2019 SUMMER GEAR GUIDE - CLOTHING
GORE H5 Hooded Shakedry Jacket - $380
It still seems to be early days for shakedry technology, but this jacket seems to be a significant step in its evolution. This is the jacket that takes steps towards greater function and durability. It’s not to say that earlier models haven’t had great function, it’s just that they’ve been delicate, so then you have an expensive jacket that’s absolutely the best yet in terms of water shedding and breathability, but you’re afraid to use it everywhere, or with a backpack, for example. Here GORE’s copy says it’s ok to use with a light backpack. I’m not sure how they quantify it, but GORE claims this jacket to be 30% stronger than past shakedry models. I can tell they’ve taken great care to reinforce every area that would normally get high wear, like all the surfaces that come in contact with zippers, and fabric edges at the hem. Personally I’m very excited about this jacket, because it’s the peace of mind you want in the Pacific Northwest, and we’ve been having some wild stormy early summer weather. You want this jacket in your bag. I love the two way zipper - that’s brilliant for being on the bike. If you have a cycling shakedry jacket, you’ll notice that this zipper is noticeably more robust and functional. Having a look around the details of this jacket, you can tell that a designer sweated the details. Because the material has no real stretch, they’ve had to build in stretch zones at the hem and the cuff. Finally, pay attention to the sizing. From my limited experience with GORE garments, I’d say the cut is Euro trim, which means you should size up one size if you want room for layering. If you plan on layering this over a puffer, you definitely want to size up. I can layer this over thin middle layers, and the overall effect is trim, which I prefer over the standard mountaineering bagginess. Also, the cut on the hood is nice and snug. If a wind/rain storm hits, you’re not going to have to fight the jacket to find out how to cinch the hood down, it’s already snug and tidy. I’d say it’s going to be a hood under the helmet situation. Finally, my size medium sample weighs in at just 8 ounces and rolls down to the size or a beer can, which is awesome for a jacket with this much weather protection. This is definitely one for bikepackers that don’t run backpacks to check out. I think it will become MVG. Most Valuable Gear.
7Mesh Cypress Hybrid Vest - $150
If you don’t already have a gilet that you grab for most rides, do yourself a favor and grab one of these. Honestly, this a perfect piece. Many gilets are just sleeveless windbreakers, and that’s fine, but the hybrid goes out of its way to shed that much more wind and weather, with its GoreTex Windstopper Active front material, which is seam taped, by the way. The back material is the same sleek 4-way stretch woven material from their brilliant Highline Jersey. I’ve already weighed in on the pop color versus all black idea. Obviously I love the fiery red color. If you did run all black kit, you’ll always have this hit of color to keep you seen on the road. Finally two pass-through zippers let you get at your jersey pocket contents without having to take off the vest. You can always just keep them open if you overheat, but I’ve never had that be a problem with this jersey. Before this piece I was a jacket-only kind of guy. I didn’t see the need for a vest, but now that I’ve ridden quite a bit in this piece, I get it. It keeps your core protected, but lets just the right amount of air in to prevent overheating. Did I mentioned the perfect fit and sleek minimal look? Another hit from 7Mesh. This is a new wardrobe staple, y’all.
GORE C5 Women’s Windstopper Trail Pant - $199
It took a while for opportunity to strike to try these out. At first glance, they seemed too light for winter weather and too thick for spring. Luckily, volatile spring weather this season forced my hand, and in truth, I couldn’t be happier. I’m not usually much for early season mountain biking, but when we’re experiencing the climate change shifts that bring highs of 90’s in one weekend (lulling you into thinking it’s summer and making big, fun plans) and in the 50’s the next (slapping you in the face with reality), you put on your Gore C5 Windstopper trail pants and follow through on those fantastic plans, rain, wind and colder than expected spring temps be damned. As someone who sweats a lot, breathability is a must. But I also don’t want to be soaked through from outside weather, either. The C5 Windstopper Trail Pants struck the perfect balance. On the long climbs that make me burst with perspiration, the bit of room in them (as opposed to traditional tights or warmers) helped my body vent off the sweat without overheating from the windstopper layer on the thighs. The articulated knee made it easy to keep moving uphill while the double layer kept the air flowing well. On long descents during light rain and spring-surged stream crossings, the water and wind resistance in the 2 in 1 outer layer’s construction kept me dry and warm, without compromising mobility. When I was ready to start pedaling again, they continued to vent better than any pants or shorts I’ve worn. Back at the car, my shammy was sweaty, but after 3 hours of riding my Trail Pants were amazingly dry. My one and only complaint? I kept reaching for a pocket I could fit my hand into—for a phone, to momentarily hold my gloves, or something larger than lip balm and keys. While there is one very small pocket, it was fairly useless for anything “normal” sized, and rode close enough to my pelvic bone that I didn’t feel comfortable putting anything in it. Still, every ride I was on I got multiple compliments on the styling, durability and range these pants provided—and plenty of questions on where they could be found. I’m actually looking forward to riding in less than summery weather thanks to the performance these gave me.
