Two Wheel Test: Dakine MTB Gear
Published on 09/12/2012
By Scott Yorko
When you're out on a multi-day long-distance bicycle tour attacking hills and bombing down them, there's only one thing worse than being cold--and that's being wet and cold. When tackling Colorado's Red Mountain Pass through the San Juan Mountain Range, Active Junky testers came prepared for the mid-summer monsoon season. Every afternoon around 2 or 3 p.m., clouds gathered like a prison riot gang and unleashed a fury of downpour as we pumped our pistons into each arduous pedal. That's about the time we threw the Dakine Syncline Pants over our bike shorts and kept hammering. The 200D Micro Corded Nylon was a crucial barrier from the torrential elements, while the polyester mesh lining kept space between the outer layer and our skin for breathability. Some of the more old school guys were resistant to riding with loose rain pants at first, but the gusseted crotch panel prevented the material from bunching up in the most important area. Some testers, who happen to duct tape their shoe straps closed before each ride, were thankful for the expandable ankle zippers that made sliding their cleats through the legs wonderfully easy. While this is a convenient feature, a little more tapering in the calf area would be nice to keep the pant legs clear of the big chain ring. Then again, that might have made it harder to fit in at the Ouray brewery, our well-earned pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.
And for the upper half of the steam machines (our heat dumping bodies, that is), testers were glad to have the long torso and back ventilation strips in the Dakine Blitz Jacket. When the rain was really hammering and the hoods were up (they fit over your helmet) it was cozy as a dry tent with the same soothing sound effects from fat water droplets splattering on the 10,000mm waterproof shell. The pockets and vents share a zipper, so be careful to close up the cargo compartment after fumbling with your iPod. Despite a customizable fit from an elastic waistline drawcord and molded PU wrist cuff tabs, there's one major flaw in camouflage and charcoal color options for cycling in the rain: visibility. Best to slap a series of blinking lights on your bike and body and hug the shoulder--that is, if your rainy winding mountain pass has one.