It may not have escaped the attention of many, but Hans Jørgen and I are sponsored by Trimtex. We were first introduced to their bike collection in 2013 on joining our Swedish MTBO club: Kvarnsvedens GoIF OK. The kit we use there is the Elite kit, and soon became the ‘go-to’ kit for all training sessions. Disappointment always ensued if the kit was in the wash or drying, although it often got worn when covered in mud or only partially dry!
We were over-the-moon to sign a contract with Trimtex in the spring of this year, and very soon, the first box of kit arrived. Trimtex bike clothing is based around 3 ‘ranges’ of kit. The quality is always high, but each ‘range’ is aimed at a different group of people: Pro (premium range), Elite (high range) and Team (basic range). All of our race kit comes from the premium Pro range.
The Pro Shirt and Bibshorts are the kit we use for all our summer training sessions. Pulling them out the box, my first reaction was ‘how will I fit into that?!’ But thanks to the elastic material and specially designed ergonomic fit, the Shirt fits perfectly. The material is light (it’s easy to forget one is wearing it!) and breathable with superb ventilation and really is amazing to use in warmer weather. The fit is snug and Trimtex state the Shirt ‘make[s] you cut through the wind.’ I wonder if this is the reason for my performances this year? The ergonomic design allows movement that is complete and without restrictions. I greatly despise carrying tools in my pockets while MTB’ing. I hate the jumping around on my lower back when the terrain gets a little bumpy, and for years while wearing ill-fitting baggy jerseys I always became frustrated when the jersey twisted around (thanks to our friend Gravity, and her attraction to Tool Kits). Riding with the Pro Shirt, my old problems have become issues of the past, and when the going gets tough, I can focus completely on the task in hand, rather than wondering if my keys are going to jump out of a pocket! The base of the jersey uses a plastic grippy elastic ‘band’ that holds to the shorts, and tends not to ride up around my waist.
The first few times wearing the Pro Bibshorts, a little bit of wiggling is required to get them on! The elastic material really is snug when new, but after a few days of use and a few washes, the fit improves greatly. Once again the design is ergonomic for biking, but the Lycra® Power materials give excellent freedom of movement. The ‘bib’ aspect is made of a light mildly elastic mesh-like material. Rather than pulling down on the shoulders, the bib just tends to rest, and it’s easy to forget all about them. The grips on the legs (and Pro Shirt sleeves) moves away from the convention ‘grippy elastic band’ that often leaves a mark. The Elite version uses just the material and relies on excellent fit to keep the shorts in place. The Pro version on the other hand uses small diamonds of thin elastic grips, each one just 2mm across. Rather than creating a large ‘tug’ on your thigh with each pedal stroke, these diamonds are gentle on the skin and muscle and provide unparalleled comfort.
The Chamois: always a talking point amongst cyclists. Everyone seems to have their favourite brand. I never felt that I suffered in that ‘area’. Sure, the occasional saddle sore or soreness, but that’s just a hazard of long hours in the saddle. It hadn’t occurred to me before sitting down to write this review, but since using Trimtex Pro Bibshorts, I really have not had any problems in that ‘region’. When first wearing the shorts, the Chamois felt a little too ‘padded’. But as with the fit of the shorts, after a few sessions the pad flattened and moulded to fit me. In spite of that, from word go, the chamois has been comfortable and silk-like on my nether-regions. Even now, after thousands of kilometers, the chamois is as comfy as the day I first used it. The pad is made from CyTech, and incorporates flatlock seams to reduce friction and rubbing.
The Pro Phantomsuit is my favourite piece of kit. I first contemplated using a skinsuit way back in 2009, but my reasons then were a false impression that it would save me a lot of time through being aerodynamic. I started to reconsider the use of a skinsuit over the winter in 2013/2014. I have been annoyed for years by jerseys riding up around my waist while biking and revealing and unsightly mixture of flesh, bib shorts and thermals! Rather than aim to be aerodynamic, I considered the use purely for distraction reasons. I rarely carry tools in shorter races, but rather than spend seconds thinking about my jersey position in the race, I could just be focussed on the map.
The Phantomsuit is designed with ergonomic bike fit: but this time, is very noticeable. When standing and walking the front of the suit is pulled down so looks stretched around the neck. But while biking, its perfect. Admittedly, it is developed for time trials, high performance and maximum aerodynamics, but maybe there is a small advantage in MTBO! The material is the same used in the Pro Shirt and Pro Bibshorts, so you can guarantee the same high quality between items. The material is breathable, tight fitting, with excellent comfort. The only downside for MTBO is the lack of a single back pocket, to carry either a small tool kit, inner tube or gel. I tape a foam canister to the seatpost, but in a long distance race carrying a small tool kit is advised. In fact, in a long distance race, perhaps being able to carry a gel is more important (although I did tape one to the top tube this year). Luckily gels can be carried in the shorts where the diamond elastic grips will hold it in place.
A final word on the condition of the kit after 8 months of heavy use.
- It is normal to expect some kind of wear-and-tear when it comes to MTB kit. The inevitable crash or brush with a tree that can all too often rip the kit from one’s body. Trimtex Pro kit isn’t immune to such disasters, but the snug body fit design has reduced the appearance of tree related holes in my kit. It’s much harder for branches to poke their way through the kit as doing so requires bodily harm!
- After 8 months, the chamois is flattened and I have covered thousands of kilometers across rough terrain in the shorts. But despite appearing to lack padding, the feel while riding is no different to the day it was new. It seems the chamois has moulded to fit me, but without loosing any of its padding or comfort. Impressive to say the least.
- The elastic grips on the sleeves and legs has loosened, so while easier to put on (no need for special dances while getting dressed) the grip hasn’t been compromised in the slightest.
Riding in Trimtex has been a pleasurable experience to the highest degree. I haven’t once thought ‘I wish the kit had X, Y or Z’. I’ve been writing this review on and off all day, and still can’t think of a single negative thing to write. The kit encompasses my needs fully and I couldn’t wish for anything better.
I recommend checking out the Trimtex website to browse the kit available. You can visit the website at http://www.trimtexsport.com. The ‘design your own’ section of the website features several different pre-made designs where you can play with and change the colour of the various components to get an idea of your design requirements. The crew at Trimtex HQ are fantastic designers and will bend over backwards to create the kit you and your team want.