Velocio Radiator Trail and Modal Tee - $79
Two great tops from Velocio! We like these because they’re versatile and good looking. The Radiator, which is made from Polartec Delta fabric, excels in high heat situations, with great airflow and excellent wicking properties. It’s cut very nicely and looks handsome, I think. The sleeve length is a bit longer than a standard tee, which I like. I’ve used this top as a base layer under a button up, which makes is a versatile staple that I would definitely take bikepacking. The Modal Tee is crazy comfortable as well. Modal refers to the fabric, which is actually made from the cellulose of birch trees. It’s a clingy, trim fit, so keep your summer beach bod for this one. We’re new to Velocio, but so far, everything looks on point. We love the simplicity and overall uncluttered looks. Looks like really good prices for Italian made product!
Velocio Trail Short - $159 Trail Mesh Bib Liner - $159
I love these shorts. Velocio does baggies, and smartly they’re not telling you to wear these on gravel rides or trail riding. You choose. The Italian-milled fabric is very lightweight, without being delicate. It’s a 4-way stretch, without being too stretchy. The fit is just snug enough, so you don’t snag your shorts on your saddle as you dismount. The dark blue color will go with just about everything. The shaped hem makes it so the cut is just right when you’re pedaling your bike. Everything is really well thought out and performs like a dream on these. You’ll forget you’re wearing shorts. We tried these over Velocio’s Trail Mesh Bib liner and found the pair to be a perfect combo, even on hot days. The ventilation was great, and the pad was extremely comfortable. My only minor quibble with the Trail Mesh Bibs is that the straps are a bit more effective than they need to be, given the light weight and how snug the fabric holds you. We keep saying this, but the best compliment is that we didn’t notice the clothes as we wore them. This combo is almost as perfect as it gets.
7Mesh Desperado Henley - $80
This is perhaps not the first time we’ve talked about 7Mesh’s Desperado Henley. Nor is it the first time we’ve mentioned the perfection of 7Mesh’s fit. One look at the patterning on the back, reminds you that they tailored this shirt to fit right, and that it does! The Desperado is one of those do-it-all versatile pieces that will quickly become a staple in your wardrobe. The material is a merino poly blend, which has proven to be both extremely comfortable, durable, and stink resistant. These qualities make it an obvious choice for both quick MTB rips and multi day gravel excursions. Pairs well with either their new Farside or their tried and true Glidepath.
7Mesh Farside Shorts - $130
7Mesh is billing their Farside as a trim fit summer short for gravel riding or bikepacking. We like this category, because this fit works for so many types of riding. Often baggies are too baggy and we’re not trying to look like surfers, but we do like the look of a knee length short, and we like the practicality of having a bit more protection than just bibshorts, and we like having pockets to keep frequently used items at the ready. We like the alloy color, since it’s not going to soak up to much solar heat and it’s a nice neutral that will pair with just about anything. The 4-way stretch guarantees that you’ll keep pedaling into the sunset and thinking about more important things than your clothing, like your next water source. Nicely done 7Mesh. Farsides are a hit.
7Mesh Women’s Farside Shorts - $130
These might actually qualify as my favorite summer shorts of all time. First off, they aren’t baggies, nor are they short-shorts. They are shorts. Mid-thigh, stretchy, super-wicking yet extremely durable… shorts. The waist adjuster and stretch material make them adaptable to most body types, and the laminated hems and reinforced crotch seams are smooth and forgiving. There is plenty of room to move in them, but they are in no way the oversized, enduro-inspired cut that’s been overly ubiquitous in the past 10 years. 7Mesh also seems to hit on something other companies can’t accomplish: even with shorter, smaller sizes, the Farside Shorts still allow for two full-sized, deep front pockets and a bonus side-thigh pocket that fits my iPhone 7 in a Lifeproof case with room to spare. It’s almost like these shorts are magic, but in reality, they’re just extremely well thought out and designed.
7Mesh Women’s Desperado Henley - $75
Oh, how I love thee, let me count the ways. Breathable, beautiful, casual but classic, odor resistant, as easy to wear on the trail as off, and so much more. The beautiful Merino wool is super soft and comfortable. I can easily wear this to a casual business meeting to on the trail or commuting around town. Its versatility and ¾ sleeves make it as lovely on a 65 degree day as it is on a 40 degree one. I actually have to stop myself from wearing it too much. Maybe it’s time to invest in a second (or third)?
