Saturday, July 27, 2019

Specialized Mountain Bike Apparel Review

For 2019 I wanted to step back into the casual mountain-bike apparel scene and break away from the full lycra kit that I had sported for way too long. I had drifted away from baggy "mtb specific" gear because I had grown tired of snagging my bike shorts on my saddle all the time. It seemed I couldn't get away from shorts that drowned my legs in fabric. I also found myself preferring the total lycra kit due to full-zippered jerseys for easy venting and shorts that didn't snag my seat.

I signed up for Roam Bike Fest, and with that commitment, I knew I would have to get some baggies so I wouldn't stick out like a sore thumb. Plus, I'd be wearing knee and elbow pads

I looked to Specialized for some mountain bike clothing options due to the color choices they had. I am one that does like bright colors and minimal patterns (most of the time...) and from my perspective, they had several pieces that I was keen on checking out.

Since then, I've been converted back to the baggy side and I'm loving it! I'll still throw on lycra here and there as there is a time and place for everything, but I'm feeling a lot happier with having more casual options to wear on a regular basis.

The following are the shorts and jerseys I've been wearing regularly this riding season:

Andorra Pro Mountain Bike Short
These are not the same Andorra Pro shorts from yesteryear, rather they have improved the design and I have found them to be a lot sleeker than the previous generation I had. That could've been due to my wearing a size Small when I might've been in the XS sizing. Not sure. Either way, with the sizing chart that I looked at when I was making my purchases I went with the XS size in shorts. I worried about whether or not they would be too snug, but I've found them to be comfortable and roomy enough. There is a velcro waist adjuster so you can loosen them or snug them up depending on the fit you're looking for.

The fabric feels more durable than the shorts I had in the '13/'14 year, and they now sport perforations for additional venting. You still have the zipper/velcro/snap closure action going on, and you do have a zippered pocket as well as zippered vents. Their cut falls just to the top of your knee.

The short legs weren't too big or billowy, and they worked well with knee pads. All in all, I was incredibly happy with these shorts and how they functioned for riding.

Andorra Short Sleeve Jersey
The Andorra Jersey has more of a t-shirt style cut compared to lycra jerseys which I have found to be enjoyable if I have the right size of jersey. If it's too big, then I feel like I'm swimming in fabric, but based on the size charts I opted for XS. Overall, I like the fit, but I would recommend sizing up if you wanted to be sure you could layer under the short sleeve or long sleeve Andorra jerseys. The jersey material isn't quite as silky feeling as the jerseys from a few years back. Still good quality, but I'd say not as stretchy or giving from what I remember the jerseys to be. The jerseys this year differ slightly from last year with the removal of the V-cuts at the bottom hem. I haven't noticed this to be an issue in terms of fit.
Keep in mind, mtb jerseys will not come with pockets (most times) so you'll want to have a hip-pack or hydration pack in order to bring snacks/tools/layers/etc.
I went with the two brightly colored options for the short sleeve jersey (Tropical Teal & Cast Berry/Acid Purple) and they pair well with solid-colored shorts, OR my recent discovery of Shredly shorts!

Emma Trail Jersey
I'll admit, the colors of the Emma Trail jersey weren't my usual go-to, but I figured I could dress them up with fun colored shorts instead. I was keen on trying a jersey that was slated to be well-vented as well as cooling, with longer sleeves for additional sun/abrasion protection.

I went with XS for size and felt it was a great fit. The sleeves weren't too tight nor loose, and the fabric was just loose enough around the middle to not look super bulky. It's not something I'd be able to layer up with in terms of a long-sleeved base layer (due to the sleeve fit) but I don't see that to be an issue.

I did wear the jersey out on a trail scoping ride when temps were near 90 degrees. Overall, I was quite comfortable! I would have been sweaty in anything, but I didn't feel as tho I was overly hot due to it not being a full-zip jersey.

The two colors are more on the muted side, and you'll find the black to look more like a dark grey vs. a true black (on the front.)
All in all excellent jerseys with a nice fit that pair well with a variety of mountain bike short colors/patterns.

Women's RBX Shorty Shorts w/SWAT
I was super keen to try this updated short from Specialized that has a new Women's 3D contour chamois. They updated the waistband is exceptionally nice as well as the leg bands, (no more annoying grippers!) To make a sleek fitting short that has an incredibly comfortable chamois pad. This short has felt amazing when paired with the Specialized Power Saddle with Mimic. I've worn the short for shorter rides but also for rides over 2 hours long, and it's been one of the best shorts I've ever worn. Now, it's not a liner short, but I use it as a liner short with baggies and they work well for a dual-purpose short.

So there you have it! A selection of jersey and shorts that I've been trying out this riding season from Specialized. From colorful to subtle, I've found great options that fit well and have converted me back into the world of mountain bike wear.

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