Updated: May 1, 2022
“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