There are huge amounts of riding shirts to choose from, but the bait with this Specialized top is definitely the VaporRize fabric. It’s 100% recycled so the planet will love you and it has an SPF rating of 30 so the sun won’t burn you up either. It’s not as airy and cool as a mesh style fabric but the silky feel is great against the skin.
It shifts sweat and dries quickly, and has proved usefully snag-proof so far. It comes in black or oak green with a contrast fade ‘terrain’ print to camouflage your post-lockdown belly. The sleeves and hem length are generous too. The medium loose T-shirt cut makes it look as cool as it feels without flapping too much at speed.
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Specialized’s best mountain bike shorts also use 100% recycled VaporRize fabric but in a tougher, woven version than the shirt. The fabric is DWR treated to shrug off puddle splash and showers and they're SPF 50 rated for full sun protection. They’ve fended off several spills so far and they don’t seem to hold stains either.
They’re not as long as Specialized’s Demo DH shorts so they sit just above the knee to avoid interference with pedalling or pads. Like the shirt, the multi-panel cut is loose enough not to look weird but not too flappy. Sizing goes from 30in to 40in and they fit just-right compared to conventional trouser sizing which isn’t always the case with bike gear. A bit of stretch in the soft-lined waistband and a stretchy horseshoe yoke panel means you don’t have to overtighten the side straps and bunch them up.
The ‘hand’ pockets sit low so the contents are below the hinge-point of your legs and they’re big enough for a cased smartphone. There’s also a side zip opening to match up with the leg pocket on the SWAT bibs they used to be bundled with. They now come with a non-bib, pocket-free liner-short though, so remember not to use it as a pocket or you’ll just be dumping stuff straight onto the trail. The lightweight liners you get now are OK, with fast-wicking fabric and a decent 3D seating pad for day ride comfort.
Laser-cut holes up the inner thigh of the baggies help ‘personal cooling’ too and there is a zip and double-popper fly for nature breaks. The S logo on the leg is also subtle enough to keep them wearable whatever bike you run.
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They’re not the coolest option but for most days on the mountain bike, Specialized's combination of loose-enough but not-flappy fit, sun protection, tough fabrics and splash-proof shorts are spot-on. While the jersey is relatively simple, the cut and detailing on the shorts is great, making them well worth the investment. We can also understand that the SWAT bib shorts they used to come with weren’t everyone’s cup of tea, which is why they’ve switched to simpler shorts. We’d still recommend adding them to the outfit if you’re a fan of longer pack free rides.