Summer Apparel Roundup - 8 Men's Kits Reviewed

Jun 12, 2017 at 16:15
by Colin Meagher  



So winter slammed the door shut on our local riding scene with a BANG pretty much the day we punched out the first of the Winter Gear review pieces this past November. Up until then it had been unseasonably mild: warm and dry; so that was a bit of a shock. We can typically ride pretty much all through the dark months of winter, less a couple truly miserable days. Not so this past winter: after that first snow storm/ice storm, we got hammered with over 90” (205cm) of the white stuff, and it came to stay. And stay. And stay. Consequently, we got a bit of a slow start to our spring riding—hence the somewhat tardy delivery of this summer clothing review piece.

This is the fourth review of this kind I've done for Pinkbike and by now, most of the readers know the drill, so I'll keep the tech weenie talk to a minimum by stating that most of the garments here use some kind of 2 or 4-way stretch material; that's typically just a polyester and elastane (lycra) blend. Some fabrics have more elastane than others, but that blend of materials is the norm for nearly all the performance apparel fabrics. If there’s a particular fabric with a fancy trademark name that does something amazing, I’ll touch on it, but at the end of the day this review is about how the clothes tested in real world riding.

For this clothing guide, I requested trail riding/enduro kits from Sombrio, Leatt, Pearl Izumi, Ion, Flare Clothing, DHaRCO,100%, and O’Neal. All are reputable companies, even if a couple are new kids on the block. I requested the kind of apparel that matches my riding style: light park duty to all day epics vs. full blown DH gear or XC race skin suits—no one wants to see me in a skin suit, believe me! I asked for the styles and colors that I like (although in the case of the 100% I’ve been told that orange is NOT my color), and was sent clothing samples for the review based on what was in stock and that matched my style/size preferences first, color preference second.

I stand 5'9" (175cm), weigh 165 lbs (75 kg) have a size 32/33" (81-42cm) waist, a 40" (102cm) chest. Typically that translates to a size M short and M top. But as I've learned the hard way, always try it on at a store or check the size chart before you buy (or order online). Since I can't photograph myself easily (nor am I particularly photogenic on a bike; I get down the hill alright but I've been told I can look a bit spastic), I rely on free agent Justin Fernandes to be my "Stig"—we match up exactly in sizing, and he's a way smoother rider than I'll ever be, meaning you get to see how the clothes actually fit when being ridden hard.

The process I take in testing all this gear is pretty straightforward: I test each kit on two rides with a minimum of 60 minutes in the saddle. Usually I ride longer, but that's my baseline for a test ride. For the clothing, I look for fit first, function second, and then durability. I only check the price tag when I'm writing it all up. Since I don’t ride park much—maybe 10 days out of the year? Or race DH, I tend to prefer semi-fitted garments that breathe well because more often than not I’m pedaling up as well as down. It’s safe to say that I ride bikes a bit more than the average person and I'm not rolling in cash, so if I'm buying, I prefer stuff that will last a season or two of hard riding mixed with the occasional crash. As a result, my take is simple: if something fits perfectly, breathes amazingly well, but is likely to shred the second I kiss the dirt, I’m generally not interested in running out to purchase it (although I will gladly test it). I'm more about dollars and sense: even if something fits like it was tailored to me, performs like it was handed down from on high, and will outlast extensive time on a bombing range, if it’s out of my budget, I’m going to look elsewhere or wait until it's on closeout and hope that my size is still available.

With the technology that’s going into bike clothing these days—what with fabrics that are light weight, durable, breathable, and wick well—it’s hard to find someone making something truly awful. As a consequence, all the gear I tested here is pretty good, leaving me hard pressed to rave over one kit more so than any other, or toss one under the bus. But I have my likes and dislikes, so I’ll put a comparison chart at the bottom for quick reference with a best buy and a top pick.


SOMBRIO

Justin Fernandes with the Sombrio Highline short and Ridgeline Jersey.
Justin Fernandes with the Sombrio Badass Short and Ridgeline Jersey.

Sombrio is a North Shore, BC, based mountain bike clothing company that was originally founded by Dave Watson and Andrew Shandro, among others. Watson eventually bought out his partners and in turn eventually sold Sombrio to Sugoi (a Dorel Industries brand). Sugoi has kept a bit of a hands off policy with Sombrio, as in it leaves Sombrio to do its thing, which is create stylish clothing suitable for heavy park days and DH racing as well as clothing for all day epics.

Static images of the Sombrio Highline short and Ridgeline Jersey.
Static images of the Sombrio Badass short and Ridgeline Jersey.

Badass Short $100 USD
Sizes: XS-XXL (tested size M)
Colors: Black (tested) and Surf Blue

The Badass short features a standard fitted design and is touted as Sombrio’s as a bit of a do it all short. It’s something of a minimalist short, featuring only what you need and not much else. It has external Velcro waist tab adjusters and fastens with a single Velcro reinforced snap. There is a zippered pocket on the left thigh with a key keeper/lift pass loop nestled inside as well as another discrete stash sleeve within that’s directly against your thigh so as to keep whatever you stash from bouncing around too much. This sleeve is a bit too small for a phone but suitable for a multi-tool. It also has a zippered mesh-lined pocket on the right rear hip. It features a 14” inseam and is constructed from a DWR treated “quatrro flex lite” fabric. The short is cut a bit shorter behind the knee to prevent fabric bunching when wearing knee guards. It does not come with a chamois liner short.

Detail images of the Sombrio Highline Short.
Detail images of the Sombrio Badass Short (clockwise from top left): waist snap closure, external Velcro waist adjuster, key keeper, pocket on left leg.

Despite the cut of the Badass short being touted as standard fit, out of the gate I found the cut to be slim with no excess fabric to flap or snag my saddle. On the trail it performed perfectly; it moved well when pedaling or rallying technical trails, and the 14” inseam provided adequate coverage even on overgrown trails with brush slapping my thighs as I pedaled along. I tend to wear minimalist knee guards like 7iDP or G-form, and with the higher cut behind the knee, I had no issues with them binding when pedaling. In very short order, I found these to be a short I was reaching for time and time again. They also didn’t necessarily look like a mountain bike short, so I didn’t feel like a bike nerd when stopping into my local watering hole for a beer or when grabbing a post ride bite.

Ridgeline Jeresy $65 USD
Sizes: XS-XL (tested size M)
Colors: Gray Melange (tested) and Surf Blue

The Sombrio Ridgeline Jersey is a quarter zip short sleeve jersey constructed from a polyester and elastane fabric treated with “Chill Mesh” technology: a Xylitol treatment applied to the perforated mesh fabric to help cool you as well as wick sweat away from your body. There is a zippered back pocket over the right kidney.

Sombrio Ridgeline Jersey details.
Sombrio Ridgeline Jersey details (clockwise from top left):logo patch, stash pocket, pores in the jersey fabric, neckline with zipper pull up.

The Ridgeline Jersey fit nicely: loose, but not too loose. There’s a slight drop tail on the jersey that gives a bit of coverage over your shorts when in a riding position—nice for keeping dirt spackle off your lower back. It breathed well, but I had no way to measure what, if any, “chill” effect I was getting from the Xylitol treatment. But it didn’t stink up at all. The kidney pocket on the back right hand side was able to easily accommodate a phone. The flat stitching and the fabric moved well over my base layer piece as well as glided smoothly underneath a shell when it was chilly out.

I rode in this kit multiple times, and had zero complaints on fit or function. The fabric has just enough elastane in it to move well, with or without a hydration pack on. I’m not really a fan of being the man in black and gray, and Sombrio offers this kit a red short/red and blue jersey combo as well.

Justin Fernandes with the Sombrio Highline short and Ridgeline Jersey.
Justin Fernandes with the Sombrio Badass Short and Ridgeline Jersey.

FLARE Clothing Co

Justin Fernandes with the Flare Stage Enduro Short and 3 4 sleeve Jersey.
Justin Fernandes with the Flare Stage Enduro Short and 3/4 sleeve Jersey.

Flare is a UK based relative new-comer to the mountain bike apparel world. They got their genesis in 2012, seeking to answer that typical “Why can’t we find affordable, good clothing for riding?” question and began making prototypes in 2013. All apparel minus their custom kits is now manufactured in Portugal to take advantage of advances in textile manufacturing and a skilled workforce, and while their line is small, they are growing.

