gearshots april 4 2024
Gloves, Jersey, Jacket, Helmet, Flat pedals...

Gear Shots April 2024

Photos Deniz Merdano (mostly)
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Velocio Trail Access Hardshell Jacket

Cam and I previewed some of Velocio's new MTB line back in July when it was launched. One piece that was available then but that we didn't have was this Trail Access Hardshell. I've been wearing it this winter, and will continue to do so well into Spring. It's a premium piece with a relaxed fit. Velocio came to prominence on the road/gravel side and some of their stuff fits accordingly, so just be sure you check the sizing guides and if it's a roadie/XC looking piece, be aware it may be a performance fit. In my case (6’1, 190lbs) that means I'm an XL instead of a usual Large. For their MTB-specific stuff and in the case of the Trail Access Hardshell which has a relaxed fit, though, I'm a more familiar size Large.

The range of sizing they offer is wider than just about any other brand I can think of. This jacket comes in XS - 4XL for men, and 2XS - 3XL for women-that's EIGHT sizes each, remarkable by bike apparel co. standards. Here's hoping other brands are able to follow suit. Similar to other high end brands, Velocio offers free repairs on anything of theirs that needs a little TLC. You open a ticket and cover shipping to them, they'll handle the rest (including shipping back to you). They also have a crash replacement/discount policy. This is the kind of thing many brands offer but don't openly communicate on their sites - Velocio is up front about it.

That out of the way, the Trail Access Hardshell is, as I said, an expensive jacket. Expectations were high but they were met. I generally put jackets into three categories: 1) super lightweight and compact - emergency or light duty warm season use if you get caught in a minor squall; 2) mid-weight waterproof/breathable - suitable for all but the coldest/wettest days unless you’re really fortified underneath, and might be too warm for summer use except in the alpine; and 3) heavy duty - borderline too warm/not breathable enough if you’re working hard unless it’s one of those 2 degrees C and rainy days when your bones freeze up as soon as you look outside. The Trail Access Hardshell fits into category 2. To take it a step further, you can own any 2 of these shells and, depending on where you live and how you ride, you’ll be covered (not to mention for lots of other uses). If you go that route, you can spend less on each of them and can make it work. Alternately, you could split the difference and put your budget into one jacket, and for a lot of people this Velocio would go the distance and be the right choice in almost all situations. Bonus points for cross-sport use (I’ve worn mine running, hiking, golfing, commuting, and XC skiing).

It's constructed from Pertex Shield Air, which is a 3-layer waterproof breathable fabric, with recycled content and a DWR coating. It claims 10k waterproof/30k breathability and even though I don’t really trust numbers like those - ever - I’d have to say that this jacket provided good water repellency and excellent breathability. When working hard, not all the sweat got out, but we all know to check our expectations on rainy days when we’re pushing hard for a long time. For moderate efforts on long days, though, I stayed dry inside - sweat got out, rain didn’t get in. When it’s raining buckets and not stopping, I honestly try not to be out there anymore. It’s hard on the trails, and miserable unless you’re really hungry that day. I am planning some long commutes and gravel riding later this spring so I may just log some long, wet days - I’ll be sure to check back in if this jacket disappoints or reveals superpowers.

Fit was relaxed. For me, this makes investing in a shell like this easier as it means it can be used for other sports. Obviously some will prefer a cycling-specific fit, and that isn’t the case here. Hood fits easily over a helmet, and with the zipper done up all the way your chin is covered without yo’ face being smothered. Two zip pockets is plenty but my one complaint with the jacket is the zippers are stiff and hard to operate due to inadequate zipper pulls. At this price, that detail needs to be nailed. It’s my one complaint - but it meant accessing those pockets without using both hands was basically impossible. Annoying.

Back to the plus side, the sleeve cuff is stretchy on the inner side which makes for great fit and keeps cold air and water out. This is a nod to bike-specificity that didn’t cross out utility for other uses. I’m a fan. Internal pocket with…media port? Who uses cables anymore? No harm done though, and that pocket is handy. The rear zip w/ waterproof zipper is handy although I often have a hip bag when riding in winter so I barely used it.

