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Added a product review for Royal 2014 Women's Core Glove 4/21/2014 9:49 PM
C138_core_womens_purple

Tested: 2014 Royal Women's Core Glove

Rating:

The Good:

The Bad:

Overall:

by Amanda Richter

According to Royal Racing, “The over riding aim with this and all our gloves is fit and performance. Each material is chosen to compliment the others to create a great fitting, light, and durable glove.” How do the Core gloves stack up to this goal? Let’s find out…

Women’s Core Glove Highlights

  • Corded Nylon back of hand fabric
  • Micro fibre thumb wipe
  • Index finger silicone grippers
  • 2/2 Mesh fourcettes
  • Direct inject pull tab on palm
  • 0.8mm Royal custom specced synthetic leather palm
  • MSRP $24.95

Initial Impressions


These gloves are thin and light, no denying that. I couldn’t help but wonder about their ability to withstand even my first few rides. But I really liked that the backs of the hands were almost fully vented. This would be nice since they are black and gray. Off the top of the bat I did notice that they were maybe a little baggy in the palm but the fingers were perfect for me. Time to see how they would measure up both in terms of fit and performance on the trail.


On The Trail


The Core gloves are way more burly than they let on. The synthetic leather palms provide great grip and feel on the bars. They don’t have any padding on the palms but I didn’t notice any discomfort and I feel confident they would hold together in crash. The venting on the backs of the hand provides so much airflow that these are not the gloves you want on a chilly day. While the venting is nice on average to warm days, it certainly doesn’t provide any protection against hitting branches or bushes. That might be worth keeping in mind if you are worried about whacking your knuckles. An added bonus is the super soft micro fiber wipe on the thumbs.


The fit of the gloves was a little questionable for the first few rides. The palms were slightly baggy and they got a little bunched up. However, this was helped immensely after the first round of washing and drying. I attribute a lot of the bunching to the gloves not yet being broken in as the palms were a bit stiff at first. This slightly loose fit in the palm did seem a bit weird since the fingers fit perfectly and I have never had this fit issue with other gloves I have owned.


Things That Could Be Improved


My only complaint with these gloves was the initial baggy fit. For me personally the fingers fit just fine so I am not sure I could have gone down a size to try to remedy this issue. It would maybe be something to consider if you are between sizes. Also, if you are looking for a glove to provide more padding for the palm area, or more protection for the back of the hand, these might not be quite up to snuff for you, but that is not a criticism of the glove itself, rather something to keep in mind when choosing a type of glove in the first place.


Long Term Durability


As previously stated, the Core gloves are more burly than they look. They have held up quite well with an average of 4 rides a week for the last few months. There are a few snags from bushes on the lighter vented material but nothing that looks like it would be an issue down the road. The synthetic leather on the palms isn’t wearing down or balling up, which is a good sign. Also, the silicone gripper on the index/braking finger is still intact on both gloves. Overall they have stood up to the last few months of abuse surprisingly well, especially given how lightweight and thin they are.


What’s The Bottom Line?


Royal aims to focus on fit and performance with their gloves and overall I would say that they did a good job with the Core glove. While the fit was initially slightly off, it did stack up in regards to performance and durability. That said, I would have been more critical of the fit had it not been mostly corrected in the wash. If you are looking for a glove that offers more padding or protection, these might not be your cup of tea but as a lightweight XC/trail glove at a great price I would say check them out!

Visit www.royalracing.com for more details.


About The Reviewer

Amanda Richter fell in love with mountain bikes in 2005 after moving to Colorado and wanting to explore her new home. This love of riding, pushing her limits and exploring has taken her all over the US and even a few places internationally. It has motivated her to become a PMBI certified coach and personal trainer so that she can help people both on and off the bike. She has dabbled in racing downhill and XC and looks forward to more events and racing this coming season. While any day out on the bike is a good one, she is the most happy on anything that it challenging both uphill and down. Amanda recently moved out to Truckee where there is no snow this year but thankfully lots of new riding to explore!

This product has 1 review

Added a product review for Royal 2014 Women's Cruiser Shorts 3/23/2014 10:36 AM
C138_girls_cruiser_short_cyan_f

Tested: Royal Women's Cruiser Short & Jersey

Rating:

The Good:

The Bad:

Overall:

by Amanda Richter

Let’s start this off by being honest with one another. It is important to look good while on your bike, right? Try to deny it if you want, but I certainly appreciate looking put together when I ride. So when I was given the chance to test out a matching kit from Royal Racing I was beyond psyched. I couldn’t wait to get it. Conveniently I had a trip planned to Sedona so I thought that would be a great way to start off the test. As the days ticked by leading up to the trip I checked my tracking information and planned out locations for photos. However, UPS had a different plan. I went to Sedona and the Cruiser shorts and jersey sat on my porch in the snow. I returned to find them soaked…great start.

