Review: Bontrager XXX Shoes

“Not only do these shoes ‘feel’ fast – in the sense that you can indeed feel them not flexing – they also give you a very secure and connected feel on your pedals.”

When it comes to XC riding and racing, it’s all about getting the power transferred from your legs, through your feet, and into the pedals. But – there’s a critical link in that chain that can make a massive difference: shoes.

Having a stiff shoe that won’t flex under the massive power that you’ll be generating as you sprint off the line, is vital to achieving good results. But there’s more to it than just a stiff platform – the whole shoe needs to be comfortable too, so getting the form and shape of the shoe ‘last’ is essential when creating footwear around the additional goals of being both lightweight and flex-free.

The XXX shoes are Bontrager’s top-of-the-line XC race shoes. And kind of like their name suggests, they are a bit racey. The XXX’s key features include a 100% OCLV carbon sole – that is extremely lightweight and stiff for efficient power transfer; dual independent BOA dials for precise, zone- specific fit adjustments; and their ‘inForm Pro’ last that delivers an ergonomically optimized and high-performance fit.

Out of the box, the Nautical Navy/ Radioactive Pink version that we tested was, well, eye-catching, to say the least – perhaps a little too much so for some, but they are also available in a plain black on black. Slipping them on and dialing up the Boa retention system, they felt just right in terms of sizing, and the Boa system gave a nice even tension across the top of my foot. I run a size 44 shoe normally, and these felt true to that. I would say I have a wider than normal foot and, somewhat surprisingly, these still felt spot on.

Walking around, it was clear that these shoes are meant to do business; they are extremely stiff. Bontrager rate their shoe’s stiffness on a scale of 1 to 14 and, as you might have guessed, these are a 14. Having never owned or tested an XC race shoe of this calibre, I was really impressed with how they felt to ride. Not only do they ‘feel’ fast – in the sense that you can indeed feel them not flexing – they also give you a very secure and connected feel on your pedals. On the bike, I was really impressed by just how comfortable they were.

My expectation of a shoe like this was that they would be light and stiff at all costs – maybe even at the expense of some comfort – but that wasn’t the case at all. They have ample padding in all the right places.

At the same time, there isn’t padding where you don’t need it and the shoe uppers themselves feel thinner than other more casually oriented shoes; I found this makes them breathe well, as well as dry out rapidly.

After a few rides, I had an opportunity to really put them through their paces on the Old Ghost Road. Surely 86km would be a real test for these! By the end of the day, I truly had put them through their paces, and did find just one or two areas worth noting. The underside of the shoe has a very thin layer of what I assume to be paint, on the carbon sole. After the numerous times we had to get off and walk on the OGR, as well as descending the significant rock staircase of the Skyline Steps, the paint on the sole was fairly trashed. Not only that, walking down the rock stairs I became aware that these really are indeed not walking shoes. The centre area under your arch, on the outer sole, is the aforementioned painted carbon and this offers very little grip. There is a little patch of rubber in this area, but walking down the rock staircase with my bike on my shoulders, over uneven ground – often standing on this carbon patch – the underneath of my arch felt fairly treacherous. Also, the rubber Tachyon tread on the front half of the sole is OK but, if I could have my way, it would be a softer, grippier compound to give you some more confidence in these situations. Obviously, these shoes are meant for XC racing which, generally, doesn’t involve a lot of hike-a-bike, so to be fair I was probably using them outside their intended use. But the reality is, a lot of consumers will use these for much more than just racing. Speaking of rocks, what I was happy about was the GnarGuard coating that surrounds the toe box, after the OGR and a number of other rocky rides, the toe box still looks in great nick – so, even though the soles are well scratched, for the most part you don’t see that and the uppers look great. Our ride was 10+ hours and at about the nine hour point I started to get some pain in the centre of my foot but, again, that was probably due to using these beyond their intended use. The inner soles are quite thin, so better insoles with a little more support is something I would look into for the longer term. On the whole, I was really impressed with their comfort over the whole day.

At $599 the XXX’s are a premium price, but they are also – undoubtedly – a premium shoe that will be appealing to a lot of riders looking for a stiff, light, fast shoe to tear up the race track this summer. •


Review: Lance Pilbrow
Distributor: Trek NZ

Reviews: Ilabb Clothing

“Founded by two Motocross racers in 2007, ilabb soon found their clothing in demand.”

ilabb have been a player in New Zealand clothing since 2007. Recently, they’ve made a push into the mountain bike scene. Founded by two Motocross racers, Seadon Baker and Matt Saunders, ilabb started out making decals for motocross, however, they soon found their clothing in demand. The brand continued to evolve from there, tapping into unique subcultures such as drift, moto and now mountain biking. As such, I’ve had a selection of ilabb gear on test over the past season.

