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Women’s Downhill Apparel

Flow MTB Womens Downhill Apparel

Sombrio V’al Shorts and Pedigree Jersey

The most feedback we’ve received from female riders since launching Flow is the lack of sizes for larger ladies so when we decided to do some downhill apparel testing we enlisted the help of Nikki, a downhill rider from Chatel, France. We’re not all the same and come in all shapes and sizes and at 5’8 Nikki is a UK 16/18.

Sombrio really addresses women’s sizing with their range of apparel going from XS to XL, and it’s a proper XL. When Nikki put on the Sombrio V’al shorts her response was “this is the first pair of women’s specific shorts I’ve ever worn” – typical of many female mountain bikers she’s usually kitted out in men’s MTB apparel.

The Sombrio V’al shorts are Sombrio’s best seller and come in black and lapis and the Pedigree jersey comes in plum and floral print.

Nikki wore XL Pedigree jersey and XL V’al shorts both worn over body armour.

It was really cool to ride in shorts that are bright and fun rather than my staple black. These shorts are a lovely turquoise colour and fitted nicely over my massively padded body armour shorts, even with my curvy hips which was a result. The fit meant I could easily move around in them and they didn’t move, flap or get in the way when I was shifting positions on my bike; I often get my usual (men’s) shorts caught on my seat. The Sombrio V’al shorts were long enough to reach my knees which is a refreshing change, being tall I struggle to find long shorts and there is enough room for the tops of my knee pads to sit unrestricted around my knees.

I often have trouble with my body armour under-vest riding up and find myself pulling it down all the time however, with the Sombrio shorts on I just tucked my body armour into the shorts and didn’t have to touch them again, they stayed put all day, which was awesome! They were cool on a hot day and held up really well on dry and dusty trails, with enough room in one of the two mesh pockets to slip an iPhone in. I would definitely buy AND recommend these shorts they’re super comfy, snug and fitted really well, so much so I used them for the next 2 days, for a 45km lift assisted trail ride and a bit of a play in the bike park in Chatel. A great piece of kit.

The Sombrio Pedigree jersey again came in a fun pink color, girly but not too girly! This is the first 3/4 sleeve jersey I’ve worn, usually sticking to full sleeves, and I really liked it, my sleeves kept out of the way much more and they fitted nicely rather than being loose and baggy.  I wore it over my body armour and was a nice length with a longer back to cover your bottom a bit more. Nicely breathable I didn’t get too hot whilst riding, and although I didn’t actually fall off to test its hard wearing abilities it looks like it would hold up pretty well to a bit of a bashing. It was great to wear a jersey made to fit a woman rather than a straight up and down men’s jersey, I loved it!

I’d never thought about buying women’s specific riding gear before, partly due to the fact that I expected the sizes not to be big enough and that I can’t be bothered with the let down of not finding something that fits AND I expected all the designs would be too cute and girly…. not anymore 🙂 thanks Sombrio!

Fox Demo Shorts and Long Sleeve Jersey

The Demo collection is Fox‘s first female-specific downhill collection with a long sleeve jersey and shorts and is designed to be breathable and purpose build for female riders. It comes in two colorways Neo Red and Miami Green.

Tracey is a UK 10/12 and wore the medium Demo shorts and large Demo jersey over body armour.

The Fox Demo long sleeve jersey fit really comfortably over my bulky body armour whilst retaining a feminine outline.  It is constructed from a breathable ‘waffle’ material with a fine mesh down each side of the jersey.  This type of fabric allows air to circulate around the body and meant that I stayed cool and dry on a scorching day in Pila.

The Fox Demo downhill shorts are manufactured from a durable, heavyweight material, fantastic for downhill riding and there are no rips, marks or scuffs on these shorts even after a few crashes.  Fully lined in a soft, comfortable mesh, they have a low rise and sat comfortably just above my hips. The inside of the waist band has a ‘grippy’ strip of material that keeps the shorts in place and they also have a really secure fastening that isn’t going to pop open during a crash!  I’m 5’6”/168cm and they finished just on the knee with plenty of room for knee pads.  A really comfortable, good looking and hard wearing pair of shorts.

I thought the Fox Demo shorts and jersey might have looked a bit too much worn together but they looked really great on!

Flare Roost Shorts and Long Sleeve Jersey

The Roost collection is Flare‘s downhill range and comes in two color ways; black and grey, and purple and yellow.

Anita is a UK 8/10 and wore the small (10) shorts and jersey, we recommend you go up one size if you want to wear body armour and protection shorts underneath.

The Roost shorts are made from a heavy duty fabric and are fully lined. There’s plenty of room to fit impact shorts and knee pads underneath and the leg length is long enough to keep the upper legs covered when riding; no annoying gap between the bottom of the shorts and the top of the knee pad, a definite advantage. The velcro waist adjuster makes it easy to adjust them when you’re wearing protection underneath for the perfect fit, the only comment would be the adjuster didn’t seem as sophisticated or sturdy as the Fox ratchet system.

The Roost long sleeve jersey is made from 100% Coolmax Polyester and I didn’t overheat even though it was a hot sunny day. The high quality fabric held up when I crashed on a berm with no rips, tears or abrasions! The cut of the jersey is really feminine but whilst the Roost jersey fitted nicely over my back protector I couldn’t wear elbow pads underneath as the sleeves are too slim fitting and I’d say sleeves loose enough for protection are essential on a jersey that’s aimed at downhill riding.

Even though Flare Clothing have been up and running for 3 years this is the first Flare outfit I’ve tried and despite the sleeve issue I really liked the Roost outfit, it felt comfy and cool and the purple and yellow combo certainly gets you noticed on the trails.

Pila Bike Park

Pila is in the Aosta Valley in the western Alps, Italy and has to be one of our favorite places to ride.  All the Freeride trails are good fun and riders of all abilities could easily spend a few days riding here, mixing the Downhill and the Freeride trails. The highlight of Pila is the Pila – Aosta Freeride, an 11km downhill combining steep, dusty singletrack with drops and jumps to form an awesome trail which takes you back down to the bottom of the valley to the lift station in Aosta. Connecting the Downhill or one of the Freeride trails from the top lift with this trail can give you a downhill run with a vertical descent of 2300m!

If you’re in the area it’s definitely worth a visit. We were based in Chatel, France but got a transfer to Pila from the friendly team at Magic Transfers