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Editorial

The Gear We Live In

Words Andrew Major
Photos Deniz Merdano (Unless Noted)
Date Nov 2, 2021
Reading time

Flirting With Minimalism

The first piece that hit the main page of NSMB.com with my name on the byline was called A Fistfull Of Dollars. It was May 2014. It briskly expounded on my philosophy on mountain bike gear. Buy nice, not twice, and fix it, rather than replace it, when possible. The whole play comes down to balancing my craft brew tastes and Kootenay True Ale budget but it reduces my environmental footprint at the same time. Also, since I hire out for all my soft goods repairs, eventually many, if not most, pieces of my riding and work clothing get some local value-add at some point. Heck, as we speak two blown-apart pairs of my work jeans and my torn 7Mesh jacket are in the queue for surgery.

Apart from all the good things about repairing instead of replacing clothing, there's also some personal psychologism at play. I'm a rather uniform dresser when it comes to riding. I like to look out my window and know exactly what to take without putting any thought into it. Once I get attached to a piece of gear it's really hard to give it up and I get a bit emotional when something fundamental is finally beyond resurrection. This year I said goodbye to my GoreTex vest and I'll admit I almost canceled a ride or two because I couldn't decide what the heck to wear.

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I currently own two pieces of gear I consider to be legendary for-lifers. These Kitsbow Haskell shorts I reviewed in 2019 and this Merino hoody my wife bought me years back.

I figure I could pair my riding kits down to four outfits and be covered year-round with the accessorization of my rain shell when it's torrential, or my weatherproof vest & Merino hoody when it's raining or might rain. Swap out gloves and socks depending on the temperature and weather and I'd be a happy camper.

Now, maybe you're thinking four kits sounds like luxurious excess but I'd make two counterpoints. Most of my riding gear looks casual and doubles up for daily life. Also, I get out on the trails or commute fairly regularly. My minimalist setup assumes a few Merino t-shirts for all occasions and two pairs of shorts and two pairs of pants - A kits and B kits. That way I'm covered if my laundry isn't dry yet.

The only pieces of clothing that would be absolutely set in stone today would be my Kitsbow Haskell shorts and my zip-up Merino hoody. In my mind, these are legendary for-life products that I'll wear into the ground. Perhaps something will wander along and knock them off the pedestal, but there's no active search. I have some other candidates I've been wearing widely that would make my shortlist today. The survivors, if you will, of a theoretical riding gear cull I've long been considering.

Legendary v. Ordinary

"You love great gear. You search out the perfect pieces for your kit: light, flexible, durable, water-resistant, and breathable. An ever-evolving collection of gloves, packs, shorts, jerseys, and jackets. Your bicycle is a rolling declamation that screams “testify” to Keith Bontrager’s eternal “Strong, Light, – whatever the third thing is -: pick any two.” Every piece is selected on spec, and tested in battle. Ridden to a legendary death, retired to obscurity in your back-up gear bag, or posted in the Buy-and-Sell with its trade value listed in a number of beers." - A Fistful of Dollars.

What cycling gear have you owned that you're truly passionate about? Is it like my Core Rat vest where the Cordura covering is imbued with powerfully positive energy but the garment itself, even if fully fresh, isn't something you'd choose to take into the woods today? Or, is it like my wife's favourite IBEX wool jersey where, in hindsight, we should have bought five of them because it's doubtful that a better piece, or at least a better value piece, will ever come along.

I don't expect everything to perform brilliantly or even present fantastic value. But, because I have had some excellent experiences, I have high expectations even for what I'd consider an ordinary garment. Put another way, I'm happy the bulk of my riding gear hasn't been memorable because, unfortunately, the truly memorable examples that were awful outnumbered the memorably fantastic pieces by a fair few.

Now, when it comes to these ordinary-but-good examples of clothing, I've come across a couple of new favourites this year. Not so much love at first wear, and I'm not saying I'd storm the barricades to rescue them, but looking back they received very regular play. Both the Showers Pass Apex shorts and Leatt MTB 4.0 pants would make my keep-list if it came time to cull down to a single backpack of riding gear.

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Regularly pulled straight off the drying rack, this was my uniform for most rides this summer: the ultra-stretchy, very breathable but thick enough to run sans-chamois, Showers Pass Apex shorts and the Race Face All Day Henley.

Until this summer I would have told you that brutalist bottoms were for me. My bombproof Royal Racing DH Pants and Kitsbow Haskell shorts have been my go-to choices for a while and both look basically as new despite plenty of use and plenty of washing. Today, if I had to pick any one pair of shorts to wear for everything, from any point in my life, for the rest of my time, it would be the Haskell.

That said, this spring and summer, two pieces dominated my wardrobe to such an extent that, I think they'd be the beauties that I'd grab in a fire. At least in the warmer months. If it was raining or even overcast I was consistently pulling a pair of Leatt MTB 4.0 pants out of my drawer, or actually, more often, off my drying rack.

This was a surprising transition as initially, I wasn't hot for the MTB 4.0 pants despite their good looks. I was expecting a pant-length version of the DHX 4.0 shorts I really enjoyed and these pants are a significantly lighter weight material by comparison. I also damaged the pants on my very first ride when they lost an awkward altercation with a pair of toothy OneUp Composite pedals. The tear, in one of the perforated sections near the left knee, has not spread an iota despite many rides and trips through the washing machine and the pants themselves haven't given another hint of distress. I also love the use of a ratchet strap instead of f***ing Velcro.

It wouldn't take much to make these legendary-in-my-mind and, as sad as it is, it's the colour I'd adjust. When I buy cycling gear I want it to look great for a long time - like my Haskell shorts - but I'm also beyond bored of black. This sand and onyx (beige & dark blue) option looked great when new but they're stained and looking well used now. Leatt also makes the MTB 4.0 pants with an onyx upper but they have white legs, which has to be even worse. The other option is boring black.

I quite like the two-tone colour layout but give me two dark colours. Onyx and Purple?

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It wasn't love at first touch for the Race Face Henley. I usually ride in a Merino wool t-shirt, but this blend of wool, polyester, and spandex has a bit more a traditional jersey texture. (Photos: AM)

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Still, I'd guess some 90% of my non-rainy rides this summer were in this kit. It just happened to be what I'd naturally reach for every ride. Amazing mobility and all-day comfort.

Race Face Henley and Showers Pass Shorts NSMB AndrewM (4).JPG

I don't hate many things, but Velcro closures are one of them. Didn't stop me from loving these Apex shorts though. In a perfect world these adjusters would be sewn in - not Velcro. Belt loops would be a great option too.

Leatt is known as a company that makes great riding pants so the fact I think they're excellent probably isn't surprising to most folks, but what about my go-to Showers Pass shorts? They even have reflective accents for low-light visibility! I wasn't surprised the shorts were of high quality - I've had lots of solid experiences with Showers Pass gear - but I didn't expect to wear them on the majority of my rides this summer.

The key feature of the Apex shorts is fit. They're amazingly stretchy without feeling too thin to sit in sans chamois thanks to using heavier material on the back panel. They use a rubberized gripper system around the back of the waist so they stay in place very well without having to be cinched to the point of constriction. The DWR finish doesn't help in a proper deluge but it did save me from any staining when I poured coffee on myself mid-guffaw. More than once. I can't over recommend trying a pair on if you see them at your local. Showers Pass isn't the first, second, or tenth name that would have come to mind for mountain bike shorts but these changed that.

