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ENDURO GEAR WHAT’S THAT
With the advent of a new mountain bike discipline called Enduro racing, which is comprised of stages, gear companies are now on the push to design gear suited to the needs and demands of the racer.
That being said Enduro racing is a longer distance time race where you are timed between each stage. Now I have not attended an Enduro race yet, but I do want to see what the hoopla is all about.
Now being an old Motocrosser and dirt head, I grew up all things motorcycles and the motorcycle Enduro racing aspect is about the same concept, but with moto you had to come in at certain times to the stages, to early and you would have points taken away, to late no points, on time you gain points. You had a time chart mounted to your bike and had to calculate each stage, all this while traveling through nice country sides.
So this is Enduro
So for 2014 ROYAL RACING has come out with a line of Enduro specific gear designed to help the rider to obtain the most out of his or her race, to do so ROYAL RACING has not only blended light weight material to aid with keeping the rider cool and dry by wicking away sweat, but also to keep the rider comfortable as well throughout each stage or a long ride.
At Interbike we talked briefly with Jason Schippers of ROYAL RACING about the new gear, so we gave him a call and asked him if ROYAL was up for a review on their cool gear and he was more than happy to let us try it out and let our readers know about it, but rather than just test one or two items why not make it the whole ensemble that the top Enduro rider would take into battle.
Now we have to let you know just how serious ROYAL RACING is about their Enduro line. There is like 19 Enduro specific items to choose from. These items include shorts, jerseys, jackets and gloves. ROYAL also has base membranes and socks. This is a lot of gear to choose when setting yourself up.
In the end we choose the Stage Jacket, Stage Jersey, and Signature Short, finishing it out with the Quantum Gloves.
Now that were decked out in what all the cool Enduro kids are wearing let’s take a look at it all in the secret test labs and trails we go to.
All the gear is loaded with features to keep you going to your next stage or trial juncture.
When you look at the Stage Jacket it may appear to be heavy and not to breathable, but on the contrary this jacket adorns features that make it not only light weight, but breathable too.
Royal designed the Stage to take that chill off your body on a cold days ride. They have incorporated what they call DWR, technical fleece faced double weave Nylon fabric. It has a water repellent coating to shed that light drizzle, lightweight soft shell, and made to have a low pack size when it starts to heat up on your ride.
You will notice two long oversized zippers on the front of the Stage jacket. These act as pocket and vents to allow greater air flow forward, also strategically places to avoid your hydration pack straps.
On the back of the Stage you will also have a back vent that is also placed high above where your hydration pack will sit. Nice Lycra trimmed cuffs, waist, and neck.
One last cool little feature is the pocket you have on the inside of the Stage jacket for your IPod or other music device you may have. Now it may not be big enough to fit any of those new phones that are the size of a small TV though.
If you want to go Enduro racing this is the jersey to use. Right off the bat when you hold this jersey you can tell how light it feels. When most companies make jerseys to fit DH or XC, you won’t find anything in between with a feel like the Stage Jersey, this is what Royal set out to do by talking to some of the best Enduro racer in the world. What better way to do so then to hear, gather, and then sit down and come up with a great jersey for a new kind of racing discipline.
First they started with the fit, not to loose like DH and not too tight like XC with a somewhat slim fit. Next you need that jersey to breathe like crazy. Two large mesh panels on the sides to bring in the air, but that’s not all accompany that with T-DOT fabric, which is an active moisture body fabric designed to keep you dry and cool. Oh and speaking of more cooling, Royal put a front neck zipper which gives you the option to allow for more cooling.
Then finish this up with push up Lycra edged cuffs. “Way to go!!”
What Royal did with their shorts was providing what they call a Pro level short with trail riding fit. I have to agree with this. The fit was great on the Signature shorts. One of the key features on the Signature Shorts is the DWR coating that is used on the Stage Jacket. This is great when riding in a light rain or early morning mist. You have strategically place stretch panels to aid in overall comfort, dual hook and loop waist adjusters, water proof stash pocket for that important stuff, and a detachable breathable inner pant liner that hooks to the Signature shorts with small liner tabs.