Cruiser Short Highlights

  • Twill 2-way stretch polyester
  • Wicking internal mesh liner
  • Detachable custom Royal padded pant liner and chamois
  • 2 zipped hand pockets featuring reverse taped zippers for that clean look
  • Internal waist adjusters
  • Heat transfer and screen printed graphics
  • Rear stretch yolk
  • MSRP: $89.95 USD

Cruiser Jersey Highlights

  • General Issue Plus fabric
  • Heat transfers and screen printed graphics
  • Direct inject Royal crown TPR on neck
  • Woven flag label

  • MSRP: $39.95 USD

Initial Impressions

As fate would have it my Royal Racing gear showed up while I was out of town. As a result the box sat in the snow and got thoroughly soaked. I pulled out the pieces sopping wet but was pleasantly surprised to find that they dried out way faster than expected. Great first impression! The fabric was clearly quick drying yet I would be surprised with how durable it also was. Also, had I not seen it dry so fast I would certainly be questioning how breathable it could possibly be. Trying the kit out for the first time I was happy with the fit on the shorts. The waist was snug and true to size and they were long enough to cover the tops of knee pads. The shirt seemed a bit boxy at first but I loved the way the ¾ sleeves fit and the slight V-neck added some style. Not many bells and whistles, just clean lines and simple detailing. I was pretty sure this would be my new favorite gear. Lucky for me this winter has been mild in Tahoe so I had plenty of opportunity to get them dirty!

On The Trail

Cruiser Shorts
I noticed right away that the waist is snug and the shorts are long and baggy enough for pads. What I didn’t realize right away was how well the shorts are cut. They allow you to move around on the bike but without much of a chance of them getting caught up on the seat. They just happened to fit me almost perfectly and that led me to believe that a lot of thought went into the fit.

They are loose in the knees but they taper well to the hips and waist. I felt this gives them a more feminine fit. The fabric is light and provides great airflow even though the shorts don’t have vents. I didn’t get a chance to test them at super warm temperatures but I am willing to bet that they breathe well even on the hottest of days. They come with two pockets that are low profile and stay in place when riding. The zippers are locking which is a nice touch.

The pockets are just enough to hold a phone or an iPod but not much else. With the fit of the shorts through the hips, there isn't much room for bigger pockets anyway - they would simply get in the way. Finally, I am sure that most people will want to stick with their favorite chamois but all I have to say is give the one that comes with these shorts a chance. It took a few rides but it became more and more comfortable as time went on.

Cruiser Jersey
I am generally partial to ¾ length sleeves. I like the way they look, they offer some sun protection and can cover pads. However they do tend to be a bit warmer overall. After the porch incident I knew that the jersey would dry fast but the fabric is still a little heavier than some of the tops I have liked in the past, and I thought maybe it might feel a bit oppressive. Luckily, these fears were put to rest quickly, and I was impressed by how breathable the jersey actually is. It is 100% technical fabric after all.

The jersey is not at all restrictive and the sleeves look like they will fit some low profile elbow pads under them. The fit through the waist is a bit relaxed so if downhill is your thing, torso padding would fit as well. At first I wasn’t super psyched on the loose fit through the waist but it did offer some decent venting. To finish it off, I liked the understated logos that let the splash of color do the talking.

Things That Could Be Improved

Shorts - For me, the shorts were just right but if you are someone who doesn’t like to bring a hydration pack you might find the pockets a bit on the small side. You would be hard pressed to fit more than a phone and a small snack. Additionally, if you are looking for more of a lightweight cross country short, the length might be a bit excessive.

Jersey - While I thought the proportions of the shorts were dead on, the jersey seemed slightly off. Before I continue I want to acknowledge that the jersey is supposed to have a more relaxed fit. Royal's website says the Cruiser jersey is styled after a t-shirt with a more relaxed and casual fit. My only complaint is that the sleeves are more fitted and the rest of the shirt is baggy. I felt it gave a slightly boxy feel to the jersey overall. This is completely personal preference though. From a technical standpoint I felt the boxes were all checked.

