Velocio’s premium women’s ES kit. The CamelBak Solstice 10LR hydration pack. The classic looking Cafe du Cycliste Violette and Heidi jersies. Shimano’s high-ish end women’s WR84 road shoes. The bright and grippy Specialized Cliplite 2FO MTB trail shoes. Specialized SWAT apparel, which has secret pockets to stash your riding goods. Adidas Eyewear Evil Eye Evo with Vario lenses, and their new casual glasses, the Excalates. Custom merino kit from Sydney-based Eleven Velo. Updated Scuffers from Nzo, the women’s baggy shorts that redefined women’s baggy shorts.
That’s a fair few product reviews and write ups over the last year! Most are designed for women, but by brands that do some excellent man-gear too, using similar fabrics, gadgets and technologies. The main exception here is the Adidas Evil Eye Evo sunglasses, which come in different unisex size options and are adjustable for different face shapes.
Given the time it takes to do these reviews properly, and the potential for injury or a miserable ride from brands that completely miss the mark, I tend to only review the products from companies making a serious effort in this area these days. That’s not to say that these companies consistently create a perfect product. But I respect the effort that they’re putting in, which makes testing and writing about these products satisfying, curiosity-driven and a lot more rewarding than riding around in loose shoes and baggy bibshorts!
Images and links are below if any of these products take your fancy and you’d like to know more about them than you can glean from a press release or the brand’s own description.
I reviewed the CamelBak Women’s Solstice 10LR for Australian Mountain Bike online. Theoretically, this one keeps the weight down low, so you feel light and free on the trails.
Unfortunately, it didn’t fit my body shape very well at all. But I like the other features offered by the pack, and bought the updated CamelBak LUXE instead to carry my camera up and down the mountains in New Zealand. For more on this riding kit by Australian brand DHaRCO, read this other review on BikeRadar.
Here’s a closer look at the Evil Eye Evo sunglasses with Vario (transition lenses). The full review was published in Australian Mountain Bike issue 155. I’ll update this post with a link if it’s republished online.
Take a much, much closer look at Shimano’s new women’s WR84 road shoes in this review for BikeRadar. They’ll have you covered for racing, but are still comfortable for training. I still use these most days of the week.
Nice-based Cafe du Cycliste combine a classic aesthetic with modern materials. I wrote an overview of the men’s and women’s range for BikeRadar as well as individual reviews on the short sleeved Violette jersey and the warm winter Heidi jacket. I borrowed Australian Editor, Dave Rome’s roadie helmet for this shoot, because looks are important!
The Specialized SWAT (storage, water, air, tools) apparel encourages pack free riding. I feel that this one can do with more refining before it performs as well as it could, but people who love it, love it.
In some cases writing about new products as part of a bigger gear round up hits a much larger audience than a single review. These next product pieces have more of a newsy than reviewy tone. I wrote and shot them for BikeRadar’s 11 speed articles, where the website features new products each week. Hit the link and scroll down ’til you get there!
The Velocio ES kit is the company’s premium offering. In addition to the superior fit and performance, I like that it offers ladies a chance to wear race-inspired kit, in visible, flattering colours, without all the logos. I wrote an in depth review on the company’s special edition Lela Rose Zinna kit last year, so it was nice to see the way this next line had expanded on the previous one.
While dudes have a big range to choose from with mountain bike shoes, for women the range is so much smaller. The Specialized 2F0 Clip Lite shoes are one of the few SPD compatible trail shoes, built on a women’s last.
Nzo’s indestructible Scuffers were the first pair of mountain bike baggies I ever wore. Here’s the latest incarnation, using a lighter main material.
Eleven Velo’s 99 jersey and knicks is one of the more unusual products I’ve tested. It all starts with a fancy jersey builder on your computer screen, where you select the colours of each merino panel.
Hard to photograph, a pleasure to wear. Adidas Eyewear added more performance features to their casual range this year. These include grippy, detachable arms and an grippy, adjustable nose piece, so they stay in place and are hard to break. This model is the Excalate.
Photos: Kath Bicknell, Gaye Camm and Dave Rome.