Getting dressed for a horseback ride in the summer heat is easy. As the days get shorter and temperatures drop, everything you wear on the bike is about versatility and performance. These are the technical pieces of equipment that will keep you riding and smiling during the off-season and beyond.
Pearl Izumi Women’s Rove Long Sleeve Shirt ($ 80)
(Photo: Courtesy Pearl Izumi)
While some performance flannels have numerous technical features that range from stretchy fabrics to hidden zip pockets, Pearl Izumi’s Rove is a simpler rendition with just the bike-friendly tweaks required. The brushed polyester twill is exceptionally soft and cozy, makes it warmer than the average riding flannel and a highly effective layer on cool mornings, but also wicks away sweat well and dries quickly. A roomy fit and a longer drop-tail cut provide full coverage in the riding position and when the shirt is tucked under a hip pocket. The lack of bike-specific features also makes this shirt more action-independent than other technical checks – I like to wear it on the ride as well as on the campsite.
Gore C5 Gore-Tex Infinium gloves ($ 60)
(Photo: Courtesy of Gore)
When driving temperatures are in my forties and fifties, I’m often at Talladega Nights like Will Ferrell’s Ricky Bobby – I’m not sure what to do with my hands. Should I wear my regular trail gloves, which will protect my palms and improve my grip, but offer little to no insulation? Or should I wear my winter gloves, which are warm but less dexterous and sometimes bunch and rub at the seams? Gores C5 Gore-Tex Infinium gloves fill this huge gap Perfect. They are constructed like mountain bike gloves, have a tight fit, Velcro fasteners on the wrists and a synthetic leather palm that gives me a direct interface to my grips. A windproof and water-repellent shell offers more heat and weather protection than summer gloves, and pre-shaped fingers reduce the accumulation of material between my hands and the handlebars. this eliminates the rubbing. These also work great with touchscreens, so I can use my phone in cool conditions without taking them off.
Bontrager Avert Women’s Mountain Bike Rain Jacket ($ 170)
(Photo: Courtesy of Bontrager)
This waterproof 200 gram case is small, light and packable, and goes in its own pocket – something The most passionate space weenies will appreciate it. Super tight-fitting elastic wristbands keep moisture and heat out. A longer, mountain bike-specific cut fits over dredged layers and offers generous coverage while maintaining a sleek and flattering shape. However, my favorite feature is a hood that actually houses a trail helmet to keep your head dry in a storm. A Boa dial system allows you to fold the hood over your lid for a secure fit. For a waterproof jacket, the Avert is also respectably breathable and allows short periods of gentle climbing without overheating.
7Mesh Women’s Revo Short ($ 225)
(Photo: Courtesy 7Mesh)
7Mesh, based in Squamish, British Columbia, knows that good rain shorts can make the difference between staying in and getting out in bad weather. With this pair you will feel invincible in a downpour. Made from waterproof Gore-Tex and fully taped seams, the Revo Short will keep your bum and chamois dry, even when you ride on wet roads. The legs are roomy enough to fit comfortably over the knee pads, while a slim, tailored fit and just-right stride are flattering. They hit just below the knee and offer extra protection when wet while avoiding the ankle look of these longer Capri-style shorts. An adjustable waistband and sturdy zippered and buttoned bow tie are durable fastenings that can withstand two seasons of machine wash.
Velocio women’s trail mesh bib liner ($ 139)
(Photo: Courtesy Velocio)
Technically, these mountain bike bibs are not a case-specific product. The highly breathable mesh material is actually supposed to prevent overheating on hot summer trips. But I recently began to appreciate them for cold weather adventures when my group curled up on a trailhead bathroom during a cool ride. The pee break-friendly design meant I could jump into the latrine, which was still cozy in my jacket and zippered layers, and let myself fall without exposing myself to the cold. Lots of brands offer bathroom-friendly women’s bib shorts, but Velocio’s extra stretchy, extra wide, crossed strap design makes it easy: no buckles or fasteners, just pull the waistband down like you would with shorts.