Terrain Shorts $139.99

ilabb’s Terrain shorts were the standout item for me. I really loved the fit and finish of these shorts – they’re made from ilabb’s conveniently named NYLABB material. This is a premium hard-wearing textile, made from high grade nylon with a high abrasion threshold; it’s got quite a unique tough-yet-soft feel about it. The Terrain shorts just nail the details. They feel supremely comfortable, thanks to the ample stretch around the hips, and the dome closure is securely held in place by the addition of a wide patch of Velcro up the fly. Internally, the inside of the hip panel features ilabb’s motto, ‘LIVE WITHOUT BARRIERS’, in highlighter pink; the lettering is made using a tacky, silicone, non-slip material – again, great for keeping them in place, especially if you’re wearing them over a Lycra chamois. Both main front pockets are zippered and there is a third smaller zippered pocket that’s great for a small multi-tool or car key fob. There are no pockets on the back because, well, who wants to sit on stuff while you’re riding?! I really liked that they are a plain black and don’t have massive logos everywhere - in fact, the only logo is the tiny reflective ‘ilabb’ on the front left leg. After plenty of muddy rides, washes and spins through the dryer (even though that’s not recommended on the care instructions!) they are still looking great and are my go-to short now.

The front of the Lomond is a different weave and thickness to the back, being a lot warmer on the front, meaning you can cool down through the back.

Lomond LS tee $89.99

When it comes to anything other than hot summer riding, most riding tops can be a bit hit and miss. Too hot, too cold – almost never just right. Enter the Lomond top. It’s like a long sleeve technical pyjama top, and it’s awesome. The Lomond is made from 79% Polyester, 14% Tencel, 7% Spandex - and is 100% snuggly.... like you wouldn’t believe (and yes, I have slept in it a number of times). In other words, it’s just right on those colder spring days. The Lomond is made using ilabb’s Dri-Ryde material and is lightweight, breathable and moisture-wicking. The front of the Lomond is a different weave and thickness to the back, being a lot warmer on the front, meaning you can cool down through the back. Despite not generally wearing long sleeve tops, due to overheating, the Lomond is really useful and versatile – and a great pick for cooler days on the bike. There is a short sleeve version available too, which would be great for summer. Again, I like the minimalist logo. The Lomond is available in black, or the dreamily named, ‘Moonbeam’.

Marlborough Jacket $139.99

The surprise of the collection for me was the Marlborough Jacket. The Marlborough is a very lightweight nylon shell that has a few handy features for cyclists – the first of which is that it has a hood, but the material is so thin that it can actually sit comfortably under a helmet. Handy drawstrings pull the hood nicely around your face, and once it’s in place you can comfortably ride in the rain without water running down your neck. It’s enough to make you almost look forward to rainy days. I’ve had other jackets with hoods, but this is by far the most comfortable to wear underneath a helmet. Secondly, this aforementioned lightweight material means that it crushes down to about the size of a healthy filled roll – and into its own bag, that is sewn into it, nonetheless! The lightweight fabric means that this really is just for showers, more than Everest expeditions but, being so small, you can leave it in the bottom of your bag permanently and it will be there when you need it. It even has a handy shoulder strap if you just want to take it out for a stroll. Sadly, my wife keeps stealing it and putting it in her bag for when she is out. On the bike, it’s cut to sit well in the riding position; there are two zippered front pockets, a draw string around the waist, vents under the arms and on the back, and a subtle polka dot pattern on the front and back which is also reflective. It’s available in hot pink and black as well as the army green colour I’ve got. The truth is that, despite its minimal protection, it’s getting worn a lot more than all our other jackets combined.

Fist Gloves $59.99

It takes all of about two seconds to know whether a set of gloves work for you. ilabb’s Fist gloves work for me. Not too thick, not too thin, just right (again!). Personally, I don’t need massive amounts of protection, I just want to be able to hold onto the handlebars and not have my sweaty hands slide off the ends. The ilabb’s fit my hands just right, they don’t rub anywhere, they’ve got all the right stretch in all the right places, and they haven’t got holes in them after the first handful of rides (unlike some other gloves that shall remain nameless). I also liked the slightly thicker neoprene cuff. After a decent amount of riding with them, they still look great and aren’t showing any significant visible signs of wear. The full logo across the whole back of the hand probably isn’t my personal flavour, but it doesn’t really bother me because they fit so damn good!