They aren't perfect however and I'd make a few changes. First, I'd ditch the hook-and-loop waist closure in favour of just relying on their twin-snap spec and I'd also ditch the Velcro waist size adjustment in favour of sliders sewn into the shorts or even belt-loops. Lastly, I didn't have any use for the leg vents that double as pockets. I like simple so I'd ditch those pockets entirely in favour of two fewer zippers. I know that sounds like a lot of edits but if you don't mind Velcro then there are really no complaints of note. Also, I like these shorts so much I'm planning to get belt loops added.

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Bonus: I can't explain why my go-to pink 100% iTrack gloves fit better than their other colours, but they do. In the hierarchy of favourites, it goes from these specific gloves to my Bontrager Evokes, to whatever other option is clean.

Both Leatt's 130 USD MTB 4.0 Pants and Showers Pass' 105 USD | 130 CAD Apex shorts are solid options. The Apex shorts could happily be my only warmer weather option and I've been living in the MTB 4.0 pants on any ride that didn't call for the Apex. Laundry days aside of course.

I'm curious about pieces you hold up as legendary, that perform to today's standard, and about what almost-there pieces you own and what it would take to get them over the line.

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Comments

oldmanbike
OldManBike
9 months, 1 week ago
+3 Andrew Major Vik Banerjee Newwestguy

My list:

  • Patagonia Houdini jacket
  • REI merino zip top
  • Troy Lee Ruckus shorts

Reply

oldmanbike
OldManBike
9 months, 1 week ago
+1 Andrew Major

My honorable mention goes to Tenacious Tape. Learned about it from Patagonia rep. It's added years of happy service for many ripped items, including my Houdini and the Ruckus shorts.

Reply

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
9 months, 1 week ago
+1 OldManBike

Tenacious tape! I’ve patched so much gear over the years. Their patches are great too.

Reply

oldmanbike
OldManBike
9 months, 1 week ago
+1 Andrew Major

Yes, agreed. Oddly, I think patching up ripped gear adds a little to my affection for it. My only unsuccessful project was using a couple Tenacious clear patches to fix a big rip in a jersey, they don't have a pleasant feel against sweaty skin.

Reply

mammal
Mammal
9 months, 1 week ago
+3 Timer Andrew Major Todd Hellinga

I'm blown away that you find those Tan/Navy Leatt Pants pleasing to the eye. First and only thought on the trail would be "what the hell is that guy wearing on his legs??".

Reply

andy-eunson
Andy Eunson
9 months, 1 week ago
+4 Zero-cool Mammal Andrew Major AndrewR

We’re you thinking gaiters and nuditity? Really short assless chaps?

Reply

mammal
Mammal
9 months, 1 week ago
+3 Andrew Major Andy Eunson AndrewR

My god, that's hilarious. I couldn't have summed it up better.

Reply

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
9 months, 1 week ago
+3 Andy Eunson Mammal AndrewR

Hahahahaha… f***… will never look at them the same again you jerks!!!

Reply

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
9 months, 1 week ago
+2 Mammal Velocipedestrian

HAHAHAHAHA. They look a fair bit crappier than new now but I think what I love about them is that they're different than everyone else's stuff. As noted, I'd prefer two darker colours but I do think they aren't boring.

Or at least, they aren't boring in a way that may still appeal to the average mountain biker. Personally I think most companies would do well to offer one bland option and one bold option for their kits (instead of a ton of colour choice). 

For the bland, you go with a black or grey, probably something with "heather" in the name. For the bold, maybe a watermelon print, cat camo, I mean... live a little.

Reply

mammal
Mammal
9 months, 1 week ago
+2 Andrew Major Velocipedestrian

I'm almost always OK with "bold" and agree about the plain+bold options being a good idea. But tan combined with anything dark makes a horrible combo, on almost anything.

Reply

FlipFantasia
Todd Hellinga
9 months, 1 week ago
0

black on black nf pants for me! haha

Reply

Vikb
Vik Banerjee
9 months, 1 week ago
+2 Andrew Major Metacomet

My Legendary List

  • Sombrio Vagabond Jersey [I wear 'em every cool/cold ride until things get sub-0 deg C]
  • Race Face Stage Shorts [the previous version with longer inseam]
  • Race Face Ruxton Pants [If it's cool/cold out I am wearing these]
  • Club Ride SS Shirts [don't recall the model name]
  • Patagonia Houdini Vest [almost every ride unless it's deep summer]
  • Patagonia Houdini Jacket [if it's raining or might rain]
  • 5.10 Freeriders [regular for summer + EPS for winter]
  • Oakley Jawbreaker Photocromatic [worn for pretty much every BC MTB ride]

I've got a few different clothing setups so I don't have to think about what to wear. I've gotten smart enough to buy more than one of most of these ^^^ items so a full laundry hamper or a misplaces piece doesn't slow me down. I like riding with fenders and no pack so my clothes fit well, don't get weird sweat patches and don't get blasted with crud from the wheels. That helps with all day comfort a lot in less than ideal conditions.

Reply

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
9 months, 1 week ago
+1 Vik Banerjee

The PataGucci Houdini stuff is scoring multiple ‘legendary’ hits. Interesting!

Your Club Ride jersey is one of the older USA made ones?

Reply

Vikb
Vik Banerjee
9 months, 1 week ago
+1 Andrew Major

No I SE Asia made. I discovered CR too late for that. I find them great because the fit, style, performance [drying/ventilation] works really well for me for warm weather riding. Construction is fine. I have not had any failures. Fabric has not been damaged despite being fairly light, but I am not a frequent crasher. Final win is that on a longer road trip it doesn't look like bike gear and is nice enough to go to a fancy restaurant or if we get invited for dinner somewhere.

I tend to buy Patagonia from their website on special. They often sell Houdini gear at 50% off as long as you are fine with colours most other people said no to and get lucky on the size offerings. I've had many similar vests/jackets and the Patagonia stuff is nicer to wear/durable [for what it is] and they offer repair services/great warranty. So I think you can get good value with their gear especially if you are willing to shop the sales.

Reply

pete@nsmb.com
Pete Roggeman
9 months, 1 week ago
+1 Andrew Major

Can also confirm Houdinis make for great riding jackets.

Reply

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
9 months, 1 week ago
+1 Vik Banerjee

I think it's the most mentioned piece in the comments. Obviously something I need to check out.

Reply

Vikb
Vik Banerjee
9 months ago
0

The Houdini Air is the fancier more breathable version if you prize that over lower cost. I keep wanting one, but I own the standard Houdini since it spends a lot of time in a frame bag/pack as my emergency shell.

Reply

denomerdano
Deniz Merdano
9 months, 1 week ago
+2 Martin Andrew Major

For me it's the 

TLD Skyline shorts and pants.

Ditch the liner that come with the shorts immediately.

Better yet, find a shop that sell the shorts as shell only. Most comfortable, and the correct length shorts in my rotation. Only to be replaced by the TLD Resist shorts for the wet but warmer rides. NF DP3 pants for the wet and cold rides.

The Skyline pants are so good and comfortable, that i don't wear them riding. They do get casual wear duty often. 

I have worn them on colder, dry days and they are perfect.

Reply

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
9 months, 1 week ago
0

Someone asked me why it seems every bike shop everywhere carries TLD clothing even if the shop next door does... I've only ever owned their gloves and some shorts years ago but obviously need to check out more of the current line.

Reply

goose8
goose8
9 months, 1 week ago
+2 Andrew Major Metacomet

I have a couple of top pieces I love, still waiting to find the perfect shorts. I appreciate the suggestions here and will check some of those out. In chronological order:

-An old patagonia fleece vest with windblock fleece on the front and breathable fleece on the back. It's mint for riding.

