Mountain bike clothing companies are taking advantage of new materials made with recycled content that works for everything from shorts to jackets. Here are roughly a dozen items we’ve been testing this spring.
The Endura Singletrack short-sleeve jersey is made from 91% recycled polyester material that’s been treated with an antibacterial treatment to reduce odor. It’s a lightweight garment that breathes easily, yet it feels durable enough to stand up to multiple seasons of riding. This jersey’s eco-cred is enhanced with Endura’s commitment to planting a million trees each year and to go carbon negative by 2024.
A small, zippered pocket at the right rear isn’t quite big enough for a cell phone but fits a bar or a set of keys just fine. There’s a dropped and weighted tail at the back to ensure no gap in rear end coverage, and the reinforced collar holds its shape well and resists stretching. Endura classifies the fit as slim and “flap-free.” I’m 6’3″ tall, 160lbs. and the size medium is a good fit.
Price: $84.99. Men’s jersey available in Pewter Grey and Cocoa colors.
- Men’s Singletrack jersey available at Endura | Compare Prices
- Women’s Singletrack jersey available at Amazon
The Five Ten TrailX technical t-shirt utilizes a 79% recycled polyester material the brand calls Primeblue. A portion of the recycled material is Parley Ocean Plastic, trash that’s been pulled from the seas. Not only is this jersey made in a sustainable way, the price is right at just $40.
Aside from the dropped tail, there aren’t many technical features to speak of. The material is fairly thick and is not as breathable as others I’ve tested this spring, so come summer this jersey will probably stay in the drawer until the leaves start to change. I found the size medium offers a loose, fairly boxy fit.
Price: $40. One color.
What the what? No bright red or yellows with the giant Fox head emblazoned for all to see? Fox took a welcome step back on the Ranger Drirelease Henley jersey, but if you don’t like it, there is still a red option. It’s just not as in-yo-face. The Ranger Henley jersey is a more subtle option that works just fine as a shirt out in town.
The body of the shirt is made from polyester and recycled cotton and the Drirelease fabric helps wick moisture and will supposedly last the lifetime of the fabric. There’s a bit of a drop tail for undie coverage when you’re in the descending position.
The Ranger Henley shir-sey is comfy and should work on most warm weather rides from spring to fall. It’s great to see a more laid back option from Fox. There are four color options and the shirt comes in sizes S-XXL.
Whether digging trail in a drizzle or sipping spirits around a campfire, we all need a cozy flannel like the Carve Digger Shirt. This one happens to also be designed for riding, with 4-way stretch between its recycled PET fibers that include a DWR impregnation for a light rain resistance. There’s a breast pocket to hold your snack cash, and everything snaps shut nicely with metal snappers that feel rather sturdy. The material is of medium thickness, and it feels like just enough weight for cooler nighttime or shoulder-season spins.
The fit could be described as “athletic” with little space left for layering under the size small I tried, and the sleeves are long enough to suit someone with longer wings than mine. The men’s Carve Digger comes in this olive-forest-inspired green or grey, and the women’s cut is available in a sweet shade of blue.
Price: €75/90 or $85.90.
- Men’s Digger flannel shirt available at Wiggle and JensonUSA
- Women’s Digger flannel shirt available at JensonUSA and Amazon
The Carve X Jersey is made from recycled PET fiber, and this super breathable 3/4 sleeve shirt has a dropped tail to keep your lumbar covered and a lens wipe for clearer vision. The fabric is notably light, with a slightly looser fit on the size small that I tested allowing for plenty of breeze beneath. This is the key tee for hot summer riding, as the color largely hides armpit pools while you heat up.
The women’s cut comes in six sizes and three colors, while the men’s cut is available in five colors and the same number of sizes.
Price: €59.90 or $65.90
The Mons Royale Virage shorts are a pretty straightforward pair, that have a lightweight feel and a baggy fit. They should fit right at home in the bike park or on techy summertime descents, and will easily accommodate a heavy-duty set of knee pads.
The Virage shorts are made from recycled polyester which is made from recycled PET bottles. Mons Royale says that the polyester is lighter and more durable and the 14% Merino content cuts down on smell. The shorts include a stretchy belt since the waist isn’t adjustable and there is one big pocket on the right side of the leg.
Our tester liked the feel and comfort of the shorts, but they were on the baggier side, and the one pocket can feel a little too big for a phone, while one more smaller pocket on the left would have added some balance. Still, most riders should be plenty satisfied with these shorts. Sizes S-XXL are available.
Wow, these are some action-packed short pants. Both of these pairs are made from recycled materials that are Oeko-Tex and Bulesign certified, both use PFC-free DWR coatings, and the manufacturing warehouses are inspected by a third party to ensure the quality of the garment and working conditions.
