As the name suggests, the Bible of Bike Tests is primarily focused on testing bikes, but we also get a buttload of softgoods sent out for the annual two-week-long shindig. Besides making it so we don’t need to test bikes in our birthday suits, it gives us the opportunity to peep new duds from brands we dig, get some of it in front of the cameras during film and photo shoots for y’all to see, and finally, to put as much of what showed up into the normal test rotation. So without further ado, here are a few of my favorite pieces of gear from this year’s Bible, broken down into parts one and two, ’cause yeah, sometimes we get two buttloads.
Kitsbow | Icon Shirt V2 | $220
Kitsbow’s Icon shirt isn’t cheap, but this Pendleton wool-spun, U.S.-made shirt will keep you cozy for years to come. It’ll become that piece you look forward to wearing each autumn when the mercury starts to drop. How do I know this? Because, I’ve had the original Icon shirt for years, and it’s become my favorite thing about fall. It might resemble a normal wool flannel, but the Icon was designed for years of adventure. Articulating shoulder vents with stretchy perforated gussets allow the Icon to move with you, whether on you’re riding, backcountry skiing, or chopping wood—an activity that should be done in any good plaid shirt. Schoeller abrasion panels protect high-stress areas on the elbows and shoulders, and nicely camouflaged hits of reflective piping add safety without sacrificing style. The fit is just right for active lifestyles (not too tight, not too flappy), the Pendelton wool is soft enough to wear against the skin, and the plastic Sun Grip snaps are quick, durable and don’t get cold like metal ones. Updates from the original Icon include wider cuffs for watch clearance, larger patches for better coverage, added shoulder articulation, plus the reflective piping mentioned above. The Icon V2 is offered in 5 plaid colorways and one solid color.
Learn more about Kitsbow here.
Pearl Izumi | Versa Softshell Hoodie | $175
Stylish, warm and cozy, the Versa Softshell hoodie and its soft, fleecy interior, is the perfect post-ride companion on those chilly fall and winter days—but it’s really designed to keep you protected during a ride. The softshell material blocks enough wind to keep you warm, but lets enough in for proper ventilation. Elastic wrist cuffs keep direct windflow off the skin, a drop-tail provides on-the-bike coverage, and front and rear zippered pockets provide secure storage for valuables. I haven’t always been a fan of Pearl Izumi, but this heritage bike brand has really stepped its game up in recent years.
Learn more here.
KETL | SPF Jersey | $85
I’ll fully admit that I’m a wool snob, so I wasn’t overly stoked to try KETL’s synthetic SPF jersey. I was pleasantly surprised when the thing turned out to be an amazing piece to have out in the hot desert sun, and even happier when it saved my skin without stinking to high heaven as most synthetic jerseys do. The ultra-thin Italian-spun SPF 50+ material keeps you cool in the heat, and I dig the loose-athletic cut and diagonally hemmed cuffs that go extra lengths to keep sun off the wrists.
Learn more here.
Showers Pass | | Hi-Line Merino Short Sleeve | $90
The biggest drawback to ultra-fine 18.5-micron Merino wool is its fragility, which is why it’s common to mix some polyester in with the natural fibers to add strength. Showers Pass uses a 50/50 blend for the back, shoulders and sleeve panels of its Hi-Line Merino henley, while the front panel has a higher wool content. The lightweight 150-gsm knit is perfect for summertime heat, and the addition of a baselayer will keep this jersey in rotation down to 60-ish-degree weather. Plastic snaps on the henley cut serve to control ventilation, while the pocket is mostly there for style points. The Hi-Line has an agreeable semi-athletic cut, and has a slightly longer back for coverage while riding, but not so long that it looks out of place back in town. Like most of Showers Pass pieces I’ve had, the Hi-Line’s overall length is a touch shorter than average, so look elsewhere if you like longer fitting shirts. The nice thing about it running slightly shorter, though, is there’s less material to bunch up around hip packs.
Learn more here.
Mission Workshop | Traverse All-mountain Short | $165
I still have a pair of the original Traverse shorts, from sometime around 2013 or 2014. They were my go-to shorts for years—the kind I’d rummage through dirty laundry to find, when I had a dozen pairs of clean shorts neatly folded in a drawer—until they finally died last season. That’s an overstatement, actually. They didn’t die, about 6 inches of the hem on one of the leg cuffs came unstitched, which is totally repairable. Mission’s U.S.-made Traverse shorts have a tailored fit that provides range-of-motion without bunching or snagging, and they’re made from a material that has some, but not too much stretch. The best thing about these shorts, though, is the built-in belt, which tapers from thin in the front, to nice and wide in the back. And it’s not stretchy, so when you cinch it down with the side-mounted tensioning buckle, the shorts stay put all day long. They might be pricey for a pair of shorts, but it’s a small price to pay for superior fit, comfort and durability. And to ensure that perfect fit, Mission Workshop offers the Traverse shorts in 11 sizes: in 1-inch increments from 28 to 38 inches. The 14-inch inseam is long enough to cover kneepads, but the shorts have a slim enough fit that they’re too tight for anything bigger than minimalist-style pads. As for nitpicks, I personally would prefer to see a button where those snaps are, and there aren’t any front pockets, so they’re not the best off-the-bike shorts in the game. They’re tough to beat on the bike, though.
Learn more here.
Giro | Truant Short | $100
They’re not made in the U.S, but the Giro Truant shorts do have button-closure and front pockets—two things that are missing from the Mission Workshop Traverse shorts. The inseam is 14 inches, long enough for kneepads, and the fit, although still tightly tailored, is a bit looser than that of the Mission Workshop shorts above. The Truant shorts come in 7 sizes: in two-inch increments from 30 to 40 inches. Waist adjustment is handled by non-elastic nylon straps and is affixed with Velcro. If that’s not strong enough, or after it wears out, there Giro also equipped the Truant shorts with belt loops. In addition to the two front pockets, the shorts also have a tall and narrow pocket on each leg—one zippered, and one with a Velcro closure—each of which is perfect for holding a cell phone or money clip. From the factory, the Truants come with a DWR (Durable Water Repellent) coating, but that should be taken with a grain of salt because that stuff washes off. These shouldn’t be considered waterproof shorts, but they should be considered one of the most wearable mountain bike shorts around. And one of the better pairs to wear off the bike.
Learn more here.
Want more? Indeed you do. Read Part 2 here!