Long Term Durability

I wore this gear a lot… like four times a week a lot. Sure, I am supposed to put the gear through its paces but I also found that I truly wanted to wear it that much. This means that not only did I wear it often, I washed it a lot too. So far the shirt and shorts show no wear. The logos are intact and the colors are still bright and since I don’t actually know how to sort laundry, I know that has everything to do with the quality of the fabric. I found both pieces shed dirt well which must contribute to them still looking good after so much use and abuse. It is always possible that over time the locking zippers could fail but I foresee them holding up for a long time.

What’s The Bottom Line?

If you are looking for a kit that you can wear for everything from downhill to cross country, The Cruiser shorts and jersey from Royal Racing are a great option. The technical fabric is durable and comfortable and if you like your gear relaxed, then the fit will make you happy as well. It can also be worn off the trail without screaming bike clothes. I for one will certainly continue wearing this kit as long as I can!

Visit www.royalracing.com for more details.


About The Reviewer

Amanda Richter fell in love with mountain bikes in 2005 after moving to Colorado and wanting to explore her new home. This love of riding, pushing her limits and exploring has taken her all over the US and even a few places internationally. It has motivated her to become a PMBI certified coach and personal trainer so that she can help people both on and off the bike. She has dabbled in racing downhill and XC and looks forward to more events and racing this coming season. While any day out on the bike is a good one, she is the most happy on anything that it challenging both uphill and down. Amanda recently moved out to Truckee where there is no snow this year but thankfully lots of new riding to explore!

This product has 1 review

Added a product review for Royal 2014 Women's Cruiser 3/4 Jersey 3/22/2014 11:00 PM
C138_girl_cruiser_black_berry

Tested: Royal Women's Cruiser Short & Jersey

Rating:

The Good:

The Bad:

Overall:

by Amanda Richter

Let’s start this off by being honest with one another. It is important to look good while on your bike, right? Try to deny it if you want, but I certainly appreciate looking put together when I ride. So when I was given the chance to test out a matching kit from Royal Racing I was beyond psyched. I couldn’t wait to get it. Conveniently I had a trip planned to Sedona so I thought that would be a great way to start off the test. As the days ticked by leading up to the trip I checked my tracking information and planned out locations for photos. However, UPS had a different plan. I went to Sedona and the Cruiser shorts and jersey sat on my porch in the snow. I returned to find them soaked…great start.

Cruiser Short Highlights

  • Twill 2-way stretch polyester
  • Wicking internal mesh liner
  • Detachable custom Royal padded pant liner and chamois
  • 2 zipped hand pockets featuring reverse taped zippers for that clean look
  • Internal waist adjusters
  • Heat transfer and screen printed graphics
  • Rear stretch yolk
  • MSRP: $89.95 USD

Cruiser Jersey Highlights

  • General Issue Plus fabric
  • Heat transfers and screen printed graphics
  • Direct inject Royal crown TPR on neck
  • Woven flag label

  • MSRP: $39.95 USD

Initial Impressions

As fate would have it my Royal Racing gear showed up while I was out of town. As a result the box sat in the snow and got thoroughly soaked. I pulled out the pieces sopping wet but was pleasantly surprised to find that they dried out way faster than expected. Great first impression! The fabric was clearly quick drying yet I would be surprised with how durable it also was. Also, had I not seen it dry so fast I would certainly be questioning how breathable it could possibly be. Trying the kit out for the first time I was happy with the fit on the shorts. The waist was snug and true to size and they were long enough to cover the tops of knee pads. The shirt seemed a bit boxy at first but I loved the way the ¾ sleeves fit and the slight V-neck added some style. Not many bells and whistles, just clean lines and simple detailing. I was pretty sure this would be my new favorite gear. Lucky for me this winter has been mild in Tahoe so I had plenty of opportunity to get them dirty!

On The Trail

Cruiser Shorts
I noticed right away that the waist is snug and the shorts are long and baggy enough for pads. What I didn’t realize right away was how well the shorts are cut. They allow you to move around on the bike but without much of a chance of them getting caught up on the seat. They just happened to fit me almost perfectly and that led me to believe that a lot of thought went into the fit.

They are loose in the knees but they taper well to the hips and waist. I felt this gives them a more feminine fit. The fabric is light and provides great airflow even though the shorts don’t have vents. I didn’t get a chance to test them at super warm temperatures but I am willing to bet that they breathe well even on the hottest of days. They come with two pockets that are low profile and stay in place when riding. The zippers are locking which is a nice touch.

