Fashion Show: Top notch mountain bike apparel — part 1

Premium clothing offerings from Qloom, Pactimo, and Pearl Izumi

Photo by Dave Kozlowski

Colorado’s Pactimo is a new player in the MTB apparel market, having launched its Apex line in April at the Sea Otter Classic. Before that, they were all road all the time, which they continue to do quite well.

While the quality and function are solid, it’s the prices that stand out. The Apex Jersey (short sleeve $50, long sleeve $60) is not especially fancy (and has no pockets). But details such as breathable mesh fabric on the back, and shoulder seams that are positioned out of the way of hydration pack shoulder sleeves illustrate that this is more than just a simple tech tee.

Photo by Dave Kozlowski

There are five color options, ranging from the Denver Broncos orange shown here to a more subdued grey and black. Fit is on the baggy side, but no overly so. And even on hot days, it didn’t soak up with sweat. Sometimes simple is the best answer. More info at

Accompanying the Apex Jersey are, you guessed it, the Apex Short ($90). Again Pactimo kept things fairly simple (no built in liner here).

Up front are two open hand pockets, which you wouldn’t use for anything but trash during a ride, but they can be a handy place to stash stuff while you are getting ready. Just don’t forget it’s there, lest you end up losing it on the trail. There’s also a small zipped pocket on the right thigh that’s perfect for a gel or credit card. In the back is another zippered pocket that’s plenty big enough for a smartphone.

Photo by Dave Kozlowski

Waist closure is achieved via a medium-weight zipper, plus a dual snap button, which is a really nice touch, as I’ve had single snaps come undone on me more times than I can count. Waist adjustment is handled by an interior elastic belt that’s held in place by a button. There are eight button holes on each side of the waist, availing a broad range of sizing. And you don’t have to worry about the buttons coming undone, which occasionally happens with the more commonly used Velcro set-ups.

Material is primarily a soft four-way stretch, with some smoother material at the waist and crotch. Inseam length is just long enough that you could get away with wearing knee pads without offending the fashion police. Bottom line, these shorts are clearly a solid value, though I do have my doubts about how the lightweight material will hold up in the crash. And avoid the lighter colors if you ride in the mud a lot. It can be hard to get them completely clean. More info here.

Photo by Dave Kozlowski

The last piece in the collection is the Apex Bib Short liner ($70), which is designed to be worn under the Apex Shorts. It has a comfortable multi-density chamois and a pair of rear swat-style pockets that can hold a water bottle, phone, or lightweight jacket.

Main construction material is an open mesh, while inner legs and chamois area are more standard Lycra material. Leg length is shorter than normal exterior bibshorts, which lessens overlap with outer shorts and wont interfere with kneepads. A small strip of silicone keeps the legs in place.

Photo by Dave Kozlowski

Overall, it’s a decent piece with one major flaw. The bib straps are thin and prone to rolling up, which can be uncomfortable, especially if you’re wearing a hydration pack. More info at Also know that all these items are offered in women’s versions, too.

Continue to page 3 to check out MTB kit from Pearl Izumi »

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 Olympics, Tour de France, MTB world champs, 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 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 kids Cora and Tommy in and around their home in the MTB Mecca of Crested Butte.

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