If I told a non-biking friend I rode a mountain bike few years back, images of lycra clad roadies riding odd looking bikes would spring to mind- but nowadays there are many looks to mountain biking. Influences from Snowboarding, Motocross and even traditional English Country gentlemen's attire, are leaking in to mountain biking thick and fast...
Defining the type of rider you are is becoming easier these days through bike clothing- a DH racer will typically look very 'Motocross' in bright clothing emblazoned with tech logos, and protected underneath aggressive helmets and hi-tech goggles. In yesteryear, an XC rider would have pretty much looked like a roadie, but now there's definition in the style of rider you are. A trail rider will typically wear muted colourways- earth browns, army greens etc, whereas the XC racer will be in fresh, lairy kit. Some of it verging into road cycling territory- and other stuff looking more like motocross race wear. Either way, you can proudly choose to tell people what you're about just from the clothing you don out on the trails...
Sombrio have taken influences from snowboarding and music and have mixed them up with some moto elements to make some stunning kit. These gloves are called the Crown Jewels, and have the instant 'must have' effect that snowboarding clothing is so famous for. Made from leather and made-man materials, these white perforated numbers wouldn't look out of place on a golf course. Or at a Michael Jackson fancy dress party...
F-F-F-F-Fresssssh- but not that practical for playing records though
They're almost too good to wear on a bike- and fashion like this does have it's downfall. They are made from many layers and have a lot of stitching and delicate sections, so they won't last like a simple pair of gloves- like the Fox Incline (although anyone buying these bad-boys won't be looking for performance, he just wants to look Boss down the trails...). The Fox Incline uses simple minimalism to great effect- it's a timeless look and the black colourway will look great with anything you wear.
Say goodbye to those wing-mirrors...
But Fox do bold too- the Unabomber glove is louder than the sun in postbox red and white perforated leather- but is a remarkable glove too. It's vented palm works incredibly well, yet offers enough protection in the case of a high speed sit-down. The carbon knuckle detail just focuses on the weaker smaller knuckles that actually get the beating from bushes and branches, and the feel is of a slimmer glove like the Incline, rather than the brutus it infact is.
Top marks all round.
For the XC riders out there, Helly Hansen are right on the money at the moment with their super wicking clothes- check out the Gaupe jersey. It features tiny wicking 'pockets' all over the back to take sweat off your body. And the fresh white looks look ace tearing round trail centers- but wouldn't look out of place riding a Colnago on the Sunday 100miler.
The wicking pockets make for comfy rides in hot weather
Helly also cater for the trail look- with short sleeved layers like the Transporter. This is a fitted- but loose jersey made from a simple wicking poly material, and comes in a plethora of muted colourways. And it doesn't smell after a couple of rides either- useful if soap dodging is your thing. Look out for Rob Warner wearing one of these- even his legendary washing' fasts' would be impressed by the power of Helly Hansen.
The Transporter aids soap dodgers like Rob Warner
Shorts too have come a long way from the horrendous Lycra road shorts that we used to mince around in- typical trail shorts will have a ventilated padded inner, and a loose but well cut outer that not only maintains a stylish look, but actually helps cool you whilst riding and providing basic protection from snagging brambles and invading branches. The Fox Attack Short is one of the very best on the market- it's stealthy looks are happy with lairy XC jerseys, yet equally snappy with easy-on-the-eye jerseys like Helly Hansen's Transporter jersey.
The Attack- possibly the best Trail short ever Fox Sergeant shorts represent the fashion conscious trail riders
As you can see from the handful of cool bits on display here, there are plenty of great garments out on the market- and lots for all styles, body shapes and riding images. What do you like to hit the trails wearing, and why?