It’s not just bikes that are blending cross-country and enduro to create technically tough yet high-performance results. Scott’s new Trail Vertic MTB kit creates an awesome ‘downcountry’ (they don’t actually call it that) wardrobe for fast riders who are looking for performance and style that works on the ups and looks great on the downs.
We have been putting the jersey, shorts and gloves to the test to see if they warrant a place in our guides to the best mountain bike jerseys, the best mountain bike shorts and the best mountain bike gloves respectively.
The Trail Vertic jersey looks like a pretty standard sublimated print shirt but it’s actually a really good performance option if you don’t like zips and don’t need pockets for anything large. That’s because rather than a flappy ‘freeride’ fit, the Vertic is actually pretty snug with a very clever multi-panel shoulder cut that gives great mobility without feeling like you’re wearing a cape at speed. The design also features a ton of 3D mesh for ventilation so you can push a hot pace without getting too hot yourself. The single zipped pocket is big enough for card & car keys at max, and while you also get a sewn-in lens wipe, the price is relatively high.
Not just the ideal match for the Trail Vertic shirt in name and brand, the Trail Vertic shorts are similarly slim and performance-focused in design. Thankfully that doesn’t mean embarrassing gaps between hem and knee pads though as the legs are full knee-length and stay that way when riding. They’re narrow enough not to balloon up though and the fabric is very stretchy, quiet, light, water-resistant and quick drying so they pretty much vanish off your riding radar. Two hand pockets are zipped for security, mesh-lined for breathability, big enough for a phone, and situate the contents on top of your leg. We actually prefer that to pockets that dangle off the side or pull on the backs of shorts but we know from talking to other riders that it is very much a personal preference thing.
We really like the hook and stitched ‘daisy chain’ front fastening with the broad elastic waistband as it’s easy to adjust on the fly and actually stays put, unlike Velcro side tabs which get slippy with age. The closed fly means no worries about accidental air-con/indecent exposure offenses either but you do have to unhook for ‘nature breaks’. There are no signs of snags or wear blisters yet either despite a lot of mileage and thornbush bashing, but there’s no extra seat reinforcement which will shorten life over time.
The liner shorts are true performance pants worthy of the outers too with a lightweight, fast-wicking mesh construction and Scott Trail 1+ 3D seat pad that’s kept us comfy all day even during the recent hot spell. Considering the inner and outer performance they’re a reasonable price too.
Rounding out the set (we've reviewed the Scott Stego Plus helmet and the knee pad test will be along soon) are the Riddance gloves, and yes you’ve guessed it these are pretty minimal, but great fitting kit too. There’s enough stretch in the cuff and rib knitted back fabric to mean they pull on fine without leaving a baggy wrist once they’re on. Pre-curved side panels mean the fingers don’t bunch either and the single piece suede effect palm means excellent grip and bike feedback. There's a generous nose wipe and they dry quickly too. We’ve got a couple of pulled threads on the outer Lycra finger sides from thorns but otherwise, they’re holding up well despite heavy use since we’ve had them (which in itself is a good sign).
The only potential issue for some riders is that while they do get silicon print details on the index and first fingertips there’s no conductive thread for touch screen operation. Even without that, price is competitive though.
There’s so much kit available at the moment that anything we spend a lot of time riding in beyond testing purposes is obviously damn good. That’s exactly what’s been happening with this Trail Vertic gear from Scott, as the balance of high performance and slim fit without looking too geeky is pretty much spot on for everything from gravel or XC racing to a casual cruise with mates. Overall pricing is good too so lack of touchscreen compatibility on the gloves is the only thing we regularly grumbled about but we appreciate that won’t be an issue for everyone.