidedly small; good luck getting anything larger than an iPhone 5S in that thing! But otherwise a well thought out and solid performing short.

Ions Traze Amp Short fastens securely with a Velcro reinforced snap and a privacy patch.
Ions Traze Amp Short laser venting.
Details of the Traze_Amp Shorts: Velcro reinforced button snap with privacy patch fly and laser cut "Jet Stream" venting.

Tee SS Traze_Amp Jersey
$60 USD
Sizes S -XXL (L tested)
Colors: Black, Blaze (red), Blue Night (tested), Sleet, Torrent Blue

Last year’s Scrub Amp jersey impressed me with fit and function, and this year’s Traze Amp jersey does exactly the same, but in a regular fitting but more breathable short sleeve garment. The Traze Amp is constructed from two fabrics: a “quick-dry” fabric on the front and back, and side panels constructed of a fast wicking fabric. The fabrics are woven with a Velcro resistant pique structure. The cool tech is in the fabric of the main panels: the “Channel Flow Lite” fabric. It’s woven from a polyester fiber that has a mixture of burnt bamboo nano particles mixed with the polymers during the fiber’s production; this works to enhance the cooling performance of the fabric, kind of like Sugoi’s IceFil fabric and Polartec's Delta fabric. It also has an integrated microfiber glasses /goggles wipe as well as small pocket on the back left side of the tee that fastens closes with a small zipper. Perfect for credit cards and/or ID.

Drop seat and zippered rear pocket.
Integrated goggle glasses wipe.
Details of the Tee SS Traze_Amp Jersey : the drop seat and zippered pocket on the left, the goggle/glasses wipe on the right.

As mentioned, I tested the Ion clothing on an unusually warm spring day. The Tee SS Traze Amp jersey fit well in the shoulders but the regular cut of the jersey was a bit roomy in the torso compared to the more fitted jerseys I tested; I guess I've grown used to the more fitted trend the past few years of most mtb apparel. Regardless, it moved nicely against my body. I'm typically a three-quarter length sleeve kind of guy, but on the day I tested this item, I appreciated the extra breathability of the short sleeves. I’m not sure if it was the fabric or not, but despite the blazing heat on the completely exposed 3 km climb back to the trailhead I didn’t sweat like a pig, although I definitely suffered on the steeper bits.

Overall I was impressed—this is a pretty sweet jersey. There’s a slight drop seat on the back to help protect from roost and/or trail spackle. And all the other details seem to be well thought out: flat seams help keep chafing to a minimum if you’re wearing a pack, there's a nice shoulder yoke, and it has excellent breathability. It fits well despite that roomy torso, and plays nicely with a hip or a hydration pack. I don’t know if it was the charcoal bamboo nano particles or not but I stayed nice and cool despite the pedaling efforts of the climb out.

SS Tee Traze Amp Jersey flat stitched seams.
SS Tee Traze Amp Jersey collar details.
Details of the Tee SS Traze_Amp: Flat lock stitching to reduce chafing and a nice crew neck.

Special thanks to my stunt double Jameson Florence




MENTIONS: @raceface, @Fox-Head-Inc,




158 Comments

  • + 87
 I miss Price Point.
  • + 35
 Costco bud.... Dahui shorts for $15.99. I happen to be able to afford all this stuff but would never spend $140 for a pair of shorts without a liner! Maybe my frugality is the reason I can afford this stuff but would rather not hemorrhage money
  • + 12
 Pricepoint was definitely the tits.
  • + 1
 Target has some good shorts under $20!!
  • + 16
 i'm still laughing over those 150.00$ fox pajama bottoms. "Guaranteed sound sleep" lol
  • + 1
 www.bikenashbar.com/cycling

Snagged some white Summer time jerseys for $15/each.
  • + 4
 @tcmtnbikr: Rule 3 of acquisitions: Never spend more than you have to for an acquisition.

