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Mons Royale Fall/Winter Riding Gear for Him and Her

Photos Deniz Merdano
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The Merino Effect

It is remarkable that a species of sheep famous for its wrinkly skin and fleece can provide the raw material humans can extract, process and sew into garments that keep us alive in the mountains and adverse weather.

The wool and the sheep primarily come from Australia. This once European animal got themselves a work permit and now contribute to 80% of the world's merino wool production.

Mons Royale has partnered up with ZQ Natural Fibre to produce the wool required for all their garments in environmentally friendly ways in New Zealand. We were surprised to learn that Merino sheep only account for 10% of the species in New Zealand that produce wool. As the quality and use case scenario of different grades of wool differ from one and other, the the ultra fine thickness of Fine Merino wool places its feet firmly in the luxury and ultra performance categories. This categorization bloat the MSRP numbers of these fabrics to high values but the ethics and practices behind the ZQ produced fabric seems to be helping sheep live better lives and the farmers that take care of them through guidelines intended to be friendlier to our 4-legged pals.

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Five Freedoms of ZQ farms that produce the wool for Mons Royale.


Deniz loves any opportunity to look at microscope photography.

The sheep that work for Mons Royale live a free range life, roaming as they normally would, hoping the leader does not drag them all off of a cliff. Rather than being held to a strict diet that can stress them out, they can forage on their own, eating and drinking as much as they like and living pretty decent lives. It is looking very appealing to be a Merino Sheep in ZQ at this point. ZQ farms also state that the process of Mulesing (removing part of the skin to prevent bug bites) is strictly banned in their herds. The goal is for these sheep to live stress- and abuse-free lives. If knowing the animals used to produce the materials that go into your gear are kept ethically and live happily helps you choose your next piece of clothing, that's great - we can be friends. Let's look at what Mons Royale sent us to try out on the North Shore trails and in our rapidly changing weather.

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Karin looking fine and comfy in her Mons Royale women's AirCon jersey and Momentum Pants.

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Deniz, dressed as a cross between biker and hiker (thanks to a bum shoulder).


Here's what Mons Royale sent to us to test:


Redwood Merino Air-Con VLS Jersey
Tarn Merino Shift Wind Jersey (previously reviewed HERE)


Virage Pants (previously reviewed HERE )
Momentum Pants
Merino Bike Short Liner in 3mm and 9mm padding

Just for Her

Stratos Merino Shift Sports Bra
Stella X-Back Bra
Sierra Sports Bra

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Fabric that lets you move and make shapes helps you ride faster!

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As the day get shorter, the Mons gear will be used more and more Photo : Hailey Elise

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Back pocket for small, lightweight items: snacks, money, cards, a mini Rubik's cube?

Redwood Merino Air-Con VLS - Men's Medium , Women's Large


This jersey is a semi-relaxed fit, 140gsm, 83% Merino Wool / 13% Nylon / 4% Elastane blend fabric. The Air-Con VLS is comfortable and as soft as it gets for when you are putting wool against your skin. It is designed to be a baselayer for colder missions or a stand alone layer for when the temperatures are below 12°C (54°F). The arms are long for plenty of coverage. For a shorter person with a long wingspan like me, it covers the glove gap adequately. The cuff is tight but flexible, doesn't flap around in the wind but allows for easy access to a watch. The fabric is soft but durable as my recent meeting with a tree would attest. There is no visible sign of the crash on the wool while my shoulder and its insides are beat to shit. Kudos to Mons for that. No visible fraying on the stitches either.

The checkered pattern of the arms are a great visual separator. Louder than most of my bike wear, it gets compliments constantly. Bonus part is when Karin wears hers, we look like team riders.

Mons Royale Men's Redwood Merino Air-Con VLS jersey - 159.95 CAD


I also really like the checkered racey pattern of the Redwood jersey, but I (not so secretly) try to avoid the team look that Deniz seems to enjoy - I like our riding friends to work just a bit harder for their teasing material.

Of the two jersey fits that Mons sent us to try - the Redwood and the Tarn - the Redwood is the more fitted of the styles. The Redwood jersey follows the line of the body to be figure slimming, but still offers a relaxed silhouette. This is a "standard fit" in Mons lingo. The Redwood features a lightweight and ultra-breathable panel up the side of the body, under the arm pits and all the way down the arm to the cuff. This panel is closer to a merino mesh and helps contribute to the jersey's excellent heat management features. I used the jersey on some of the cooler days we've had so far as well as a long 6-hour ride in warm fall weather and the sweat wicking and fast drying properties kept me at just the right temp and stink-free.