Commuter Pant $159.99

Lots of us use our bikes for getting to and from work, and ilabb’s range extends well into catering for this as well. The Commuter Pant is made of the same NYLABB material as the Terrain shorts, and has a healthy ability to repel water, even though it’s not designed to be a waterproof pant. It’s got a great cut and subtle finish, meaning you could definitely wander into your local brew pub on the way home and not look out of place. In fact, depending on your dress code at work, you could just about get away with wearing them in the office, too. A subtle reflective logo on the knee might help cars see you if you forgot to charge your lights. These pants are lightweight, breathe well and feel great on. Two zippered pockets on the front, and two on the back, mean there are plenty of options to stow stuff.

Commuter Bomber Jacket $199.99

What is it about Bomber jackets? You just feel cool wearing them, right? ilabb’s bomber jacket is no different. An ideal piece of kit, it crosses seamlessly from bike to pub to local MTB club committee meeting - and any other social environment where casual bike wear is not only accepted, but endorsed. A traditional Bomber collar, domes down the front, and wide cuffs complete the look, while the NYLABB material has a stealthy matte finish that also repels water. The Commuter Bomber Jacket is lined, to provide additional comfort and warmth. Done up, it doesn’t flap around, is cut to fit the riding position, and has a good amount of stretch, so it feels great. There are vents under the arms to keep you as cool as you look.

Nevis Vest $179.99

Vests are underrated. Why don’t we wear more vests? They are great for keeping your core warm, they let the heat out when you get hot, and allow your arms to work freely. Vests are great, and the Nevis vest is a near-perfect example of this. The Nevis is made of a softshell material (ilabb’s TEAMTECH, a softshell outer fabric with a bonded fleece inner and water-resistant coating) that keeps the wind from ripping through you on colder days. I’ve found myself wearing this a lot, as our Taranaki weather typically has four seasons in one day; early morning rides, dropping the kids to school, nipping down to the shops - the Nevis vest seems to fit just about every occasion. Two zippered front pockets and a waterproof chest pocket means you’ve got places to put your stuff - and the full length and decent sturdy front zip means you can unzip it all the way down and let it flap in the breeze if that’s your jam. Silicone strips round the bottom mean it won’t ride up while you’re riding home.


Review: Lance Pilbrow
Distributor: ilabb

Review: Giro The Latch shoe

“The ‘fast-drying Microfiber upper’ really does what it says on the box...”

Contact points: where you connect with your bike, and your bike with the trail. Contact points really are the most important points to consider when you’re looking at making improvements to your riding and set up. Well, they are the most important to me, anyway.

Giro has released their new flat pedal mountain biking shoe, The Latch, with a casual yet stylish look, in a range of low-key, subtle colors. And these shoes are surely going to be a hit, based on looks alone.

The build of The Latch is sleek and tidy, and you get the feeling it has been constructed to withstand the beating of back-to-back laps and day-long missions in the mountains. With an easy-to-clean exterior, there are no awkward creases or joins to try and dig dirt out of; all that is needed is a quick wipe down, post-ride. I rode these shoes in all conditions to try and give the best review I could, and one thing that did really impress me, was just how fast they dry out after being completely soaked. I am really not a fan of putting my dry feet and socks into wet shoes in the morning. When I checked on these shoes the next day, after a soaking wet ride, they were just about dry and all I did was kick them off into the laundry room! The ‘fast-drying Microfiber upper’ really does what it says on the box....

Alrighty, moving onto the fit: I have pretty wide feet, and have always struggled with finding shoes that accommodate these flippers of mine. When I first slipped these bad boys on, I was pleased as they were very comfortable and cushioning. Unfortunately for me, after about half an hour, my feet felt hot and uncomfortable from being ‘ever-so- slightly’ squeezed. To remedy this, I loosened the shoes right off, which did help, but I was still experiencing that feeling of tightness. Like I said, I do have quite a wide foot (at the widest point it’s 11cm). So, if your feet are similar to mine, you may experience this same feeling.

Now for the ride feel: ‘Tack’ is such an appropriate name for the new rubber sole from Giro, as it gives a great connection between you and the bike.

