Kitsbow Origin Collection review

High-end cross-country leaning kit for the discerning cyclist

Apparel
Kitsbow Origin Collection Review

The full zip design means you can open up if things start to heat up.

What is it

Kitsbow’s cross-country leaning Origin Collection consists of four well-crafted pieces that are equally at home railing on the mountain bike or gravel grinding through rural countryside. The Origin Jersey LS is a four-season long sleeve top that features three rear pockets, abrasion resistant Schoeller panels, and breathable, moisture-wicking Polartec Power Dry fabric. The Origin Jersey SS shares the same fabrics and pocket layout, but in a summertime friendly cut.

Kitsbow Origin Collection Review

These are bar none some of the best mountain bike shorts we’ve ever tested.

The Origin Short is constructed from robust Nylon woven fabric that’s both breathable and durable. Four pockets provide ample storage, and the ladder-locking adjustable waistband helps you dial in fit. Finally, the Origin Base Short is a lightweight cycling undershort made from Polartec Power Stretch fabric with a high-quality Cytec chamois.

Pros
  • It’s all superbly constructed
  • Attractive understated look
  • Jerseys have great hand feel
  • Schoeller fabric panels on jerseys resist tearing
  • Both jerseys have full-length zippers
  • Reflective piping enhances safety
  • Shorts extremely durable
  • Shorts resistant to staining
  • Shorts will never snag on saddle
  • Vented mesh pockets on shorts
  • Easy to grab zipper tabs on shorts
  • Breathable waistband on shorts
  • Dual button on shorts for max security
  • Base short Cytec chamois is top of line
  • Undershort effectively wicks moisture
  • Undershort has 50 UPF sun protection so it can be worn alone
Cons
  • Expensive across the board
  • Jersey fit is on loose side
  • Oversized logos on jersey will be too much for some
  • Jerseys have small zipper pulls
  • No kneepad compatibility with shorts
  • Shorts waist adjustment a tad finicky
  • No SWAT pockets on undershorts
Kitsbow Origin Collection Review

The short sleeve Origin jersey comes in three colors, including the pictured Kitsbleu.

Mtbr’s Take

Remaining true to the Kitsbow philosophy that, “anything worth doing is worth doing with the best of what’s available,” the Origin Collection is an impressive addition to any cyclist’s wardrobe. Both the long sleeve ($175) and short sleeve ($150) jerseys breath well, effectively wick moisture, and feature strategically-placed Schoeller fabric panels that won’t tear if you snag a trailside branch or take an unscheduled tumble.

Kitsbow Origin Collection Review

Schoeller fabric panels on the shoulder and elbow/forearm area resist tearing and provide an extra element of protection.

The three-pocket design (plus one small zipped stash spot) mesh well with the current trend of ditching the hydration pack, availing lots of storage for food, tools, a spare tube, and whatever else you need for your next adventure. My only real gripe is that the zipper pulls are kind of small and the pockets are a tad on the loose side, which can lead to a little bounce on particularly rough terrain. Both jerseys are available in six sizes and three colors. Fit compared to my normal sizing was a tad on the loose side, so make sure to try before you buy.

Kitsbow Origin Collection Review

The shorts’ dual button offers max security. The mesh lined waistband keeps swamp ass at bay.

While I liked the jerseys, I truly loved the Origin AM shorts ($155). No the tapered cut doesn’t play well with kneepads, so if you’re always “enduro’ing” look elsewhere. But for cross-country rides or even dirt road adventuring on the drop bar gravel bike, these are some of the best shorts I’ve ever worn. The Nylon fabric is incredibly durable, but also has enough stretch to allow for comfortable movement on the bike. All four pockets have easy to grab zipper tabs, are mesh lined for improved cooling, and are placed in such a way as to not interfere with the pedaling motion. The cut itself is tapered, meaning they’re all but impossible to snag on your saddle.

Kitsbow Origin Collection Review

Inseam length is 11.5 inches. Cut is tapered to all but eliminate saddle snagging.

They’ve also resisted staining, something I can’t say for many of the other light colored MTB shorts in my closet. My lone gripe is that I’m not a huge fan of the waist adjust mechanism, which takes a little fiddling to loosen. These shorts are available in one color and six sizes, all with an 11.5-inch inseam. Just make sure to check the sizing chart. While size large MTB shorts are normally a tad loose around my 33-inch waist, this pair of size large shorts were perfectly tailored, if not a little snug.

Kitsbow Origin Collection Review

The undershort’s 30% spandex construction provides a comfortable and compressive fit.

Finally, the Origin Base Short ($125) completes the collection with its highly comfortable Cytec chamois pad, breathable Polartec Power Stretch fabric, 30% spandex construction for compressive leg muscle support, and UPF 50 sun protection if you want to skip the overshot and run the Lycra look. They’re available in six sizes, and once again I was right on the edge, just squeezing into a medium, which fits 32-33-inch waists.

Kitsbow Origin Collection Review

The Cytec chamois will keep you comfortable and chafe free on even the longest days in the saddle.

Bottom line, for riders who put a premium on high functioning cycling apparel, the Kitsbow Origin collection is definitely worth trying on. Yes, it’s expensive. But like so many things in life, you get what you pay for.

Origin Jersey LS Rating: 4 out of 5 4 Flamin' Chili Peppers
Origin Jersey SS Rating: 4 out of 5 4 Flamin' Chili Peppers
Origin AM Short Rating: 4.5 out of 5 4.5 Flamin' Chili Peppers
Origin Base Short Rating: 4 out of 5 4 Flamin' Chili Peppers
Price: Origin Jersey LS: $175; Origin Jersey SS: $150; Origin AM Short: $155; Origin Base Short: $125
More Info: www.kitsbow.com

Photo Thumbnails (click to enlarge)

About the author: Jason Sumner

An avid cyclist, Jason Sumner has been writing about two-wheeled pursuits of all kinds since 1999. He’s covered the Tour de France, the Olympics, and dozens of other international cycling events. He also likes to throw himself into the fray, penning first-person accounts of cycling adventures all over the globe. Sumner, who joined the Mtbr staff in 2013, has also done extensive gear testing and is the author of the cycling guide book "75 Classic Rides: Colorado." When not writing or riding, the native Coloradoan can be found enjoying life with his wife Lisa and daughter Cora in and around their home in the MTB Mecca of Crested Butte.


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  • Taz Poole says:

    Ninety-percent of my collection is Kitsbow now. I don’t mind paying for high-quality, bespoke MTB apparel. I paid a lot for my car; I paid a lot for my bike; why not buy high-quality clothing as well?

    I love hearing these Silicon Valley d-bags who drive up to the trailhead in BMW X5s with expensive OneUp racks, telling everyone within earshot about the 1,000 shares of Apple they just sold…and they brag about finding a killer deal on a $10 pair of off-season Fox shorts they found at a bike swap. Get real.

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