The jersey is also long enough to keep your lower back and butt crack covered, but not long enough to get in the way.

Mons Royale Women's Redwood Merino Air-Con VLS jersey - 159.95 CAD

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The Air-Con VLS's V-neck is subtle (Mons calls it a 'high V').

Tarn Merino Shift Wind Jersey - Women's Large


This jersey is a relaxed fit, 140gsm, 52% Merino Wool / 35% Recycled Polyester / 13% Nylon fabric blend. The front of the jersey has a ripstop panel as a second layer that acts as a wind shield. This panel is made from Pertex Quantum, a proprietary technical fabric designed to trap air and improve the efficiency of insulation. Pertex Quantum is windproof and water repellent to offer increased weather protection and help keep the rider warm in colder and damper conditions.

Mons describes it as being a "relaxed fit" and I agree - I found the fit of the Tarn Jersey to be a looser and straighter cut than the Redwood. If you prefer a fit that is roomier and less body skimming, this is the cut! The Tarn also has a rounded neck and doesn't have the air-con strip on the side of the jersey like the Redwood. The Tarn is more suited to cooler or inclement riding conditions and will keep a rider a bit warmer and more protected than the super breathable Redwood. So far our weather just hasn't been cool enough to really see how the Tarn Wind Jersey holds up in those conditions, but I'm excited to check it out and report back!

Mons Royale Women's Tarn Merino Shift Wind Jersey - 179.95 CAD

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Durable weave merino and minimal branding.

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Velcro waist adjustment, one on each side.

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Plenty of room for phones.

Momentum Pants in Men's Medium, Women's Momentum & Virage Pants in Large


These are the all day, all weather pants from Mons. Merino Micro Grid fabric is 255gsm and is a blend of 52% Polyester / 39% Merino Wool / 9% Spandex. They have plenty of stretch and space to move around. The waist belt is adjustable via 2 velcro tabs on the hips and mine are showing no fuzzy velcro for my 31" waist on this Medium size. Which means I am halfway in the adjustment zone for these pants. There are two pockets on the sides of the legs below the hips, right where most companies are putting the pockets these days. They're spacious enough for phones, wallets and packaged snacks, but I'd still like curved inset pockets on the front for putting my hands in. However, inside of the pockets is a durable merino weave and not mesh like some other pants. There is far less chance of a rip causing content loss down your legs. I much prefer this construction.

The waist band is super comfortable and for my build, tall. Great coverage in the back and plenty of room in the crotch makes them very comfy on the saddle all day. Double snap buttons backed by velcro makes for a very secure enclosure on the front. This takes the strain off the zipper which is short. When it's time to relieve yourself in the woods, you'll have to undo the buttons as well as the zipper. A detail worth mentioning. If I was to compare these pants to an existing product in the market, it would be the NF DP4 pant. Similar fabric weight, similar stretch. The Mons pants feel slightly more technical and rugged, especially around the knees. The Fasthouse Hopper Kneepads fit fine underneath. These pants will see a lot of use this winter I am sure.

Mons Royale Men's Momentum Pant - 299.95 CAD


Of the two mountain bike specific pants that Mons Royale offers, I expected to prefer the Virage Pants over the Momentum pants given the heavier duty look and weight of the Momentum pants, but the Momentums are my winner! Mons describes both of the Virage and Momentum pants as being a "standard fit". I would instead describe the Virage and being a standard fit and the Momentums as being a more relaxed fit. I found the Momentum pants to have more room for knee pads and greater size adjustability. The waist tabs make for an adjustable size, whereas the Virage pants have a fixed waist size and an elastic back. The biggest difference I found between the two is the rise. The distance between the crotch and the waistband for for the Virage pants is effectively much shorter. I have a long torso and I've struggled with the fit of the Virage (nothing against camels here.. but not in my pants, thanks), but the Momentum pants don't have that issue. If you are a rider that prefers a higher rise pant, I'd suggest the Momentum.

I used the Momentum pants on some long early fall rides and while I think they will shine in the cooler weather we have coming, they were still highly breathable, functional and kept me dry. Wool cannot be beat for its fast drying, stink free nature, and breathability.