Static images of the FlareStage Enduro Short aand 3 4 sleeve Stage Enduro Jersey.
Static images of the Flare Stage Enduro Short and 3/4 sleeve Stage Enduro Jersey.

Flare Stage Enduro Short £80
Sizes: 30”-38”
Colors: Black (tested), blue

The Stage Enduro short is constructed of a nice 4-way stretch fabric with a reinforced seat panel for durability and a mesh liner the length of the inside. It has external Velcro waist tab adjusters, an MX style snap fastener over the burly main zipper, and two zippered hip pockets easily large enough for a smart phone. It has a 14.5” inseam as measured, and there are v-shaped cuts at the cuff to help accommodate knee guards.

Details shots of the Stage Enduro Short a from Flare.
Details shots of the Stage Enduro Short from Flare (clockwise from top left): knee cut out for armor, external Velcro waist tab adjuster, burrrrrrly zip fly, snap waist closure.

This short is touted as being both water and abrasion resistant, and I will testify that due to its burly construction, it should do both with aplomb. Consequently, it’s not a light weight dance partner of a short, either. The fit IS good, however, and while it is a slightly looser fit than I typically prefer, it didn’t snag the saddle in technical sections of trial or flap annoyingly when descending at speed: all good in my book. But that burly construction means that it is heavy, and while there’s no question that it will withstand a crash or six, it’s not the short I’d be reaching for during an all-day adventure unless there’s a chairlift involved. I did, however, appreciate the straightforward design and its performance while pedaling, despite its mediocre breathability. The mesh lining inside insured that the short never bound up on my chamois or my knee guards. Overall, I was impressed with the fit and durability but would likely only wear this on days in the bike park or when lift assisted as it didn’t breathe as well as I’d like for long rides.


Flare Stage ¾ Sleeve Jersey £50
Sizes: XS-XXXL
Colors: Orange/Teal (tested) and Gray/Blue

The Flare Stage ¾ Sleeve Jersey is a crew necked 100% polyester design with a lighter weight mesh panel on the back for breathability. It has a slim fit with a drop tail to add a bit of coverage to the lower back when riding.

Detail of the Flare Stage Enduro jersey.
Detail of the Flare Stage Enduro jersey (from left): fabric of the Flare Stage Enduro Jersey, design in the fabric, and logo on right sleeve.

This was a super slim fitting jersey, and in hindsight, I should have checked the size chart more closely and requested a size L; my 40” (102cm chest) is typically a size M, but it sits squarely in size L on Flare's fit chart. Still, despite the snug fit, it moved well and breathed well. It wasn’t flat stitched but it didn’t snag on my base layer or chafe my skin. The colors were a bit flashier than I’d normally want, but I can’t fault the performance and it is available in the less “notice me” Gray/Blue colorway as well.

Justin Fernandes with the Flare Stage Enduro Short and Stage Enduro 3 4 sleeve Jersey.
Justin Fernandes with the Flare Stage Enduro Short and Stage Enduro 3/4 sleeve Jersey.

ION

Justin Fernandes with the Ion Scrub Amp Short and 3 4 sleeve Jersey.
Justin Fernandes with the Ion Scrub_Amp 3/4 Sleeve Jersey and Short.

Ion is a relatively young company with roots initially based in watersports apparel and equipment for everything from SUP to windsurfing to wake sports. In late 2012, Ion took their approach to fun, functional apparel and equipment to mountain biking, and they’ve been going at it ever since with a broad range of clothing and practical gear as well as protection. They sponsor a variety of MTB athletes, most notably the Yeti Enduro team with Richie Rude and Cody Kelly, but also including Antoine Bizet, Mike Hopkins, and Julia Hofman.

Static images of the Ion Scrub Amp Short and 3 4 sleeve Jersey.
Static images of the Ion Scrub_Amp 3/4 Sleeve Jersey and Short.

Ion Scrub_Amp Short $125 USD
Sizes: S-XXL/30-38 in whole sizes (Tested S/30)
Colors: Black, Combat Red, Lime Punch, and Stream Blue (tested)

The Ion Scrub_Amp short is Ion’s top tier short. The 4-way stretch material is constructed of a double weave fabric that’s treated with Repellen_SI, a DWR type of coating, to help ward off water and mud. There are external Velcro waist tab adjusters, a hanger hook on the back inside the waist, and a Velcro reinforced single snap waist closure. The short doesn’t really have a fly; rather it uses a lycra flap to allow easy on/off, but no threat of having a blown zipper ruin your day. There are two zippered hip pockets—the right one has a small, light-weight neoprene sleeve inside it for your phone. Seams are triple stitched for durability. As measured, it has a 13.5” inseam. For ventilation, there are laser cut holes on the insides of the thigh. It does not come with a chamois liner short.

Detail shots of the Ion Scrub Amp short.
Detail shots of the Ion Scrub_Amp short (clockwise from top left): waist snap closure, phone sleeve inside this pocket, laser cut leg venting, Velcro waist tab adjuster, and right hand hip pocket.

The fit on these shorts was perfect. It felt almost tailored—I didn’t even have to cinch down the waist. There was no sag or loose cloth to snag the saddle or flap like mad when riding, but at the same time they offered complete freedom of movement. The shorts breathed well, too, preventing “crotch pot” cooking of my privates on extended climbs. I never crash tested the shorts but the fabric of the short had a reliably robust feel to it despite the lighter weight of the short. Overall, they are everything I’d want in a short in the way of fit, function, and durability. My only real nit pick was the large branding on the left side of the short; I prefer a more understated look to my gear. And while they are a bit more costly than other shorts in the review, they also feature most of the bells and whistles one would expect at this price point, plus they have a great fit.


Ion Scrub_Amp ¾ Sleeve Jersey $85 USD
Sizes: S-XL (tested L)
Colors: Black, Combat Red, Dark Night, and Stream Blue

The Scrub_Amp ¾ sleeve Jersey is a bit of a split personality: the body of the jersey uses a DriRelease (a 14% cotton / 86%polyester fabric blend designed to mimic the look and feel of cotton but with the breathability and wicking performance of polyester) front panel and a 100% polyester arms and back panel that’s been treated with “Sanitize”, an anti-stink compound. It has a standard crew neck, a goggle wipe on the right hem, and a slight drop tail. Seams are not flat stitched.

Detail shots of the Ion Scrub Amp 3 4 sleeve Jersey.
Detail shots of the Ion Scrub_Amp 3/4 sleeve Jersey (clockwise from top left): chest logo, neckline, goggle wipe, and sleeve cuff.

Again, great fit. I particularly liked the snug cuff on the sleeve that kept the ¾ sleeves from riding up when riding. And these are true ¾ length sleeves, so they give great coverage from sun and brush when riding. And while the sleeves are a touch snug, they still have enough give to accommodate light weight elbow guards should you want to walk that way. The DriRelease front panel felt good next to skin, and the Sanitize treatment seemed to work because the jersey didn’t stink up at all during my two test rides.

Justin Fernandes with the Ion Scrub Amp Short and 3 4 sleeve Jersey.
Justin Fernandes with the Ion Scrub_Amp 3/4 Sleeve Jersey and Short.

LEATT

Justin Fernandes in Post Canyon with the Leatt DBX 3.0 Jersey and Short.
Justin Fernandes riding with the Leatt DBX 3.0 Jersey and Short.

Leatt is a South African based company that got its start tragically in 2001 when Dr. Chris Leatt witnessed the death of a moto rider and began working on prototypes of the now famous Leatt Neck brace. We all know where that development led, don’t we? Since then, Leatt has come out with helmets, hydration packs, a variety of protective pads and guards as well as apparel. All designed in conjunction with medical doctors and biomedical engineers.

Static images of the Leatt DBX 3.0 Jersey and Short.
Static images of the Leatt DBX 3.0 Jersey and Short.

Leatt DBX 3.0 Short $70 USD
Sizes: XS-XL (tested size L)
Colors: Black and Brushed (tested).

