Patagonia Enters Mountain Biking Clothing
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Look out bike specific brands, some of the larger outdoor brands such as Patagonia are entering the mountain bike space and they have a long history of making badass clothing. While Patagonia isn’t a bike brand in specific, there are thousands, if not millions of riders who love and use their products for their other activities. Given mountain bike clothing is moving towards casual clothing these days, Patagonia might be on a level playing field with bike specific brands when it comes to the design of technical clothing that looks good too.
I’ve been able to test out a few items in the new mountain bike line from Patagonia including the Men’s Dirt Craft Short 11 1/2 that includes the outer short and chamois and a Nine Trails tee. For the casual rider, I’ve found the gear I’ve been testing to function as intended on the trail and it also fits my preference for biking style and design. My wife pointed out to me that the craft shorts look like another set of my Patagonia hiking shorts which set off a tiny lightbulb in my head in that Patagonia makes sweet hiking shorts, all they needed to do was tweek the shorts a little to work for mountain biking. While this sounds simple, this is likely not the case as the design is completely different from a pair of hiking shorts, Patagonia just knows how to make a pair of shorts fit and look good, no matter the activity.
Patagonia Men’s Dirt Craft Bike Short 11 1/2″
After inspecting the Dirt Craft Bike Short a little more carefully, it is obvious Patagonia has done their homework. From the seem locations, pocket designs, bagginess, and fit around the waist, Patagonia nailed it on the first try (at least in production). The outer short has an internal elastic belt design that allows you to cinch the short as much as you need to, but it allows for some stretch. I typically wear a size 32 in shorts and these shorts fit as most other shorts fit with regards to sizing.
The material used in the outer shorts is a 95% nylon, 5% spandex blend which provides just the right amount of stretch and durability. The liner chamois has a 72% polyester, 28% spandex blend. There are panels in the shorts and a gusseted crotch in for added stretch where you want the shorts to be able to stretch just a little more.
I personally hate it when I go to get on my bike and my shorts won’t stretch enough for my leg to get over the bar. The outer shorts are 100% spandex, but they stretch enough so this isn’t an issue for most riders.
For pockets, there is a zippered side pocket that works with my iPhone 7 with a case. This pocket is big enough to fit oversized phones with a case as well. The pocket is designed to sit on the back of your thigh, so when you superman over the handlebars or fall to the side, you’ll keep your phone screen intact. There are two front pockets that are deep enough, so when you put something in the shorts, it likely won’t slip out. Since I’ve lost (and found) my phone while riding, I only use zippered pockets for important items. I reserve these non zippered pockets for food and less important items.
To keep you chamois in line with the outer short, there is a snap strap on each side to make sure the two work well together. I find that the chamois provides the right amount of padding for most rides. It’s not super light for racing and it’s not heavy duty for those that like a lot of padding. In my opinion, it will work for 90% of the riding that happens on the trails. I haven’t located any pinch points or circulation issues in the chamois which is important when you’re getting out for any extended time on two wheels.
Patagonia Nine Trails Shirt
The Patagonia Nine Trails short sleeve shirt is a 100% polyester shirt that feels silky smooth that performs for long day activities. This shirt feels like a merino wool shirt, but has the durability we come to expect from synthetic material. To help keep the stink out, the Nine Trails shirt is treated with Polygiene, which is one of the most trusted and well known oder treatments in the outdoor industry.
The fit of this shirt is pretty spot on with other shirts you’ve worn. I tested a size medium and found it to be a great fit. The nice thing is that the Nine Trails shirt can be used for a number of activities as long as you’re comfortable with the traditional sport fit.
Overall, I’ve been happy with the performance and style of the Patagonia mountain bike product line. They still have a lot of competition out there, but for you Patagonia loving mountain bikers, I suspect you’ll be happy with this lineup. For more information, visit Patagonia.com.