Mons Royale Women's Momentum Pant - 299.95 CAD and Virage Pant - 249.95 CAD

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Tighter around the ankles, still stretchy enough for easy in and out.

Merino Bike Short Liner in 3mm and 9mm padding in Size Medium

I have been liner short free for the last couple of years. Once you find the saddle that works for you, it is easy to ditch the diaper. The lack of the sweat sponge makes the post ride beers more comfortable and general odour emanating from you more pleasant. What if there was a material that killed nasty odours and was extremely comfortable to the skin? Mons answered that call again with the Merino Liner Shorts. No, I won't be reaching for these in the heat of the summer. Hot days are for riding in your comfy underwear and jumping in lakes or rivers mid-ride and nothing is worse than having to deal with shammies when that is the plan, let alone a heat-preserving wool one. Merino's ability to keep you cool in the heat is only evident if there is airflow around it. Trapped inside the shorts or clamped down by a backpack or hip pack, it does not breathe well enough.

I had a couple of big rides coming up that would tip the scales of 3000m in elevation gain and 12 hours of saddle time so I figured it would be a great opportunity to test these liner shorts. I picked the 3mm thick liner for these rides for some reason. The shorts stayed in place and there was no chafing or need for cream. My derriere was as happy as it could be even with the slightly less accommodating saddle on one of my test bikes. Looking forward to using the wool liners more in the winter to preserve core heat when the temperature dips into the single digits. Comfort combined with warmth sounds like a winning combination to me.

Mons Royale Low Pro Merino Air-Con MTB Liner (3mm padding) - 139.95 CAD

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Mons Royale apparel is at home on classic North Shore terrain.

Mons Royals Merino Sports Bras

I've heard the old adage "there's no bad weather, only bad gear" many times, but I'm not sure that applies so strictly when it comes to boobs. No matter the layers I try, at the end of a cold winter ride I come home with round balls of ice strapped to my chest - there is nothing that makes you colder than two frozen boobs strapped against our bodies' most sensitive internal organs. I haven't tried wool out of fear of the itch factor, but I've yet to find success with any synthetic bras out there.

Mons Royale has three bras in their range, all of which have removable cup pads. The Stratos Merino Shift, a racerback bra which is described as providing medium support, the Stella X-Back bra and the Sierra Sports bra, both of which are described as having light support.

I tried all three for fit and for my D-sized chest I found they all fit quite differently:

  • The Stratos certainly offers the most support, but has a very thick and firm band at the bottom. I found the band to be too much for riding; I like support but I felt like it was too restrictive on my ribcage and I prefer a bit more movement in my bra. I feel like the Stratos would be a great bra for trail running where support is more important.
  • The Stella X-back was my favourite and I've been wearing that one on the bike a lot. I find this bra actually has a decent amount of support that is perfect for riding. The band is elastic and not overly thick so it moves well with the body and isn't too restrictive.
  • The Sierra bra is a more classic racerback style, but I found support lacking in this bra. I would consider this very light support. I found the fabric to be almost too light to support my chest, but it would work well for women who need less support and are seeking more of a baselayer style bra.

So far, the Stella X-Back has been my go-to and I have found that its fast drying and wicking properties mean I'm not racing to get my bra off when I get home from a ride. I'm looking forward to checking out how that translates to my colder winter rides and I will report back on my findings. If other women out there have any great go-to suggestions for cold weather bras, please drop them in the comments!

Mons Royale Stratos Merino Shift Sports Bra - 109.95 CAD
Mons Royale Stella X-Back Bra - 79.95 CAD
Mons Royale Sierra Sports Bra - 79.95 CAD

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Merino is king when there is moisture and high intensity activity.

As our biking gear drawers get busier and busier, we tend to favour more wool blend garments on our outings. Sure, on the hot days of summer there are plain t-shirts or sleeveless Rapha gear to choose from depending on the mission but the versatility and owned-for-life character of well made merino gear is hard to argue against. There are a ton of producers out there that will be offering better deals when it comes to consumer cost but a few who will openly talk openly about their environmental ethics. We applaud Mons Royale for taking care of their animals and farmers when they are producing their goods. It may not be a deal breaker for you but we absolutely love the philosophy behind the production and the quality of the clothing we live in day in day out.