The Leatt DBX 3.0 Short is a softshell short designed for all day riding. The main body of the short is constructed with a four-way stretch material with a water/dirt resistant treatment, but it has a panel of 500D 3 layer in the seat area for durability, and a mesh stretch panel for mobility across the lumbar portion of the short. There are external Velcro waist tab adjusters, a two snap waist closure, and a single pocket on the right hip. It has a hanger hook on the back. The legs of the short are pre-curved for riding position and cut for use with knee guards. As measured, they have a 14.5” inseam. It does not come with a liner chamois short.

Detail images of the Leatt DBX 3.0 Short.
Detail images of the Leatt DBX 3.0 Short (lockwise from top left):dual snap waist closure, Velcro waist tab adjusters, mesh lumbar panel, and hanger hook.

The waist fit on these is exact, as in if you are a hair over size in the waist, size up or muffin top. Be warned. My 32/33" waist was a no go for a size M, so I sized up to an L and had zero issues. There’s a soft, brushed fabric on the waist that has a nice next to skin feel. The knee opening is definitely roomy—I had no issues with knee guards not fitting or binding at the cuff. The back panel makes the short move freely and the pre-curved nature of the legs meant that the short moved nicely with my body: zero issues with hooking the saddle in technical terrain, even on a nasty over the bars I took during a ride. Which also somewhat settled the durability question. My only nitpick is that the short doesn’t breathe as well as some others. Still, for the price, this is a fantastic deal, making it my best value pick by a whisker over the O'Neal Pin It III shorts.

Leatt DBX 3.0 Jersey $45 USD
Sizes: XS to XL—XXL in black/gray (tested size M)
Colors: Brushed (tested), Black Gray, Black Blue, Black Gray, and Black Green

The Leatt ¾ sleeve jersey is comprised of MoistureCool fabric, a 98% polyester / 2% other blend of mesh fabric that has air channels woven into it. It has flat, overlocking seams, a V-neck collar, a goggle wipe on the back right side (over the kidney) that doubles as a sleeve pocket, and the neck is compatible with a Leatt neck brace.

Details of the Leatt DBX 3.0 Jersey
Details of the Leatt DBX 3.0 Jersey (from left): V-neck collar, goggle wipe/inner sleeve jersey pocket, and least brace compatible.

The fit on this is pretty spot on, although the sleeves aren’t really a true ¾ length, coming down only to my elbow, but that’s ok with me. The jersey otherwise was exactly as described by Leatt: comfortable, breathable, and wicking. I don’t have a neck brace so it was impossible for me to test that compatibility, but I trust that if they make the neck brace as well as the jersey, that they will likely play nicely. I didn't use the inner sleeve pocket, either, as I prefer to stash keys, etc in my shorts vs. a place where a pack strap might cause it to dig into me.

Justin Fernandes in Post Canyon with the Leatt DBX 3.0 Jersey and Short.
Justin Fernandes in Post Canyon with the Leatt DBX 3.0 Jersey and Short.

DHaRCO

Justin Fernandes at play with the DHaRCO Men s Gravity shorts and the DHaRCO Men s Tech Tee in black.
Justin Fernandes at play with the DHaRCO Men's Gravity shorts and the DHaRCO Men's Tech Tee in black.

DHaRCO (Down Hill Aussie Riding Collective) is a relative newcomer to the mountain bike clothing game but they have their priorities in place by sourcing smart fabrics and utilizing functional, surf lifestyle inspired riding apparel. Their motto of “No Ordinary Life” is meant to reflect their belief that “mountain biking creates an amazing lifestyle. Whomever you are in the day to day world, when you get on the bike life is just awesome. Any stress of the day is gone. Biking gives you a sense of freedom, adrenaline, good times with mates. Not to mention the amazing places we explore, the people and the respect for nature that it creates.” Indeed.

Static images of the DHaRCO Black Tech Tee and Gravity Shorts.
Static images of the DHaRCO Black Tech Tee and Gravity Shorts.

DHaRCO Men’s Gravity Short $99.95 USD
Sizes: S-XXL (tested size M)
Colors: Lava Red (tested), Fern Green, Chain Black

The DHaRCO Men’s Gravity short is semi-fitted but utilizes a 4-way stretch material in its construction to allow full freedom of movement. There are external Velcro waist tab adjusters, a soft, brushed material lining the waist, a Velcro reinforced 2 snap waist closure, and two pockets: one on the left hip and one at the base of the spine (smaller and suitable for a car key or lift pass/credit card). The inseam measures to 13.5”. A liner chamois short is not included.

DHaRCO Men s Gravity Short Details.
DHaRCO Men's Gravity Short Details (left to right): waist snap closure details, Velcro external waist tab adjuster, lumbar rear pocket.

The fit of this short was similar to the Sombrio. It moved well when pedaling or pin balling through rock gardens; I never came close to snagging the knees or the crotch while riding, and had zero issues with knee guard compatibility. The left hand side pocket was a bit of a bummer as I am right handed, but whatever. The short breathed well, too, even though I was wearing a bib chamois liner short. I never crash tested them, but the short just has that no nonsense kind of construction and feel to them that oozes durability.

I’d definitely grab these for an all day ride or an afternoon in the bike park. And the surf inspired design doesn’t scream "bike dork!", either, making post ride apres activities a bit more civilized.

DHaRCO Tech Tee $49.95 USD
Sizes: S-XL (tested size M)
Colors: Black Logo (tested), Party, X, and Blue Logo

DHaRCO sent both their Short Sleeve Riding Jersey in Atoll Blue as well as their Tech Tee in Black with a logo'd front. If I'm not wearing a 3/4 sleeve jersey, my go to is typically a tech tee, so I opted to test DHaRCO's Tech Tee instead over the jersey and I have no regrets at all (although although their SS Jersey is quite nice). Their Tech Tee, like the Ion jersey, is made using DriRelease fabric, and has a nice, semi fitted cut to it. Other than that, it is a plain jane tech tee.

DHaRCO Tech Tee details.
DHaRCO Tech Tee details (left to right): DriRelease fabric, crew neck, and logo.

The fit of the size M was right on the money. And even with the logo on the front, it looked more like a cotton t-shirt than a technical garment, but more importantly, against my skin, it felt exactly like a cotton tee-shirt, but it breathed and wicked like a technical garment. And as advertised, it didn’t stink up, nor was it clingy with sweat the way a 100% cotton tee would have been. It didn’t offer the extra protection a ¾ or long sleeve jersey would, nor did it breathe as well as a jersey with mesh venting; but I was overall pretty stoked with both the performance and the working man's simplicity of this garment. Home run in my book.


Justin Fernandes at play with the DHaRCO Men s Gravity shorts and the DHaRCO Men s Tech Tee in black.
Justin Fernandes at play with the DHaRCO Men's Gravity shorts and the DHaRCO Men's Tech Tee in black.



O'NEAL

Justin Fernandes with the O Neal Pin It III jersey and short.
Smiles for miles: Justin Fernandes with the O'Neal Pin It III jersey and short.

O’Neal has been around since the 1960s as an MX clothing and protective gear manufacturer and distributor. Bike gear was a natural for them and they’ve been relying on Greg Minnaar for feedback since first sponsoring him, as well as big mountain free ride legend, James Doerfling.

Static images of the O Neal Pin It III MTB Jersey and Short.
Static images of the O'Neal Pin It III MTB Jersey and Short.

O’Neal Pin It III Short $80 USD (without chamois; the “Helter Skelter Inner Short” sells separately for $40)
Sizes: 28-38 in whole sizes (tested size 32)
Colors: Black, Gray, Red (tested), and Green

The Pin It III Short is an MX inspired short (how can you not notice the" X marks the spot" crotch mesh/gusset thing that seems to be the norm on all MX inspired shorts?!?!?) but with a definite trail riding bent to it. It uses a zip fly with a snap closure and ratchet strap cinch to fine tune the waist fit. There’s rubber gripper inside the waist of the short to make sure the short stays put, as well. Four-way stretch material and mesh panels are widely used in the construction for freedom of movement. The crotch is seamless and utilizes a tougher fabric for durability. The short also utilizes mesh inside the legs for ease of movement over one’s under layers and knee guards. Last but not least, there are two zippered pockets on the hips and two zippered air vents. The short came with a Helter Skelter chamois attached but I was unable to find that option on the website (or this color; that was on the European website). The inseam as measured came up to be 12.5”.

