It's taken many years, but everyday trail-riding gear seems to have shaken much of its road cycling and motocross apparel influences. Turns out, not everyone wants to be a rolling Lycra billboard, or rip around their trails in a $300 fluorescent costume bedazzled with curiously placed hunks of rubber and plastic. Kitsbow is one of a handful of apparel brands integrating on-bike performance and functionality with a casual and comfortable style.
A couple of months ago I picked up the warm-weather-oriented Kitsbow Radiator Tee ($69) and have been riding in it weekly ever since. The Radiator’s unassuming style belies its technical qualities. The Radiator looks and feels similar to cotton, yet is designed to keep riders cooler and more comfortable than a regular old T-shirt. The primary fabric is Polartec’s Power Dry (83 percent polyester and 17 percent spandex), which is built to pull moisture from the skin and expand for faster evaporation.
Venting panels run from the armpit down to the waist and are constructed from Polartec's Delta fabric, which wicks moisture like the Power Dry base material, but is also designed to reduce skin cling and be highly breathable without chemical treatments. These vented side panels are 51 percent polyester, 45 percent environmentally friendly Tencel fabric, and 4 percent spandex. The Radiator Tee is available in sizes XS through XXL, plus blaze red, tropic blue and citron green colorways.
When riding, we're basically maintaining the same body position for hours at a time, so comfort and proper fit are essential qualities in apparel. However, these traits are subjective based on the varying dimensions of our bipedal meat wagons. The size-medium Radiator Tee fits my 5-foot-9, 150-something-pound frame quite well. It doesn't creep up my arms or back while riding, because the sleeves and tail are intentionally a little long to maintain proper coverage. As the name would suggest, the Radiator disperses heat and moisture pretty quickly, and kept me as comfortable as possible while grinding away in relentless, mid-day California sun. Having withstood numerous wash cycles without fading or shrinking, the Radiator remains super comfortable and reminds me more of my favorite T-shirt than a riding jersey.
More at kitsbow.com.