I first rode the Giro Latch with a pedal I usually run, but its pins are not quite as sharp as those on my other set. My experience with this set up was frustrating at first, as I felt that the new Gamma tread pattern was not quite deep enough. An example from one of my test runs, was when I was pushing it through rooty sections of trail and – even with the Mute foam mid sole – I was finding I had to adjust the centre of my weight forward to feel more secure on the pedal, which was then changing the way I rode my bike. It didn’t feel bad, however, it was just different.

Giro mentions on their website that The Latch have a ‘new fit that brings the foot closer to the pedal and flattens the sole profile’. Perhaps what I had experienced was a result of this.

But what if you don’t want your foot ‘closer to the pedal’? Enter pedal number two.

With the pairing of sharper pins and the Tack rubber sole, I found I was able to maintain the position I am most comfortable in – and with full confidence too! The pins were all I needed to really get a good feel of The Latch. I could push in, turn and pop out without feeling like I had to scoop with my feet to bring the bike with me. The connection between the shoe and the bike is super confidence inspiring; I felt I could really put the bike wherever I wanted and it wasn’t going to disappear from underneath me.

The comforting, quick-drying upper of the shoe paired with the cushioning mid-sole and the tacky rubber sole, is all wrapped up in a tidy and subtle aesthetic. The new Giro Latch flat MTB shoe is definitely worth considering if you need to replace your worn-out riding shoes, or if you are looking to make an improvement in your riding. Consider you connection; are you ‘Latched’ on?


RRP: $269

Release: Rapha's new MTB Line

"What is Rapha Performance Trailwear? It’s far more than the fabrics and features you see on the shelf behind every garment is a story. From backcountry bikepacking trips and World Cup competitions, to afternoon laps around our US headquarters in Bentonville, Arkansas, every garment we make is tested by our elite athletes and weartesters. And with a roster that includes Olympic medallist Jill Kintner, EWS racer Ella Conolly and XC legend Adam Craig as well as Bryn Atkinson, Eliot Jackson and Joey Schusler, we’re able to push our products to the limit. Riding and racing in locations around the globe, our wear testers have put this kit through its paces on the world’s best trails to guarantee that it won’t crack under pressure or fade over time.

The Trail ¾ Sleeve Jersey is a modern take on the classic ¾ sleeve mountain bike jersey. Constructed from a 100% recycled, light and breathable fabric to keep you cool in the heat, it’s also durable and snag resistant thanks to an incredibly high strength knit. A textured fabric back not only wicks sweat away from the skin but also disperses the moisture over a greater area, creating an incredibly fast-drying shirt that remains comfortable. On the sleeves, a strong, double weave fabric keeps your arms shielded from stray branches or a light tumble, while an antibacterial treatment maintains freshness for longer days on the bike. And for the inevitable crash that causes more damage than you can ignore, included are a set of repair patches in the same colours and fabrics of the jersey that offer a handy at home repair option so you and your jersey can get back to the trails.

The cornerstone of the Rapha Performance Trailwear range, the Menʼs Trail Shorts are a durable, fully featured mountain bike short with a contoured, variable width belt for locked-in comfort on the bike. Constructed from a durable yet forgiving plain weave stretch nylon, these shorts are tough enough to handle the abuse of all-mountain riding, while still prioritizing flexibility and breathability. An ergonomic pattern means the shorts move with you, with seams and panels placed strategically to allow for freedom of movement whether you’re grinding up a climb or going for it on the descent. The fit of the shorts has been sized to comfortably accommodate a liner and tailored to be used with or without modern trail knee pads. To keep the shorts secure, an anatomically contoured variable width belt system locks you in behind a button closure at the waist. To the front, two large hand pockets provide rapid access, while two zipped side pockets offer storage for keys or other essentials. And for the inevitable crash that causes more damage than you can ignore, included are a set of repair patches in the same colour and fabric as the shorts that offer a handy at-home repair option so you and your shorts can get back to the trails.

The Men's Trail Cargo Bib Liner Shorts are a lightweight underlayer constructed from recycled materials designed to work seamlessly with the Men's Trail Shorts. Drawing on 15 years of innovation, we’ve carried over technology and fabrics from our award winning bib short range to create a pair of fast-wicking and durable cargo bib liners that will boost comfort on any mountain bike ride. Mesh uppers promote airflow to keep you cool on the hottest days, while the fast-wicking and lightweight main fabric promotes next to skin comfort. To the back, two rear cargo pockets offer extra storage space for essentials.