Other features make these liners my first choice for long journeys in general: the straps keep everything in place when I’m moving on the bike, and the chamois stays sturdy and comfortable for several hours. The luxuriously soft mesh feels like I’m pulling tights over my body, and the extra-wide leg grippers offer the ideal amount of compression and support without constricting or rubbing.
Thule Rail Hip Pack 4L ($ 100)
(Photo: Courtesy Thule)
In the past, I wasn’t a fan of hip bags with built-in bladders. In general, the heavier a hip pack, the more unstable and unstable it is around my waist in very bumpy terrain. Picky hose attachment systems can also result in a loose and dangling center of the hose, and they make detaching or donning the package a two-step process.
Thule’s new four-liter splint is the best hip pack I’ve ever done Problems. A flatter profile and a wide, stretchy waistband (unusual for a hip pack) help with this adapt to my body and prevent the rail from sliding around on hectic descents. Other packs also use magnetic hose attachments. Instead of a single point attachment, however, the Thule Smart System has an approximately 8.5-inch magnetic strip that extends the length of one side of the collar and offers generous space to secure the hose sleeve (also provided with magnetic strips). The result: you can drink and swap tubes while you’re driving without fumbling or looking down. The flatter shape of the rail means that using the pack with a full water bladder leaves just enough volume to stow a hose, tools, a phone, and a few snacks. When attaching your tube to your bike, you can also wrap a light layer.
Giro Manifest Spherical Helmet ($ 260)
(Photo: Courtesy of Giro)
The Manifest Trail helmet was launched this spring and includes Giro’s Spherical MIPS technology. This technology is the proprietary version of MIPS that helps protect against the rotational forces associated with most brain injuries by allowing the outermost layer of a helmet to subtly “slide” on top of the head in an impact, absorbing energy from sloping hits. This lid has a unique two-part design: an outer EPS foam insert sits on an inner lining so that the two parts can easily rotate around each other. According to Giro, there are two main advantages of Spherical over other MIPS styles: No sharp-edged plastic MIPS liner against the hair or scalp, and this liner doesn’t compromise the fit.
The Manifest is an extremely comfortable trail helmet. While Giro’s Montaro and Montara trail helmets of the previous generation felt a bit tight to me for mine Temples (probably due to the MIPS liner right between the head and the EPS foam of the helmet), the manifest fits my average shaped head perfectly. The antimicrobial liner is comfortably comfortable and the ventilation is generous for hot rides. A magnetic buckle system is a nice touch and allows for quick attachment and one-handed opening. Silicone handles in the front vents allow you to stash your sunglasses, although I found it hard to securely mount sunglasses. If you prefer to wear protective goggles, you’ll appreciate the rubber goggle gripper on the back of the helmet.
Roka x Machines for Freedom GP-1 Sunglasses in Palmera ($ 250)
(Photo: Courtesy of Roka)
Women’s cycling apparel maker Machines for Freedom is known for its boldly feminine, eye-catching floral prints. This limited collaboration with performance eyewear maker Roka features Machines’ beautiful tropical-themed Palmera print on Rokas GP-1 bicycle sunglasses. The rose gold mirrored lens works well in the lowest light and was perfect on partly cloudy days when the light is constantly changing.
Although the GP-1s are intended for both road and mountain biking, they are included in this round-up because they stayed safe on my face on the trail and provided good clarity and light transmission in bright light in the trees. Fogging wasn’t a problem, and the wraparound lens and frameless top half provided an unobstructed field of vision. These sunglasses got a lot of compliments too, and wearing them made me happy. (Note: For maximum enjoyment, readers who are also into drop bar driving and can afford this combination are advised to wear these sunglasses with the matching long sleeve jersey from Machines for Freedom in the summer weight in Palmera.)
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Main Photo: Courtesy of Pearl Izumi
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