-Chromag wool short sleeve riding t's. These check all the boxes for me in the summer and work well in the winter too as layering pieces.

-Stio Eddy shirt. This is fairly new to me, but so far I'm impressed by its versatility. I've been surprised with how warm it keeps me when I layer it over a base piece, even with light rain and wind. 

Runner-up: Raceface Agent pants. I really like these for winter riding layered over wool long johns, but they're the only pair of riding-specific pants I've used, so I don't have much to compare them to. Kudos to Andrew for turning me on to them. A belt with some stretch by Arcade pairs nicely with these.

Reply

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
9 months, 1 week ago
+1 goose8

Love my Arcade belts! The woven version could have one day become legendary but it died. My other one has had a good life but isn’t as ‘positive’ as a woven. 

I used their suspenders for riding for a couple years too. Never quite got the system dialed but it had potential. I ditched them when I went back to wearing a pack.

Reply

danimaniac
danimaniac
9 months, 1 week ago
+1 goose8

Arcade belts are the best.

But for riding gear I prefer to ridge without a belt, even though just the buckle always annoyed me when I still rode with belts.

My go-to pants are the Endura Single-track as trousers and shorts (short fit)

Just awesome and perfectly placed pockets. I like the trousers better though. Will always grab them as long as I don't want to show off my "fck COVID-19 " socks. Then of course it's shorts-time

Also leatt airflex knee protection. Game changer for me. So comfy I don't mind wearing them for a full day of riding 

Tops: any Merino LS from Mons Royale.

Reply

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
9 months, 1 week ago
+1 danimaniac

I hate Velcro and have no hips so it's a belt for me on most clothing I buy. Notable exceptions are my Leatt and Royal pants which both use a ratchet strap. 

I love my Airflex pads to pedal in but I will say my Race Face Roam pads are better for big crashes. It's all compromises of course. The Roams are warm.

Reply

danimaniac
danimaniac
9 months, 1 week ago
0

I'm just happy I actually have not really put them to a test, yet... in the last two years I've ridden pretty conservative, some might say fearful :D

Reply

martin
Martin
9 months, 1 week ago
+2 Andrew Major Vik Banerjee

I have a short list of legendary gear, but the two things  that come to mind for me are :

-Sickle climbing knickers : I bought 4 pairs on closeout for 20$ea at MEC in 2011-2012 and I still haven't found better riding shorts. Seriously! Not a single tear, stain or anything after all those years of riding (I'm mostly rotating the same 2 pairs all the time). I have tried Sombrio, Troy Lee Designs, Dakine and Showers Pass ( the IMBA model is nice!) shorts but nothing fit as well. The TLD Skyline fit well also but not as well. Made of nylon, they resist anything and after coming out of the dryer they even repel water very well. After cutting a few inches in length, they were perfect. I can't stand to see then anymore (only cane in light grey or brown) but they're the only shorts I ride in (and I've worn them daily for most of those years!).

-Camelback Repack LR4 (current version) : I have been riding this pack for 4 years, crashed into rocks and rivers and it's still like new. Always filled to the brim, the zippers still work well and it's got all I need for 2-3 hour rides.  I've never found a pack that I truly forget it's on and that can be adjusted while riding. Feels so good to not have anything on my back or shoulders, I'm sold. Even bought a second one on sale in case this one dies.

Reply

Vikb
Vik Banerjee
9 months, 1 week ago
+2 Andrew Major Martin

I had 2 pairs of those knickers. I have one old pair remaining as my backcountry touring capris. They are too stained/worn for normal use, but perfect for backcountry touring as they are warm when you want them to be and cool when you need them to be. Add a pair of long socks and you have pants...sort of...to keep biting bugs off your lower half.

For a while MEC was the capri/knicker warehouse, but these days not so much.

Prana used to make a good knicker and I have a couple of them still, but they are gone from their line up. Not sure why the outdoor industry has turned its back on the excellent man-pri design?

Reply

martin
Martin
9 months, 1 week ago
+1 Vik Banerjee

I have a hard time finding similar shorts today, I wish some companies would still make some. I've also built bikes with those Sickles on, spent many hours trail building, drove probably a hundred complete days with them on (QC-Yukon a few times), hiked, bushwacked, etc. They had a few grease stains which ended up disappearing with the frequent washed. The colors (unfortunately haha) are still pretty much exactly like when I bought them, they haven't discolored. 

This summer I bought some Dakine shorts because I wanted black riding shorts but never wore them as they're a bit tight at the waist. The Showers Pass IMBA at MEC fit pretty good, but even at 50% off (70$), I thought that they didn't fit as well as my Sickles and I could feel the material pull a bit when lifting the legs up. 

Still waiting for a Sickle company revival to get new shorts but they seem to have disappeared!

Reply

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
9 months, 1 week ago
+1 Martin

I love Knickers! Used to have some many pairs but now down to my last two well worn pairs of the old USA-made Swrve mid-weights. I use them for city cycling and work at the shop but haven’t mountain biked in them since my kid started riding and I started always wearing armour.

Can your Sickles clear knee pads or you ride without? I wish my Swrves were just a bit more open (without being too open).

Reply

martin
Martin
9 months, 1 week ago
+1 Andrew Major

I cut a few inches of length to fit perfectly with my knee pads (currently Dakine Hellion). The opening is just the right size so that they don't show a skin gap when pedalling, and they don't snag into the pads. I wish they still made them as I'd order a few pairs in black and so the same modification. 

Just so you can compare measures if you want, folded flat, the overall length on the side is 20.5", inseam is 10.5", leg opening is 11". After progressively cutting a bit of length, this is what I finally sewn them to and I feel it is the best length. The legs just reach the bottom of my knee cap when standing up. The leg opening seem to open a bit more than other shorts but the thighs are maybe a bit closer to the skin, which I prefer over baggy pants. They're 96% nylon and 4% spandex, so they have just enough stretch and since they were made for climbing, they had a nice little pre-formed knee curve. Did I say they were perfect for riding ? :)

By the way, great article Andrew! It's nice to see what works for other people and sometimes we find some gems in everyone else's list too!

Reply

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
9 months, 1 week ago
+1 Martin

It's just funny because I was such a knickers guy. Every mountain bike ride, all year round. I owned two weights of Swrve knickers - LOVE THEM. And I still wear them for almost every non-mountain bike ride.

I think if Swrve still made this in North American and I could get them to fit my knee pads as nicely as my Leatt or Royal pants do then...

...I just realized I could hack my pants into knickers?! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH

------

Thanks! Yeah, I love reading about other folks' 'legendary' pieces.

Reply

martin
Martin
9 months ago
0

Haha! Yeah you can definitely knicker your regular pants! My neighbour back in the day had a sewing machine and she liked wine so it was easy to trade : ) 

I just saw that some other companies make knickers today (or 3/4 pants), but they seem pretty slim at the thighs/knees. Might be better starting with MTB pants like the Leatt. Cheers!

Reply

craw
Cr4w
9 months, 1 week ago
+1 Vik Banerjee

Hey knickers people. Seems long short people aren't that rare after all. What size shorts are we talking about and what inseam length is working for you?

Reply

the-couch
the-couch
9 months, 1 week ago
+1 Martin

I have some MEC knickers that are pre-Trickster (https://www.mec.ca/en/product/5026-365/Trickster-Knicker) and pre-Prankster (https://www.mec.ca/en/product/5035-508/Prankster-Knickers). I just can't get rid of them because they are basically indestructible and they do what I want (mostly).

