Outfit Your Summer Shred: MTB Gear Review
By: Katharine Erwin
Summer is here, I hear.
I am a lucky gal, I know. But I've also worked hard to be in the position I am; getting to test gear AND write about it. There was a time when I rode a kids Kona with V-brakes, had one chamois, and wore a road helmet while mountain biking. I had just as much fun then as I do now. I have recently returned to that mentally - just what I need.
These are my favorites for the season that will likely be around for a very long time!
I recently found a pair of sunglasses that I literally can not take off. The Smith Attack Max are so lightweight and give me such a great field of vision that I don’t keep them as just riding glasses, I wear them daily and for other sports that they might not be intended for. I get headaches from low pressure systems and dehydration that coupled with eyewear, helmets, hats - you name it - just makes the days worse. The Attack Max's help prevent too much light from coming in and are comfortable on my little elf ears.
The Attack Max come with two lenses, both are ChromoPop. The version I have are the Squalls with a Sun Red Mirror darker lens and a lighter lens. They are super easy to change lens - the arms just snap open. Part of the reason the field of vision is so nice with the Attack Max is the curvature of the arms. They hug the face rather than press into the head like many glasses do. I can’t speak on the other lens, but the Red Mirror is great for bright, bright sun and even lower lighting situations.
Even though I have a small face, I opted for the Attack Max rather than the Attack. They don’t look or feel ridiculous.
When Patagonia first released mountain bike shorts in collaboration with Craft , I was stoked, but a friend of mine was cautious and said it would wait until the second generation came out. Well, the chamois and shorts solely by Patagonia are out and seem great.
The Dirt Roamer shorts and the Endless Ride Liner shorts (chamois) are awesome. First of all, the Chamois is cleanly designed, super breathable, and best of all, they changed the waist band to a much more comfortable one than the previous short made with Craft. I highly recommend the chamois, but the Dirt Roamer are just the best pair of mountain bike shorts I have ever owned.
The material of the shorts is light-weight, soft and stretchy. The design is clean with minimal seams and a perfect length (for me - some people like shorter shorts, but I don’t.) The fit is streamline and modern. They don’t feel like a “baggy” but don’t feel the other thicker tighter options of MTB shorts. The shorts have one pocket that is deceptively large; it fits my phone which is great. The hem is slightly shorter in the back for non-restrained pedaling.
The Dirt Roamer is hands down my favorite MTB short. For sizing, I am 5’4 and around 115 - 120 lbs. I wear the XS.
These gloves aren’t new, but I have a new pair. I have had my other ones for years, and they still fit really well after washing them a ton. I think they have one rip, but that was from dogs - not wear and tear. Lily gloves are made with Kevlar and have a great grip. For sizing, I often measure a size 7 glove. I wear a small in the Lily (the XS also works for me, albeit a little tight).
I hate polyester jerseys. I almost always ride in wool, but wool tops are hard to find... especially in 3/4 lengthy sleeves, which I prefer for MTB. But I have found a jersey that I actually like - The Vista by Sombrio. It really surprised me. It's a fantastic cut, light weight, and doesn’t smell terrible (I find most polys smell awful.) The Vista is made with Chill Mesh, which is a super cool (literally) tech used by Sombrio and its parent company, Sugoi. I find the Chill Mesh to be super silky and slinky. Slinky is a funny word for a jersey but it isn’t too stiff or too subtle and it hangs really well. I am really fond of the cut. I wear an XS.