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Earlier this year, Specialized announced its new mountain bike clothing line, and the star of the show was the mountain bib liner with SWAT. The SWAT bib short liners are airy, made primarily of mesh, with three useful pockets, and quite a comfortable chamois — but it’s the pockets built into the bib, the SWAT system, that make it distinctive.
For fall and winter riding, Specialized has introduced a SWAT bib knicker that uses the same handy pockets but with a warmer, micro-fleece-lined material and less mesh. The Therminal SWAT knickers are part of Specialized’s line of Therminal winter gear, which covers road and mountain.
The SWAT knickers may not get the same warm welcome as the summer version, as riders may be more willing to carry a pack this time of year. During the summer, a hydration pack results in a sweaty back, but in the fall and winter, a pack can hold a jacket, a warmer pair of gloves, and it even holds some warmth against your body.
For riders who already have a couple of favorite bib knickers in their closet, but still like the idea of concealed pockets, a pocket base layer might be the ticket. Giro’s Base Pockets sleeveless base layer retails for $50. Specialized also offers a sleeveless baselayer with pockets for $62.
The SWAT bib liner and knicker’s chamois is very comfortable, and even if you’re not using the rear pockets, the thigh pockets might come in handy. At $110, they’re on the low-end of the pricing spectrum for bib knickers.
If you’re into the SWAT concept, and riding without a pack, they’re well worth the price.
Suggested retail price: $110
We like: Best bib knicker liners we’ve worn under baggy mountain bike shorts
We don’t like: $100-plus price tag may scare off riders who already have comfortable bib shorts or knickers
The scoop: For the rider who doesn’t want to carry a pack, or just wants a warmer, more comfortable pair of liners, these are your go-to. Maybe our favorite piece of new mountain bike apparel.