One'd have to be a f*cking idiot to buy these "bike specific" shorts that come without a chammy. Get some bibs/your chammy short of choice, head to Winners, and get a nice pair of cargo shorts made of athletic fabric for $20.
  • + 1
 @mnorris122: DS9 reference you win the internets!
  • + 11
 Patagonia is against trail access to Mt. Bikes, but turns around to try make a profit from Mt.Bikers!
  • + 2
 @drivereight: They should come out with a new line of clothing: Irony
  • + 1
 @mnorris122: You're obviously Canadian because spending way more than necessary and keeping up with the Joneses is the American way!
  • + 1
 @drivereight: I'm not certain where you're getting your information. But Patagonia isn't at all against trail access for MTB; they created their MTB clothing based on employee demand. Their head product tester-that's for all lines of product-is a former Junior MTB World champ: Walker Ferguson.
  • + 0
 I have never heard that Patagonia doesn’t support trail access for mountain bikes . Do you have an article you can share ? @drivereight:
  • + 39
 Sorry I spent all my money in my wirelles dropper shifter shock. Those lee jeans should be fine for an 8 hours ride in mud
  • + 24
 I'm a minimalist kind of guy, less is always more. And gosh darnnit the new stuff from patagonia is spot on. I have two pair of the the roamer short and wear them daily on rides then to take a swim in afterwards. Most comfortable riding short, or anything short ive ever owned. The 11in inseam is a huge part of making these multifunctional. Patagucci for the win!
  • + 11
 I'm going to have to give these a try. The other thing about Patagucci is they are part of a select group of outdoor companies that really do stand by their products. For backcountry skiing, mountaineering etc. I have always had a small list of brands that I know will back their gear and as such warrant the risk of buy in. That list has been Patagucci, OR and Arc'teryx. All three have always provided no questions exchange, repair, or credit on gear that has not lived up to it's intent. If only we could talk Outdoor Research into getting into the MTB game as their gear is usually high quality, well supported, and a very reasonable price point for the quality.
  • + 5
 @snl1200: Too funny, my closet is made up of those exact same three brands, plus some taylor stitch... on a side note, if your a hat guy and haven't tried OR's performance truckers, they are a must... though this years colorways kind of missed the mark.
  • + 4
 @ZacMD: YES! Saw one last fall and had our shop in Rossland order one for me. Became the absolute go to for touring all winter. I just wish it were a little larger as I like to tuck the ears when it's crisp out. Such a rad hat. My other top picks for versatile and affordable gear are the OR Ferrosi Jacket and the Patagonia Houdini Jacket. Both of those pack small, don't destroy the bank account and always find their way into my backpack (fanny pack or stash pocket) whether it is for a bike ride, tour, hike, or work trip.
  • + 36
 @snl1200: @ZacMD you 2 should get a room and figure this out.
  • + 22
 Patagonia seem to be trying to keep mountain bikers out of alot of places to simultaneously be trying to sell to them
  • - 26
flag MikeyMT (Jun 6, 2018 at 12:47) (Below Threshold)
 @bbachmei: No need for bikers to be in wilderness...haven't we f*cked our planet enough?
  • + 6
 @MikeyMT: Since your from Bozeman have you ever heard of the Gallatin Crest trail? Used to be the best trail in the state before they closed it... Just sayin
  • + 2
 @ZacMD I have to say the patagonia stuff is such an awesome value. I have a pair of shorts and a jersey from the late 90's that i still wear and they look like they are new. Now thats a well made garment !
  • + 5
 It says a lot that patagonia are the cheapest in these reviews.

I ended up buying a set of arcteryx running shorts to use as mtb shorts this year because the msrp was 1/2 of fox and most other mtb specific shorts. Kinda crappy that i can get a set of uber nice arcteryx shorts for $50-75 and fox shorts on sale are still $75-100 at 50% off.
  • + 4
 @snl1200: the people that can afford Arc'teryx should also let me drive their Ferrari on their private estate sometime.
  • + 8
 For the record, I don't have a Ferrari, because I spent all my money on Arcteryx gear.
  • + 4
 @CALEBTNORMAN: It's not cheap- but it will also last a decade... unlike other gear at 2/3 the price that last 1/3 as long.
  • + 4
 Nice thing about buying from Patagonia is that they'll help you repair any garments that break during use. If you tear them, break a zipper, rip off a button etc you can take them into certain stores or post them off to be repaired for free. You won't get that from the MTB specific brands. I believe they have the biggest garment repair workshop in North America. It also means they definitely don't design them to have limited life. They want these things to last for you.
  • + 1
 I have both short. Only thing I dont like bout this one is only one pocket. Flat seams are cool, and its super light weight, quick drying. Jerseys are herra plain but functional. Hopefully their future stuff are going to be even better.
  • + 1
 @snl1200: This winter I realized that my favorite skiing mid-layer is well over 20 years old - Patagonia, of course. Still wicks moisture, still keeps me warm, still hasn't gotten fully funkified due to whatever magic they used to make their stuff stink-resistant even back in the 90s. I find that in terms of long term value, it's hard to beat buying last-season's Patagonia at a discount and shredding happily for years to come.
  • + 18
 elastic waist and ankle pants!!! WTF are they thinking , do they have Hipsters designing their clothes now ???
  • + 1
 You mean the Henley jersey lol. I hate this kind of shirts
  • + 10
 Hipsters..... all the hipsters I see now wear slacks that are like clown pants, only in brown or black. For some reason they are only ever 3/4 in length too. Doc martins with mismatched socks. And for some reason, they ALL are tucking themselves in now, no matter what the top half is wearing. T-shirts, jumpers/hoodies etc. I even saw one guy with a rain coat tucked in the other day. Who the F tucks in a rain coat!?