They don't make me look very good because the cut is kind of mediocre but I am still a huge fan. Inseam is ~18.5" and outseam is about 29" (for a 32" waist).  Could probably go an inch shorter, at the most.

Two burly reinforced snaps at the waist, zippered front pockets are mesh, belt loops, 2 back pockets of basic utility (for off the bike), articulated knee, a gear loop at the back for carabiners (?), no side pockets. 

A bit slimmer, a few tweaks, and I would be super happy.

Reply

Vikb
Vik Banerjee
9 months ago
+1 Martin

I like the older style RF Stage shorts with 14" inseams. I buy 33" pants if I can get 'em and won't say no to 34" inseam pants. I really have never found a pair of shorts that were too long. ;-)

Sadly the current version of that short has a noticeably shorter inseam...they are still long in comparison to average MTB shorts, but I don't love them like the older version.

Reply

martin
Martin
9 months ago
0

@craw I'm only 5'9" but my cut knickers are, folded flat : the overall length on the side is 20.5", inseam is 10.5" from knee to where all the sewings meet under the bum, leg opening is 11" wide. But as I mentioned up in the other replies, they are cut to get to around the middle of my knee cap when standing up. They also worked well when a bit longer too but the knee snagged a bit int the knee pads.Cheers!

Reply

Gdreej
Graham Driedger
9 months, 1 week ago
+2 Andrew Major Deniz Merdano

My Ibex Taos merino flannel button up. I've had it since 2014, and it's ran the gamut of being a fancy Canadian Dinner Shirt, to ski midlayer, to a riding/trail digging dirt shirt which needs some elbow patches. Then I bought a second to fill the spot when I need a nice flannel for said Canadian dinners. 

NF Destroyer V2 pants for any riding under 15°. They breathe exceptionally well and keep dirt off me, have a minimal but cavernous pocket layout, and the stretchy waistband wins in the comfort/lack of bulk dept. over any other waist cinch. They don't show any appreciable wear other than a short length of blown inner thigh seam (which NF repairs in-house). 

Honourable mention goes to the Sugoi commuter rain pants from 2014. I've tried to kill those bastards using mattocks and shovels while grinding  gold soil into the textile. They're paper thin, but will likely keep going for another 7 years.

Reply

denomerdano
Deniz Merdano
9 months, 1 week ago
+1 Andrew Major

My Ibex merino is a favourite for sure. It fits tight and works great as a base layer for other long sleeve jerseys or the patagonia shell for drizzly rides. 

NF Dan marino jersey is superior in every way though. It fits and feels better and can be worn on its own. Ibex gives a blood sausage impression a little too accurately. 

Also love the idea of bringing a spare merino for those hard effort wet rides. Such a comfort to slip into dry merino for the descent!

Reply

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
9 months, 1 week ago
0

Spare merino shirt is the best. Yet another reason to ride with a pack!

Reply

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
9 months, 1 week ago
0

Ibex made some great stuff. My wool bib-knickers would get on a legendary list for city/commuting/road riding.

The only time I semi-regularly wear a chamois anymore is when it’s cold and I’m pedaling on the road and I need the warm leg-snuggles that only my bib-knickers can deliver.

Reply

rigidjunkie
Allen Lloyd
9 months, 1 week ago
+2 4Runner1 Andrew Major

About 10 years ago I went to a conference and they handed out these obnoxious red long sleeve athletic shirts.  I thought they were the stupidest thing ever.  Then I rode in one, I ended up calling a friend who worked at the company and asked if they had any extras.  I am down to 2 good and 1 nearly garbage, 2 others died in crashes.  

I also have a couple pair of the same North Face shorts, so often I ride all weekend in the "same clothes" I 100% agree having a go to outfit that you just put on is very nice.

Reply

4Runner1
4Runner1
9 months, 1 week ago
+2 Andrew Major Greg Bly

I have several pieces that I mix and match. My favourites being Chromag 70% merino jerseys, POC shorts (best fitting riding shorts I’ve ever known), and my prescription Oakley glasses (geek alert).

However, the approximately 10 year old Adidas pull over mesh quarter zip thing my wife found at Value Village for $3, is the all time champ of my kit. It just won’t die. I can wear it over a merino jersey when it’s 5 - 12 degrees out; or, 5 months a year in Island speak. It’s ugly as shit, with it’s neon yellow striped arms. Couldn’t care less.

Reply

earleb
earle.b
9 months, 1 week ago
+2 Metacomet goose8

New item that I've used several times now and supper happy with is the Patagonia Airshed Pro Pullover. It's from their running line. It's a mix of Capilene in the arms and back but has a windproof front panel with a deep zipper on it. I've used a Houdini for a few years and a big fan of windshirts but found it didn't breath well enough for high output wear. So far the Airshed is a better balance.

Reply

GiveitsomeWelly
Karl Fitzpatrick
9 months, 1 week ago
+2 Andrew Collins Velocipedestrian

NZOActive Dobie Shorts. They last years and I'm on my third and fourth pairs. 

I've ridden in technical synthetic fabrics for years as they're cheap, dry quickly and last a decent amount of time but they stink to high heaven after a good slog. 

BUT my father in law has started underestimating his shirt size (haha) when buying his (expensive) Merino Ts so guess who benefits? Me, baby! 

My oh my, merino wets out pretty easily with my Pat Rafter level of perspiration but they dry super fast and don't stink in the slightest so I wear them on repeat. 

Amazing. I'm not sure they'd deal with much ground contact but I haven't found out so far. 🤷🏽

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Shortyesquire
Andrew Collins
9 months, 1 week ago
+1 Andrew Major
  • Nike pro longsleeve baselayer in light grey with mesh back panels for excellent sun protection and heat venting.
  • I've also got a thicker 1/4 zip version for riding in cooler weather.
  • Dueter Race 12 Exp air backpack and Henty Enduro Lumbar backpack. Probably the best riding backpacks ever made. Just remember to lube the zips so the sweat doesn't eat them. 
  • Sidi Dominators. Nuff said.

Reply

blackhat
blackhat
9 months, 1 week ago
+1 Andrew Major

Just snagged a pair of SIDI defenders.  I’m not quite in love yet because they need a few more rides to break in completely, but utterly fantastic so far.  Seems like they’ll hold up for a while too.

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
9 months, 1 week ago
+1 Allen Lloyd

I knew so many folks you ride in Dominators. They never fit my feet but I tried Sidi shoes on a few times just for their rave reviews about stiffness to weight ratio.

It’s interesting because I never notice Sidi shoes on the trail anymore. Too many options and people riding more casual shoes for general mountain biking now maybe?

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Timer
Timer
9 months, 1 week ago
+1 Andrew Major
  • Top of my Legendary List are Adidas (now Silhouette) Evil Eye Trace prescription riding glasses. Had my first pair for 10 years, wore them for riding, skiing, surfing, hiking, summer and winter. Now on my second pair. I'm lucky in that my eyesight doesn't change much over time. Very pricy, but worth every cent.

  • Mavic Altium riding jacket. The front, shoulders and arms are windproof and somewhat water resistant, the back is super breathable. Haven't found anything else equally good for winter riding. Sadly they don't make it anymore.

  • A pair of Shimano SPD shoes that i don't even know the model name of. Bought them 10+ years ago for ~45€. The style is similar to a hiking shoe, with a nice velcro lace cover and some protection at the inside of the ankle. They have outlasted half a dozend sets of cleats and literally every kind of weather and abuse one can think of.

