7MESH GLIDEPATH SHORT - $140
7Mesh's Glidepath has been a favorite short since it's release. It's weight is perfect for summer use, the fit is not-too-tight and not-too-baggy. The waist adjusters work well. They call the fabric a Soma 2-way stretch woven. The stretch is subtle and not obvious, but the shorts have never felt constricting. The zip pockets have an internal organizer, so your phone stays put. Like most of their pieces, you can tell they thought long and hard about how a mountain bike short should work. Works great for bikepacking as well due to its light weight and quick-drying properties. Did we mention we love the rust color? We do.
KITSBOW ADJUSTABLE SHORT V4 - $265
This is our second look at the Kitsbow adjustable short and it has undergone a total redesign. First and most notably, the fit has changed to be much baggier. The first version we tried is what you would now call an XC or gravel short. Yes, I know ridiculous to have these niches for mountain biking clothing. The Schoeller fabric, which is a high performer - super stretchy and water resistant has a bit of a sheen to it, which you may or may not like. The amount of stretch in the fabric means no binding ever. You won't notice these shorts while riding. Finally, Kitsbow has developed what they call the “Fidlock fastener” which is their magnetic belt that snugs up the waist nicely. We tend not to weigh in on the price of an item, but 265 is worth noting and we'd hope it would be perfect for that price, but it's not completely. 2 bummers I've noticed in using the shorts recently: one is extra fabric in the crotch. When you sit, you end up with a bunch of bunchiness. Second is fabric pilling, which is probably caused by my bikepacking bag velcro. If you don't run bags on your bike, I doubt this will be an issue for you. Overall, an insanely comfortable short, but we'd like to see the crotch fit get tweaked for V5.
7MESH NORTHWOODS WINDSHELL - $175
7Mesh has killed it with all their Jackets. The Resistance and Revelation jackets are already hall of famers. So, we were excited to try their take on a wind jacket. The Northwoods does not disappoint. The fit is trimmer than my Patagonia Houdini, which I like, and definitely performs better in the flap test - meaning it doesn't much. The brushed tricot trim on the hood brim and chin guard are a nice touch and don't seem to add much if any weight. Weight weenies and bikepackers will love it, since it's sub-4 oz. and packs up to practically nothing. I've been wearing it just over a wool undershirt all Spring and that's been perfect for most days. I love the “titanium” color and it's low key enough that I've been wearing it around as street wear as well. Very versatile piece that will continue to get lots of use. Recommended.
7MESH DESPERADO HENLEY - $80
7Mesh would never just make a simple merino top. I mean look at the paneling that's done to give a proper drape on the body, even when hunched over the bike. We keep going on about certain products that just seem to disappear when in use and that's the highest compliment. The Desperado is one of those products - we attribute that to the fabric choice - merino blended with nylon and the flatlock seams. We like the length of the sleeves - they're perfect - not too short, not too long. The henley snaps are classy - a great shirt that feels at home going to a cafe or bar as much as it does on the trail. Also available in a nice “Stone” color that goes really well with those rust Glidepath shorts. I'm normally a medium and sized down to a small, as I do with many 7Mesh pieces. Upgrade your merino tee quiver with the Desperado.
WOOL & PRINCE CREW NECK - $68
We recently became aware of Portland's own Wool & Prince. They're a new garage band in the world of merino clothing, and one you may want to check out if you're looking for high end or high quality travel clothing. The young owner is related to Pendleton family, so wool clothing is in his blood. Their button ups we've been testing quality is top notch and built to last. So far their crew neck tee has been great. Their tee is a blend of 78 percent merino and 22 percent nylon for stretch and durability. We love the end-on-end fabric, which is two different colors of fabric knitted together to give a heather look. The crew neck wicks sweat as well as any merino/nylon tee and the look is clean. Our only complaint is the shape of the neck trim doesn't always lie completely flat, which takes away from the overall finish of the piece, but it's not a deal breaker and likely a detail they'll take care of in their next iteration. Keep an eye on Wool and Prince.
