One of the best things about mountain biking, is enjoying it no matter the weather. Of course we'd rather not be blinded by rain and ride through knee deep trenches, but that comes with the territory of off-road riding. All we can do is prepare, brace ourselves and have fun.
With the increasing number of women getting into mountain biking, we've seen the ball begin to roll with stunning new female specific kit, bikes and accessories. While there is some catch up to play for a more equal competition ground, we're pleased to see the future is glowing bright for women's riding.
One area that has often been overlooked by clothing brands is waterproof cycling wear. While riders over the pond can enjoy fairer weather conditions a majority of the time, us Brit's suffer wet, damp and heaps of rainfall for what feel likes 90% of the year. When we consider our waterproof options, we're often confronted by course scratchy materials that send us on a nostalgic trip to infant school P.E classes. That is, until now...
ION Collision Pants and Shell Amp Jacket
ION Sports began as a surf inspired company, and with great success dominating the market, the sea-lovers came on land to share their rad colour-ways, bold patterns and super tech fabrics with the rest of us adrenaline junkies.
After being very impressed by their women's summer trail wear, I was keen to get my hands on their winter waterproofs. I first saw this kit at Eurobike, and felt immediately drawn to its bold colour-ways - a step away from the traditional teals and pinks we see. The pants and jacket feel super stretchy in the hand, strong and oddly thin which had me question ION's "waterbomb proof" claim.
Shell Amp Jacket
Starting off with the Shell Amp jacket, I've totally fallen in love with it. It's super light, stretchy and waterproof which not only makes it great for riding in, but stylish and fitting enough to wear casually too.
The hood is hood adjustable and helmet ready, as is the hem which has built in toggles to really pinch in the fit. The ventilation zips allow for a quick cool down when you've been pedalling hard and working up a sweat, but one of the best features of this jacket has to be the fabric. It's light, breathable and moves effortlessly with the body, so that there's no restriction - or loud rustling "waterproof" noises.
ION Collision Pants
The matching softshell trousers to the Shell Amp jacket, are the Collision Pants. Made from the same stretch fabric, these trousers flex exactly where you want them to, whilst the non-flex protective fabric around the leg cuffs and bum, are abrasive resistant. Coated in a DWR (Durable Water Repellency) treatment, water easily runs off the pants.
Adjustable cuffs and hems allows you to dial in a comfortable fit, and the zip pockets are ideal for storing your essentials. However, as ION did with their women's summer kit, they've decided to keep the mildly annoying, and totally irrelevant phone pouch inside the pocket. Unless you're still rocking a Nokia 3310, it's unlikely that your phone will fit in this pouch. Furthermore, I found it moved and bunched up as I rode.
While the leg cuffs are zipped to offer adjustability, caution is needed to prevent excess fabric from getting caught on your chain ring, which happened to me. I'm a little gutted that even when the ankles closed off, the excess material snagged. Perhaps the non-flex protective material should come up a little higher on the leg to help prevent damage.
One of the best things about these trousers is that they are perfect for layering with. I wore these when snow biking for the Snow Bike Festival, and they were great for providing that additional water resistance protective layer when I needed it most.
Having worn, washed, re-worn and thrashed around in the snow and mud... I can honestly say that I love this kit from ION. More so the jacket for its effortless protective, comfort and attractive qualities, but the trousers also hold their value as a great outer-layer for when you need that little extra coverage.
It's a reassuring feeling that not only is women's mountain bike kit becoming more varied, accessible and generally awesome, but more consideration is being made towards its function - especially important for us rainy climate dwellers.
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