Details of the O Neal Pin It III MTB short
Details of the O'Neal Pin It III MTB short (clockwise from top left): Waist closure and gripper rubber on the waist, hanger hook, snap in Helter Skelter chamois liner short, integrated goggle wipe.

Shockingly light weight, but loaded with performance is the main thing I had to say when testing these. These shorts fit ok—they ran a bit big in the waist; but the waist cinch made for a nice, secure fit; I’ve had Velcro adjusters release on me or snag my jersey in the past, and then come undone mid ride—not a worry with a ratchet cinch! The leg vents made a definite air flow through the shorts when riding on a hot day. And the flex and stretch of the fabric allowed complete, unhindered movement while riding. Despite the shorter inseam, there was no gaper gap with G-Form or 7iDP knee guards.

The included Helter Skelter liner chamois short that came with the Pin It III was of mediocre quality, in my humble opinion. It breathed poorly and it felt as if I was wearing a wet diaper 30 minutes into a ride vs. the supportive feel and wicking nature of a quality chamois. I could not wait to get it off me as soon as possible.

I could only find the short available as a stand alone item for $80, and the Helter Skelter inner short as an accessory for an extra $40; I’ve no idea how I got the two as a single item. But that’s great news for consumers, as a short that’s as packed with features as this at such a low price is a great deal. This only just missed being my best value short by a whisker, and that was based mostly on the fact that this may not be as durable as the Leatt short; I wasn't able to do a long term test on either but while the O'Neal has better breathability, the Leatt just feels a bit more solid and offers a bit more coverage.

O’Neal Pin It III Jersey $50 USD
Sizes: S-XL (tested size M)
Colors: Green, Red (tested), and Gray

The Pin It III Jersey is a v-necked jersey constructed from a 100% polyester fabric with mesh panels under the arms for breathability/venting. It’s got flat locked seams for comfort against skin and a discrete zippered pocket on the back of the right side over the kidney. There’s a subtle graphic on the right side of the chest.

Details of the O Neal Pin It III MTB Jersey
Details of the O'Neal Pin It III MTB Jersey (clockwise from top left): V-neck, the stash pocket, logo on the chest, underarm mesh vent.

The Pin It III jersey had a tight neck opening, making it hard to pull over my head, but once on,the neck didn’t bother me. It breathed reasonably well and moved reasonably well, even with a hydration pack on. It didn’t stink up at all during the two 90+ minutes rides I wore it. I never used the pocket as I typically wear a pack or a fanny pack, and anything in a pocket like this will dig into my side, so I’ve no opinion one way or the other with that. All in all, it was decent jersey that did exactly what it was supposed to and nothing more.

Action images of Justin Fernandes wiht the O Neal Pin It III MTB Jersey and Short.
Justin Fernandes rallying with the O'Neal Pin It III MTB Jersey and Short.

100%

Action images of the Ride 100 Celium Jersey and Short
The 100% Celium Jersey and Short on the loose.

100% is another MX Cross-over brand. The original brand was started by Drew Lien back in the early 80s. He created a few widgets for MX racing—brake line protectors, thicker number plates, etc. Nowadays, for MX the company only really makes goggles. But, a lot of their athletes train on mountain bikes and road bikes. Sensing an opportunity, 100% stepped into the cycling scene, first with eyewear about two years ago; but they have quickly moved into full face helmets, gloves, and apparel, and their initial forays into MTB are looking good. But how does the clothing perform?

Static images of the Ride 100 Celium Jersey and Short.
Static images of the 100% Celium Jersey and Short.

100% Celium Short $169 USD
Sizes: 28-38 in whole sizes (tested size 32)
Colors: Tie-dyed Blue, Tie-dyed Black, Solid Cone Zone (tested), and Solid Astro.

Stripped down and race day light, these were by far the lightest pair of shorts in the group of shorts that I tested, but despite the light weight, they are loaded with features. They have a half fly à la the Fox Attack Pro shorts tested last year, with no zipper and a single, discrete snap waist closure for a clean look. Adjustment duties on the waist are handled by a unique, shock cord system. The short is constructed of a 4-way stretch fabric with laser cut ventilation on the inner thigh and hamstring. It features two zipped pockets: one on the right thigh and one on the left hip. All seams are welded for comfort vs. stitched (this minimizes hot spots). There’s a TPR hanger hook on the rear of the waist. The Celium short is topped off with a removable, premium chamois with laser cut perforations for breathability. As measured, the shorts had a 13.5” inseam.

Detail images of the Ride 100 Celium All Mountain short.
Detail images of the 100% Celium All Mountain short (clockwise from top left): waist snap and zip less half fly, waist tab adjuster, laser cut venting, hanger hook.

Well, as noted earlier, orange is really NOT my color, but then again, neither are 100%’s tie-dye options or the “Solid Astro” colorway. But regardless of color, I can’t fault 100%’s Celium shorts. The fit is perfect. The inseam is a tiny bit short for my tastes, but there’s no gaper gap with knee guards on and you don’t feel as if you’re swathed in a pair of “man-pris” when not using armor, either. Along with the tailored fit, they move freely no matter how aggressive you are on the trail, or what kind of awkward shapes you’re making as you flail through a bit of unexpectedly technical terrain. The shock cord adjusters translated into one handed, on-the-fly, waist adjustments vs. having to pull over mid-ride and grab a Velcro strap or tug on a ratchet of some kind. The shorts breathed well, too—not sure if that’s the laser cut holes or the light weight fabric, but either way, it meant that I wasn’t sweating my b----s off when riding, even though I tested this short with temps in the mid 80s F range (28C or so). The Celiums came with a well-ventilated chamois, too, removable with a pair of scissors vs the snap in/out variety; but it performed well, with zero hot spots or chaffing during a pair of lengthy rides with extended climbs.

Pretty much this short performed flawlessly. My only concern was the crashability aspect: they are so light weight that I have to wonder about durability in the event of a hard landing. And I definitely would opt for something different from 100%’s line up for lift assisted riding.

100% Celium Jersey $69 USD
Sizes: S-XL (tested size M)
Colors: Heather Blue, Heather Black (tested), Solid Black, Solid Cola

The body of the short sleeve Celium Jersey is constructed of a 4-way stretch microbial (anti-stink) mock mesh fabric with laser cut venting between the shoulder blades for breathability. It has a V-neck and flat stitched seams for comfort. There’s a generous drop tail for coverage in the rear. A goggle/glasses wipe is included on the left hem.

Details of the RIde 100 Celium Jersey.
Details of the RIde 100% Celium Jersey (clockwise from top left): goggle wipe, v-neck fitted collar, mesh fabric from the inside, laser cut venting.

Like the short, this was the lightest jersey in the test group. It had a nice stretch to the body, and while it was a snug, it didn’t at all feel clingy; rather it moved exceptionally well, even with a pack on. I rode the piss out of this jersey on some hot, muggy days, too; and I never found breathability to be an issue despite the heat and humidity; not sure it was the laser cut venting or just the light nature of the fabric, as I had a pack on for both rides. Nor did I have any sweat induced funk develop, even though I tossed it in my laundry bag to ferment for two days right after a fairly aggressive ride.

I personally prefer a longer sleeve to a jersey—this almost felt more like a road cycling jersey. But from a performance standpoint, I can’t fault this jersey at all. I have no doubt that this jersey will last a season of hard riding, but as with the short, I am somewhat suspicious of its durability in a crash. As Keith Bontrager used to say, “Strong, light, cheap; pick two.” Or in this case, maybe pick one.

Action images of the Ride 100 Celium Jersey and Short
100% action of the 100% Celium Jersey and Short.

PEARL IZUMI

Justin Fernandes with the Pearl Izumi Launch MTB 3 4 sleeve jersey and short.
Justin Fernandes getting low with the Pearl Izumi Launch MTB 3/4 sleeve jersey and short.

