Review: Oakley’s Ballistic Short and Direct Dial Jersey
Oakley has long been known for their over the top engineering and boundary pushing designs in sunglasses. However, they take that same attitude into their mountain bike apparel with the Ballistic Short and Direct Dial jersey. With fabrics and construction specifically meant for aggressive mountain biking, Oakley once again proves why their products are in demand. Read more and see photos after the break. The Ballistic short is meant for the freerider in you. The shorts are made of 98% polyester along with 2% Rayon and have a brushed feel and appearance. With a baggy fit and multiple panel construction, the Ballistic allows for good freedom of movement. The knee length fit, just past the knees for me, didn’t impede my pedaling and offered a little extra protection on the trail. You can dial in the waist using two adjustable velcro tabs on each side, and a silicon gripper around the waist helps keep it in place. Also sewn into the waist is a small key pouch. Two large side pockets have velcro closures to keep the contents from flying out as you bomb down and there is also smaller zippered pocket on the left leg.
The Ballistic comes with a removable chamois liner that can be cut from the short after purchase. The liner is made of a mesh material to keep you cool and has a silicon gripper along the waist and on each leg to keep it in place. The chamois itself is 10mm thick and features channeling for comfort.
For those fun rides featuring plenty of downhill, the Ballistic is a great choice. The fit and style will ensure you at least look the part when rolling up to the trail. Construction is solid with a well thought out paneled design and flat lock seams. The chamois is adequate for the type use this short will receive. It’s not the best for super long days in the saddle on the cross country bike, but that’s not what this short is about. I cut the liner chamois from my pair, mainly so I can wear the Ballistic around town as a regular short. Cost on the Ballistic short is $150, which is definitely the upper limit of shorts these days, but they are versatile and offer plenty of features as well as style.
Moving to the Direct Dial jersey, this again is a piece for the freeriders. The cut is very large and is meant to be worn with or without pads. Since my riding style does not warrant full on pads, the jersey felt a bit large. The 3/4 sleeves come pretty far down and the chest is enormous. It found it worked well for days when I used the lifts to ride more downhill than up.
The Direct Dial is unique in that the body features 68% Cocona, an eco-friendly fabric made from coconut shells. It is amazing at wicking away moisture, keeping odor at bay and has a soft feel to it. The other 32% of the body, and the sleeves are made of polyester. The fabric also provides a small amount of sun protection with a UPF rating of 15-24. Another neat feature is the small micro cloth woven into the side for cleaning your sunglasses. The Direct Dial has a drop down tail to keep you fully covered and a high V neck that doesn’t feel constricting.
On the trail the Direct Dial was a bit large, but the 3/4 sleeves offered some protection from branches stretching across the trail. The Cocona fabric really does wonders keeping you dry and relatively odor free. Since I don’t really wear pads when riding, I could see myself sizing down to a small for this, which would give it a more specific fit for my riding style. That said, for those riders that do wear pads, the Direct Dial would be a versatile jersey to have on hand. At $75 retail the Direct Dial again isn’t the cheapest you’ll find, but this is Oakley after all.
Overall I was impressed with both pieces. While maybe not exactly fit for my style of riding, they performed well in the areas they were designed for. Extra features like the micro cloth, key pockets compliment the smart construction and good fabrics. If you are in the market for something a bit different with more style than most, give the Oakley line up a shot.