  • Deuter Compact Light backpack. Super comfy, well thought out, lasts forever.

  • And a pair of "Different Bikes" riding socks i got at a NSRide raffle in ~2010. Just socks, but the durability is amazing.

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
9 months, 1 week ago
+1 Timer

The DB socks bring back memories! Are they the ones with the FF in flames? I think those were made by SOS (Save Our Socks) and mine lasted incredibly well with a ton of use. 

Mavic has had some great pieces over the years but, at least in North America, they just never had sticking power? I have a friend with Mavic baggy shorts he bought for 60% off at his LBS that he’d pay 2x SRP to replace now that they’re dying.

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Timer
Timer
9 months, 1 week ago
+1 Andrew Major

Yes exactly! Blue/Black with flaming "ff".

I was drawn to Mavic mainly because of the fit. Being a slim guy, the french and italian brands tend to fit me better than northern european or american ones. The few pieces i got from them are really good. Not sure if this is still true for their current stuff, with the change of ownership and restructuring going on.

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
9 months, 1 week ago
0

I think my brother still has a pair rolling as well. 

My only Mavic soft goods experience were shoes and the Deemax shoes were AWESOME. I do have to laugh a bit about what I thought was a rearward cleat pocket in 2017 though... compared to my Bontrager's those things were road shoes. 

Cool to go back to the article though because there's my GoreTex vest (RIP) and favourite IBEX long sleeve riding jersey (also RIP) and my beloved Honzo (the original Enduro Single Speed) in a single sweet Dave Smith photo:

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DanLees1978
Dan Lees
9 months, 1 week ago
+1 Andrew Major

Oooo I like a good time served gear list!:

Dakine 8 Track shorts [down to my final holeless pair, any tips for patching shorts where you have worn through the fabric rather than the seams?]

Dakine Dropout Long Sleeve Jersey [looks like a regular T-Shirt]

Oakley Racing Jackets with prescription lenses

DHB (Chainreaction own brand) Windproof Gilet

Under Armour Heat Gear Crew socks [better than cycling specific socks and 1/5 of the price]

Race Face Charge Sub Zero kneewarmers/pads

Giro Chronicle/Source helmets

Dakine Syncline summer gloves

Howies Outback Jacket [Ancient Schoeller 3XDry jacket that has merino on the inside] Amazing in "Cold and Dry", or under a Shell jacket in properly minging conditions

Dakine Underwood Tech Flannel [wear it day to day but have ridden it when it's chilly]

Shimano AM9 shoes [until I switched to flats, I still miss them]

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
9 months, 1 week ago
0

Tenacious does stick-on patches you could try. They might be too thick. 

Local seamstress/seamster (love that word) could also patch them over with whatever. Nothing says lived-and-loved like different coloured patches.

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BenHD
BenHD
9 months, 1 week ago
+1 Andrew Major

Cool article, I really enjoyed it.

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
9 months, 1 week ago
0

Cheers! Glad you enjoyed it.

Reply

Bad-Sean
Sean Chee
9 months, 1 week ago
+1 Andrew Major

I really like Leatt stuff. It’s really well thought out. I particularly like that all of their goggles are OTG. How is that not the norm? I have been running Leatt mx boots, body armour, and goggles for a few years now. My one desire is their MTB stuff gets a bit more colour attention. The moto gear they make has much better colourways and designs than their MTB stuff.

I ride almost everyday but now I think about it, I don’t have much riding gear. That might be to do with my size (6’5”, 240lb) being one that LBS’ don’t usually keep in stock. I have a couple of merino shirts and some endura shorts. The rest does double duty with work on the farm or moto riding. O’neal MX pants are long enough to use for MTB riding. Unlike most MX pants, they’re not restrictive for pedalling.

My favourite piece of kit, though not mtb specific, would have to be my vigilante jacket. They’re a small Australian brand I think. It is light, packs well, stays dry even in monsoon rain and has a good amount of reflective trim without looking like PPE. Most importantly it is stupidly breathable and well ventilated. Most jackets are far too warm to use year round in Western Australia and south east Asia. You end up covered in more sweat than you would have rain. The breathability of this is superb. Sadly it has a very cheap and low quality zipper. I have plans to replace it, I just keep putting it off. I really should get it done this summer, so I don’t have to deal with a broken zipper when I actually need to use the jacket.

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craw
Cr4w
9 months, 1 week ago
+1 Vik Banerjee

I had to make my own shorts because companies seem intent on really fitting only one type of body. I have big legs, a long inseam and a small waist - cycling clothing oddly is the opposite of this so stuff is always too short and if the waist fits the legs are crazy tight (and if you've tried using velcro hook and loop shorts to reel in a way-too-big waist you'll know that it does not work). 

Luckily I run a clothing company and have access to pattern makers and sewers so I fine tuned the fit and then made shorts in three weights (summer, fall and darkest winter levels of breathability/waterproofness) which I replace every few years. Perfect length, rise, thigh/seat space, deep pockets and really wide belt loops that I only really need because I ride with my phone in my pocket. I had to do the same thing with 3/4 sleeve and LS jerseys. Problems solved once and for all.

Shimano MW5 shoes. Really good winter shoes will change your life. I had to experiment a bit to find the right sock to get the right balance of warmth and breathability then I bought three pairs. Going out and returning home with feet still warm and dry is a revelation. My MW5 have been repaired a few times and are getting a little long in the tooth. Next year I'll probably get some MW7s.

My favourite jacket is coming apart at the seams. I'm waiting for my call to do final fit from https://madeoutdoor.ca/ a new Vancouver-based outfit that is the only custom goretex company I know of. They have a couple of different materials and a couple of different styles and a ton of choices. I'll report back when I get my minimalist jacket.

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4Runner1
4Runner1
9 months, 1 week ago
+2 Andrew Major Cr4w

I switched to clips for the winter, and recently invested in MW7’s.  Obviously they aren’t cheap but I am impressed thus far.

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FlipFantasia
Todd Hellinga
9 months, 1 week ago
+2 Pete Roggeman AndrewR

I picked up some MW7's last fall, after struggling a lot over the past years with my toes getting extremely cold and painful in cool/cold weather. Absolute game changer and worth the money, imo.

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
9 months, 1 week ago
+1 Cr4w

I had good results with the MW line. I also really liked the Bontrager JFW. If I had the Esker wool insoles back then it would have been even better.

While I occasionally miss clip-in pedals in the summer, especially for epic rides, I don’t miss them at all in the winter months. Some hydrophobic flat pedal shoes (no bolt-on heat sink), Esker insoles, and wool socks and I’m comfy. No change from what I wear most the year actually.

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craw
Cr4w
9 months, 1 week ago
+1 4Runner1

My MW5s cost a fortune when I bought them 4 years ago (or was it 5?). Realistically they only see 20 days use per year so they've lasted pretty well. 100% worth it.

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xy9ine
Perry Schebel
9 months, 1 week ago
+1 Andrew Major

i concur that the MW's are brilliant. can't believe i've put up with cold / wet feet for so many years. 

and i just love my NF pants - both the dp3's & berzerkers (for cooler / wetter conditions). near perfect garments; that they're made here (by good people) put them over the top. AND their new repair / re-sale used garment program is a fantastic initiative.

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
9 months, 1 week ago
+1 Cr4w

Very interested to hear about your jacket experience! Is it Gore Active material or so you choose?

You spec pockets, good v. no hood?

