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Product Intro & First Impressions

SRAM's Velocio Launches MTB Apparel

Photos Deniz Merdano (unless noted)

SRAM owns a clothing brand? They own a lot of companies it turns out: RockShox (obviously), TIME pedals, Quarq, and Hammerhead among others.

Shimano had a fourteen-year foray into apparel after purchasing Pearl Izumi in 2008. They sold the brand two months after SRAM purchased Velocio, on March 3rd 2022. SRAM and Velocio have partnered before, having co-sponsored a UCI road team since 2015. Until today, the brand has been known for high-end gear for road and gravel.

When the brand was sold, Velocio posted a statement on their website, talking about the way the two brands align, noting three principles: design, responsibility and culture. To that end, some of the line is made using post-consumer recycled materials and other fabrics are said to be ethically sourced. Velocio has been a member of 1% for the planet since 2018.

Velocio also designs garments to be long wearing so they won't have to be replaced for the long haul. With the MTB line, the company has also added a repair service to extend the service life of their garments.

The PR copy also tells us they have jumped right into the MTB world by donating 134,000 USD to trail orgs to support those who build, maintain and advocate for trails to ride our mountain bikes on.

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We had a chilly day in the bike park (on a bike I can't show you yet) which was perfect for trying out the Trail Access Pant (199 USD including a belt from Arcade) from Velocio. I appreciated the fit and the fabric, which has a lot of stretch and a comfortable feel, despite feeling sturdy and durable. I just wish there were more pockets.

Velocio Trail Access Pant (with Arcade Belt)

Velocio's new line of bottoms all include a belt from Arcade (more on that below) that stretches with you and with the garments. I like having the security of a belt but in the past I haven't always been happy about the feel. Sometimes they bind, other times you don't have the perfect tension because you'd like to be between two holes, where there is no hole. Buckles can be uncomfortable as well considering the contorted shapes we find ourselves in while climbing or descending. This has none of those issues and is certainly the most versatile tensioning system I have seen. It is infinitely variable, from the entire length of the belt down to zero, the end tucks invisible in behind, the buckle is low profile and clicks together easily, and it can be left strung through your loops through the washer and dryer. Beyond that, feel free to toss the whole thing in the wash, belt included. Arcade belts can be worn just as well with street clothes and, because they have no metal, they make great travel companions that can be left in place while you go through airport security.

Beyond the belt, these are comfy, stretchy pants that fit great. The fabric has the feel of durability without feeling like sandpaper against your skin. There is a clever snap that actually isn't a snap. Once you align the male and female ends of the closure it slides into place and clicks into a smaller diameter slot. Once it's there it won't open accidentally. The first few times you try to pull it apart directly you'll likely be surprised to find your pants still fastened. After a few misses you'll realize you need to do a subtle motion to slide the two sides together to make it open. This is a useful and thoughtful detail.

My only gripe about the Trail Access Pant is the pockets. There are two of them with zippers, one on the outside of each thigh. They are a decent size, big enough to hold phones of almost any size, and they are in a good location. My gripe relates to these being the only pockets on the pants. Some riders will be fine with just two but as a recovering pack wearer, I often have more stuff than two pockets will contain.

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This is the Delta Trail Jersey (99 USD long sleeve, 89 USD short sleeve). It felt nice and did the job on this cool bike park day. Underneath I was wearing the short sleeve Merino Trail Jersey (89 USD) which admirably managed temperature fluctuations as the day warmed up.

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Here I'm wearing the Trail Access Short (179 USD) and the Micromodal TRAIL Jersey (79 USD). The shorts are great, with two very large pockets up front (maybe too large for some?) along with useful side pockets with zippers. The jersey impressed me by drying out completely after a short stop and it's very comfortable and soft against the skin.

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All the apparel you see here is available in both men's women's sizing. Uniquely, men's and women's colors are also the same. Photo - Velocio

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Pete riding in the Ultralight Trail Short.

Ultralight Trail Short - 159 USD (Pete Roggeman)

I had a chance to try lightest short Velocio makes, the Ultralight Trail Short, a day after a ride in the midweight Trail Access Short. The latter feels like the one you'd wear for trail riding in all but the hottest conditions (for me that would be anything above 22º C / 72º F) making it the more versatile of the two. However, if you skew more to the XC side of trail riding and need something cooler, or live somewhere warm, you could also comfortably wear the Ultralights in much cooler temps. Without testing this yet, I'd bet the water repellency won't be as effective as on the thicker Trail Access Short, so cool and dry conditions would be fine, but in damp or wet conditions I think you'd be wetting out inside of an hour depending on how damp or wet.

The Ultralight Trail Short has the same 14.5"/37cm inseam as the Trail Access Short, which left plenty of overlap with my knee pads (I have a relatively short 32" inseam for my 6'1/185cm height). They are noticeably lighter than the Trail Access Short, both in the hand and when you pull them on. I found both shorts to breathe very well and both were exceptionally comfortable. As Cam has mentioned regarding the pants, the Ultralight Trail Short only has two zip pockets - one on the side of each thigh. They are the same size and easily fit my iPhone 12 Pro with case, doing a relatively good job of tucking it against my lower thigh when pedaling. However, the lack of secondary sleeve inside the pocket to further secure the contents means the phone or keys will move around slightly, creating a bit of a pull you can feel on the bottom of the thigh. It is not that distracting and I only felt it while setting off on the ride, but it's a level of refinement that other brands have added that I think makes that style of pocket work the best.

Cut and workmanship on the shorts is top notch. The back of the waist is cut higher to keep you covered up, with gripper material on the inside to keep the waist in place (not that the included belt isn't already doing a great job of that). Stitching and trim is all high quality. For 159 US, you'd expect no less, but the included Arcade belt is a great added value. I've been wearing one for several years for riding or in lightweight shorts around the house, but also for travel - the plastic buckle means one less thing to remove at airport security.

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Clearly Velocio is aiming at the premium market, considering they sell a pair of shorts for 179 greenbacks. Thus far, we were impressed by the manufacturing, fit, styling, fabrics and overall execution of the jerseys, shorts and pants we tried. Velocio also makes a couple of more technical outerwear pieces, including the Ultralight Trail Hooded jacket (189 USD) and the Trail Access Hardshell jacket and Trail Access Anorak (both are 389 USD), which may be a harder test for their pivot to mountain biking, but so far they seem up for the challenge.

We weren't able to get pricing for any other countries before launch time so that's another question mark, but hopefully the Canuck prices won't be too high. We're looking forward to seeing more from Velocio and seeing how the gear stands up over the long haul.

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