SUMMER GEAR GUIDE PART 2
7MESH REVELATION JACKET - $475
We've been 7Mesh fans since they started and their Revelation jacket was one of those iconic pieces that has become an industry leader and truly lived up to it's name. Many of us had our trusted cycling outerwear and we had our mountaineering outerwear, but 7Mesh went and took the best ideas from both worlds and came up with the most functional, bomb-proof jacket any mountain biker or bikepacker could ever want. The big news is that this is version number two of this jacket. They've completely redesigned the fit of this jacket. It's a noticeably more generous cut, perhaps taking a step closer to a mountaineering fit. In the past if you wanted to put a thermal layer under your protective outerwear, you had to buy a separate mountaineering jacket, now with this cut you have room for a thin puffy or multiple wool layers underneath. The removable hood is newly shaped and the brim has a soft material that's friendly against your skin. The hood is designed to fit under your bike helmet, by the way. I don't love how easily the hood detaches, but at the same time I love that I have the option to remove it. I love the new logo, I love the orange color. An already iconic jacket gets an update that makes it twice as functional as V1. If you're in need of a single jacket and you live in a rainy place like the Pacific Northwest, you need this jacket.
RAPHA BREVET BIB SHORTS II - $285
These are the second edition of the Rapha Brevet Bib Shorts. Rapha's brevet collection is centered around comfort for long rides. These shorts seem very refined. The fit is spot on, the fabric is nice, it seems quite a bit thinner than the Pro Team shorts that I'm used to. The concept is that you can take a single pair of shorts on a trip, wash them every night and just keep on truckin'. I don't remember if I ordered the longer or the shorter leg length, all I know is that they're perfect - fit is not too snug, and not at all loose, just comfortable - and they look great on. Sorry if this review is overly positive. The only possible critique is that the chamois is a bit on the thick side, but these are meant for all day riding, so they're meant to keep your bum happy…so far really good. We'll keep riding these all summer I suspect. We've come to expect comfy bib shorts from Rapha and these are a great option for anyone in search chamois worthy of endurance rides. Recommended.
7MESH HIGHLINE JERSEY - $200
The Highline Jersey is a lightweight, high performance jersey with ultrasonic taped stretch seams that create a seamless look and feel. This jersey just makes you feel fast and badass. I usually save it for days when I feel thin, since it's truly form hugging. But wow! what a beautiful, tech jersey that pushes the limits of clothing construction. It has slightly longer sleeves, which I like. It seems to repel moisture well and do best on slightly cooler days. I love this light grey color way too. If you have a carbon rocket bike, this is one of the few jerseys that makes you look as good as the bike. Really next level stuff here
PEARL IZUMI PRO PURSUIT BIB SHORTS - $195
If you haven't tried any of Pearl's high end bib shorts, you owe it to yourself to give them a look. Between the fit, finish and fabric, I'm extremely impressed with these shorts. First, they just fit really well - with the perfect leg length. Second, they work on the bike. These feel extremely minimal overall and the finish is excellent. Their copy says Coldblack material provides stretch and recovery for muscle support and comfort. I haven't done an all day ride in them yet, but so far, these are excellent. Aesthetically, they pair really well with the 7Mesh Highline jersey
7MESH FLIGHTPATH SHORTS - $180
First 7Mesh created the Glidepath short, which is a huge favorite for it's great fit and light material. Never ones to leave well enough alone, 7Mesh gives us their second mountain short. The Flightpath is a longer cut and a heavier weight “double weave” fabric, designed to withstand whatever you can throw at it - 7Mesh realized that some folks always go big and maybe need a little more protection, whether it be from dirt and rocks, or even a bit of cooler weather. We like that pockets are super considered, inside the zipper pockets, is a sub-divided pocket which keeps your stuff locked down. As usual for 7Mesh, these are very considered, functional shorts that you'll want to wear everywhere. They're that comfortable, and they look that good.
DARN TOUGH SOCKS - $19 VERTEX MICRO CREW UL CUSHION - BREAKAWAY MICRO CREW - $19
What is the Cabot family doing over there at Darn Tough? These socks are so good! They have quickly become my favorites. Good socks make all the difference! We've found that we love the mix of merino with Nylon - these are 50% merino, 45% nylon and 4% lycra for stretch. They wick sweat away really well, and the seam is what they call “undetectable seam fusion” They boast all weather performance - warm in winter, cool in summer. They repel bacteria and odor, and if all of that isn't enough, they come with a lifetime guarantee! That seems like an awful lot for only $19. These are part of their running line, but work great for MTB. Even lighter than the Vertex Micro Crew is their Breakaway Micro Crew cycling sock. Just as comfortable as the Vertex, but thinner and the Breakaway flips the merino to nylon ratio to be 54% nylon 40% merino and 6% lycra.
7MESH ASHLU MERINO JERSEY $150
We love merino for tops, but when used as a jersey they can sag under loads. That didn't stop 7Mesh - they made the rear pockets from a 4-way stretch woven fabric that extends up the side of the jersey and wraps around to the front of the jersey for support. Not only does it support your larger loads for longer rides, it makes for a striking graphic that is rooted in function. The merino is an extremely soft and comfortable 17.5 micron merino. I keep being blown away how this company innovates with almost every single product. Relentless!
PEARL IZUMI DIVIDE TOP - $55
Pearl is so good at simple basics like this. The Divide Top is a $55 dollar poly ride tee. It wicks well and looks nice after several washings. They're not fussy and they look great. One chest pocket for looks, One zippered pocket in back for your ride wallet. The cut is enduro casual and looks good on the bike. The colors are hyper visible on the trail or just as well for your commute. We like kit that is versatile like this. Wear it to the gym, wear it on trail. Lets you be you.
PEARL IZUMI ELEVATE SHORTS - $100
The Elevate shorts feature 4-way stretch rip-stop material and cut that's loose, but close enough to the body to eliminate snagging your shorts on your saddle. That's almost enough for me to know the designers took the cut seriously and made them work on the bike. The internal waist adjustment works well and hides itself away when not in use. The zippered “security pocket” sits right at your lower back and adds to the comfort of the shorts and helps them seal up nicely. Zippered pockets keep your stuff from flying down the trail.
IBEX ESSENTIAL T - $95
We've talked about Ibex base layers in past gear guides. We love their Woolies 1 base layers. Ibex makes high uality wool products in Vermont. Ibex is dedicated to making products from natural fibers. You're not new to the game, so I don't have to tell you that you can boost merino's performance, in terms of durability and stretch by blending it with other fibers. In this case, the Essential T is 80% merino and 20% silk. Not just any merino, but ultrafine merino from New Zealand. If you like the slim fit of the Woolies 1, we suggest you size down. The Essential T is cut more like a loose t-shirt than a slim base layer. It's extremely comfortable and looks good in heather grey.
I know, maybe it's a bit trivial to review underwear, but we care about the little things. It's nice to see Ibex innovating with the Balance brief. The balance are a seamless knit of a 72-22-6 percent blend of merino, nylon, and spandex. As you might guess the nylon and spandex aid with stretch and durability in the long run. These really do feel like you're wearing nothing at all. The lack of a noticeable waist band make these truly comfortable. Instant classics!
MOUNTAIN HARDWEAR CHOCKSTONE SHORTS - $79
We love these shorts! They have great stretch, zip pockets in the right places, an integrated (removable) belt. The best part of the Chockstones is that they're versatile. We found ourselves wearing them to the gym as well as mountain biking. Fit tip, though, they run a bit on the trim side, so if you want a relaxed fit, you may need to size up.