The evolution of mountain biking from a Lycra-clad interval-fest to a social event where you collect scars with friends has not only affected the types of bikes we own but also what we wear when we ride them. I’m not talking fixed wheels with one leg of your jeans rolled up, I mean bike gear that shreds but doesn’t look out of place parked up at your local for a well deserved post-ride coffee or beer. This competitive market now has a formidable player: Aspiring Cyclewear. Based in Nelson, Aspiring Cyclewear produces delectable merino woollen tops made from 180 g wool (short sleeves) and 240 g or 300 g wool (long sleeves) for the cooler months. The top I wear is a snug feminine fit (there’s a men’s cut as well), which helps wick the sweat away while the pressure is on but retains the warmth as you chew the fat at the top of the hill. The pockets are designed to hold the essentials of any ride. While the front zip was long enough for me, some may wish for a longer zip to allow for a little more airflow. Most importantly, the whole Aspiring range is old-skool styled. My favourite design is 50s-inspired, with a contrasting band around the chest on which ‘Aspiring Cyclewear’ is written. It comes in a range of colour options. I have had my top for more than a year, with no signs of unusual wear. My most rigorous test involved a three day cycle tour without changing or washing the top for the entire tour. The merino lived up to its reputation and didn’t smell bad at all. I could sometimes smell damp wool, but this odour always left once the top had dried. This is a major consideration for the after-ride social gathering. The short sleeved tops come in at a respectable $155, while the long sleeved versions are $175 and $225. You can buy these tops online at www.aspiringcyclewear.co.nz, where you can also view web specials. And in true Nelson style, you can visit Aspiring Cyclewear’s site at the Nelson markets every Saturday morning. Not only will you get the warm fuzzies from wearing wool, but also from supporting a product that is 100 per cent Kiwi designed and made. CHRIS AND BOB
A 170mm 29er built to go fast as hell, and only weighs 14.4kgs with an aluminium frame. Banshee build one hell of a bike, and the new Titan lives up the hype. Get the low down inside
A new Tallboy that redefines it’s image. No longer just an XC trail bike. This thing decend’s as good as it climbs. Maybe better? Get the details inside.
The Meta TR 29, the new 130mm travel beautiful brushed alloy trail rig from Commencal just passed through the office recently. A solid, well-priced build makes this a very good option for a lot of people wanting that perfect blend between fun and pain. The go-everywhere, do-everything Meta in a neat little bundle.
One of the supercars of the modern era, the Pivot Firebird has been on the lips of everyone this past year. With Ed Masters piloting one to all sorts of reults, we got the Rod Bardsley to swing his leg over a Firey Bird and deliver some wise words of his own.
Santa Cruz have reached into their bag of tricks, and conjured up the all new Hightower. A completely revised version of their extremely popular 150mm 29er. We got to get an early ride aboard this beautiful machine on some equally stunning dirt. Here’s the lowdown…
Afton are another newcomer in what seems a flood of new shoe brands, but the stylish look and comfort have got everyone talking. Want to be the snazziest dude among your mates? Look no further.