Pearl Izumi's story starts in 1950 in Japan with a man named Kinji Shimizu who rode 38 miles every day to deliver 90 lbs of clothing to a neighboring village. In 1964, his son made the Japanese national team and came home with an Italian made cycling kit. From there, Kinji started an obsessive drive to create better cycling apparel designs, and Pearl Izumi, the “fountain of pearls” as it translates, was born.

Static images of the Pearl Izumi Launch Short and 3 4 Sleeve Jersey.
Static images of the Pearl Izumi Launch Short and 3/4 Sleeve Jersey.

Pearl Izumi Launch Short $135 USD
Sizes: XS-XXL (tested size M)
Colors: Avocado/Black (tested), Eclipse Blue/Black, and Black/Black

The Launch short is designed to be a mid weight, durable short with a relaxed fit for all day riding. The rip stop four way stretch fabric has a DWR treatment to help repel water. There are internal Velcro waist tab adjusters as well as belt loops, allowing a rider to choose how, exactly, they want to fine tune the fit. The zip fly is closed with two Velcro reinforced snaps. There are three zippered pockets: one on each hip and a cargo pocket on the right thigh. It comes with a snap out chamois liner short with Pearl Izumi’s more premium 3D Tour Chamois pad. It’s rounded off with a 15” inseam.

Detail images of the Pearl Izumi Launch MTB Short.
Detail images of the Pearl Izumi Launch MTB Short (left to right): waist closure, snap in liner interface, belt loops as well as an inner waist Velcro waist cinch.

These are a pretty comfy short, but they are definitely a mid-weight short, coming in right behind the Flare Stage in this test group of shorts for overall heft. Despite that, the fit was pretty good—roomy, but not so roomy as to flap an inordinate amount on high speed descents. And the ability to dial in the fit at the waist with either a belt or the inner waist band adjusters was nice. The included mesh liner short was comfortable and performed like a champ: zero hot spots or chafing and excellent breathability. But the Launch short itself didn’t breathe particularly well, due to the heavier fabric and lack of venting options. Additionally, no matter how much I cinched the waist, short of hiking them up to my belly button, there was a definite sag in the crotch. This wasn’t a problem when riding with the saddle dropped, but on multiple occasions I hooked the back of the saddle when by simply throwing a leg over it to mount up, which was kind of annoying. I'd think that was just me, but my body double encountered the same issue. Overall, I liked the short but not for all day pedal adventures; rather I’d use these as a light duty park short or lift assist adventures ala the Portes de Soleil or Whistler's Top of the World to Khyber Pass route.

Pearl Izumi Launch ¾ Sleeve Jersey $75 USD
Sizes: XS-XXL (tested size M)
Colors: Blue Mist/Eclipse Blue, Citron/Avocado (tested), and Black/Smoked Pearl

The Launch ¾ sleeve Jersey, like the Ion Scrub_Amp ¾ Sleeve Jersey, is a true ¾ sleeve jersey. It is constructed of a 100% polyester “transfer” fabric to wick away sweat. It has a v-neck collar and a drop tail for coverage of the lower back when in a riding position. It has a semi fitted form vs the previous season’s more relaxed fit. There are no pockets or goggle-wipes.

Detail image of the Pearl Izumi Launch MTB Jersey fabric.
Detail image of the Pearl Izumi Launch MTB Jersey fabric.

I liked this jersey a fair amount but it’s definitely a pretty fitted cut; if you’re right at the high side of a size, you might want to size up. It breathed and wicked reasonably well, and didn’t stink up at all during a couple of two hour rides. It moved well against my skin, too, as well as my base layer.

Justin Fernandes with the Pearl Izumi Launch MTB 3 4 Sleeve Jersey and Short.
Justin getting a bit loose with the Pearl Izumi Launch MTB Jersey and Short.

I’ve compiled my notes on performance to the two charts below. Included in them are my top picks as well as thoughts on best value. Have a great summer of shred!

Shorts Comparison Chart.

Jersey Comparison Chart.



189 Comments

  • + 89
 this is great! a lot of work went into these reviews, Thanks!
  • + 21
 yup, and thanks for publishing inseams . . . sometimes hard to find that info and as a tall dude I don't want grape smugglers
  • + 11
 and they've reviewed the first pair of shorts with integrated wank rag! thanks Mr O'Neal
  • + 42
 This was a shit ton of work. Thanks for the props.
  • - 2
 "Slim gravity cut, one hand adjustable waist, laser cut ventilation, hanger hook... Such a light weight material Im forced to question durability in the event of a crash"

Yes, take my $169 that all sounds totally worth it.
  • + 2
 wish moto clothes would do more designs like mtb. mx bright pajamas with thick tpr logos...ugh..
  • + 1
 @meagerdude: feel free to send all the kits to me next time. I'll do that work.
Very thorough informative review.
  • + 1
 "Hey honey, I have to go out riding again, gotta see what this T-Shirt is like while on a bike"

Wife: "Who's looking after the baby and cooking dinner!!!???"

*Front door closes*
  • + 1
 @meagerdude: Question- What kind of base layers are you wearing, and why? I just can't wrap my head around why anyone would want extra layers on in the summer.
  • + 1
 @LuvAZ: I know this is a late response, but be forewarned: most manufacturers with which I have experience use different inseam lengths for different sizes (shorter inseam on smaller waist sizes), then publish only one inseam length (unspecified, but presumably the most common size...32 or 34" waist?). If you're tall and thin, your shorts may not be as long as desired...opposite if short and, um, not thin.
  • + 51
 Thanks for the reviews!
Typical comments from the PB peanut gallery. "I can wear a pair of cut off jeans & get a 3-pack of Hanes t-shirts at Target for $10 bucks, who would spend $$$$ on this stuff?!"

I would.
Thanks again.
  • + 4
 Love this, couldn't agree more.
  • + 10
 I like it also, but i buy it at the year end closeout. I don't mind my gear matching, but i'm cheap.
  • + 32
 I can ride naked for $0, so I just don't get why people would buy clothes.
  • + 5
 @passwordpinkbike: In the US it cost MORE to ride naked, once you add in travel to court, fines, and fees for registering as a sex offender. Not saying you shouldn't do it...just know before you go.
  • + 31
 Looking forward on their perfume series
  • + 2
 "I'm a little teapot..."
  • + 1
 Call it jockstrap gym locker
  • + 9
 @chyu - I use "29 shades of gray" by Trailmani: great antiperspirant with a touch of stench of decomposing 26" wheels. Like dafodils to my nostrils
  • + 1
 A 'clothing guide'?
I feel like a pussycat with ELLE magazine in hand.
  • + 26
 Bike shorts over $100 better include a damn liner chamois.
  • + 2
 Very true. Try Specialized Atlas shorts. $100 with liner. Maybe not for the bike park but super comfortable and stretchy.
  • + 2
 I bought 3 pairs of NorthFace's bike shorts w/chamois for $30 each pair. I got 3 for less than the cost of most of these. The quality is tops, going on season 3 with them, no problems. Check them out if you can find them.
  • + 3
 @LuvAZ: Zoic Ether shorts have been my go to favorite these days. Typically found for around $60-70 ($80 MSRP), super comfortable short and liner, stretchy yet durable fabric, nice features, and breath well. Plus I like their understated looks.
  • + 1
 @LuvAZ: Those shorts are the shit. The XC Pro's are even better.
  • + 14
 Why do MTB shorts have snaps on the waistband? No other shorts have snaps, because snaps suck. Yet somehow, when shorts are neon colored and $100, they think they'll not suck.
  • + 2
 You have a better way to close up the waist band of a short? The ratchet on the O'Neal's are nice but there's still a snap.
  • + 18
 A button would work, one of the riveted on metal buttons like a pair of jeans or Carhartts, those ratchets are pretty nice too. A button is just so damn simple and I've never once had a button come undone.

Go OTB and skid to a stop on your chest, your shorts fall off.
Wear them too many times and wear out the snap, your shorts fall off.
Reach for something at a weird angle, your shorts fall off.
Sit weird. your shorts fall off.
catch your shorts on a cactus, your shorts fall off.
Take too deep of a breath, your shorts fall off.

