It is not that often I get excited by shirts, but over the last months, I’ve been wearing three that deserve some attention.
First, this short-sleeved Zoic Nirvana. While it is classified as a jersey on Zoic’s website, it looks and wears like a favorite button-up. A single large zip rear pocket can carry supplies, and a mesh vent offers some ventilation.
The cut is loose without being baggy, and the poly/nylon fabric dries quickly and breaths well. The front is a basic button closure, no extra zippers or do-dads to annoy.
The zipper in the rear pocket can be uncomfortable with a heavy hydration pack, and the loose cut makes carrying anything heavier than a pair of gloves and an energy bar a floppy situation. But those small gripes aside, when it gets really hot, the loose fit and slight seer-sucker style fabric pucker makes this much, much more comfortable than a tight lycra jersey. At $75, this isn’t a cheap piece, but I’ve certainly gotten a lot of use out of it. Available in three plaid and three solid colors, and in a zipper front closure.
On the other end of the spectrum is the Twin Horizon flannel. Since cyclists aren’t lumber jacks, (we just like to dress like them), Twin Horizon has this slim fit heavy cotton flannel to keep things looking classy and comfortable on the bike.
This is a fall/spring shirt, and the heavy fabric is warm and comfortable. The 100 percent cotton material is soft and reassuring in a world full of synthetics. Sleeves are just the right length and the back is long enough to cover the crack without looking out of place. Tiny armpit vents may or may not do something for ventilation, but they aren’t noticeable anyway, so whatever. My only complaint is a tiny bit of tightness around the shoulders, which is being addressed in the newest shipment of shirts with gussets at the shoulders. Shirts are made in China, designed by an expatriate New Jerseyite.
The standout feature is a small button flap pocket on the lower right rear of the shirt, the perfect spot to stash a phone while riding, especially if your pants are too tight to fit your iPhone. The next production run should be up online at $56 plus shipping. There you can also check out Twin Horizon’s collection of screen printed t-shirts.
Last, and nowhere near the least, is this AeroTech Designs commuter shirt. Actually, as per the AeroTech website, the complete name is “Men’s Urban Pedal Pushers UPF 50+ Commuter Dress Shirt”, but let’s not be scared off by that. Aero Tech manufactures men’s and women’s (and kids) clothing just a few miles from our office, including an impressive selection of Big and Tall sizes.
Made from a nylon and recycled polyester microfiber, the material has bit of stretch, and combined with an loose fit, makes for a very comfortable and unrestrictive shirt. Most of the features are similar to travel shirts (back vent, buttoned flap to secure rolled up sleeves, chest pockets) but adds a small, zippered back pocket. Choose from three subdued plaids, either black, grey or blue.
If I was going to go on an extended tour, this shirt would be the first in my bag. It is light enough for hot days, and the SPF50 treatment keeps my Irish complexion in its usual state of pale. The DWR treatment keeps the shirt clean, and it dries very quickly when wet from sweat, rain, or washing. It seems impervious to wrinkles, and is nice enough looking for wear almost anywhere on or off the bike. I could do without the zippers on the chest pockets, but that is a wee little complaint in an overall super useful and flexible garment. Also available in women’s sizes.
This is one jacket that truly lives up to its name. Built from a waterproof/breathable exterior over a soft, polyester fleece liner, the $145 Alpine Storm jacket from Royal Racing straddles the riding and lifestyle categories from bike saddle to bar stool.Tweet Print
For me, the hitch mounted tray rack is what you graduate to after toying around with other, lesser types of bike carriers. The Holdup 2 from Yakima is an excellent example of what a bike carrier can and should be.
The Holdup comes in two variations for receivers of either 1.25-inch or 2-inches. Yakima supplies you with a hitch bolt and lock for said bolt. The bolt screws into a receiver inside the rack itself and tightens, eliminating side-to-side sway.
For an extra $285, you can get an extension (the Hold Up +2) complete with extra trays and wheel locks for two additional bikes. Making your potential carrying capacity 4 bikes, though not without paying for it.Tweet Print
Like a Phoenix, the GT Xizang rises from the ashes of the 90’s, when stars like Rishi Grewal and Juli Furtado marked the history books with their global domination of cross-country racing. Times have changed and cross-country racing isn’t the center of mountain bike culture like it used to be, but there’s still a place in many hearts for a bike like this.
GT’s product people, (some of whom were around for the last Xizang in the 1990’s) asked themselves “What would this venerable machine look like decades later?” After much consideration the Xizang has been updated with 29-inch wheels, hydroformed titanium tubing, and modern standards such as a tapered headtube.Tweet Print
For 2014, Fox has significantly revamped its 34-series forks, including a totally redesigned TALAS system, and introduced a completely new shock geared toward all mountain riding and enduro racing.
Click here to read our reviews.
Admittedly, I went into this test a bit skeptical. I can justify titanium for other applications rather easily, but for a progressive trail riding 29er I needed to be convinced. The weight savings is nice, but would it be stiff enough?
Although Ti is usually associated with compliant ride characteristics, Carver Bikes made a point of using larger-diameter tubes that were shaped for stiffness. I was pleased to hear that was a priority. I’m not one to enjoy unwanted and unexpected feedback from a frame.Tweet Print
I realize I’m in the minority here, but I seem to be one of the rare people who prefer the three-step dropper post style over the infinitely adjustable. With an infinite, the saddle is always too high or too low and I just find myself fiddling with it a lot. The Pulse combines the best of both with a unique “stepped” adjustment system. A soft tug of the remote lever lowers the post 5mm. Want to go 10mm? Give it two clicks. A little lower? Five or six clicks is a perfect “trail” position. If you give the lever a full-pull, it allows the post to move freely up and down its entire 100mm range, so you can slam it for that big drop that’s coming up quick. I know, when we first heard of this design we were thinking “wait, what?” too, but after using it for several months, it strikes me as a pretty brilliant idea.Tweet Print
The idea behind the Silver Series from Lynskey is to offer titanium bikes with a lower price tag, relative to the higher-end models in the company’s lineup. The Silver Series saves some shekels by eschewing extensive tubeset manipulation, sticking to stock sizing, and offering a single build kit.
The tweener MT 650 rings the register at $4,123 with a build kit featuring a Shimano XT drivetrain and brakes and a 120mm X-Fusion Velvet RL2 fork. If you want to build your own, the frame will set you back $1,678. If you still have sticker shock, remember that the “lower price tag” is relative to upscale titanium bikes costing much more.Tweet Print
This Saint group is the third generation of Shimano’s high-end gravity offering. Where the previous two iterations erred on the heavier-duty freeride side of gravity riding, the new group has been nipped and tucked for a new focus on DH racing.
We previously review Shimano’s Zee group in issue #169. Since Zee features a lot of trickle down technology from Saint, we can’t help but compare and contrast the Saint vs. Zee value proposition.Tweet Print
Club Ride has made a name for itself in the cycling industry for offering high-performance apparel with a unique style. From the trail head to the pub, the Roxbury jersey and Pin’It shorts are great options if you want to stand apart by blending in.Tweet Print