The double-stitched seat seams and sturdy overall construction on the fjørå flex1 Shorts house a pair of 20cm-long leg vents for added airflow, and three large pockets to keep the bag off your back. I have managed to fit an iPhone 11, car keys with a pocket knife attached, a lighter, and two snack bars inside the cavernous pouches. The material is fairly breathable, particularly given the long, 39cm inseam. There definitely won’t be any gap between kneepads and these shorts. The water-repellent coating is just enough to keep puddle spray on the outside where you want it.
I had to size up to a medium, and the wide velcro adjusters made the fit easy to dial in with an internal silicone gripper that helps the high back fabric stay in place. This men’s cut is available in five sizes and colors, and the women’s comes in four sizes and colors.
Price: €159 or $139
- Men’s Flex1 shorts available at Moosejaw and Backcountry
- Women’s Flex1 shorts available at Backcountry
The men’s and women’s fjørå flex1 heavy-duty shorts kick up the durability meter by several steps and retail at a higher price of €/$179. With all of the same climate-considering factors in their fibers as the lighter shorts above, this pair adds a full side vent that’s 40cm in length to make up for the thicker fabric. The word thick is not used lightly here, as these shorts weigh 434g whereas the lighter version above weighs 273g. There is also a fourth large hip pocket for even more snacks on longer bagless rides.
Given their weight and cargo capacity I would recommend these shorts for cooler alpine rides when you could wear pants but you know things will heat up in the valley below. The air vents are long and helpful, but this fabric is unmistakably warm while pedaling. With their work-wear-like build, these shorts are ready to outlast bike frames for some folks.
- Men’s Flex1 Heavy-duty short available at Backcountry and Moosejaw
- Women’s Flex1 Heavy-duty short available at Backcountry
Pearl Izumi’s Summit button up shirt is a casual and very lightweight option that breathes like the open grill of a truck. The sleeves have a bit more fabric to them, and the semi-transparent front and back allow a boatload of air to dry sweat as you ride. But, if you’re modest about tattoos or, uh, your nipples being visible underneath the jersey then there are better options out there.
The Summit is made from a Transfer mesh fabric, derived from more than half recycled polyester. The shirt has a snap button front and “anti-odor technology” which does seem to help mitigate stench. The Summit comes in sizes S-XL, two different patterns.
- Men’s Summit button up shirt available at Pearl Izumi
Pearl Izumi’s women’s Summit Shell Short has some fresh prints for 2021 and a women’s specific design, even though it shares the Summit name with the men’s shorts. The Summit shell shorts are made to be flexy and breathable, and Pearl Izumi says that they’re made from recycled polyester. They have a 10-inch inseam, and an adjustable waistband with a built-in belt.
Our tester found that the Women’s Summit Shell Shorts fit true to the recommended size. The Summit Shell Shorts have a very thin and lightweight feel to them, so they will probably perform best in the hot summer months. The belt cinches up well, and keeps the shorts where they need to be, and the fabric’s flexibility makes it easy to move any which way. The pockets easily fit a smartphone and a pair of keys. Overall, the Women’s Summit shorts have been a great everyday trail short.
- Women’s Summit Shell shorts available at Pearl Izumi and REI
- Men’s Summit Shell shorts available at Pearl Izumi
Normally I would scoff at marketing terminology like “enduro jersey,” as if there is a meaningful difference between one sporty t-shirt and the other. However, the POC Reform Enduro Tee earns the gravity moniker for its tough recycled-polyester construction. This is the heaviest riding jersey I have worn, weighing in at 209g, and there’s no doubt it will endure several seasons on the trail and in the washing machine. The raglan sleeves don’t bind to your upper arms once the tree is damp like some jerseys tend to, and the thick fabric is breathable enough for rides up to about 80° Fahrenheit. There is a zippered lift-pass holster on the left flank, right where it belongs.
On the fit front, I tested my usual size small and found it quite comfortable. Reform Enduro Tees come in a women’s or men’s cut, with five sizes and three different colors for women, and five color options in six sizes for men.
- Men’s Reform Enduro Tee available at Amazon and Performance Bike
- Women’s Reform Enduro Tee available at Amazon
The Velocio Ultralight Jacket might be the perfect coverup garment for spring, and when they say Ultralight, they mean it. The jacket is made from 50% recycled content, it’s super thin, breathable, and coughs up some good wet weather protection. The Ultralight Jacket is made from a mini-ripstop nylon, it has a rear zippered pocket for small items, and is treated with DWR for water resistance.
Due to the the light and breathable nature of the Velocio jacket, it’s not the right cover if you’re under torrential downpour. For riders who want something they can throw in a shorts pocket or hip pack because they might be caught in a spring storm on a lunch ride, this is the jacket. Should you need something light to cover up with on a spring morning ride that doesn’t feel like a sauna, this will work great as well.
Our 5’8″, 160lb tester found that the size medium worked perfectly. The Ultralight Jacket is available in three colors, sizes XS-XXXXL.