Dakine Catalyst Bike Jersey Review
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I have got to hand it to Dakine for making a full lineup of stylish and functional mountain biking clothing for women. The Dakine Catalyst Bike Jersey is a traditionally styled cross country and all mountain top with a half zip front and stow pockets on the back.
The Catalyst Jersey is 100% polyester, but two distinctly different materials. The main body has a full weave while the side panels feature a pin-hole mesh under the arms. The material is lightweight and was extremely breathable which I found to be hugely beneficial while riding in the hot sun, especially since it was black. Additionally, the material did not hold moisture at all. It wicking moisture away from my body and dried quick enough that I never even noticed it was wet even when I had stopped riding.
While I really appreciated the breathability of the material used in the Catalyst Jersey while I was baking in the hot sun of Moab, it honestly felt a little cheap to me. The material wasn’t very soft and when I held it up to the light I could see straight through it. I’m not saying the material was rough, it was really quite comfortable when I had it on, but it just didn’t feel high-quality. With that said, I have worn and washed it multiple times and it shows no signs of wear even on the shoulders where my pack straps sit and rub for hours during rides.
The half-zip on the front of the Catalyst Jersey made it comfortable and was a nice feature, but given how light and breathable the material was it didn’t’ make a huge difference whether I had it fully zipped or fully unzipped. The difference in ventilation and airflow was minimal. I was appreciative that the top of the zipper was covered when it was zipped all the way up to prevent it from chaffing my neck or chin.
Dakine Catalyst Bike Jersey Pockets
Two back stow pockets with elastic at the top take up the entire lower back section of the jersey. These pockets are big – about 6 inches by 6 inches on my medium. I found the larger size, especially the depth, refreshing because I wasn’t worried about losing anything out of them even on rough trail. I wore the Catalyst Jersey with and without a Camelbak and didn’t even notice the empty pockets were there with a pack on. On shorter rides without a pack, the pockets provided plenty of space to stow my phone, keys, and some energy gels and bars. The pockets have also allowed me to wear this jersey on road rides not just on trail rides.
The Dakine Catalyst Bike Jersey features a sunglass wipe sewn into an interior side seam which is a nice feature. I don’t make use of this feature often, but when I found myself splashing through a section of mud after a recent snow in the front range melted, it was handy to be able to wipe the mud splatters off my sunglasses without worrying I would scratch them.
The Catalyst Jersey has a great cut and fits according to the sizing on Dakine’s website. It is semi-slim fitting and not boxy like a lot of women’s mountain biking tops can be. It also has a great length to keep my backside covered when standing up and leaning over to maneuver down descents.
I recommend the Catalyst Jersey for ladies looking for a mountain biking top that isn’t quite cross-country racer style, but has all the features of a cross country trail. It is also best for warmer conditions because it provides so much ventilation that cooler days with a breeze can become chilly.