By Seb Kemp
KITSBOW MIXED SHELL JACKET
-15-piece pattern creates exceptional ergonomic fit
-Schoeller-dryskin in jacket body for maximum weather protection
-Sleeves are lightweight Schoeller USP fabric for wear resistance and freedom of movement
-Asymmetric front zipper
-Two zipper vents run the length of the body, enabling just the right amount of ventilation in any conditions
-Two internal zipper pockets
-Reflective strips run parallel to zippers for visibility
The Kitsbow Mixed Shell jacket is perhaps the greatest piece of mountain bike attire I’ve ever used. I wore it continually for our whole trip riding through British Columbia this past winter, and continue to do so.
The temperature regulation is incredible. The zip vents were accessible and easily opened/closed while on the bike, and were so much better and so much easier to use than standard pit zips. Hidden in the vents are mesh pockets for media devices, wallets, whatever. More so, the off-center zip was a very nice touch indeed.
The fabric was nicely windproof and had a great DWR coating. It repelled rain incredibly well and only when things got extremely wet did I pull on a Gore-Tex jacket over the top. I was most impressed with how it stayed clean. After a solid day riding in the wet, muddy woods the dirt and grit would shed once it dried. I didn’t wash it once on the whole trip and even wore it out at night sometimes.
The cut is sublime and the style is subdued. It is something you could feel comfortable wearing on the road, mountain bike trails and even in a restaurant or pub after the ride. Lots of brands claim they are designed for après-activities, but often that's not really the case, unless après consists of going to a European underground rave. The Kitsbow jacket is very, very smart looking and plenty of women commented on how handsome we looked. Result.
It was refreshing to wear something that, visually speaking, worked on many levels. We could walk into a club ride with mature riders and be taken seriously, and then walk into a shop with a young kid at the counter and be respected. Kitsbow's style is a little different to what we usually get served by clothing companies. I suppose you could call it smart-casual.
It’s obvious that Kitsbow has considered the details but finished with something that doesn’t look like a teenager’s reject wardrobe. Sure, looking bright and wacky has its place, but just because that place is deep in the woods where no one is looking doesn't make it right. The muted and mature appearance of Kitsbow has arrived just at the right time for me. I'm getting a little older and I don't have the same eye for the aesthetic that a much younger rider does. There is a time and a place for the moto-garb, Celtic tattoo, patchwork blanket stye, but not for me anymore.
The only thing I would change would be to add some kind of closure to the bottom of the venting zips – a button or something so that the bottom zipper doesn’t accidentally ride up as you’re pedaling.
I've worn this jacket on every ride this year. I'm sad that now it is summer I won't be needing to use it as much. The jacket is the best item of cycle specific clothing I have ever worn. It isn't just nicer than most, it is considerably better than anything that is available. The fabrics are superior, the cut is without comparison, and the attention to detail is phenomenal. It all feels like it was custom tailored. It is just that good.