If you’re rocking your trucker hat with a straight bill off center and 2nd generation Oakley Frogskins, look away. Look away now.
California upstart Kitsbow has introduced high end, tailored technical apparel for trail riding. And we couldn’t be more thrilled. While Rapha has been providing roadies with upscale gear for a spell, and Mission Workshop, Outlier and others have had commuters covered in fashion, mountain biking hasn’t seen a whole lot of, um, nicer looking options.
We’ll give you a minute to work the one percenter jokes out. Good, now take a look at the technical features: The Sastan Jersey uses a tough Cordura outer layer with fine Merino wool against the skin. The Soft Shell shorts use Schoeller Dryskin with a brushed interior. Both are tailored to avoid the usual baggy appearance, and both are full of well conceived features, well placed pockets and premium materials.
Weave your way behind the break for details…
The Sastan Jersey has a few mountain bike specific features that set it apart from even “normal” mountain bike gear. Shoulders are quilted to both cushion hydration pack straps and help keep them from slipping around. Zippered side pockets provide quick access to small items without bulking up underneath a pack. Articulated elbows have reinforced pads to hold up to wipeouts, and a microfiber swatch inside the chest pocket lets you wipe your lenses so you can avoid said wipeouts.
The Cordura outer surface repels branches that could rip lesser materials, while the Merino wool insides help wick moisture and keep things fresh. A tight knit on the outside also helps keep it tough, but also means it’ll be warmer, so it’s definitely for cooler weather. An extended tail section keeps mud and water from reaching your backside. Retail is $327 and it’s available in five sizes.
The Soft Shell A/M Shorts are also designed for cool weather, and also show their mountain bike intents. The Schoeller Dryskin material deflects water and wind, yet it remains fairly breathable and moves fluidly while being pretty resistant to scuffs and rips. I have several jackets made of the stuff and it’s amazing.
Unlike most MTB baggies that have adjustable waists, these are fitted in single size increments from 28 to 34, and 36. The legs are cut to rest at the bend of the knee, raised slightly at the rear so it doesn’t brush your calves when pedaling. The insides have taped seams and covered stitching for comfort that resemble dress clothing more than riding kit. Zippered external side pockets are reversed so your cargo sits the way gravity’s going to want it to sit anyway when in the riding position, and their mesh lined to double as vents. The front snap is from Italy’s RiRi and slides to lock so it won’t pop open during gnar production sessions. Retail is $269.
Both garments are made in British Columbia, Canada. The Merino wool is sourced from sustainable suppliers in New Zealand and Australia, and Schoeller’s technical fabrics come from Switzerland. Both also have subtle, almost color-matched reflective piping that won’t stand out during the day, but provides some visibility at night.
Check ’em out at Kitsbow.com.