Previous season's products often go on sale at Mons Royale, so make sure you visit their site often.

Mons Royale

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+6 Blofeld Deniz Merdano Niels van Kampenhout hotlapz Karin Grubb Pete Roggeman

There's a classic tactic in the bigger brands NZ merino products, they loudly proclaim the sustainability and animal welfare of the base material... Then ship it off to Asia to be turned into the product. Mons are slightly less righteous about it than Icebreaker, but the move is the same. 

I found half a dozen places sewing locally, but they don't have the brand recognition. I don't have a solution, just the suggestion potential customers have a quick search for a locally made alternative. 


+2 Velocipedestrian Karin Grubb

Mons is definitely not hiding the fact that they are shipping the raw materials to china for processing. I think it would be a nice full circle local affair if they did the sewing in NZ aswell, but I understand the scale of economics.

Yank I've never heard of, and they look cool, but I couldn't find anything about how they source their fabric on their website...


+4 Deniz Merdano Pete Roggeman Velocipedestrian Andrew Major

Thanks for the comment and interest in this aspect. I agree that its important as consumers to think about the effect our dollars have and how socially and environmentally responsible the companies we buy from are.  

Mons is quite transparent about their manufacturing happening in China, however, when I looked into this I was able to find out some pretty neat facts about that process.  Manufacturing in China or overseas often gets lumped into one big category, but the quality of manufacturing, human rights and environmental responsibility is on a HUGE spectrum.  Mons partners with Shanghai Challenge Textiles for their manufacturing, and SCT does have very high standards, has sought and received environmental certifications and offers a good working environment for their workers.  The wool spinning process is also done in Asia, but that process is also certified with Bluesign and Oeko-Tex standards which require high environmental and sustainability practices.  I also like that their goods all come in compostable packaging. 

I agree with you that local manufacturing is the gold standard, but its also quite challenging to achieve on a large scale.  I've seen some really cool brands try local manufacturing and go under or struggle due to the financial difficultly of it, especially when trying to scale.  Its not impossible, but a huge challenge.   Thanks for sharing some of the smaller brands!


+2 Karin Grubb Andrew Major

Thanks for doing the homework!


+1 Velocipedestrian

Who makes this? I love it:) (found it)


-1 rolly

I don’t think you can be bothered about any of this clothings eco/welfare credentials and still eat meat.  I hope that all the decision makers at Mons Royale are vegan, or veggie at best. Otherwise it’s straight-up marketing clap trap.



You can still eat meat and be humane to animals. People have been doing it for centuries.



Ultimately you can’t.


+1 Velocipedestrian

I think the "progress not perfection" saying is key here.  Animal welfare is definitely big in our household and I've been vegetarian for over 25 years now. Deniz still eats meat occasionally but rarely.  I do know people who still eat meat and are very conscious on where their meat comes from.  Ultimately I think every choice we make matters, and some choices are easier for some people to make than others.  Being plant based takes time and is frankly also a privilege for some people - it took me years to learn proper nutrition at first, it takes more planning and we are fortunate that we have access to high quality food.  Some communities don't have access to high quality plant based foods at affordable prices or there are other issues.  Some people choose to hunt to get their meat..  The vast majority of easy and cheap meat out there is terrible for the planet, animals and our health, but even as a plant-based eater and believer I think the best approach we can take is to encourage people to be mindful of their consumption, eat far less meat, and think critically on where food or our other consumables come from.  Black and white rules and shaming meat eaters isn't ultimately going to be a productive approach, but education on how big a role our choices play in climate change, sustainability and welfare may help people make kinder and more sustainable choices on their own terms.



Hi Karin, my main issue is with “humane” farming being used in marketing to sell stuff. In nearly all cases, animals and farming are never humane.   But, some of your other arguments are manufactured by the meat industry to help people justify eating meat. Even David Attenborough said that eating free range chicken is a middle class hypocrisy. I don’t shame people about eating meat, otherwise I would have no friends, but when they rag on me for being a none meat eater (usually first) it’s pretty easy to argue against meat eating and dairy farming as an ethical practice. And to say eating plant based is a privilege is mental! Meat is not cheaper than a tin of beans .  No one needs to eat meat to sustain themselves, and they will probably save money, so they can afford an e-bike (now let’s see who gets shamed now!).