As with all technical outerwear, garment care is essential for long lasting performance. Most people still don't know how to care for their waterproof/breathables, and it's common to hear someone say their jacket 'no longer wicks water' but that they 'have never washed it' so they don't know why that piece of junk no longer works. Read this for more on how these membranes work (not just GoreTex) and how to care for them. Velcro's guidelines are similar for all waterproof/breathables:

Final verdict: the Velocio Trail Access Hardshell will handle most of your hard shell needs for riding (and other stuff) in three seasons and not too big to be your emergency layer in the summer. It’s a premium jacket that still represents value if you use it across a variety of conditions and take care of your shit.

-Pete Roggeman

Velocio Men's Trail Access Hardshell Jacket - sizes XS - 4XL // 510 CAD / 389 USD

Velocio Women's Trail Access Hardshell Jacket - sizes XXS - 3XL // 510 CAD / 389 USD

Showers Pass Crosspoint Waterproof Knit Wool Gloves

I was skeptical at first when the Showers Pass Waterproof Knit Wool Gloves arrived at my doorstep. Last year I was contemplating the purchase of a similar pair of Giro Xnetic H2O gloves, but was stubbornly, and erroneously convinced that knit style gloves wouldn't be sufficient for the amount of precipitation we ride through in the Pacific North West. Well boy, was I ever wrong, being quickly disabused of my misrepresentative assumptions from the first ride onwards.

The Crosspoint Knit are a 3-layer waterproof glove - featuring a wear resistant outer layer, a waterproof-breathable middle membrane, and an anti-bacterial merino lining. The materials worked together to create a glove that is tough, waterproof, moisture wicking, and breathable, all while staying relatively fresh smelling despite the fact that during riding my 'palms are sweaty, knees are weak, and arms are heavy.' Don't come at my Nonna's spaghetti now, those are fighting words.

During a few commutes the gloves could withstand moderate rain without becoming saturated in the slightest. Even throughout heavier spring showers, the gloves were able to fend off rain for an hour until I could start to feel moisture building up against my skin. Interestingly enough, in a neoprene-esque fashion, so long as it wasn't too cold, my hands were still plenty warm even when wet. In this vein, the gloves were optimal when used between temperatures of 5 and 12 Celcius.

The breathability of these gloves was excellent. Even during harder efforts they managed moisture brilliantly. The moisture wicking and anti-microbial properties of merino wool contribute to a glove, that despite two months of use, is still relatively odour-free. In a few months we'll see if they hold a candle to my 'I can't remember the last time I washed this merino base layer' - though don't tell anyone, and if you do this is definitely just a joke anyways.

The slim cuffs of the gloves extended rather far beyond the sleeves of the Pearl Izumi Summit Pro Neoshell jacket I reviewed earlier this year, creating a waterproof seal. The seamless design allowed for plenty of dexterity and the silicone palm was adequately grippy when wet. Moreover, the gloves were touchscreen compatible - a nice... touch. They run true to size, and are meant to fit tightly for optimal heat retention.

-Matthew Cusanelli

Showers Pass Waterproof Knit Wool Gloves - 72 CAD / 52 USD

yoshimura chilao pedals 6

At first I wondered if the ten pins per side on Yoshimura's Chilao SS pedals would be enough. Having fewer pins increases the friction per pin and grip has been great. Large pedal body is 110mm L x 107.25 W (360) and small (pictured) is 100mm L x 95.5 W (334g).

Yoshimura Chilao Flat Pedals

While I am a fussy mofo when it comes to pedals, there are several types that can keep me happy. I prefer a smaller platform and 4mm pins rather than 3, and I don't have much use for a concave shape, but otherwise there are several models that will keep me happy and planted on my bike. These ones suit my criteria just fine.

YoshimuraCycling_ChilaoSS_Cutaway.jpg copy

An interesting feature of these pedals is a spring that ensures they won't start to rattle because of play. In the words of Yoshimura: "Chilao Static Spring uses a spring to preload the outer bearing against the pedal’s endcap making side load static regardless of wear and torque tolerances. The result is a minimized friction point that is normally a result of bearing preload in conventionally designed pedals.