Sydney Road, Brunswick - Melbourne......
  • + 4
 Anyone who's ever had to hike-a-bike, especially in the rain, with an elastic waist short and a few ride essentials, like a muli-tool, in their pocket knows that this kit set-up is B.S. Hiking up one's shorts every 10 steps is maddening! Designers take note: design with an integrated belt or belt loop. Leave the known-to-fail velcro and spandex on the drawing board.
  • + 2
 @xprmntl: @xprmntl: f*cking this! I made the mistake of drunkenly ordering a nice pair of fox shorts a while back...was dumbfounded when they arrived with no waist adjust...these things were like $160 or something. Immediately sent them back.
  • + 9
 Very nice review, but it's missing a crash test. Every one of this brand make stuff that look good, but don't survive a crash. From my point of vierw, so far, Endura, Alpinestars and POC are the only ones who survived more than one bite of the dust before tearing apart.
  • + 6
 I did crash a bit but I only slapped hard in the Glidepath shorts. They didn't even flinch.
  • + 2
 Endura Singletrack II -- hands down best riding shorts I've ever owned. Would buy over and over again (but I'm not sure I'll ever have to)
  • + 1
 Yep, live in the Asheville area for the past 6 years. Bought a pair of Endura's MTB shorts. The summer weight ones. Miles and miles on those shorts and not even a loose thread. 5 years of bashing through the woods in Pisgah will let you know how good your choice of MTB clothing is.
  • + 7
 I'm enjoying that 3 out of the 5 kits are not plastered with ridiculous graphics or catch phrases. Save that sh*t for the youth sizes. 7mesh should not call that shirt a merino henley... It's not even 50% merino and they want $80, oh but the other 2 colors are 40% off. I wonder why?
  • + 28
 The naming question is fair. We actually launched without calling it merino, but added it in a year later because we had so many people asking us why we didn't make anything with merino in it (same with Callaghans). We're definitely not trying to hide that it's a blend - the blend is what makes it work so well (in our opinion). There's a very very major bike brand in the industry that makes a jersey with merino in the name, that's 11% - we think that's pretty silly. So I'm not sure exactly where the line should be, but I feel like you should be able to tell you're wearing wool when you wear it. The blue and green are 40% off because they're discontinued colours from last year. Cheers!
  • + 7
 @tj7mesh: Thanks for the honest answer. Other clothing brands, take note.
  • + 12
 @tj7mesh: The fact that you answered this post, and straight up and honest-like, will make me take another look at your products.
  • + 4
 @tj7mesh: kudos for answering!