The cornerstone of the Women’s Rapha Performance Trailwear range, the Women’s Trail Shorts are constructed from a durable yet forgiving plain weave stretch nylon which are tough enough to handle

the abuse of daily mountain biking, while still prioritizing flexibility and breathability. An ergonomic pattern means the shorts move with you, with seams and panels placed strategically to allow for freedom of movement – whether you’re grinding up a climb or going for it on the descent. A low profile stretch waist creates locked-in comfort on and off the bike, while the fit of the shorts has been sized to accommodate a liner, and tailored to fit with or without modern trail knee pads. On the front, two zippered side pockets offer storage for essentials and a phone. And for the inevitable crash that causes more damage than you can ignore, included are a set of repair patches in the same colour and fabric as the shorts that offer a handy at-home repair option so you and your shorts can get back to the trails.

The Women’s Trail Liner Shorts are a lightweight underlayer designed to work seamlessly with a pair of Women's Trail Shorts. Constructed from recycled materials, the Liner Shorts carry over technology and fabrics from our award winning bib short range to create a pair of fast-wicking and durable liners that boosts comfort on any trail. Featuring lightweight mesh panels on the sides to promote airflow, these shorts will help to keep you cool on the hottest days.

The Trail Technical T-Shirt is a light and breathable top designed specifically for mountain biking. Constructed from recycled materials, the Trail Technical T-Shirt is durable and snag resistant

thanks to an incredibly high strength knit while remaining incredibly airy and lightweight. A honeycomb fabric structure not only wicks sweat away from the skin but also disperses the moisture over a greater area, creating an incredibly fast drying shirt. The textured fabric combined with a loose fit helps the t-shirt stand off a rider’s skin for improved comfort, while an antibacterial treatment maintains freshness for longer days in the saddle. And for the inevitable crash that causes more damage than you can ignore,

included are a set of repair patches in the same colour and fabric as the t-shirt that offer a handy at-home repair option so you and your shirt can get back to the trails.

The Lightweight Trail Jacket is a packable windproof shell made for mountain biking in changing conditions. Made with a lightweight yet breathable ripstop nylon fabric that’s treated for durable water repellency (DWR), this jacket offers unrivaled weather protection in a seriously small package. A helmet compatible

hood features an adjustable cinch cord to offer a locked-in fit when the conditions turn nasty, while an oversized TPU zip puller allows for easy ventilation while riding. When you’re not wearing the jacket, it stows into its chest pocket for maximum packability. Further still, the Lightweight Trail Jacket comes with an added strap that allows you to cinch your jacket down to your frame for a clean, off body storage solution.

The Women’s Trail Tank is made for mountain biking in the heat. Constructed from a light and breathable fabric to keep you cool when the temperature soars, it’s also durable and snag resistant thanks to an incredibly high strength knit. The honeycomb weave fabric structure, made of recycled materials, not only wicks sweat away from the skin but also disperses the moisture over a greater area, creating an incredibly fast-drying top. The textured fabric combined with a loose fit helps the tank stand off a rider’s skin for improved comfort, while an antibacterial treatment maintains freshness for longer days in the saddle. And for the inevitable crash that causes more damage than you can ignore, included are a set of repair patches

in the same colour and fabric as the tank that offer a handy at-home repair option so you and your shirt can get back to the trails.

The Trail Hip Pack is a dependable companion for longer days on the trail, capable of safely stowing your things while you ride. Constructed from a fully recycled, durable ripstop fabric that’s easy to clean, this comfortable hip pack features multiple storage and fixing solutions for your essentials – including two water bottle pouches, a 3 litre internal capacity, and an external drawcord that can be used to strap

down a jacket or extra layer. A further front valuables pocket inside the pack includes a key clip for safe carriage of your valuables. Adjustable waist straps provide a locked-in fit, while a form-fitting and breathable back panel boosts comfort at the same time as preventing the pack from jostling while you

ride. Finally, an aquaguard zip seals things up, adding an extra layer of protection against the elements.

The Pro Team Full Frame Glasses are designed to ensure a clear line of sight and complete stability on even the roughest terrain. The frame is made with lightweight, injection-moulded Grilamid that holds that lens securely in place and protects from the elements. Megol arm grippers provide high levels of grip in all conditions and the nose piece, made with the same material, comes in two sizes for an adjustable fit. Snap lock hinges make the glasses easier to put on and remove while adding further stability. And for improved ventilation, subtle vents are positioned along the edges of the hydrophobic, anti-fog lens, which is interchangeable with a wide range of spare lenses for clear vision in any light conditions.