When I first saw these Yoshimura Chilao pedals I got a tingle up my spine like I used to have in the early days of MTB, when almost everything was exotic. No two bikes were spec'ed the same and there were many choices to be made from brake levers to seatpost QRs. We're in more of an off the shelf mode now where most people ride one of two drivetrains and customization has become more rare. These pedals however are quite rare indeed. In fact, several colours are currently sold out on their website.

yoshimura chilao pedals 2

These aren't ultra thin pedals but they aren't chunky either.

yoshimura chilao pedals 1

Every set of flat pedals should come with spare pins. I'd be ashamed to send out a set without some. Yoshimura includes 5 little mushrooms with every set.

I'd like to ride these pedals some more and see how they wear, and then tear them down. There are three bearings outboard and a wide bushing inboard. A service kit with 6 bearings, two seals, two nyloc nuts and two bushings is available for a reasonable 15 USD.

This pedals are made in Chino. That's no typo; the bodies are machined just east of L.A. in Chino California. In fact, Yoshimura even manufactures the spindles there.

Cam McRae

Yoshimura Chilao SS Pedals - 229 USD with your choice of pedal pin colour.

Leatt AllMtn 5.0 Jersey

There's a decent amount of covert tech in regular-ass street clothes. Gone is the aesthetic of quick-dry garments worn by old men trying their best to not sweat during their layover between flights, well, save Uncle Ken. Nowadays, jeans are stretchy and breathable, t-shirts can stave off funk for days on end - the list goes on.

In a similar vein, I'd like to be able to get away with wearing riding gear that doesn't announce I.Ride.Bikes!!! I've waxed poetic that riding gear shouldn't be all that discernable from street clothes. Well, maybe Vancouver-ish street clothes, as our "style" is slobby compared to fashion-forward cities such as Montreal et al. I'd like to think most of my riding gear wouldn't be out of place while grabbing a beer or groceries unless someone who rode bikes happened to notice.

Enter the Leatt AllMtn 5.0 Jersey. The multi-paneled techy fabrics have three different colours, and the zippered rear pocket with a strange internal waistband - It's all very busy! I truly wanted to hate it. How the hell is this insulated jersey going to keep me dry and properly regulate heat when I'm usually a soggy mess, regardless of temperature? Everything about this jersey seemed ridiculous until I wore it.


I sweat through the wind-blocking panel on the chest, but stayed dry otherwise.

The Tech

The AllMtn 5.0 jersey is a cool weather piece with wind-blocking panels on the chest and upper arms. Leatt uses their WarmYarn fabric, a Bluesign-approved waffle patterned fleece made of recycled coffee grounds.

A zippered 3-panel exterior pocket is sewn into the lower back panel and is supported by an internal waist belt to mitigate movement if it's stuffed.

A funky eyewear loop allows you to stow glasses mid-torso. Both sleeve cuffs have a sneaky piece of microfibre to safely wipe your goggles/glasses clean.

Abrasion-resistant panels are featured on the elbows and shoulders.


The glasses loop is nerdy, small, and functional. I love it.


The zippered rear pocket showcases post-Xmas muffin-tops very well.


The Ride

I'm well versed riding the "be bold, start cold" train, and have a well-thought-out layering strategy to combat fickle PNW winter weather. Arriving at operating temperature, I've usually saturated my merino base layer, regardless of weight or thickness. My rationale is merino wool will keep me warm, even drenched. With so much perspiration, it's hard to envision riding gear that will keep me dry, warm, and cool. It's a narrow operating window for a garment capable of rapidly wicking sweat while keeping me warm, but not so warm that I sweat more. If you scratch your head a little more while ruminating over that last sentence, I promise you'll not be alone.

I first tried the AllMtn 5.0 jersey as a standalone piece on a chilly ride
beginning with an arduous pedal over soft energy-sapping dirt. This progressed to a tedious hike through melty snow, topping out at a fall-line hallway of loam. The fleecy fabric felt warm and comfortable to the touch, though I was skeptical about its breathability and temperature control. On the pedals, I was sweating heavily but the excellent wicking of the WarmYarn pulled it away from my skin quickly. At no point did I feel like I was close to overheating, nor was I cold. This gave me a new appreciation for textile innovation, I've never felt so dry while sweating so much. Huh?

On wide-open fire road blasts, the windproof panels on the chest and upper arms did their job and kept me from freezing, all while breathing away moisture.