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craw
Cr4w
9 months, 1 week ago
+1 Andrew Major

I ordered it in Neoshell (Sympatex is their heavier material). Two chest pockets. Pit zips. Adjustable cuffs (not piping). No hood. I never use the hood on my current jacket so for this I opted for a tall collar instead. Their whole system sounds very promising.

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
9 months, 1 week ago
0

I love-love Neoshell but have a hard time paying top dollar for it as it certainly has a shorter shelf life than GoreTex in terms of the membrane holding up to proper winter-on-the-Shore abuse. 

I am still using this Neoshell Softshell jacket from Giro a lot mind you. Like anytime I commute in the rain and also for almost all my mountain bike rides that call for precipitation protection (including the ones where my Merino hoody + vest would have been my first choice).

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morgan-heater
Morgan Heater
9 months, 1 week ago
+1 JVP

I have the big leg skinny waist problem too. The Abit "Athletic" fit are the first shorts I've had that actually fit pretty well, and they've lasted about 4 seasons already.

I really like the NF pants, but they are way too tight to fit kneepads under.

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troy
Troy
9 months ago
0

2nd the Abits! I have the regular fit, but they're my go to. The newest version with two thigh pockets that double as vents are even better. AND the owner is a local rider and long time mtb advocate.

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andy-eunson
Andy Eunson
9 months, 1 week ago
+1 Andrew Major

Winter footwear is a must. My first ones were those red Shimano DH shoes. Got them cheap and wore the hell out of them. They weren’t even really winter shoes at least here. I think in Britain they were marketed as being winter boots. But no vents and sort of weather resistant with room for big socks. Unfortunately the next gen of Shimano winter shoes didn’t come in my size. 39. Now I think they are offered in my size but I run plastic flats for the short cold weather season here in Whistler.

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
9 months, 1 week ago
+1 Andy Eunson

I had those shoes and the matching red DH pedals on my rig in maybe 1997/98. They were my only shoes and I wore them year round. They died horribly but I loved them until they disintegrated.

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denomerdano
Deniz Merdano
9 months, 1 week ago
0

Love the MW5s myself. Once soaked, they take forever to dry but always warm with merino socks. Bought a shoe dryer this year just for this purpose!

I also don't love the pedal feel with them, but I'll take dry over time pedal compatibility most days.

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xy9ine
Perry Schebel
9 months, 1 week ago
+2 Andrew Major Todd Hellinga

i consider the shoe dryer essential hardware in this climate. hose down the galoshes post ride, toss em on the dryer, & they're spiffy clean, dry (& non stanky) for tomorrow's ride. brilliant.

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
9 months, 1 week ago
+2 Metacomet Timer

Yeah, been accused of being a judgemental f*** more than once over my strong opinion that owning a boot dryer in North Vancouver is a key nexus point in measuring a person's year-round-outdoorsiness, experience, intelligence, values, and adultiness. I tell all my 30+ single friends that "Do You Own A Boot Dryer?" is a key pre-screening question before going on a date with anyone.

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FlipFantasia
Todd Hellinga
9 months, 1 week ago
+1 Andrew Major

didn't really anticipate my ski boot dryer would become such a year round tool!

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
9 months, 1 week ago
0

I find with my Esker wool insoles I don't use it quite as much as I did since my shoes don't smell the next day if they're left a tiny bit damp when I get home. I still use my boot dryer a lot but only after really wet rides whereas I used to use it all the time before.

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andy-eunson
Andy Eunson
9 months, 1 week ago
+1 Andrew Major

Real polypropylene Lifa by Helly Hansen long and short sleeve undershirts. They last a really really long time and for us that sweat off a kilo a ride they will actually dry off during descents. Merino wool I find don’t dry as well. And they stink too only worse.  The latest Lifa doesn’t smell much. I have owned Lifa underwear since it came out in the late 70s. Not the same pieces mind you. Nothing better for high output activities.

There is also a sort of “Murphy’s Law” thing about favourite clothes. You wreck it in a crash sooner than you want. I bought some really nice Lycra shorts years ago. On a cold road ride I put those on, covered by some ratty old wool tights with my favourite Lovell bib Lycra tights. Bib tights were rare then and there were no bib shorts yet. Crashed on black ice. Hole in the Lycra tights. Nothing on the wool tights because they already were ratty. Get home from the ride and the brand new most excellent Lycra shorts had a hole. Bought a Castelli Gabba soft shell jersey when they first came out. Fantastic garment. Crashed in the underground parking at Bentall on my morning commute and put a hole in the elbow. Second ride in it.

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
9 months, 1 week ago
0

I want to hear more about this crash in the Bentall building? Epic story or just pedals too tight / a bit too much whisky/whiskey in the morning espresso?

Reply

andy-eunson
Andy Eunson
9 months, 1 week ago
+1 Andrew Major

Polished concrete in the underground. Water off cars driving in. Off the back lane, down a ramp to p2, round a corner to p3, round a corner splat. Not much of a story. I think I was living in a basement suite in Point Grey at the time but I had a bunch of downhill to start the ride which would give ice cream headache so I was well awake.

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Shoreloamer
Greg Bly
9 months, 1 week ago
+1 Andrew Major

I must have 20 jerseys. My minimum ten year old long sleeve Sombrio jerseys always make me smile when I put them on.  

MEC gear and Patagonia as well as top end Arc'teryx is life time warranty.  

For small holes and rips yes give the local tailor a few bucks and you have helped the local economy and the planet.  Thank you Andrew!!!! 

Or if your not too concerned about image but need function. I use shoe glue . It's my sewing kit in a tube . It's waterproof , flexible and very strong.  

Merino wool. If you own it you know its the shit! 

Sorry I have no idea the names of my garments just who makes them . 

Andrew who makes water proof, resistant pants for commuting that work and you don't overheat! I have MEC water proof pants . They work but I overheat after an hour. My Goretex moon stone pants are a perfect fit . Work untill road grime gets in the Goretex.  But I still overheat.

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
9 months, 1 week ago
0

I have some RaceFace Agent pants which aren't waterproof but are nice to ride in but when I use them for commuting they soak through fast. What I learned from them though - and I quite like trail riding in them - is there is not weatherproof option that I won't turn into a soggy greenhouse on any rainy day in Vancouver. Once it gets cold enough that rain pants work for me it's not raining!

I've taken to just carrying extra clothes since I can't dry out my gear at work. I'll wrench in whatever I'm planning to ride home in. 

I know that's totally unhelpful but that's my experience.

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metacomet
Metacomet
9 months, 1 week ago
+1 Andrew Major

When I think of my absolute go-to legendary gear, my mind tends to go to the stuff thats both lasted, and keeps me riding when the weather and temperature would like me to think otherwise, and I think those types of pieces make or break your comfort and riding experience in the more challenging weather conditions. Those are often the hardest pieces to find, and take more experimentation to work out what works best for all of your riding preferences and requirements. They can also take years to acquire all the perfect pieces and work out how to pair them all to form a versatile and effective kit that keeps you riding And smiling all year long. This list is representative both of my tried and never think twice good weather gear, and my SO HAPPY to have found them pieces of gear cause they keep me comfortable through the cold dark and sometimes wet misery weather without becoming a boiled sweaty wet then frozen stew.  

- Leatt 6.0 knee pads have amazed me for their total comfort and pedalability for a very safe feeling pad, and the airflex proś have also been an awesome pad for a lighter weight/warmer weather option

- Leatt 3.0 and 4.0 shorts. Great price, awesome fit, great durability. I would like a thigh pocket on both the right and left leg in the 3.0, same like in the 4.0. 