You know what shorts don't fall off while riding? My Columbia hiking shorts with a damn button. Snaps are complete garbage.
  • + 2
 Kitsbow has a cool button that locks. I only know because I scored a pair 60% off. Still stupid expensive, but man they are nice.
  • + 1
 Wearing a nice pair of Giros with a button right now. 0% polyester.
  • + 1
 @maxyedor: I used to hate the old Sombrio snaps because they popped open all the time. I can't say I've had that problem with any of the shorts I've tested in two winter and two sprjng gear reviews. I do have a pair of giros with a button, and I can't tell you how many times I've almost ripped it off because I'm so used to snaps...

Anyway, I feel your frustration even though it's not a problem I've encountered in 3 years. If you find a pair of shorts you really like with snaps, you can always get a button added by a seamstress or tailor. Yeah, extra $$ but stuff's made well enough these days that might be a worth while investment for you.
  • + 2
 @maxyedor:

Sounds like you just need to loose some weight.

Mine work fine. Razz
  • + 1
 @meagerdude: Elastic works just fine for athletic shorts. $10 Wal-mart shorts really will work. You just need a nicely padded saddle.
  • + 1
 @meagerdude: Luckily I have a pretty good alteration shop near the house, and mostly bought previous year's gear on close-out so there's room in the budget for adding proper waist-band closure so my older MTB shorts are all back in action. Since discovering Columbia's quick dry PFG shorts at the outlet store for $15, it's hard to bring myself to buy actual MTB brand gear anymore.

@UtahBikeMike: That's what TLD said when I talked to their guy at a trade-show, so I bought a size bigger, now not only to the snaps come undone, they'll fall off even on the rare occasion that snaps aren't coming undone.

I've literally never seen snaps on any pair of shorts or pants outside the MTB world, and I believe there's a reason for that.
  • + 1
 @maxyedor: I hear ya. The MTB ones nowadays are typically velcro reinforced or have a moto inspired style with a zip that runs to the tip of the short and the snap closing over to protect the top of the zipper. That way the zip is doing the bulk of the closing and holding shut duties. Or you can go the O'Neal route.
  • + 15
 Dentist fashion show
  • + 46
 I get the joke and that anything mountain bike specific is expensive. Honestly, I am tired of hearing it. If you don't want to buy it then don't. Some people want to and this article is pretty obviously targeted at the people looking at mountain bike companies for clothing. We are all aware there are cheaper options that may be as good.
  • + 15
 soon to be found on the end of season sale rack. take your pick
  • - 10
flag VtVolk (Jun 21, 2017 at 9:11) (Below Threshold)
 If I ran into my dentist dressed like that on the trail...I'd consider getting a new dentist.
  • + 22
 @adrennan: This is an admittedly lazy joke but we need to nip this full matching outfit stuff in the bud before we end up looking like road bikers.
  • + 2
 @employee7: Hmmmmmm, I don't go out an buy this stuff. Maybe, I am not a good dentist. :/ My shorts generally are year end close outs from Jenson or stuff on eBay; currently some Sombrio and TLD stuff. My fav summer jerseys at the moment are 50/50 t-shirts and Tiki shirts from here... ragstock.com/shop/product-category/men/hawaiian-shirts
  • + 1
 @hellbelly: You get it is a joke about yuppys and disposable income right? I didn't mean that literally every dentist goes out and pays full MSRP for a matching kit.
  • + 4
 @employee7: if you dont wanna look like a road biker, then dont. i mean i am not going all matchy matchy but i like to support the companies that actually do stuff for our sport (you know sponsor athletes, events, media, etc)
  • - 9
flag employee7 (Jun 21, 2017 at 9:56) (Below Threshold)
 @adrennan: I do not wear that and I don't want to be associated with anyone that looks like that. If you know a better way to keep people from dressing like a short bus power ranger then I am all ears. But until you provide an alternative I am going to continue mocking them......for their own good.
  • + 4
 @employee7: I was hassling you simply because I hear these jokes so often. I personally don't give a rat's tuchus what anyone wears. I prefer things that are simple, functional, unique (the Tiki shirts really are fun) and ideally a bargain.

@adrennan: I do not really fit in with any cycling clique, preferring to make fun of all of them. I support my lbs's (the lil' guys) via rocking their jerseys, having them do repairs I don't feel like messing with, giving them word of mouth referrals and seeing a number of them as patients
  • + 4
 @adrennan: What percentage of each sale do you suppose each company invests in advert...I mean sponsorship deals? Maybe 10%?

If you buy athletic shorts at Wal-Mart for $10 and donate the price difference ($50+-) to your favorite athlete, they would receive tremendously more benefit.

People make the same bogus argument about LBS's somehow being necessary to transform some tiny percentage of our hard earned cash into donations to local trails. Your money is better spent buying online and donating the difference yourself. But I digress.
  • + 9
 The reason everyone is bellyaching over pricing the last couple seasons is because it's ridiculous. $1k rims, $2k forks, $8k frames... give me a break. In 6 months it's on the clearance rack for half, so why bother?

Yes, "if you don't want to buy it, then don't" applies - ok - so, I wont buy it. But unless these companies get direct feedback from the industry customers, they'll continue to think its alright to charge $169 for a pair of shorts. That's like an 80% mark-up from what they're really worth.

