While German brand Bionicon might be best known for its unique travel and geometry adjustable bikes, it also does a wide range of riding kit. This hooded top aims to be just as adaptable as its bikes, using a mix of merino wool along with nylon and Lycra for added stretch.
That, along with the multi-panel design and flat stitched seams give it a close and comfortable fit. The hood and waist are elasticated to enable you to cinch them down and exclude draughts. There’s a zipped chest pocket for extra secure storage, and the back is free from pockets so sits well under a pack. The slightly ‘Euro’ looks might divide opinion, but as well as this red and blue mix, black, brown and green versions are available, as well as a women’s option. The quality of fabric and construction is excellent.
It’s a bit thicker than a normal base layer, so tends to be too warm under a jacket unless the temperature’s really dropped. Used as an outer layer, the material doesn’t give a massive amount of protection from wind so it can get nippy, especially as the fabric tends to hang onto sweat and moisture. It seems most suited to milder summery afternoons or evenings where it keeps the chill off effectively without being overly warm. We did have a bit of an issue with smell, with a distinct and not particularly pleasant damp and woollen odour once our tester had worn the top for any length of time.
This article was originally published in What Mountain Bike magazine.