Apparel & Accessories

Tested: Club Ride Clothing

At last: Riding gear that's plenty good enough for the trail and doubles as a set of street duds.

The Drifter jersey is made of a slightly thicker material than the Bowler.

When I first saw the cycling short and shirt offerings from Club Ride my initial thought was, “Wow, that’s some really expensive clothing that looks like something I could get at the thrift store.”

Boy, was I wrong.

Not only does Club Ride use high-quality materials in their shorts and jerseys but the fit of the stuff is definitely made with riding in mind. It’s nice to have clothing that’s plenty good enough for long mountain bike rides but also doubles as a set of street duds while running errands on the townie bike.

Best shorts ever?

For me, shorts are one of the most important pieces of gear that I wear. An ill-fitting pair of shorts can make your “undercarriage” feel like you’ve just ridden an epic when in actuality you were only on the bike for two hours. Club Ride has definitely found a balance when it comes to fit, function and comfort.

The inner shorts consist of a mix of 81-percent Polyester and 19-percent Spandex. They have a fit that’s snug enough for support but also magically loose enough that I don’t feel like my “junk” is in a tightly packed oven. Seriously. I can put these things on in the morning, eat breakfast, drive to the trailhead, do a five-hour ride and still feel comfortable when I’m done. I’ll change into “street clothes” when I’m done riding but usually don’t feel like I have to.

The real beauty of the shorts is the outer short. I’ve logged many, many miles in Club Ride’s Days 2 Short and am a huge fan. To start, the stretch nylon material leaves the shorts super quiet while riding and the well-thought-out articulation lets you pedal without the rubbing and swishing of the legs common on other baggies. The 12-inch inseam of the shorts is the perfect length — at least for me — and the side-adjustment cams on the waistband ensure a perfect fit.

The shorts also sport some pockets (one of the reasons I like baggies). There’s a zippered pocket on the bottom of the right leg and three more pockets in the front. The other front pockets do lack the ability to zip, or otherwise, seal shut, which is a slight bummer. Nonetheless I’ve not lost anything from the pockets but I’m certainly careful as to what goes in them. A single zippered pocket on the back rounds out the storage options.

CLUB RIDE CYCLING APARREL
Bowler Jersey: $90
Drifter Jersey: $80
Days 2 Short: $100
• Women’s styles available
www.clubrideapparel.com

A note on snaps: Some of the earlier models of these shorts — like mine — had smaller snaps on the waistband that were prone to unsnapping. This always seemed to happen at the most inopportune of times while riding.

Don’t suffer with weak snaps! A quick email to Mike at Club Ride resulted in a replacement set of snaps sent out to me in a couple of days. The snaps were fairly easy to install with some basic hand tools. Mike said he would also install the upgraded snaps on any shorts that were sent back. Take him up on it.

The Jerseys

The Bowlers jersey performs as good as it looks. Thought-out mesh panels in the armpits, lower scapula and lower back keep air flowing through the jersey when the going gets hot. The material also has a slight amount of stretch to it so it never feels like it binds or limits range of motion. Just like the shorts, the articulation is spot on while riding leaving the jersey feeling super comfortable while on the bike.

Although the snaps and the zipper on the front seem a bit redundant it does give some options for venting that I’ve grown accustomed to. The jersey does have some pockets in the back, which I found handy while running errands in town but a bit limiting while bouncing down rough trails on the mountain bike.

The Drifter jersey is made of a slightly thicker material, in comparison to the Bowler. The jersey sports a nice wide mesh venting panel that runs from under the arm all the way down each side of the jersey. A full-length zipper on the front let’s you fully regulate the airflow and a small zippered pocket on the back lets you carry some goods.

Again, I felt a bit limited with what I could carry in the pocket but it’s nice to have the option.

It’s all in the details

Club Ride headquarters is located in Ketchum, Idaho, a Mecca for all things singletrack. No doubt many of the ideas and designs for Club Ride have come while riding one of the many trails in and around the Sun Valley area. All clothing is made in the US of A.

Gregg Stone’s long, strange trip in the bicycle industry goes back far enough to recall “U”-brakes, flex stems and Campy’s attempt at an off-road group. He owns and operates Mighty Mobile Bike Repair in Truckee, California. No slouch on the bike either, Gregg posted a top-10 finish in the 2011 Downieville Classic All-Mountain category — on a hardtail, is the reigning Nevada State mountain bike champion and is always in search of one more trail.