The idea that clothes make the man is a bit of a stretch. But there’s no doubt cycling clothing can enhance (or screw up) a ride. This summer, we filled the Mtbr apparel closet with outfits from a host of kit makers, ranging from the ultra high-end (Kitsbow) to more budget friendly (Pactimo), to a lot of in between.
In part 1 of this three part series, we take a look at some (but certainly not all) of the offerings from Pearl Izumi, Qloom, and Pactimo. In every case, we logged at least a half dozen rides in the garment, allowing us to pass judgment on fit, fashion, and functionality. Here are some of our favorites — and a few that were just so-so. Check back to Mtbr soon for parts 2 and 3, which will include clothing from Endura, Gore, Louis Garneau, Kitsbow, Mavic, and Voler. All photos are by Dave Kozlowski.
This Swiss-based company that’s making a push into the U.S. takes inspiration from the colorful world of surf wear. As the story goes, founder Didi Rüegg “felt sad” always having to wear blacks and greys when aboard his bike, so he decided to do something about it. The result is a line of clothing that boldly announces itself on the trail.
Our favorite Qloom piece are the Rockingham Shorts ($190) pictured above and below. The three-quarter length interfaces exceptionally well with knee pads (absolutely no chance of a gaper gap), and construction is robust and durable.
Highlight features include quick-drying four-way stretch fabric, an adjustable Velcro waist band, and a pair of hidden venting zippers.
There is also reinforced material at the crotch/saddle area, and four zippered pockets (2 front, 2 rear) with easy to-to-grasp tabs, plus a pair of open hand pockets. They’ve also come completely clean even after some very muddy rides. And that’s not something you can say about all MTB shorts.
And, yes, we love the green. It’s fun without being over the top. Bottom line, these shorts get a big thumbs up if you can stomach the price tag. More info at qloom.com. Qloom also offers its Hey Dude Inner Shorts ($55, more info here), which have a super soft feel and very comfortable chamois. Just know that the gripper tape on the leg hem can feel a little pinchy at times.
On the more cross-country side are the Qloom Fraser Premium Bibshorts with built-in liner ($200). Like the Rockingham shorts, they’re a little tough on the wallet. But we love the security of bibs when we ride (minus the Lycra look).
These shorts won a Eurobike award in 2014 bolstered by features such as their wicking four-way stretch fabric, super comfortable chamois, and wide Lycra mesh suspenders with elastic tape inserts that help alleviate bunching.
Storage is limited, with just a single zipper pocket on the right thigh (where things can get a little bouncy), and there is no waist adjustability, though that was never an issue because of the suspender straps and stretchiness of the waist itself.
These shorts are a great choice for XC rides, as long as you’re wearing a pack or jersey with pockets to handle storage duties. For more info click over to qloom.com.
Finally from Qloom is the quick-drying Avalon Enduro Jersey ($70), which makes a nice compliment to either pair of the shorts above.
Mesh panels on the underarm and sides help keep you cool, while a small, zipped side pocket provides room for a gel or a credit card (a smartphone will not fit). This colorway is a little loud for our tastes, but Qloom makes a more understated white version, too.
Thus far construction has been durable, with no sign of seam fray. The Avalon is available in five size. For more info go here.