The 3-paneled zippered pocket on the lower back is good for carrying some snacks or gloves. I'd be hesitant to chuck tools in there, in the event of a crash potentially embedding a multi-tool in my lumbar spine. If you don't mind having tools in the back pocket, the interior waist belt secures payload so it's not bouncing around while you descend.

I'm skeptical of jerseys that are mostly polyester. Sure, the breathability factor is great! Unfortunately, consecutive riding days without washing leaves my poly jerseys funkier than a James Brown show. Nobody wants to be around that! I wore the AllMtn 5.0 jersey for three rides in a row without a wash, and no nose was any wiser - another win for Leatt (and my friends).

The Leatt AllMtn 5.0 jersey is a fancy technical cool-weather jersey. The wind-blocking panels keep you warm on faster sections of trail, but the real standout is the WarmYarn fabric. The rate at which it pulls sweat away from your skin is amazing, allowing you to properly regulate your temperature. The rear pocket gives you ample storage for soft goods. The eyewear loop and lens polishing cuff panels are tasty additions I wish other jerseys had.

-Graham Driedger

Leatt AllMtn 5.0 Jersey 180 CAD / 120 USD

Lazer CAGE KINETICORE Fullface Helmet

I'm not a big fan of fullface helmets to tell you the truth. I recognize their value in preventing reconstructive surgery and expensive dental repairs, but there is no evidence these do a better job preventing concussions than your average helmet. And we are just guessing that any mountain bike helmet prevents concussions. Obviously wearing one is better than not, but we're barely out of dark ages in terms of concussion prevention, despite what Virginia Tech may claim.

DSC00051 cam maven sram leatt crankbrothers

Squint Eastwood. I guess I should have put the visor down.

DSC00047 cam maven sram leatt crankbrothers

This is the best looking and best finished Laser helmet I've worn. With one exception.

With that out of the way, this is a full-time chin-barred helmet I don't mind wearing. It vents well, is nice and light (880g size M) fits well, looks pretty clean as well.

Instead of Mips, Lazer uses a proprietary slip plane technology they call Kineticore. Basically it's a lattice pattern in the inner foam and the inner padding that is designed to allow your hair to let the helmet rotate. No word on how it slips against a more chromed dome, but if you're sweating, it should work okay.

lazer cage kineticore helmet

The lattice in the high density foam is what Lazer calls Kineticore and it is said to work as a slip plane the Mips does, to (in theory) minimize the damage from rotational impacts.

DSC00049 cam maven sram leatt crankbrothers

The Cage doesn't have a goggle tether in the rear and it's tight to push your goggs up into the space beneath your visor, but neither of those are the fatal flaw. That title goes to the inner padding that is designed to mate with hook and loop pads inside the helmet. Unfortunately, the adhesive didn't last any time at all once exposed to my sweaty noggin and those pads came loose. I could replace them after a ride and stick them back in place but by the end of the ride the pads would only stay in place because of pressure against my head.

DSC00049 cam maven sram leatt crankbrothers

Exit vents at the back. Many helmets have a tether or a defined ledge to keep your goggle strap in place but the Cage has neither and my strap migrates a little.

The two-position breakaway visor works well as does the magnetic closure for the buckle. While there are no dedicated ear holes, I can hear better than I can with most dedicated full faces wearing the Cage.

Cam McRae

Laser Cage Kineticore Helmet - 400 CAD / 300 USD

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+1 Zero-cool

lazer is yet another company who decided they can get away with no real xl helmets.


+1 Graham Driedger

Full disclosure, I am supported by Leatt BUT I am also a fan of things that work well on rides, hence why I am piping up. Huge fan of the Leatt Allmtn 5.0 jersey. I like snacks and the bum bag on the back is perfect. Also been rocking it in the early spring conditions and it is a wonderful stand alone piece for the cooler PNW days.



"Many helmets have a tether or a defined ledge to keep your helmet strap in place but the Cage has neither and my strap migrates a little."

Do you mean goggle strap?


+1 Cam McRae

One way to mitigate a goggle strap moving is to stick a piece of hook side Velcro to the back of the helmet. It holds the goggle strap quite well but the strap will get a little fuzzy on the inside if that bothers you. Ski racer trick I learned a while ago.


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