Review: Giro Truant Kit

'New Road' makes its way onto dirt

Let’s get down to brass tacks: wearing a baggy kit is mostly about not looking like a sweaty sausage in a Lycra casing. I know. It’s a really nasty image I just put in your mind, and that’s exactly why many of us prefer baggies.

The thing is, a lot of the baggy stuff is only a marginal aesthetic improvement over Lycra, sporting a gaggle of neon colors and overstated logo placements. Giro was one of the first big apparel makers to shift away from that look, but it began on the skinny-tired side with its ‘New Road’ line of understated but performance-oriented riding clothes that could pass for street wear. The cut was on the tight side for trail riding, though.

That’s where the Truant line comes in. Cut specifically for trail use, the 88 percent nylon and 12 percent spandex shorts have a 14-inch inseam, which is plenty long for use with pads, and the leg opening is wide enough to accommodate all but the bulkiest knee protectors. Overall, the cut is slimmer than most downhill shorts, but longer than most trail shorts. The waist is adjustable with external pulls, and also has belt loops if you’d prefer to go that route. There are four pockets: two traditional hand pockets at the waist, a zippered vertical pocket on the right thigh and a welt pocket with a Velcro closure on the left. The fly is zippered and there’s a button closure on the waist.

The jersey is just a jersey, and that’s just fine. Its construction is 96 percent recycled polyester with 4 percent cotton thrown in for some softness. It’s baggy, but not too baggy, the arms are plenty long and don’t bind at full extension. There’s a zippered pocket on the right hip where you can stash keys, cash or sunglasses. The button henley closure on the neck is nice when you’re crawling up a climb and need to vent some heat.

Some jerseys creep up while riding, which can be quite distracting. This seems to happen more frequently with lightweight materials, but isn’t an issue here thanks to the extra length in the back of the Truant jersey, and its slightly heavier weave. The jersey breathes very well and has never felt too hot, even on the most sweltering summer days in SoCal.

Durability is top-notch with both pieces. I’ve taken spills, brushed against prickly California flora, and completely ignored Giro’s washing instructions for months on end, but the only noticeable wear on either piece is the slight deformation of the jersey’s collar. That doesn’t bother me whatsoever. What does bother me is the lack of zippers on the hand pockets; nothing has fallen out, and I doubt anything would, but I don’t want to be worrying about losing items while I’m riding. The jersey retails for $80 while the shorts go for $100. That’s not cheap, but riders looking for top-notch durability and performance with subtle looks will get their money’s worth out of this kit.