- Leatt 5.0 jersey. Love the overall fit, and the windproof front and breathable back. Very adaptable layer once the weather gets cold enough and is usually my go to mid and/or outer layer throughout the fall/winter/spring.  

- Fox Racing Defend Fire Alpha Vest. This thing has been an Absolute favorite and I would have a hard time finding a suitable replacement if I lost it. Breathable and flexible softshell type fabric with a very effective insulation up front, and max breath-ability on the back.  

- Fox Defend wind vest and jacket. Super light and packable with breathable backs, and I´m always more comfortable having one of these along even if they don´t get called to action. 

- 7mesh Re:Gen gore active jacket. Got on closeout. My go to rain jacket layer for cold temps. Love wearing this jacket but not sure I would pay full retail for it if I ever lost or fully destroyed it, but its more than just good. I´d probably look for an even more breathable neoshell layer next but those are too much $$$ for how infrequently I find myself riding in full on rain.

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metacomet
Metacomet
9 months, 1 week ago
+1 Vik Banerjee

Continued:

- NF DP3 pants. So comfortable. I always look forward to wearing these once the temps dip enough or the riding intentions warrant them while its still warm outside. 

- NF Dan Merino short sleeve and long sleeve wool shirts. Excellent albeit expensive, but worth it. Wear on and off the bike and both just make a great option for whatever. 

- Raceface Agent pants. Waterproof enough, has some stretch, and most importantly doesn't ride like your typical waterproof type material. Comfortable in the rain but breathable enough that I can still wear these even if its just a wheelspray/splash kind of cold and wet ride. 

- 5.10 Freerider EPS mid/high-top shoes. I use these pretty much all year. Sole is just the right combination of stiff enough/soft enough/thin enough for my preferences and the shoe can cover all but the absolute coldest temperatures and is actually fine for me even in the hottest. 

- 100% Brisker gloves. Cheap, breathable for being windproof´ish, thin palm, warm enough and can also made quite a bit warmer with thin liner gloves.  

- Answer Sleestak gloves. Cheap, WARM, thin palm, packable, breathable. Very natural feeling glove for the full cold deep winter. Awesomely warm for how minimal they feel and have been my best solution for warm hands with good dexterity in real cold conditions.  

-Blackstrap, The Danna. Its essentially a velcro backed bandana. Can cover enough of my neck when its fully fíng cold out without causing me to overheat, and easy to take on and off and adjust perfectly. 

- Gore windproof skull cap, and gore windproof headband.  Super thin and right combination of breathable and warm and windproof for the cold and the cold cold. 

I could keep going but these are most all of the pieces that I would hate to live without, especially the ones I use during the cold dark wet and snowy season.

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
9 months, 1 week ago
+2 Metacomet Karl Fitzpatrick

I do love my Brisker gloves. That's a great note to get an extra pair this year as they're amazing until they're saturated. 

I always get nervous talking about Agent pants because I've known a fair few folks who own them that expect them to stretch and breathe like the Leatt's but be waterproof like some Viking PVC construction kit. I really like them on the trail - waterproof enough for most rides - glad I'm not the only one.

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metacomet
Metacomet
9 months, 1 week ago
+1 Andrew Major

Yeah they are just the right combination of water proof´ish in my opinion.  Keep the DWR fresh on them and they do a pretty damn admirable job of truly fending off quite a bit of water, but more important to me is that you dont immediately boil in them and remain quite comfortable in the rain/cold/wet while wearing them. If it´s really raining out, your skin and your baselayers/undergarments are going to get damp no matter what, but the outerlayer is going to make all the difference in how comfortable and how dry you Feel.  The Agent pants dont soak out and start feeling heavy and wet, and they also dont leave you feeling like a lobtser being boiled alive if its cool enough outside for them in the first place.  But you definitely aint gonna be dry-suit dry underneath if thats the expectation.  haha

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
9 months, 1 week ago
0

That's something I'll say about my Leatt pants as well. They aren't weather resistant at all but they also don't soak up water so even once they're cold they don't feel heavy. TIf they're soaked through they do get colder than the Agents riding down the road home from the trails though.

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mrbrett
mrbrett
9 months, 1 week ago
+1 Andrew Major

Ibex Merino Bib Knickers for fall/winter

7Mesh Glidepath shorts for summer

NF DP3 pants for fall

NF Berzerker pants for winter

Icebreaker Merino t shirts year round

Darn Tough socks

That’s my list of top value purchases. Every time I take this stuff out of the drawer I think about how durable it’s been. 

I used to ride with an old guy that said “Buy something nice and cry once, or buy something cheap and cry every time you use it.”

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
9 months, 1 week ago
+1 mrbrett

Genuinely sad that Ibex wool bib knickers aren’t a thing anymore. So many people never got a chance to appreciate their winter greatness.

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kurt-adams
Kurt Adams
9 months, 1 week ago
+1 Andrew Major

I'm still rocking some Roach shorts for the bro/beer rides!  Definitely legendary quality!

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JakeRedrum
JakeRedrum
9 months, 1 week ago
+1 Metacomet

For some reason, my Raceface Agent pants seem really waterproof...must be a fluke. Also have a pair of Fox Ranger 3L pants. Closer fit and smaller pockets, but great performance.
NF Dan Merino short and long sleeves are keepers. NF hemp jersey is great except when it is too hot or too wet.
Endura waterproof socks and winter gloves exceed expectations.
7Mesh Copilot jacket is comfortable and compact, but elastics break and waterproofing is more of a suggestion.
I can't say enough about the Ryders photochromatic Fyre lens...never fog and transition well. Bonus...they are great for cross country skiing as well.

Reply

DogVet
Hugo Williamson
9 months, 1 week ago
+1 Andrew Major

All my gear is second hand from a racer mate, usually one colour year out of date, so it depends who his previous years sponsors were!!

The clothes are rarely ” washed”, usually rinsed, pretty much like my bikes, as being retired and riding all year round in the UK, all the kit beit bikes or attire gets hammered.

Shorts or pants last until the ass drops out, tops last much longer, the tight fitting performance tops are great to stop muscle “bounce” as you get older.

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Vincent66
Vincent66
9 months ago
+1 Andrew Major

Acre Supply traverse shorts ; I bought them in 2013 and kept wondering if 165USD was justified.

I can say today it was. Very light, water repellent, super resilient ; not a single stitch has come loose ...

The other piece is an icebreaker merino Tee-shirt bought on 2011. I wear it almost on every ride.

These two items seems to last forever !

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
9 months ago
0

I've been wearing Icebreaker T's as daily driver tops for years now (mountain biking and life) and while I've worn out a few I'll agree they last surprisingly long. 

Acre/Mission stuff is so nice. That's who made my Merino hoody (but when they were manufacturing clothing in Vancouver). Also, have their backpack which I usually use in the winter (when it's time for a waterproof pack) though I'm very much on the Protector Vest program still.