Pearl Izumi Blvd Merino 1/4 zip - $110 Blvd Merino T - $80
We’ve said it before and it bears repeating, we like Pearl Izumi for their considered basics. Well, their line covers a lot of territory, and we gravitate towards their simple basics like their Blvd Merino tops. But they’re not just simple merino tops. Both the 1/4 zip and the T place polyester next to skin for wicking and durability and the merino on the outside of the fabric for comfort. Pearl wasn’t content to use just any polyester, though. This is recycled polyester. And while both pieces look like around town casual wear, they both have a slight drop tail and reflective elements that take them into the cycling specific realm. So far, we’re impressed with what Pearl is calling their “bikestyle” collection. We’ll absolutely wear them mountain biking, commuting, and bikepacking.
Pearl Izumi Summit Shell Shorts - $90
There is a surprising amount of thought and detail that goes into a simple tech mountain bike baggy like the Summit Shell Shorts. For example, the zippered side pockets have been angled backwards so that the contents will shift for better pedaling. The lower leg hems are angled so that they play well with knee pads. The waistband has no elastic, so you just cinch down the velcro straps to dial in the fit. The Transfer stretch woven fabric seems like a great balance between light weight and durability. For me, the shorts fit a bit snug in the seat, but I’m sure once I hit the trails more and lose some girth, they’ll be dialed. Maybe size up one size if you like bit of room in your short. These fit pretty trim for me right now, though I haven’t skipped too much desert lately, so that could be my own issue. Those looking for a thoughtful tech trail short should start with the Pearl Summit Shorts.
Montbell Wickron Light shirt - $69 Wickron O.D. shirt - $79
So far our favorite pieces from Montbell have been their amazing ultralight puffers and sleeping bags, so we thought we’d give their hiking casual wear a spin. We’ve been fans of the long sleeve poly tee as a sun shirt for years. The concept is simple: keeping sun off your skin will keep you cooler over a long day of hiking for riding. Both of these Wickron shirts fit the bill well. The Wickron Light version is more suited to summer outings and both have a nice generous cut, so you have room to move. The detailing is nice and the price is right. I think these both make excellent travel shirts, since they’re good looking and the poly material easily keeps a nice pressed look. Made in India. Recommended.
Pearl Izumi Women’s PRO Bib Shorts - $200
When I saw the minimalist yet playful tiny, grey polka-dot design on these shorts, I was already smitten. When I actually put them on, it was a full-blown crush. The PRO transfer fabric is so soft and comfortable, and the raw-edges make for less places to chafe. I’m someone who likes a mid-support chamois, and this one pretty much disappears beneath me—which is about the highest compliment I can make. They not only look sporty on the bike, but look sharp off as well. The perfect bib short for group or organized rides, Pearl Izumi has also done something I didn’t think was possible: with their V-strap, drop tail design, you can pull these puppies down to use the facilities without having to remove your jersey—practically a miracle! Doing so does put a bit of stress on the over-the-shoulder straps, so I’m not sure how much I’d push it, but it does make peeing on the side of the road without undressing possible, which I love and shows how much the company is continuing to push to find ways to make cycling for women better, easier and more comfortable.
Pearl Izumi Women’s PRO Jersey - $150
I love a good, simple summer jersey and the Pearl Izumi Women’s Pro hits all the right notes for me. The fabric is super soft and dries fast—a must for me since I tend to sweat buckets on my rides—but also looks flattering on and has enough stretch to accommodate my wide shoulders. Also helping in the ventilation department: the mesh sides. I especially like the slightly longer, articulated sleeves as I’m definitely in the camp of “less sun is better”, and want my sleeves long enough to reach where my arm screens end. My one complaint is that the rear pockets, while they expand out at the bottom for extra room, seemed a little short at times, but a minor quibble on an otherwise well designed, flattering and lovely jersey.
7Mesh Women’s Hollyburn Tights - $80
When I first opened these up, I wasn’t really that impressed. They seemed like an OK version of other running tights I’ve owned, so I wasn’t sure what 7Mesh was so excited about. But I should know better than to doubt them and their excellent, well thought-out designs. These tights are the perfect fit and shockingly soft and comfortable—whether over your chamois on a road ride, under your shorts/skirt/rain pants while commuting, or under your baggies on the trail. They add just enough warmth while still being breathable—a big plus for someone like me who sweats a ton, even on short rides across town. If the weather changes, they fold down to smaller than any knee or leg warmers I’ve ever owned and fit in even the most ridiculously small women’s jersey pocket. I’ve carried them for cold descents at altitude or worn them on early mornings and easily shed them when the weather warmed. They’re so cozy they even make an excellent sleep option for cold nights of bikepacking. And yes, unlike some pieces advertised to keep away the rain, they really are water resistant. While 7Mesh advertises that they work down to temps in the 30’s, as someone who runs a little cold and lives somewhere extremely damp, I found they were clutch between the 40- 70 degrees Fahrenheit—still a ton of range for most pieces. I liked them so much, I even got a second pair!