Created in collaboration with Smith, the Rapha + Smith Forefront 2 combines two cutting edge technologies to provide state of the art impact protection out on the trail. A Multi-Directional Impact Protection System helps reduce rotational forces caused by angled impacts to the head whilst complete Koroyd coverage provides further impact protection without compromising ventilation. Designed to work with goggles or sunglasses, the helmet features an adjustable visor for storage between laps as well as twenty air vents which keep the air flowing and help you to keep a cool head. Smith’s VaporFit dial adjustment system makes locking in the perfect fit quick and easy so you can get to the trail head sooner.


No matter where your local trails are, every ride leaves its mark on your apparel as surely as your tyres leave tracks in the dirt. But Rapha Performance Trailwear is designed to last, for lap after lap and season after season. Even if you do come off and rip an item of your kit, it’s not the end of the line. Most of our products include a repair patch kit, made with excess fabric from the same garment that would otherwise have been headed for the landfill. You can use the repair kit to easily fix your garment and get back on the trail as quickly as possible. For more serious stitch-ups, most pieces of Rapha Performance Trailwear can also be sent back to us for a free repair. We’ve repaired more than 34,000 garments since 2004 and every repair we make not only extends the life of your kit but helps us to reduce excess and minimise our environmental impact. Lastly, we’ve tried to use environmentally preferred materials across the range where possible. In 2021, 43% of Rapha Performance Trailwear, by volume, is made using environmentally preferred materials, with a commitment of reaching 90% by 2025."

Review: 100% R-Core X Pant

Riding pants have come a long way since I was a kid. I remember the first set was a grey set of Fox 180 Moto pants I got for Christmas. I thought they were the coolest things ever. I would ride everywhere in them. They were thick, heavy and probably would still be around with the cockroach if the world went up in flames in a nuclear war.


Fast forward to 2021., I may not still own them Fox pants but I still think riding pants are the coolest thing out. Lucky riding pants have come a long way since I was young. We now have a vast range of them out there designed around mountain biking specifically.


I was lucky enough to be given a set of 100 percent R-Core X pants to test. 100 percent has a rich motocross history dating back to the 1980s but more recently has moved into the mountain bike scene. This history and knowledge show in their products: well-designed features, fit, ventilation and materials.


The R-Core X pants are aimed at the trail enduroish market., They are packed with clever features. The first thing you notice when you put the pants on is just how much airflow they have. There were many times I put them on and thought there I must have put a rip in the crotch purely from the breeze passing through them. Fit wise, they sit in the middle of the range - not too tight and not too baggy, enough room to move and also fit kneepads on underneath. A mixture of four-way stretch spandex and DWR coated polyester provide stretch and strength where you need them most. Silicon gripper pads on the back of the waist help keep the pants up while you do up the fantastic boa on the front. Why don’t more people do this? It makes a lot more sense than buttons or straps. The boa allows for micro-adjustment on the tightness and I personally love the way it looks. Rounding out these pants are two well-placed zip pockets on the front - big enough to get a phone and a small tool in one pocket.


I've spent about a month and a half putting these pants through their paces, from punishing wet rides in the rain to six-hour rides into the bush for overnight missions and quick laps around my local spots. They tend to be the go-to set I grab when I'm heading out riding due to their lightweight feel and overall comfort. All the ventilation helps you not overheat, the fabric stays pretty dry on the wet rides.


What I have noticed on days where it is a bit warmer is that the material used isn't the most breathable. I’d often pull my phone out of my pocket mid-ride and it would be covered in sweat. Not an ideal thing for an electronic device but pop your phone in a sandwich bag before you go riding and you’ll be sweet. Would this put me off buying these pants? Absolutely not. As much as the material might not be the most breathable, the vents keep you cool on warm days. The fit and comfort are fantastic. You almost forget you are wearing them. Fantastic features such as the boa, silicon grippers and vents add up to a great versatile set of durable riding pants that work all year round and won’t let you down.