Was gonna order two of them but are outta stick already (ya, I was too slow). Will track down current colors and grab one locally.
  • + 2
 @tj7mesh: the blue and green have been sold out for months, why put it up like u still have some?
  • + 3
 @tj7mesh: I appreciate your response. Cheers
  • + 2
 @knarf1: We're out of stock in those colours in Canada, but we have some left in the US and Europe. We also generally keep products online that our dealers are carrying, whether we have stock or not. Thanks everyone for your interest / support / questions, always happy to share info. Cheers
  • + 10
 Good to see what I'll be wearing in 2020 when it hits the discount online store sales! Full price on this stuff is :o
  • + 6
 It might be pricey but I do love all my 7mesh gear, I've yet to have any issues whatsoever. I used to swear by Fox but over the years the quality has taken a sharp dip. 7mesh gear is incredibly well put together, works amazingly and lasts well, my Glidepath's and Recon shorts still look like new after nearly 2 years of weekly abuse. They need to do a 3/4 Desperado henley, that would be even sweeter!
  • + 1
 Totally, man. I will no longer buy Fox shorts since I've had numerous pairs where the inside velcro simply became unglued and/or disintegrated and a number of pockets failed. Plus I never even dried the damn things in the dryer! I've had much better luck with Dakine and Club Ride. Fox jerseys and gloves though have lasted years...
  • + 6
 i like bright colors for one reason-there are people wandering around in the woods with rifles come hunting season and i don't want to get shot. and i prefer not to wear anything black/dark in the summer because solar gain.
  • + 1
 That's what my day glow orange helmet is for
  • + 9
 I so got called out for not wearing safety orange by a couple of hunters a few years back and my response of "so when exactly was the last time you saw a powder blue deer?" didn't exactly make any points... #rednecks :-D
  • + 3
 Do your self a favor . 1. get a CLIMACHILL addidas Shirt 35 bucks at sportchek, if its not the best shirt you own i will buy it from you. 2. Find some medium to high end golf shorts on sale, adidas ultimates are my go to , but hollas with the stretchy band are dynomite.... cheepy cheepy
  • - 2
 You could also just wear sweats or a Dickies jumpsuit, but you'd just look like a tool or clueless...which is okay I guess. Some of us enjoy the kit, you know? I like showing up looking like a factory rider and then leaving people guessing. My kit, all of it, is a motivating factor to ultimately perform well as an athlete and as...a performer. If you look the part you kind of have to act it. At least that's what happens in my little mind.
  • + 2
 those fox Indicator pants, eek! did the designer just wake up from there kip on the sofa, took a look at what they were wearing at the time,and then have a light bulb moment? I mean I'd be better off slapping on a pair of old sweat pants and writing "fox" on them.
  • + 6
 I will wait until these are on sale at jenson for 30$
  • + 3
 I'm one of those people that if i'm going to spend that much money I want it to look like I spent money on it, not like rando stuff that the viet-cong wore into battle.
  • + 29
 THIS ISN'T VIETNAM DONNY!! THERE ARE RULES!
  • + 3
 hahahaha, presume you mean the patagonia stuff
  • + 8
 Charlie don't surf!
  • + 1
 @High-Life:

THIS DOESN'T HAVE ANY CORRELATION TO VIETNAM, WALTER
  • + 6
 That's not enduro enough
  • + 1
 Nice review! Thank you, good to see that mtb stuff becaming more prakctial and mature (all outdoor and ski stuff realized that 10 to 20 years ago)

I do like options of big wide neck collrs on the jerseys, Patagonia looks perfect
  • + 5
 I roll non-cotton golf shorts and a polo cuz I'm not a baller!
  • + 2
 I wear golf shirts, too. Poly/cotton blend on cold days. 100% cotton on hot SoCal days. Pop the collar to protect yo' neck on sunny climbs.

I'm pretty stoked on a pair of green camo cotton shorts from Fox, also. They have low profile cargo pockets for easy access sunglass stash on climbs. Nice fit without being too baggy.
  • + 2
 I don't wear bright stuff on the trail, but drool over it online. I wear mundane muted colors...but when I see them in an article, I scroll by like I just saw the church pastor on Tuesday.
  • + 4
 When you read through an article and think, hey that looks like my local trails, then realize hey those are my local trails!
  • + 1
 Likewise! So fun over there!
  • + 2
 what trails are these? looks like xanadu?
  • + 2
 @bigwheels87: good call. Xanadu and Tres--the old Tres.
  • + 3
 @meagerdude: As always, you picked a helluva spot. The natural light sure delivered - great writeup!
  • + 1
 The men's clothing designs are always so much nicer. Maybe I just want something in red, or black and red, or black, or a blue that isn't "azure", or covered in multiple clashing colours.

Some of the stuff in the women's version of this article is gag-inducing.
  • + 1
 But... Dirt Crafts are a heavier and more fully featured option vs. the Roamers, how are they "too XC"?!?!? I would strongly recommend folks who are stoked on this Patagonia stuff also consider the Dirt Crafts. They are a burlier material, have hand pockets, and come with a decent chamois. I've used both and I go for my Dirt Crafts every time cause I like to have my phone handy in my hand pocket. They go all the way to the top of my knee and I'm 6' tall so I can't really figure out what is XC about them at all...
  • + 1
 @ironxcross, no offense, but I stated that the Dirt Craft short was a good short but too XC "for my taste". That's the key phrase there. It's my personal preference. And I also stated why I prefer a longer length short. Your personal preference is obviously different. I do have a pair of Dirt Craft shorts in the closet. I use them for XC rides. By XC, I mean rides where I'm not considering protection for my knees.
  • + 1
 @meagerdude: The concern is that neither short is any more XC than the other, so the wording of your review is incorrectly pigeon-holing the Dirt Craft which is not helpful for folks trying to figure out which short to buy.