Everyone should try harder and the (e) MTB community are some of the most nature loving people on the planet, but don’t let businesses sell you stuff on half baked solutions to animal welfare.

+3 Deniz Merdano Pete Roggeman Andy Eunson

I had a conversation with Travis from NF regarding Merino Wool, and one of the key issues associated with it is its short fibers, which make it prone to breakage, ultimately leading to the quick development of holes.


+2 Andrew Major Pete Roggeman

I've seen a few Swiss Cheese merino baselayers that were decades old but the holes seem to stay small and local. Short fibers perhaps prevent long tears?


+3 Velocipedestrian Pete Roggeman Andrew Major

I've got some old icebreaker stuff from 10+ years ago. The thinner merino materials can weaken over time, but I still use some of the holier tanks as base layers and they work well. I also find the tight fiting base layers show much more wear, and less with the more relaxed fits. The thicker merino still looks great, and I feel like it holds its shape and finish better in the long run. There isn't really the piling issue I see with other materials.  My other Mons gear that is 2-3 years old is going strong and still looks immaculate.


+2 Deniz Merdano Andrew Major

MMV - so many variables. I've got 15 year old merino layers that are still going strong (as Karin said, they're thicker layers - for sure the thinner ones wear out faster). I have a 70/30% merino/acrylic Chromag t-shirt called the Roam that I'm coincidentally wearing right now under a flannel, but I also wear it riding fairly often. I've had it since 2017. It has two holes in it near the waist, neither of which have grown and are basically invisible. It's an incredible t-shirt. It retails for $120. It's lived 6 t-shirts' worth of lives. Still looks ok with jeans and works great on the bike. Cannot argue with the value proposition. I've also got a Dan Merino t-shirt from NF that also gets used on and off the bike. Haven't had it for as long - only three years - but it's doing equally well.

There are a lot of merino blends out there. 100% is too thin. Less than 70% or so, though, and it's not merino so much anymore...you lose some of the benefits of the fibers.


+1 Karin Grubb

Kind of OT story time, but somewhat relevant to the durability thing:

I have a Cinzano jersey from Retro Velo that's probably 20 years old now (more?) and man that thing is incredible.  Every couple of years it goes out of the rotation due to damage, I do a few repairs and put it back in the mix.  If it gets a hole the hole doesn't grow on it's own somehow so I can wait till it's really haggard before I have to break out the sewing machine.  I can do like 90% of my October through march rides with that jersey as my only layer up top, it's incredible.

I think I just figured out what I'm doing on my sick day today, getting that old-ass jersey back in the mix!



I hate polyester and whatever else riding shirts are mainly made of and ride in merino wool nine out of ten times. I read your comment  yesterday and thought "hey, I've never had any problems with my shirts ripping or developing holes" next ride (later yesterday) I catch a tree branch and rip a hole in my favorite Mons Royale shirt.


+2 Deniz Merdano Pete Roggeman

I don’t often (ever?) buy mountain bike “jerseys” but damn, that checker one is cool as hell.


+2 tashi Pete Roggeman

Gotta be honest, I wasn't sure at first but it wears really well and looks great!


+4 Velocipedestrian Karin Grubb Pete Roggeman Andy Eunson

It's thiiiiiiis close to being a classic Vans shoe as a biking jersey, which would be freakin awesome.  Black body plus exciting sleeves is just the right amount of flair IMO.


+1 tashi

Beauty is in the eye, I guess. Could be the most comfortable garment ever, but seeing that design out of the corner of my eye would drive me crazy.



You may need to take either more or fewer drugs.


+1 Karin Grubb

I love their Virage pants for commuting and day to day wear. I don't think they'd last trail riding very long, but they are great for normal life. Super comfy, and cut pretty nicely for big leg folks.

I often have a lot of trouble finding clothes that fit my waist at 32", and can still make it over my booty without cutting off the circulation in my toes. These are perfect in large, no belt required.


+1 Morgan Heater

I agree they are nice and roomy for people with sturdy legs, I just wish the rise was a wee bit longer. Deniz has been wearing his Virage from a year or so ago pretty regularly and they have held up quite well. I don't have the mileage (or crashes) in them to really truly comment on durability.


+1 Karin Grubb

The rise seems just right to me, but might be different for men/women. I feel like men usually wear their pants a bit lower.


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