Pearl Izumi Select Pursuit Long Sleeve Jersey - $80
I’m always on the hunt for a summer weight long sleeve jersey. I don’t think this is light enough for a proper hot day, but for cooler starts and morning rides, this jersey has worked really well. My only complaint is the rumply nature of the sleeves. I feel that they could be somehow sleeker, a bit more form fitting, but it’s not a deal breaker, perhaps just the nature of the mid range product. The fabric is UPF 50+ so its designed to be a sun blocker. Again, this won’t be my first choice for a 90 degree day, especially since it’s dark blue, but when I know a ride will be overcast or cool the whole time, I prefer a mid weight long sleeve like this one. It has three good size pockets in back, and reflective details on the sleeves. Finally, a zippered pocket for valuables would be nice addition.
Pearl Izumi Men’s PRO Jersey - $150
I think Pearl’s PRO jersey illustrates well what you gain by stepping up to one of their $150 jerseys. On top of its nice quick-drying fabric the PRO jersey is loaded with bonus features, like the open mesh panel on the sides, a one-handed autolock zipper, and five rear pockets to sub-divide everything you take on your ride. The sleeve length feels right, and the overall fit is trim without being skin tight. Just like 7Mesh’s Quantum jersey, there is alot going on to contribute to a low-key vibe. If you’re looking for a well built endurance jersey, this one is well worth a look, or a ride. We like Pearl’s PRO line a lot.
Pearl Izumi Men’s PRO Bibshorts - $200
These are the bibshorts to equal your PRO jersey. I’m not sure why, but I’ve seen these shorts around quite a bit. They seem to be a hit. Maybe it’s just because they’re blue, so they’re visible. Whatever it is, we appreciate that Pearl is taking steps to refine their product and create a comfortable bib short that looks great. The pro transfer fabric feels sleek, but perhaps not as wicking as it could be, although to their credit, not many bib shorts can handle my sweat output on the trainer. Everything gets soaked. The leg grippers do their job well without being overly grippy and the 7 panel design is body hugging without being restrictive or binding in any way. The chamois is very comfortable, perhaps due to the floating top sheet. The laser cut straps seem to disappear on the body, which is a nice touch, and they don’t draw attention to themselves under your jersey. These are sleek, well considered bib shorts.
7Mesh Women’s Quantum Jersey - $140
I’m always on the hunt for the perfect summer jersey and 7Mesh doesn’t let me down with the Quantum. What I love most about their products is the simplicity. The Quantum is lightweight, soft as a second skin but not racer-tight and the fit is tailored and material stretchy, so I look good both on and off the bike. I love the bit of collar, UPF 50+ material and generous short sleeves that make it easy to wear arm screens without a gap. The “glacier” color is beautiful and bright. And (be still my beating heart!) it has three, full sized pockets that aren’t shrunk down for women, but are ready to hold supplies for a century as easily as a jaunt around town. 7Mesh does it again with the Quantum Jersey: pure summer perfection.
7Mesh Quantum Jersey - $140
I guess we rave about 7Mesh so much because it feels like they understand us. We want gear that works, that looks good and fits really well, but doesn’t necessarily draw attention to itself. We want great colors, but nothing more. We want something timeless, something modern. We want a trim jersey that doesn’t fit skin tight. The Quantum jersey is all those things - It’s a great summer jersey. The poly fabric is UPF 50+ so for long rides, I’m going to pair this up with some arm screens and call it a day. 3 full sized rear pockets for all your stuff, plus two zippered pockets for stuff you need to lock down. The architecture of the back panels show how much shaping and thought has gone into making this jersey work when you’re on the bike, and magically doesn’t bunch up in weird ways when you’re off the bike. Flattering in all situations. We tested earlier versions of this jersey and it’s only gotten better with new thinner fabric that’s even more suitable for the summer months.
7Mesh MK3 Bib shorts - $200
As the MK3 name suggests, this is 7Mesh’s 3rd take on bib shorts and they’ve gotten more refined and more comfortable every step of the way. Not long ago 7Mesh came out with the Highline jersey, which seemed to epitomize everything a modern jersey could be, with sleek stretchy material, ultrasonic stretch seam taping, and a futuristic look. Now, we have the bib shorts to match. These shorts are refined and they’re awesome. Without a doubt, these have quickly become our favorite endurance bib short. They look great and they work great. We love that seams are minimal and the panels hit the body in a way that’s entirely flattering. We’re still amazed at the level of engineering that it takes to put everything where it belongs, and keep things chafe free. These are next level bib shorts. Do your self a favor and buy a couple pairs of these and throw everything else away. They’re that good.