Machines For Freedom has, until recently, been mainly known for its women’s road cycling kit that comes in an assortment of beautiful patterns and sizes up to 3XL. Earlier this year the US brand announced its first foray into off-road kit, launching a Versatile Off Road range.
We’ve gotten our hands on some of MFF’s new MTB kit and will be putting it through its paces this summer. In the meantime, here’s a first look at its Short Sleeve Technical Tee, to give you an idea of what’s to come.
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Design and aesthetics
The MFF Tech Tee is designed to mimic casual boxy t-shirts which are popular for being relaxed, comfortable and flattering for a range of body shapes. As part of the boxy cut, the tee drapes loosely across the shoulders and is cut higher at the front than at the back. This high/low split seam offers more coverage at the back and in some ways echoes the shape of the traditional race cut of lycra jerseys without hugging the figure tightly, leaving room at the front for a full range of movement.
The tee is constructed predominantly of micro modal, a natural fiber derived from the cellulose of beech and other hardwood trees, and sourced using sustainable forestry practices. This makes it more environmentally friendly than many other technical fabrics on the market. The resulting fabric feels buttery soft and silk-like against the skin, has an excellent moisture-wicking profile, and is low piling and long-lasting. MFF also credits the tee with offering UPF 50+ sun protection.
The tee itself feels pretty lightweight, while at the bottom it's doubled over for the hem to create a bit of weight that allows it to hang properly, draping over the curves of the body. The sleeves are really wide and boxy, and in the black colorway they're made from mesh to allow sufficient airflow. Why this isn't a feature in the blue or pink colorways, we’re not sure, as it's a really nice detail that would be great to include across the entire range.
Branding is subtle, and limited to a small black sewn-in patch bearing the company's name in white. This is great if you’re inclined to wear it as a casual top pre- or post-ride and want to blend in.
Due to the pattern of the tee, seams are fairly minimal. The seams across the shoulders and around the collar are flatlocked and completely unnoticeable, while the seams at the side and attaching the sleeves aren't flatlocked but barely register thanks to the loose cut.
The only aspect of the design I'm not overly keen on is just how wide the sleeves — and as a result, the junction where they join the tee — are, as they hang extremely loose at the armpit in a way that I personally find quite unflattering. However this is a common trope of boxy tees, which I don't tend to wear myself, and so it's unlikely to concern anyone who usually wears this type of cut.
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So far we’ve only used the MFF Technical Tee a couple of times, so we’re not ready to give it the full review just yet, but we can confirm that so far it’s performed really well both on and off the bike. The loose fit is extremely comfortable and the boxy cut does a great job of hiding the abdomen if that’s something you wish to do.
In this way it can be very confidence-inspiring, particularly as the brand makes a point of marketing its products towards a larger-bodied audience, and while it would be nice if all women felt great about their curves, in reality there are plenty who feel too uncomfortable in a jersey that reveals every little detail. This is where MFF’s Technical Tee really shines, provided the high crop at the front isn’t off-putting, as it may be for some.
As we’ve come to expect from micro modal fabric, the moisture-wicking properties of the tee are proving to be superb. In the UK right now we’re experiencing a bit of a heatwave, which has turned out to be the best time to get this tee out on the trails. The fabric has done a great job of lifting sweat away from the skin, while the mesh sleeves are super airy and do wonders for cooling you down.
So far, so good.
So far we’re really impressed with this boxy Technical Tee that at first glance looks very simple, but upon closer inspection offers some excellent performance benefits and well thought-out details.
It feels sublime against the skin, is possibly the most comfortable MTB jersey I’ve ever worn, and personally, I’m trying to wear it at every given opportunity.
While the boxy cut won’t work for everyone, as a first step into the off-road market, Machines For Freedom has created something really great, and we look forward to testing it even more this summer.
Tech specs: Machines For Freedom Short Sleeve Technical Tee
- Sizes: XXS-XXXL (size L tested)
- Price: $78.00
- Materials: 90% Micro Modal, 10% Elastane