And dont give me that bullshit about R&D/Materials/Marketing costs crap - theyre making a killing and the sheep keep buying... Those $169 shorts cost less than $20 to make, so convince me how $169 makes sense to anyone?
  • + 8
 @NYShred: Zero R&D goes into branding a polyester clown suit. ZERO. I'll get down voted but I don't care. 100% agreement.
  • + 1
 @VtVolk: News flash: that's exactly how your dentist dresses.
  • + 3
 @hellbelly: Hail to the King baby.
  • + 3
 @employee7: I love having disposable income plus stock options.. Took me f*ck of a long time to get here.. Let's blow some coin!
  • + 2
 @employee7: sounds like your way to cool for your own good....mr fashion police officer.
  • + 2
 @hellbelly: tiki shirts-the aloha shirts annoying little brother. ????
  • + 1
 @oldfut: I've always used the terms interchangeably. I prefer Tiki over Hawaiian as it conjures up bamboo huts, grass skirts, flaming drinks and the cad-approved silly culture I became enamored with in my 20's.
  • + 1
 @inter71: Yessssss!!! Among my career inspirations.
  • + 2
 @hellbelly: yes, that's a proper dentist kit.
  • + 2
 @WaterBear: I choose to support my lbs so I have the knowledge that I have an lbs that knows their shit and can and will take care of me when I don't have the time or knowledge to take care of my bike. Sometimes working 40-60 hour weeks it's hard to get the bike ready for the race or epic riding adventure that weekend.
  • + 1
 @hellbelly: I'm just giving you a hard time because my work attire is usually aloha shirts. ????
  • + 14
 If other riders can see what you are wearing you are riding too slow.
  • + 2
 @PhatBrett: I guess you never stop to have a snack, fix something, talk to your friends, check out a critter, etc. Impressive. Very XC of you. Wink
  • + 3
 @hellbelly: It's important to impress your friends with your pants when you've stopped to piss in the woods.
  • + 2
 @WaterBear: I know you're joking, but I wholeheartedly agree. Since I'm a shit rider I need to at least look the part. I mean, how else will anyone know I'm totally serious about this silly little pastime?
  • + 8
 Riding kits are way to expensive. I've gone the route of cheaper tech tees and a pair of riding shorts that fit well. The only thing I want to try is a merino wool shirt. I have heard they are very nice.
  • + 3
 I have some smartwool base layers I use for hiking and riding sometimes. Merino is really comfortable, but I think it holds more moisture than synthetics do which makes it feel heavier and, if you prefer a looser fit, a little saggy by the time you start sweating or if it's drizzling. If you live someplace dry it's probably no big deal. Here in the PNW where it rains a lot, or the south where it's humid you may prefer a synthetic. The other issue I have with merino is durability: the weave can snag more easily which leads to tears, which unravel quickly due to the weave. Also, pine needles and junk can get stuck in the fabric really easy, if that bugs you.
  • + 2
 Icebreaker New Zealand. Merino is all I wear now. 150g t-shirts are $40-$80 depending on sales.
  • + 1
 @inter71: love merino, but what about hot summer days. I can't stand polyester clothing, love cotton but it gets soggy!
  • + 1
 @Beez177: 120-150g is thin. I'm wearing a 150 today in 85•f.
  • + 2
 @rockhammer: I have been selling smartwool where I work for years and I can tell you that merino will hold less moisture and dry faster than synthetics. Main advantage to synthetics is you can get a thinner material with more durability.
  • + 1
 Now I'm sitting in a bar with a dry shirt and I DONT STINK. Winning.
  • + 2
 Check out Pettet Endurance Project for really nice, made-in-Oregon merino shirts. These are a little lighter than the Smartwool or Icebreaker shirts I've tried. And they even fit me (I'm 6'5" and both medium and large sizes work).
  • + 1
 Can I throw in a plug for store.dnacycling.com ? They are a bit more reasonable on pricing. Its more geared toward road and XC, but they have some baggies as well.
  • + 1
 @jakesgt: I think you make a good point: my thinner synthetics feel lighter and less clingy than my slightly thicker wool shirt when I'm sweating. When it's warm and humid like it's been here this June, I'm more comfortable in a synthetic shirt. YMMV.
  • + 1
 @gargarragh: The lightest men's garment they sell is 170g. While I would like a 3/4 sleave, not much selection. Am I missing something? This brand is not on the same level as Smartwool or Icebreaker.
  • + 2
 @hamncheez: Ah, DNA stands for Dirt N Asphalt. I always thought it meant Drugs N Alcohol
  • + 5
 Great stuff and thanks for the thorough review. I struggle with finding stuff to fit as they seem to design for the taller / slimmer built person. I'm short and thicker even when I'm super fit & most shorts are overly tight / restrictive in the quad and butt area no matter what. Does anyone make anything targeted towards that build type?
  • + 4
 I'd suggest the Pearl Izumi stuff from this review--it's roomy. Also the Dharco or Sombrio--they're not roomier, but fit well.
  • + 1
 Likewise. I am the same height and waist as the test rider in this article, but 25-30lbs heavier and +3" on the chest with shortish legs and longer body. I'm not a lifter, but have muscle mass... Every riding shirt fits way too tight on the arms and shorts hang way below the knee. I end up usually cutting the inside of the sleeve seam so I don't look like a 'roid raging meat head
  • + 1
 Board shorts. O'Neill.
  • + 8
 Ya.... I'm gonna go see what's on sale at Jenson usa...
  • + 1
 Beat me to it
  • + 4
 Just checked CRC, first thing that comes up is shorts with liner for $30. Nice
  • + 4
 Let me say this, as an avid mountain biker for the last 25-30 years all cycling shirts must have a pocket, it just makes sense. I usually ride with my phone and I don't like it on the front of my thigh, it may seem a little like a roadie thing but F-me are they handy. I ride XC all mountain and DH, you need to carry shit with you, be it a multi tool, a phone, keys, sunscreen, food etc. just give me a place to put my shit. Shorts with the pocket in the middle of the back are also handy, I already have a waterproof case for my phone so being in the splash zone is not as big of a deal.
  • + 1
 Agreed. I just picked up a Troy Lee jersey that has a pocket in the back. Seems like a good balance because it looks like a mountain bike jersey but still has a pocket like the weird roadie sh*t.
  • + 4
 DHarco - cool brand. went to an endure event north of Sydney last year to check it out and they had a stand set up with their clothing plus discounted stock. Would have liked some but as I look like a beerkeg on legs they didn't have any sizes that would have fit me. But I did get an awesome set of stickers off them. Glad to see an aussie brand getting out there and getting recognised for their hard work.
  • + 1
 Picked up a short and jersey combo recently from DHaRCO too, as they are now in our local bike shop in the US. So comfy and no fuss and I don't look like I'm a try hard racer with matchy matchy kit anymore. My new fav!
  • + 8
 In the eyes of the general public- we pretty much ALL look like dorks...
  • + 2
 It's ridiculous, look at DH kits, why does everyone yell nice pajamas when you go by, look at motocross, face it we all dress like clowns, but we're doing a sport so it must be ok....roadies, xc ski clothes, we all look stupid
  • + 1
 Wow, I see some people complaining about price, but I can't get over how ugly most of this stuff is (Sombrio, Flare, Pearl Izumi taking the cake) to even bother caring what it costs. This is the kind of fashion that we'll be looking back in 5 years at a photo and saying - wow, what the f&%&$ were we thinking.
  • + 7
 I love 3/4 sleeve shirts.
  • + 3
 Once or twice a year sign-up and run the local 5k (St. Patrick's/Cinco de Mayo/ _____ City Days). You usually get a "tech shirt" that works well on the trail. Plus, you can show-off your accomplishments and your sponsors: "Kiwanis," "Town Chevrolet and Kia," "Herbal Wellness Market," and "Randy Paine, DDS".
  • + 2
 I have one of those shirts with sponsorship from Drs. Paine, Suffrin, and Dye. How bout that for a medical practice!?
  • + 6
 My method for bike apparel shopping: Find clearance items or warehouse sales and look hideous.
  • + 6
 Pinkbike look... shoulder length hair and medium sized beard.
  • + 2
 Like it or not, these kinds of prices are the reason there are more and more "Fun4You", "BikeLife", and "LoveHappyCycle" brands popping up places like Amazon that are clearly ripping the brands in this review off and selling at a lower price.

First-world manufacturers need to figure out a way to trim the fat in their businesses and make their stuff more efficiently, or AliExpress/Amazon will continue to grow as the apparel supplier of choice for many mountain bikers. There aren't a whole lot of reasons for the average consumer to not take a risk on Arsuxeo MTB shorts when the price savings is literally $100.
  • + 1
 And there is absolutely NOTHING innovative on this page.
  • + 2
 While not by any means the most economically sound purchases, I try to support the companies who sponsor events, athletes, and in general contribute to the sport and community. All of that costs money, that is then rolled into the price of their garments. Sure, I ride in free Tshirts that the industry gives me too, but if I'm spending money, it'll be to help those that help the sport grow.
  • + 5
 3/4 sleeves should be the standard jersey length. this is the hill i am willing to die on.
  • + 2
 I agree with you 100%.
  • + 7
 What's the point of 3/4 length - elbow protection? I find the extra length going over the elbow feels kind of awkward and usually go either short or full-length sleeves.
  • + 2
 @bull-dozer: offers protection from prickers and trees, and when i crash helps prevent extra wounds. I like it because it doesn't retain much heat but I enjoy the extra protection.
  • + 11
 @stevemokan: I agree with you 75%
  • + 4
 @stonant: really your jersey is protecting you from crashes?
  • + 0
 @mollow: I personally prefer a 3/4 sleeve jersey because they protect my arms from getting whipped by branches on trails that are a bit overgrown; a lot of the trails I ride are a bit remote.
  • + 1
 @mollow: maybe if you're crashing into sand. or a ball pit.
  • + 1
 Amen brother, my g-forms fit perfect underneath and the race face jersey I have is there perfect fit for me
  • + 1
 they save me a couple scratches.
  • + 1
 Fox Ranger Shorts (with decent chamois) on sale at REI for south of $70. TLD skyline or Ruckus jersey on the sale rack at TLD for $40. That way, you don't have to match, you have all the important features and fit for riding, and you can wear shorts that don't look like repurposed moto clothes. No one should wear their sweat-soaked jersey or shorts anywhere after riding anyway.
  • + 1
 Thank you for putting this together. It looks like there are some nice new features being added to the clothing.
The photos re-enfornce my belief that the majority of these MTB apparel designers get their inspiration from their 5 yrs old kids drawings posted on their fridge.
Personally, I'd like to see less patterns, lighter/cooler colors (not brighter). Colors that are good for reflecting the sun and don't attract bees. Oh, and more breathable long sleeve jerseys for dealing with poison oak/ivy.
  • + 1
 I miss the good old days of riders wearing some camo pants and some plain t-shirts (see Matt Hunter in Seasons for reference). With all that enduro thing now riders looks more like a clowns plus the kits are ridiculously expensive. #bringbackthefreerideclothing
  • + 2
 I dig those 100% shorts. Light, adjustable, breathable and liner-included. But I've never been a V-neck jersey type of guy, always makes me feel like I'm pledging for a frat...
  • + 1
 beer me ...