But honestly, it's a bit hard to not be offended here because if we want to split hairs the Roamer is actually the more XC of the two. They are designed specifically to be lighter and more comfortable for "prolonged saddle time" (quote from Patagucc's website describing the Roamers).
  • + 1
 @ironxcross: The Dirt Craft have a different cut to them: both have a fitted cut; but the way the DR rides on my body vs the DC gives more of a trail/all mountain feel than the DC, despite the fact that the DR is only 1/4" longer in the inseam. They are certainly lighter and meant for all day explorations, but the fit and performance says trail/all mountain more so than the DC shorts. And yes, I wore them back to back the other day to check.

That's my opinion based on testing and reviewing a LOT of different shorts (about 15 pair per year). You are completely 100% entitled to your differing opinion.
  • + 3
 And again i miss this clever chart from the last tests, where i could see which is top pick, best Price value and compare the fitment etc. directly.
  • + 2
 To be honest, there were no bad kits that we tested. It's personal preference. Plus that chart was a pain in the ass to create.
  • + 3
 Any recommendations for shorts that have shorter inseams? I like that Patagonia has an 11 3/4" inseam as I am 5' 9".

Thanks!
  • + 4
 Patagonia and 100% seem to have great fitting shorts with shorter inseams. Personally I usually like the bit of extra coverage something around 13-14" offers. Some of the trails I ride are overgrown and I crash a fair bit.
  • + 2
 Hey @meagerdude if you had to pick one jersey for the hottest August day, which would it be? I tend to overheat.. Been looking for something.. Merino wool heat up like synthetics or does Coolmax outperform?
  • + 3
 Hands down that Fox Attack Pro jersey was the shit. Then it was a tie for second place between Patagucci and 7Mesh. RF and Ion were a close third place. But the new TLD Ruckus jersey (based on the design of the wmn's but I suspect they are using the same fabrics for the men's line, just different color ways ) might be a contender, too.
'
  • + 2
 @meagerdude: Thank you!
  • + 2
 I think offering the same inseam length in every size to be particularly lazy. It would seem a pretty rare case when the S rider and the XXL rider need the same length short.
  • + 5
 What bike is that??
  • + 9
 Guerrilla Gravity Smash
  • + 1
 Kinda gotta ask. The dude in the picture is clearly not Colin. So do you get two sets of clothes (one for you, one for picture guy), or do you have 1 set and mix up the groin sweat with random dude?
  • + 4
 I can't shoot myself, and while Nikki is pulling triggers a bit these days, there's a reason I'm behind the lens: I look like a goon on camera. So I use a buddy who can wear my sizes, including shoes, as a body double. This year it was Jameson Florence.
  • + 1
 @meagerdude: So it's the sweat sharing option ;-) As a fellow on-camera-goon-looking-dude, I can relate though.
  • + 2
 @pinhead907: no sweat sharing: Jameson was toting around a 40liter pack stuffed with shoes and clothing. We did the Xanadu climb the hard way and he swapped kits after every section of trail we sessioned. My guess is he did that ride with 40lbs of gear on his back.
  • + 2
 As far as protection and helmets go, Fox Racing is in top 3 for me, but their apparell is just as meh as it gets. Patagonia wins it for me here.
  • + 2
 My $30 Adidas running top is cooler and nicer to ride in than my $100 bike top which pretty much just sits in a draw not getting used
  • + 3
 A little worried at how 7mesh came up with the Glidepath blue color name...
  • + 2
 Those pants seem to be a solid concept. Maybe I'm the only one who is looking for lighter riding pants that aren't all the colors of the rainbow.
  • + 1
 Industry trends seem to be going too thin and too tight for my chubby ass. I miss the ol' Fox Sergeant shorts paired with moto-style baggy mesh jerseys. Breathable and comfortable without excess fat accentuation.
  • + 4
 Damn, I'm too poor to buy mountain bike clothing now.
  • + 1