Reply

boomforeal
boomforeal
9 months ago
+1 Andrew Major

i love durable, dependable gear -- maybe a bit too much:

  • i bought a pair of pearl izumi shorts from the discount rack at my LBS in 2016 that are still going strong and showing virtually no signs of wear. i use them on the bike, for running, playing soccer -- basically any and all physical activity.
  • i have a pair of pearl izumi shoulder-season gloves i bought from that shop beside mighty riders in 2014 that are only just looking like they'll need imminent replacement. wear them on and off the bike for 4-6 months of the year. pi stuff just lasts, i'm surprised not to see more of it on this page
  • the specialized therminal tights i reviewed for nsmb back in 2014 are still going strong. i probably wear them on ~30-40 rides a year and on the odd time i run during the winter. i replaced the defroster boots after a couple of years on the shore with another pair that see lots of action (pretty much any ride that is cold and/or wet) but less abuse and are holding up just fine 4 years in
  • i have several pairs of bikeco branded merino sock guy socks that just won't die. i used to buy a couple of pairs every few years, but haven't been up the S2S in 3 years and still have a bin full of them. again, used for all activity except when it gets really cold; they're looking pretty beat but refuse to die
  • i have a couple of ice-breaker t shirts that are probably 5 years old. like the pi shorts and sg socks i wear them pretty much any time i'm going to sweat. they're pretty trashed -- both have torn sleeves from crashes and virtually see-through patches -- but they fit and work so well i'm having a hard time giving them up

i'm not at all adverse to spending more up front for durability and performance. but i haven't found much of a correlation between good reputation, reviews and high prices, and actual durability -- more often companies that claim longevity seem to rely on a generous warranty, rather than quality construction and materials, to back it up. i'm looking at you arc'teryx, mission workshop, rapha, and search and state :-(

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
8 months, 4 weeks ago
0

I've always recommended P.I. bib sorts from my chamois-wearing days but haven't tried much of their gear otherwise. It's still their Summit Shell that lives in my pack and it's proven durable to having whatever floating around in there with it, but it's not something that really stokes my fire. 

I have had good luck with Icebreaker T's from years back. I'm careful not to wash them with Velcro and hang dry but otherwise treat them like mountain bike gear and they keep coming back for more. I don't know if there's anything to it, but the ones I still have that have seen the most use are almost seven years old, but I've retired others that I purchased more recently after they had a number of holes form. 

--

Curious what Mission stuff you've had a rough go with? My Merino hoody gets a ton of use on and off the bike, it's one of their old made-in-Vancouver ones and was purchased at On The Rivet years back. I also have a commuter backpack that has been awesome. 

My original Acre Hauser pack (USA Made) had a strap mounting point fail in a crash. I've hung on to the pack because I'm certain it's repairable I just need to make some time to find someone in Vancouver to do it for me. I have a second Hauser (USA Made) through work that's been going strong for 3/4 of the year trail riding, hiking, and etc and it's held up really well and it's been getting solid abuse for about four years since I hung up the other one (with plans to repair it... really need to get on that).

I did have a jacket (Neoshell / made in Vancouver) where the membrane eventually disintegrated but this is the end life for all Neoshell garments in my experience. Still a fan of the stuff in use, but it doesn't have the life of a well-cared-for GoreTex product.

__

An important aside that you bring up is that warranty factor. I've seen a lot of gear that would have been easily repairable - including some really expensive stuff - get replaced instead and it drives me nuts. Especially because the cost of shipping often is similar to the cost of having the local seamstress/seamster fix it up.

I'd love to see more companies issue repair credits. Send me a photo of the wear/damage and if it's something covered by my warranty let me issue you a credit for the repair cost. I guess there's a concern about the quality of repairs being unregulated?

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khai
khai
8 months, 4 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

>> My original Acre Hauser pack (USA Made) had a strap mounting point fail in a crash. I've hung on to the pack because I'm certain it's repairable I just need to make some time to find someone in Vancouver to do it for me.

There's a place called Stitchers on Broadway right across the street from the old MEC (downstairs - there's another place on street level that I know nothing about).  I've been taking my gear there for years (anything that requires an industrial sewing machine or Gore patching/seam taping).  She does fantastic work for a very fair price.  I have another person on Lonsdale for garments and lighter/finer stuff but I don't think she does "heavy" work...

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
8 months, 3 weeks ago
+1 khai

Thanks, Khai,

I will touch base with them. I use Sateen on Lonsdale for repairs and alterations of clothing but this is a much meaner job for sure.

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khai
khai
8 months, 3 weeks ago
0

Hah!  Sherry (Sateen) is my go-to for clothing repair as well!  Stitchers is owned/run by a woman called Fatameh, and she's fantastic.  She's done a good amount of heavy duty work for me over the years and I've always been very happy with her quality.

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Shortyesquire
Andrew Collins
9 months, 1 week ago
0 Andrew Major Kurt Adams

I find this lack of Sidi love and the call outs for better winter shoes disturbing. 

To give you some idea of Sidi quality and longevity, I have a pair or 10 yr old Sidi Genius carbon road shoes that have had the heel pads replaced twice and the buckle replaced once. But they otherwise perform as new. 

A 12 yr old pair of Sidi Adventure Gtx motorbike boots that have done Sydney to Broome and London to Beijing and still look great. 

I've owned 3 pairs of Sidi Dominators or equivalents since 2001. My current pair are 2 yrs old and going strong. 

My current winter shoes are a pair of Sidi Diablo Gtx high tops with a huge water resistant cuff closure around the ankle. These only get used 2 months of the year in Australia and will probably get passed down to my kids.

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stinhambo
Steven Hambleton
9 months ago
0

Troy Lee Design Ruckus jersey (2020)

Fox Attitude jersey (2016) 

Nukeproof Backline shorts with liner (2021)

Specialized 2FO Roost shoes

Giro Chronicle helmet

Henty Enduro v2 hydration belt with webbing (you should try one!)

I'm still looking for some legendary gloves..

Reply

khai
khai
9 months ago
0
  • Some form of merino top - either a T or long sleeve.  It's cold as a base layer under something else (or even if it's warm if I have to be wearing a non-merino jersey)
  • some form of merino socks (Showers Pass waterproof merino socks if it's wet)
  • 7mesh bottoms - Glidepath shorts if it's warm, Glidepath pants if it's cold, and Revo shorts (possibly over the Glidepath pants) if it's raining.  I'm curious to try the Thunderpants but am a bit terrified to subject them to my Daggas...
  • 7mesh Skypilot jacket - in the pack or on the back unless we're in the midst of Summer where there's no chance of being wet OR cold.  
  • BN3TH North Shore chamois if it's going to be a long ride, otherwise their "regular" boxer briefs
  • gloves on rotation depending on the weather and type of ride

_

I have a pile of other kit that pretty much never gets worn anymore - this stuff is just too good, and I always grab what I like best.

*I will be very sad when my MEC knock-off Manzella N2S gloves eventually wear out to the point of being unrepairable..._

I should add that my "drying station" (shoes/boots, gloves, and helmets) gets HEAVY* year round use.  It's amazing and I've sold the concept to a LOT of people over the years.  I even travel with it.

Reply

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
9 months ago
0

Shorts over your pants eh? Not just an interesting look but doesn't the double seat get a bit thick feeling? 

The Thunderpant was interesting to me when they first came out but talking to a few people who've bought into the idea it sounds like they subscribe to the standard formula that weatherproof pants aren't great to ride in and pants that are great to ride in aren't actually weatherproof. 

"Drying Station!" I have been known to take my boot dryer with me on multiday trips. It's one of my favourite luxuries.

Reply

khai
khai
9 months ago
+1 Andrew Major

I'm pretty sure the idea was suggested to me by one of your colleagues (Cam perhaps?) and the Glidepath pants are super thin - so the total amount of material is similar to, or possibly still thinner than my NF Bezerkers, which are too warm for most days on the 'Shore and not that water resistant. It doesn't look as dorky as one might think (though I don't have a daughter to judge me) and I'm old enough to prefer comfort over fashion.

Reply

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
9 months ago
0

I'd forgotten all about that! But yes, it was Cam!

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