I'll keep my eye out for all the ugly stuff that will be on closeout next year... picked up all my Qloom gear a month ago for 75% off, and it's not even ugly :-p ... spent like $50, and it's enough to last me all summer and some of next.
  • + 4
 Hmm, 64 comments on the men's kit article, 11 on the women's and half of those are from men.
  • + 2
 Maybe girls just whine less then guys?
  • + 3
 Would love a round 2, this time with some more understated kits. These are all *really* enduro.
  • + 2
 I would pay $100+ any day of the week for riding shorts with 10" inseams. All MTB shorts make my short ass look even shorter.
  • + 0
 Pricing in this is really confusing. The Flare stuff, being a UK brand, is listed in £ (presumably GBP). Everything else just has the $ sign attached with no qualifier. Should I presume that these are all local currency as well (so Dharco is in AUD$), or are they all in USD$, or considering Pinkbike is Canadian should I read these as all CAD$?

On an international news site it would be much more sensible to add the currency code whenever you quote a price to get away from this. It's not hard to write these prices as "$100 USD" or "£50 GBP" and make this really clear.
  • + 2
 Thanks for pointing that out. I'll fix it. USD for these.

Flare isn't available in the US so I had to go GBP; the rest are available in the states, hence the USD. Check your nation's distributor for pricing specific to where you live.
  • + 2
 fixed. thanks again for pointing that out.
  • + 4
 These look great but do they come in men's? Jk
  • + 1
 Still wearing Troy Lee Moto's for all my riding, gets a bit hot in the summer, but pockets are well sized and placed for a large phone, keys and energy bar without getting in the way.
  • + 1
 Those will never wear out, not light but great for DH
  • + 2
 Save your money and buy any of the latest crop of stretchy synthetic casual shorts from quicksilver, rusty, billabong etc... They'll cost ya 20-30$ at any marshalls or ross.
  • + 9
 I love finding soccer jerseys and cool dry-fit tshirts in ross for $8 to use for riding.
  • + 3
 No way you gonna wear Real Madrid jersey on your brand new bike.
  • + 5
 Old Navy performance activewear, snag it on sale, usually $4-5/shirt, and available in all the best enduro specific colorways like neon baby-shit, also available in weird colors like "blue" and "black" if you're a real freak.
  • + 2
 I was going to buy any of these I would have to take some time to consider which one I dislike the least!
  • + 1
 Fugly!!!!
  • + 1
 After finding them on sale and being really pleasantly surprised, Alpinestars Drop 2 shorts and jerseys are my new favorites.
  • + 3
 I buy my kit at Walmart! Same, quality made in China.
  • + 1
 What, track shorts? Lol.
  • + 2
 these were made in china too, buddy
  • + 1
 Why does no one make MTB shorts that are actually short? If shorts touch your knees they might as well just be pants in my book...
  • + 2
 Am I the only guy who wouldn't buy a single one of the above shorts or jerseys? I can't be.
  • + 1
 This is the year I invest in a matching kit instead of clearance racks and Steep&Cheap. Or maybe Ill buy a boost wheelset
  • + 1
 I know this didn't cover pants, but I'm annoyed no company makes pants for me. I wear 31x34 jeans. Am I just screwed for being tall and thin?
  • + 1
 I'm only 6'2".
  • + 1
 @maxyedor: It is like bikes in general, not designed to last
You could seal the drive, but gearing manufacturers would make less money
  • + 3
 Those static images just scream "Im too sexy for my kit"
  • + 2
 I thought they screamed "I look like a dork"?
  • + 2
 ill stick with Royal Racing!So before anyone goes looking at Ion stuff just note that %90 of the gear will be sold out.
  • - 1
 i have a few pair of Royal shorts as well. you can find some good prices on closeout or on Amazon and alot of them come with a chamois too.
  • + 1
 Step 1: Buy shorts and tech T's at Marshalls
Step 2: Write "26 OR DIE" on them in Sharpie
Step 3: Dead Sailor into tree
  • + 1
 For style and quality, u cant go past DHarco stuff, plus the people who make the gear actually ride!
  • + 1
 ...not mentioned in the post but definitely worth checking out!! The Canadian brand TREES www.TreesMountainapparel.com
  • + 1
 @dharco clothing for the win... Simply the best kit out there run by the best group of people!
  • + 2
 the term "kit" always cracks me up
  • + 1
 Same. Mountain bikers always need to come up with funny words for things. I guess men wouldn't have felt as comfortable posting hundreds of comments about their "outfits", haha
  • + 1
 ...and "sled" - wtf
  • + 2
 I didn't see the review for thrift shop Hawaiian shirt and bro jorts.
  • + 2
 Can't wait till the teal/ orange coral colorways are out of style!
  • + 0
 I said that about teal 3 years ago
  • + 2
 Love the random transition to Transition during the 100% shoot
  • + 1
 Justin's bike, the Transition, was in the shop during the main photo shoot. Needed to get shit done so he snagged a buddy's Pivot for the shoot.
  • + 0
 Really just liked the Rider's Style & His Bike...! A few nice pieces of clothing as well ;p
  • + 1
 Love the leatt 'cut for knee guards'!
  • + 1
 The Sombrio is also cut for knee guards.
  • + 2
 Nice gig Fernandes
  • + 1
 Ill stick to FOX on end season sale
  • + 0
 I haven't been a size 32 since I was in high school. All these reviews did was make me feel bad.
  • + 1
 a catwalk would have been more glamorous...
  • + 1
 My budget always allows for last season’s kit.
  • - 1
 I ride in t-shirts. Not because it's right, but simply because I sell mountain bike t-shirts. I'm wheelin' and dealin' out there!
  • + 1
 Who "red arrowed" this? What a c**ty move.. my tees fundraise for injured mountain bikers.
  • + 1
 PB: please review all products this way.
  • + 1
 Awesome work, Colin. And Justin, too.
  • + 0
 I didn't know if there was such a thing as too much Justin and now I know. Great photos Pinkbike!
  • + 1
 Permethrin Treated Shorts please!! Ticks are a major concern here.
  • + 1
 I recently found out Pearl has some of the best cuts around.
  • + 1
 whats justins pick
  • + 2
 Since he's not racing this season, anything that doesn't have his name on it. He was pretty stoked on the 100%, Leatt, and DHarCO.
  • + 1
 all look the same to me
  • + 0
 For all you fashion victims out there, you know who you are?
  • - 1
 I have zero interest in short that doesn't come with a chamois liner.
  • + 2
 I just buy bib shorts; no gaper gap in the back, and a much better chamois typically. And give no f--ks about liner shorts. Most companies have a buy without liner short option on their shorts.
  • + 2
 @meagerdude: bibs are nice and comfy but are priced pretty high, I've been cycling a long time, nothing scares people more than a middle age man in a pair of bib shorts without a jersey on, girls will laugh and point and women will turn away in horror. How about a review of the bibs with pockets in them, that I would like to see
  • + 1
 @brownstone: I'd have to check with powers that be as there is currently not a review of that type in queue. But then we'd have pictures of some guy standing around in bibs without a jersey on and readership of the site would plummet and I'd be out of a job and your eyes would bleed out of your head, rendering you blind as well as middle aged and no longer able to ride a bike.

I can testify that yes, bibs are $$$. I am uncertain who is making a decent set that isn't the cost of a bender night at a Sushi joint for Fat Bastard from Austin Powers.
  • + 1
 @meagerdude: I have a set of bibs for road riding, but I won't wear them trail riding. One wrong move and they can slide off my shoulder and here I am with a jersey and a Camelbak on and a bib hanging off the wrong part of my flipping shoulder.

Maybe I just bought the wrong thing cause they move constantly and everyone else talks them up
  • + 1
 @bizutch: You should check out the Sombrio Smuggle Bib Liners...they come with a 60 day comfort guarantee so you can actually ride in them and make sure they're the right bibs for you! us-store.sombriocartel.com/collections/mens-bottoms/products/19902m-smuggle-bib-liner
  • + 1
 @SombrioCartel: I really appreciate the offer. Unfortunately the daughters spend all my dollars. Would love to try a pair. They look great.
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