 I have the Ion Traze shorts (not the Amp) version and the pockets are tiny. Also Ion doesn’t make a short with a zipper fly, which for me is a negative. Otherwise, they’re very comfy and the quality seems too notch.
  • + 3
 ....but those prices! eh, nevermind
  • + 3
 I put my hand up on my hip,...
  • + 2
 Kooky. The 3 button tops remind me of a cowboy thermal or a Mormon 'Garment'.
  • + 1
 Yeah kinda, huh? I can see that. Would go better with Japanese denim and some Blundstones.
  • + 1
 Good review. My new years resolution was to NOT buy any bike clothes...I have to disagree though...3/4 sleeves drive me nuts. Either long or short, pick one!
  • + 2
 For those interested in the green camo packs seen on The Smash, you can check em out at Defiantpack.com
  • + 3
 Can we talk about that Guerrilla Gravity Smash instead?
  • + 3
 So Red, Full Squish, Much Fun. Those Defiant Pack bags look dope too Wink
  • + 1
 We sure can, whaddaya want to know about it?!
  • + 1
 @Dhuemmler: Check them out, I love them on that bike. There are many a "after work" rides I go on these days with no pack at all, just the frame bags and a water bottle.
  • + 3
 Looks like “tres hombres” in the background of these photos
  • + 1
 You are correct!
  • + 2
 So that Fox twinsie is for men? ... Okay.
  • + 3
 Cool. Thankyou!!
  • + 1
 Are we seriously not going to talk about that zip fly on the RF Indy shorts? Immediate disqualification.
  • + 1
 I have to ask why? Not judging, just curios. I still have that particular kit in my arsenal. Been out with it probably a half dozen times since the shoot. I've been quite liking that pair of shorts.
  • + 1
 @coldsmoke800: fair question. my issue is the focus that the lack of a zip fly cover (probably the wrong term there) draws. this is personal preference for me, but having the zipper exposed does not compliment the aesthetic and brings the eyes straight to the crotch. without any discussion about why this was done (got to be some benefits) it just seems like a bold move that would limit (at least my) potential of these shorts.
  • + 3
 7 is the new 5.
  • + 2
 Spotted that also. You beat me to it.
  • + 2
 typos happen :-/
  • + 1
 @meagerdude: FAKE NEWS =P
  • + 1
 Are these supposed to look better than an XC lycra kit ? Because they all failed spectacularly.
  • + 1
 What trails are the pictures from?
  • + 2
 Leavenworth, WA's Tres Hombres and Xanadu
  • + 0
 Why is Patagonia selling Mt.Bikers clothes when they are against trail access for Mt.Biking?
  • + 3
 I'm not certain where you're getting your information. But Patagonia isn't at all against trail access for MTB; they created their MTB clothing based on employee demand. Their head product tester-that's for all lines of product-is a former Junior MTB World champ: Walker Ferguson.
  • + 1
 Kit runway coming to the next Outdoor Expo
  • + 2
 5 or 7?
  • + 2
 Xanadu in the Spring!!
  • + 2
 A little Tres in there too.
  • + 0
 You guys are way too late with this report...April Fool's Day was...in April
  • + 1
 Why do they all look so bad!
  • + 1
 Digging that Patagonia stuff.
  • + 1
 Just had a gander at the lasses stuff the colour schemes seem less boring.
  • - 2
 Tie-dye tee - $20 at Dead show
Hanes boxer briefs - $3
Walmart drawstring shorts - $7
Mechanix Mpact gloves - $35
Vasque Juxt shoe - $75

Not worried about being a model, but shredding comfortably - PRICELESS
  • + 2
 You realize you can get good bike gloves for less $ right? And if you ride in Hanes briefs you're a beater anyway so this quality bike clothing isn't meant for you.
  • + 1
 Proof reading the article went well then...
  • + 1
 There are certain homonyms that you'd think bike journalists in particular would know how to navigate....
  • + 1
 No clown shit, what is this
  • + 1
 juggalo 4 life!
  • + 1
 @meagerdude Is it possible to have your thoughts on Afton Vectal ?
  • + 3
 wait for the shoe review... drops in a day or three
  • + 2
 @meagerdude: Cheers!
  • + 2
 Designs are on point.
  • + 1
 When 5=7
  • + 1
 Fashion bike weekly
  • - 2
 is this really men´s?
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