GORE ACTIVE TRAIL PANTS - $199
We're constantly on the lookout for light, packable rain pants that we can pedal in. These may be the ultimate MTB rain pants - for several reasons. Reason number one and two are weight and packability. They weigh in at 6.8 ounces and pack up small enough to fit in a frame bag or at the bottom of your backpack. They are surprisingly full-featured for a rain pant at that weight - they feature a drawstring, gripper waist, as well as zippered ankles. Where these pants really shine is the slim cut and the fact that they're designed with riding in mind. I won't be using these over streetwear for commuter rain gear, but the cut is loose enough to put over bib shorts and (slim) baggies. I'm guessing you could size up if that was your plan. I can't yet speak to the waterproofness, since we got these in May and it hasn't rained since! Gore has always been extremely reliable in this regard and their fabrics are only improving. There is no reason to think these 3 layer pants won't keep us bone dry in a downpour, but we'll report back when we get more rainy days in them.
GORE C7 SHAKEDRY STRETCH JACKET - $369
Gore fabrics have always been leading when it comes to outerwear technology and Shakedry is the latest and greatest in light weight water shedding technology. Water actually beads and rolls off without wetting the material! The only issue with Shakedry is that it has no inherent stretch and making a garment fit the body well can be a challenge. The C7 Shakedry is what I would call a slim fit road jacket. Could you take it mountain biking? Of course you could. The function would be limited for bikepacking, since there isn't much room to layer underneath, but if you're looking for the latest greatest tech for your next fast and light road or gravel event, you should consider this jacket. The stretch panels add a small amount of bulk compared to the shakedry jackets without it, but it's a small price to pay (figuratively, not literally) for the improved fit that the stretch panels add to the piece. The jacket fits extremely well and will move with you on the bike. When it's pouring out and you reach for your shell, you don't want it flapping in the wind, or gapping to let water in. The neck is snug without being tight and comes up high as it should, and the rear zipper pocket has stretch material inside to accommodate your stash. Also bonus points for a functional hanging loop. If you need the latest greatest packable water-shedding tech jacket with a great fit, this is it.
5’5”, 145 lbs, wears American sizes 8- 12, 36” chest, B-cup, average/athletic hips and butt, long legs/arms, broad/athletic shoulders.
7MESH RESISTANCE JACKET- $200
[Note: This 7mesh jacket in Pewter can only be purchased through the Lululemon website, and seems to be a special offering between the two companies. The same jacket can be found on the 7mesh site in a dark plum color.] The name of this jacket makes me smile. Not because it’s dishonest, but in some ways it’s the least resistant jacket I’ve owned. For example, at 110g, it’s lightweight and easily packable in a jersey pocket or hip pack. The elastic sleeve closures are fit enough to keep out the elements but give a bit of breathing room to allow air flow out the back scapula vents and are stretchy enough to slide over gloves. And the slightly oversized plastic zipper makes it a breeze to put on or take off— even with cold, wet hands— and doesn’t leave you with a cold metal closure against your neck. On the other hand, for a jacket this lightweight it does an amazing job of being (as advertised) extremely wind and water resistant. 7mesh didn’t save an extra gram or two by not including a packet— for which I’m eternally grateful. When I think of resistance, the punk ethos of fighting back comes to mind. But the most anarchist way to resist is with love, and 7mesh definitely let the love shine through this jacket.
7MESH SYNERGY JERSEY - $180
This was the jersey I didn’t know I needed until I owned it. I ended up liking it so much that I would actually plan rides around it. The front material is Windstopper Soft-shell 174P, while the back is Omega 160P poly knit. This combo gives you the ultimate combo of wicking in the back while not sacrificing wind protection or breathability in the front. Though I’m not that tall and have a fairly short torso, my broad shoulders usually put me squarely in a “large” in most jersey and jacket sizing. This fit true to size— a little on the roomy side for road biking, but definitely more fitted than my mountain bike jerseys. That being said, I’d readily wear this on either bike. The three main rear pockets don’t suffer from either the dreaded oversized pocket-gap, but are large enough (and have enough stretch) to comfortably fit the extra food and outerwear you might need in colder weather. Two of those pockets have small, zippered security pockets for your phone or keys as well. The front full-zipper is solid enough that you don’t feel like you’re struggling to close it, and has a nice felted panel at the top to protect your neck from the closure— a detail that defines the 7 Mesh design experience— along with subtle reflective touches when you’re on the road. This jersey just worked. I found myself loving it most on the cusp seasons of spring and fall. Though it’s a bit warm for summer, I found it worked best for me at temps between 40 and 60 degrees C, so this would be a perfect addition to keep you riding as the cold and damp begin to creep back in. Writing this on a gorgeous summer day, it almost makes me yearn for the crisp of fall.