Distributor: FE Sports


Words: Jake Hood

Images: Caleb Smith

Review: 100% Airmatic Pants

100% has always been a brand heavily correlated to American motocross racing, producing top of the line apparel, products and racing equipment for riders on the track. Over the past few years, 100% have expanded their range to incorporate products for everyday mountain bikers, like myself. The new Airmatic pant is a welcome addition to their ever-expanding array of mountain biking product. This pant has you covered through any conditions the trail wants to throw at you. 100% have combined the fitment of their popular R-Core-X pant with the 4-way stretch material and the reliable, mountaineering buckle system featured on the Airmatic Short. This new Airmatic pant promises to deliver warmth, flexibility, ventilation and most importantly comfort.


Personally, I’ve found it challenging to find the perfect pair of riding shorts that are comfortable and also flattering. I’d never considered riding pants to be an option, as I have always opted for the classic short and knee pad combo. However, the 100% Airmatic pants have been a total game-changer. With a tapered leg cut, a hassle-free adjustable belt latch and two zippered pockets on each side, the pants are my new go-to for trail riding. Both side pockets were large enough to fit my phone, with an inner mesh pocket to hold your phone in place when riding, barely noticing the phone when pedalling. Bonus!


Made of four-way stretch material, the pants are lightweight, pliant and have proven to be incredibly comfortable and pedal-friendly. At first ride, I was sceptical of how lightweight the pants were and whether they would be prone to ripping, however, they proved to be super durable having survived a couple of crash tests without tearing, proving the fabric to be tough and reliable.


The Airmatic pants play well with knee pads, fitting under the pants comfortably, whilst still offering the right amount of stretch without feeling restricted in your movements. However, I found that there wasn’t an awful amount of stretch or adjustment in the waistband, as the pants don’t have adjustable velcro on the sides as most riding shorts and pants have. This just means that you must buy the pants true to size.


Overall, the 100% Airmatic pants are functional and fitting. The tapered cut of the pants keeps cuffs out of drivetrains whilst earning major points in the style department. They up my swagger game when I’m rocking them, well at least that’s what I think?! And, I’ve found them to be a comfortable and fly-looking pair of pants off the bike too whilst doing repairs on my bike or grabbing a craft beer at the local bar. The Airmatic pants are definitely good all-rounder pants, rain or shine and have so far, kept the chill off the autumn Wellington wind.


Distributor: FE Sports


Words: Khulan Tumen

Images: Caleb Smith

Review: Giro Roust Jersey

I thought writing my C.V was hard, but to write a review for all our readers…. the pressure was on.

And by pressure, I mean the always-efficient production team had a lapse and were not-so-efficient, throwing me my first ever written piece a few hours before the print deadline. Nothing like a deadline to boost efficiency though, right? One thing I have learnt, working within this small team, is that everyone does a little bit of everything, so getting stuck into your first ever review (that will be read by thousands!) should be no different.


The first thing I knew - and loved - about this Giro Roust Jersey, was that Giro had jumped on the rotating wheel of environmentally friendly, low impact products and created their Renew Series, which this jersey is a part of. The Renew series is a clothing line made with recycled polyester, elastane and nylon, including Econyl and Lycra made from reclaimed fishing nets. Yes, it’s a bit of a cliché, but if you wanna keep riding your trails, it starts with these small yet effective changes.

What jumps out at me whilst wearing the jersey is the slight fitted shape of it, even though it’s supposed to be more of a loose, relaxed style. It wears as a somewhat fitted cut but for me personally, this is not a bad thing. Women’s bike jerseys need to stay away from the dreaded boxy style, so it’s good to see the Roust’s sides are pinched in ever so slightly to give a bit of shape, but still provide room everywhere else. It doesn’t feel tight around the areas where the importance of movement is needed. I ride with and without a hydration pack, and found the longer length at the back provided good cover and didn’t have the tendency to bunch, catch on things or ride up my back.

The Roust jersey is lightweight and suited for warmer season riding. Light fabric, mesh panelling on the sides and the breathable, moisture-wicking fabric does a good job in keeping you cool and not so sweaty. The lens cleaner on the inside is handy for wiping away all the grit and grime, especially if you are someone who makes a splash going through some of those wet areas.

For reference, the Roust jersey I wore was the Blue Marble colour and short sleeved but it also comes in three other designs; they are trendy, but not as loud as your mum’s ‘telling off’ voice. With lots of ride time in the Roust jersey, the colours have held well, the fabric has kept its shape and, more importantly, it has not taken on odours from all of the hard slogging.


Words: Helen Mowry

Images: Cameron Mackenzie