Time for a look, we reckon, at some of the brand new women's cycling kit that'll be gracing a bike shop near you in the near future. Why? Because this week BikeRadar has been inspecting new-season gear at The Bike Place and Core Bike trade shows, and we've found a range of garments that aim to combine distinctive style without defaulting to stereotypical colour palettes or skimping on technical features.
Offerings from Primal and Sugoi were some of the first to grab our attention, delivering everything from subtle and understated to loud and lairy for the road market. On the mountain bike side of things, 2016 sees the return of Sombrio clothing, new fabrics from British clothing company Flare, and bright options from Ion for those who like their bike kit loud and proud. Race Face looks like it's aiming to give the Specialized SWAT clothing range a run for its money via the Stash range, which includes storage in clothing base layers. Fox meanwhile has new tech tees and is channeling polka dots for 2015.
All international pricing was TBC at time of writing; we will update when we have more.
British company Polaris has opted for geometric patters for its 2016 women's Vision Collection road cycling kit, in three colourways and with shorts to match. The waistband of the shorts has been updated with a soft crossover design to alleviate pressure on the stomach when leaning forward.
The new collection leads on from the Vela range last year, and the colours are designed to mix and match across both collections.
It will be available in stores and online from April, with both the shorts and jersey coming in at £54.99 each.
One of the popular items in the Sugoi range last year was the Zap jacket, which combined reflective elements with colourful material in a waterproof garment that doesn't look high vis until you shine a light on it. Sugoi says the reflective elements, which are made from crushed glass and can be printed on the fabric in any pattern or shape, mean that there's less compromise between staying visible and the breathability of the jacket. This is because Scotchguard-type reflective material can often impede the permeability of breathable fabrics.
The brand formerly also produced MTB kit, but for 2016 will be focusing on road cycling and triathlon, with a range that also includes active wear items such as leggings and crops.
The Zap jackets are available now from Sugoi or dealers.
Primal has an extensive line of women's jerseys available for 2016, with loud-as-you-like colours and patterns contrasting with subtler palettes and plainer prints for those who like something a little more sedate. Much taken by the patterns on offer, we had to sneak in a couple of the men's jerseys as the palm print was too eye-catching to miss out on.
Also on show was Primal's active wear range, encompassing gym-ready leggings, tops and a sports bra, all of which are available now online.
Flare Clothing Co
New to the 2016 range from British company Flare Clothing Co is a three quarter-length sleeve jersey in a cotton-feel polyester fabric. It features typically creative patterns, and is available in blue and sunset red/yellow.
There are also updates to the brand's DH shorts, with changes to construction including stretch panelling on the sides for a better fit, mesh lining, zipped pockets and an updated pull-adjust waistband with a soft, brushed fabric lining. More changes to the DH range include a new textured Coolmax polyester fabric for the long-sleeve jersey, which Flare claims is more abrasion-resistant.
Flare produces both men's and women's MTB kit, with six jerseys and four shorts available in two colourways for each gender.
Brought back from the dead by Sugoi after the company folded in 2013, 2016 sees the first new products from Vancouver-based Sombrio in more than two years. The women's range has products in Freeride, Epic and Cartel lines, which equate roughly to freeride/enduro, trail and casual/trail-focused clothing.
The products will be available for around the end of February 2016. Pictured are the Silhouette Riding Shirt (RRP £50), Pedigree Jersey (RRP £35), V'Al shorts in turqoise (rap £60) and Summit Shorts in pink (RRP £80).
Fox returned to the women's mountain bike clothing market recently with a few key pieces after taking a break for a few years. The women's range has expanded for 2016 and there are even more products set to be released for autumn/winter 2016.
The current range includes polka dot patterned jerseys (price TBC) and matching gloves (RRP £20), a selection of technical T-shirts with bright prints, and updated colours on the Fox Flux helmets (RRP £70).
Ion started life as a watersports brand back in 2004, producing wetsuits and gear for the windsurf, SUP, surf and kite board scenes, but branched out into mountain bike kit. Its range includes men's and women's clothing and accessories, rucksacks and impact protection.
On the women's side of things, the fairly extensive looking range has three lines – Graze, which is more fitted and XC-focused, Blitz, which is a more relaxed enduro fit, and Luzid, which has a casual street styling but still uses technical fabrics and features.
The Ivy short, pictured in two of its three colour options, is the most popular model. Constructed from two-way stretch fabric blended with an antimicrobial zinc weave, it has laser-cut vents, zip pockets and a neoprene phone holder. The colours are designed to work across all the ranges, so you can mix and match should you be tempted to do so.
RaceFace is upping its game for 2016 with some interesting new women's products.
The company has opted for a different design for its new DIY Short in Flame (RRP £59.95), relying on a pull-on legging-style fit around the waist rather than the more usual fly-and-fastener style. The coral-coloured stretch fabric has a denim look but is light and flexible.
Going head-to-head with the Specialized SWAT system, Race Face is also debuting its Stash product range for 2016. Consisting of liner shorts, a tank-style vest and a 'ripstrip' (essentially a low profile bumbag, or even fannypack if you're reading this in the US), the kit is worn as a base layer but incorporates additional storage pockets so you can carry snacks, gels and tools under your everyday ride wear. The RaceFace Stash Tank incorporates a 1.5l or 2l water bladder, with the women's version pictured retailing at £57.95, and Race Face is also producing a lightweight jersey to complement the products.
Also pictured is the polka dot Ladies Khyber Jersey in black/grape. Polka dots are clearly 'in' for 2016, and if you look closely at the Khyber jersey you'll spot the occasional red skull hiding amongst the white dots. Finishing up the outfit is the Scout Soft-shell Jacket in black, RRP £99.95.
These items should be available from the end of March 2016.