PEARL IZUMI PERFORMANCE T - $50
I’ve had a tough time finding a riding shirt that performs well while not getting into the “bro” version of what guys think girls want (think pink with splatter paint or camo). This jersey delivers in all the right places. The fit is slightly baggy but still tailored, providing ample room to move (and for my broad shoulders) while not looking boxy. Because of my shape, I’m a fan of a “v” neck cut, but this one is subtle enough not to gape or feel like my cleavage is out for a show (or turning it into a bug trap). The color and cut are simple enough that I can rock this tee while commuting as well as on the dirt, and the Transfer Dry Fabric wicks well and dries quickly. Speaking of sweat, it’s 100% poly shirt which usually will get a permanent, less than desirable scent after a few wears, but after a dozen washes it’s still stink free. That alone is enough to give this shirt the high marks it deserves.
PEARL IZUMI VERSA SHORTS - $100
As soon as I saw these shorts I knew I’d like them. They fit my all my basic summer riding requirements: shorter length, light material, great cut and good pockets. With a 6.5” inseam, they’re definitely the shortest riding shorts I own, but I don’t find them to fit unflatteringly or ride too high. The rise on the waist is mid to long, so their generous size 10 sits a bit lower on my hips letting the hem length drop a bit— though not requiring a belt. The waist band is fairly wide and doesn’t roll. Though Pearl Izumi describes the material as mid-weight, I found it to be so breathable and wicking that it wears more like a lightweight short. I especially love how soft the material is with a good amount of give. It’s a short I’d easily wear off the bike as well as on. Pearl also touts them as water resistant, and while I don’t see myself sporting these in inclement weather, they shed nicely at water crossings. Pearl Izumi got it right with the pockets. The front are just deep enough to hold a phone, but if you want extra security there are two large zippered pockets in the rear.All and all, the biggest compliment I can give these shorts is when I’m riding I don’t think once about them. They work well at an affordable price point. Pearl Izumi once again hits the mark.
PATAGONIA HOUDINI JACKET - $99
I don’t mean to gush, but I really do love this piece. So small, light and easily packable, I can bring it anytime I might be worried about weather changing— from elevation climbs to not-so-predictable weather days, I never have regretted having it along even if I didn’t end up using it.When I do wear it, it’s the perfect outerwear to add a touch of warmth and protect from wind. The fit is tailored just enough that it doesn’t ruin my descents with the thunderous sound of flapping nylon and there’s still plenty of room to give me full range of motion on technical mountain bike terrain. Though not advertised, I’ve also found that in a light rain water beads up for quite a while before soaking through so I’m confident wearing it in sketchy weather.
Other people love it, too. It’s my most complimented and asked after jacket. The color and fit draw compliments but the performance sells itself.
PATAGONIA DIRT CRAFT SHORTS - $74
Patagonia has done it again. While they have only been in the mountain bike market for 3 years, they seem to have used their decades of experience in outdoor wear to design some of my favorite shorts. Let’s start with the liner. While some prefer to ride liner-free, this is my go-to choice on long (15+ miles) where I’m doing a significant amount of climbing in the saddle. The chamois is a light-to-medium weight and even as someone who sweats enough that my clothes can be soaked in the first half hour, I have never had any issues with chafing. The waist band in the back and sides is a one-inch thicker elastic (similar to that found on men’s briefs) but the front “band”is it’s own soft panel of the material the rest of the liner is made out of, making it more comfortable when bending forward. With a 9” inseam, the shorts themselves are finally short enough to give my legs a little breathing room without being short-shorts— a problem I’ve had with other brands. If you’re an avid knee-pad wearer, they don’t give coverage from the top of the pad from the hem of the shorts. I rarely wear pads (see the paragraph above about my sweating) so for me it just give my legs more freedom of movement. The light nylon/elastane material is lightweight and quick-drying with just a bit of stretch. The single button top closure makes it quick when mother nature calls and the nylon belt loops and might come in handy if all the summer riding gets me down a few pounds. Best of all, there are real, full-sized pockets (yes, in a women’s cut) that you can safely hold your phone in for quick snaps or route finding on the trail. All and all, these are easily my number-one, go-to pick for summer mountain bike rides.