I’ve been riding in Icebreaker merino for years. Merino keeps me warm and cool in equal measure, is very breathable, and never loses its insulating properties, even when wet. So it was awesome news to me that Icebreaker was releasing a mountain biking range. However, when I saw the range (read: riding top) I was a little disappointed; an oversized tee with a zip collar, mesh panels at high sweat areas and a small stowaway zip pocket on the side. I felt like this range was designed by an accountant, with input from, well, another accountant. Technically the shirt performs very well, the merino continuing to do all the great things that merino does. The 200 weight (Icebreaker gives different weights ranging from 150 to 320 for different thicknesses of merino) is a little heavy for my liking. It’s great in spring but is too warm for summer riding. To be fair, merino doesn’t take kindly to rocky crashes or the odd blackberry bush and the heavier weight provides a little more robustness. Considering the changing face of mountain bike fashion—it’s no longer just tee shirts and Lycra—I guess I just expected something a little more exciting from such an iconic New Zealand company. An Icebreaker will continue to be my riding top of choice, but ironically it won’t be the one they designed specifically for riding. MARK DANGERFIELD
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