Outdoor clothing company The North Face have a strong reputation for high performing outdoor wear so we were more than a little interested when a pile of their brand new mountain biking clothing arrived in the office.
Unfortunately we weren’t able to attend the recent press trip where the new range was launched, but The North Face quickly sent us some items from the new range for us to get testing, now that the weather is, shall we say, more appropriate for testing cold weather clobber.
The company is striking for the price range occupied by brands such as Gore Bike Wear and others, with a focus on technical design but a stylish lifestyle aesthetic.
We’ll start with looking at the most of-the-moment item, the £110 Muddy Tracks jacket. It’s made from the company’s own HyVent fabric which is totally waterproof with taped seams and just a degree of stretch to ensure a good comfortable fit.
Other features include a brushed collar lining, articulated elbow for increased freedom of movement on the bike, a longer back, hem pull cord and a rear storage pocket. Passing it around the Bikemagic office it gets nods of approval, the brand instantly recognizable amongst the non-cyclists, and most agreed it looked sharp.
Four sizes are available for men with women getting five sizes to choose from, there there are three colours aside from this striking green that we like a lot.
Next up are the Levada shorts, a general purpose trail baggy made from a four-way stretch fabric that has been treated with DWR to provide a level of water resistance. They’re described as ‘quick drying’ too which is handy for those days when you’re riding through frequent but brief rain showers.
Inside there’s a detachable padded liner short and on the outside six pockets (four zipped) and a rear venting panel. Six sizes for men and women and two colours. They cost £75.00.
Finally, the Muddy Tracks Tee us a smart looking trail riding jersey which looks great in this Taupe Green with contrasting yellow front three-quarter length zip and patterned back panel. A VapourWick fabric is said to dry quickly and cooling in warm weather (not that this is a problem at this time of year) is made from a lighter mesh material.
There’s three pockets, one zipped and two open, around the back and the waist band features a grippy silicone strip. Flatlock seams are used throughout in the construction and logos are reflective. It’ll cost £45.00 with four sizes for men and five for women, and five colours across the gender divide.
It sounds good on paper (or screen should we say) and looks good in the flesh, but don’t get too excited and rush to your nearest retailer just yet, as it won’t be available until March 2011…