The pockets on the thigh also double as a vent if you have nothing to put in them, you will also see the drain tab on the bottom of the pocket area.
With the DWR coating, moister properties, and this matting of lightweight materials make for an excellent cool and dry short.
The Quantum glove is made to breath, be lightweight, and fit. Again off the bat these qualities are noticed. This a perfect glove to use on those hot days as well as a nice fall season ride.
The feature Royal incorporates is .75mm AX perforated stretch palm that is made of one piece of material. This allows your palm to breathe and let heat out; on the back side of the hand what looks like micro diamond pockets on the mesh panel is Technically Knitted Mesh. What I like about this, is how well the air flows through the back panel, which is great on a hot day when you want to keep your hands cool.
Lycra between the fingers, along with seamless finger tips and a small cuff area with expanded V panel assure a well locked on glove to your hand. Add a Micro Fiber wipe.
Now you have one nice Enduro glove.
OVERALL RIDE FEEL
Now I can’t claim that I have done an Enduro race in the gear that Royal has provided for us, so to perform a proper test I would do planed point to point type long rides to simulate an Enduro race so to speak. I had to get my old body temp up to sweat so we can see how all the material would work under pressure, as well as go out in the cold to see if it kept me warm too.
Seeing we don’t have too many rainy days here to test the DWR coating or cold days here in SoCal to give the Stage Jacket a hardcore test, we had to take what we could get and the Stage Jacket kept me more than warm enough. When I needed to cool off the large front vent/pockets when open were a god send to have and with my hydration bag on the straps were not in the way of the vent/pockets. The internal device pocket worked great for my IPod. The Stage jacket felt light and was functional throughout any ride.
On the hot days the Stage jersey was complete awesomeness due to the T-Dot fabric and the great vented panels. This was a great feeling jersey to wear while on the move. It would wick the sweat away and provide excellent cooling. The semi slim fit gave this jersey a better feel than a tight fitting XC jersey and far nicer than a looser fit DH jersey. The name of the game here was “COOLING” and the Stage jersey did just that.
The Signature shorts were just as good when it came to fit and function. The nice stretch panels and vent panels on the back of the shorts are well thought out for comfort on those long rides, excellent front mid upper vent pockets for extra cooling when needed were perfect. The stash pocket was great for a phone, keys, or that beer money you may need at the end of the ride. The padded liner that comes with the Signature shorts was super breathable and had a good padded butt area to keep you going.
All the waist snaps and waist adjusters held in place at all times with no issues.
Last on the list are the Quantum gloves. Now I don’t want to sell these gloves short by no means, but when it comes to my hands I want protection, these gloves feel so light on the hands it just feels weird to have them on. I’m used to a glove with knuckle, finger, and palm protection being a DH racer.
This is the current trend today, thinner, lighter, and a skin hugging fit, so when you really look at the Quantum gloves and how they look and feel on the hand and how they’re made to be, I get it.
The only issue I had with the gloves (this is not a design flaw, but my mistake) was fit. I wear a medium normally and this is what I asked for, so the glove were a little loose, so make sure you try on a set first to really make them feel great on the hand.
I now get why glove are being made in this fashion. I loved the way they feel. The thinner material gives you better feel to the bike. The back Technically Knitted Mesh panel offers some of the best breath-ability of any glove I have felt so far, the perforated stretch palm lets the hand breathe as well when hot to allow heat to dissipate from the palm, finger structure and feel was also top notch.
After putting in the miles with all of Royal Racing’s newest Enduro gear you can see that the home work was done on all of these products. When you listen to feedback and do the research this becomes a great key aspect to a company that wants to do it right for that Enduro racer and weekend warrior.
My hat is off to Royal Racing for thinking it through. They made it hard to really find anything wrong with any of the products we tested.
Prices for this cool gear is, Stage Jacket $109.95, Stage Jersey $59.95, Signature Shorts $119.95, and the Quantum Gloves $34.95.
We want to say thanks to Jason Schippers from Royal Racing for providing us all the great gear. You can go to royalracing.com or ask your local bike dealer for Royal Racing gear.