The pockets are just enough to hold a phone or an iPod but not much else. With the fit of the shorts through the hips, there isn't much room for bigger pockets anyway - they would simply get in the way. Finally, I am sure that most people will want to stick with their favorite chamois but all I have to say is give the one that comes with these shorts a chance. It took a few rides but it became more and more comfortable as time went on.

Cruiser Jersey
I am generally partial to ¾ length sleeves. I like the way they look, they offer some sun protection and can cover pads. However they do tend to be a bit warmer overall. After the porch incident I knew that the jersey would dry fast but the fabric is still a little heavier than some of the tops I have liked in the past, and I thought maybe it might feel a bit oppressive. Luckily, these fears were put to rest quickly, and I was impressed by how breathable the jersey actually is. It is 100% technical fabric after all.

The jersey is not at all restrictive and the sleeves look like they will fit some low profile elbow pads under them. The fit through the waist is a bit relaxed so if downhill is your thing, torso padding would fit as well. At first I wasn’t super psyched on the loose fit through the waist but it did offer some decent venting. To finish it off, I liked the understated logos that let the splash of color do the talking.

Things That Could Be Improved

Shorts - For me, the shorts were just right but if you are someone who doesn’t like to bring a hydration pack you might find the pockets a bit on the small side. You would be hard pressed to fit more than a phone and a small snack. Additionally, if you are looking for more of a lightweight cross country short, the length might be a bit excessive.

Jersey - While I thought the proportions of the shorts were dead on, the jersey seemed slightly off. Before I continue I want to acknowledge that the jersey is supposed to have a more relaxed fit. Royal's website says the Cruiser jersey is styled after a t-shirt with a more relaxed and casual fit. My only complaint is that the sleeves are more fitted and the rest of the shirt is baggy. I felt it gave a slightly boxy feel to the jersey overall. This is completely personal preference though. From a technical standpoint I felt the boxes were all checked.

Long Term Durability

I wore this gear a lot… like four times a week a lot. Sure, I am supposed to put the gear through its paces but I also found that I truly wanted to wear it that much. This means that not only did I wear it often, I washed it a lot too. So far the shirt and shorts show no wear. The logos are intact and the colors are still bright and since I don’t actually know how to sort laundry, I know that has everything to do with the quality of the fabric. I found both pieces shed dirt well which must contribute to them still looking good after so much use and abuse. It is always possible that over time the locking zippers could fail but I foresee them holding up for a long time.

What’s The Bottom Line?

If you are looking for a kit that you can wear for everything from downhill to cross country, The Cruiser shorts and jersey from Royal Racing are a great option. The technical fabric is durable and comfortable and if you like your gear relaxed, then the fit will make you happy as well. It can also be worn off the trail without screaming bike clothes. I for one will certainly continue wearing this kit as long as I can!

Visit www.royalracing.com for more details.


About The Reviewer

Amanda Richter fell in love with mountain bikes in 2005 after moving to Colorado and wanting to explore her new home. This love of riding, pushing her limits and exploring has taken her all over the US and even a few places internationally. It has motivated her to become a PMBI certified coach and personal trainer so that she can help people both on and off the bike. She has dabbled in racing downhill and XC and looks forward to more events and racing this coming season. While any day out on the bike is a good one, she is the most happy on anything that it challenging both uphill and down. Amanda recently moved out to Truckee where there is no snow this year but thankfully lots of new riding to explore!

This product has 1 review

Added a product review for Fox Racing Women's Flygirl Jersey 1/23/2014 4:19 PM
C138_fox_racing_womens_flygirl_jersey_front

Tested: Fox Flygirl Short Sleeved Women’s Jersey

Rating:

The Good:

The Bad:

Overall:

by Amanda Richter

It was almost spring and I was going a little stir crazy in snowy Colorado. I needed something to hold me over, something to look forward to so I thought “huh, I guess I could get some new kit...” Honestly, I was dreading it - I am not much of a shopper and with women’s cycling clothing there hasn't always been much to motivate me. It was actually my boyfriend who finally sat me down on Fox’s website and made me take a look. That was when I saw the Flygirl for the first time. Could it be? Was it actually possible that this jersey could combine fit and function as Fox claims, all for the reasonable price of $54.95? That seemed like a tall order but I was willing to check it out.

Fox Racing Flygirl Highlights

  • 100% polyester 4-way stretch material
  • Zippered side hem pocket
  • Headphone port through internal pocket
  • Snazzy detailing with pearlescent snaps
  • Embroidered Fox logo on collar
  • MSRP $54.95

Initial Impressions

The very first thing I noticed about the jersey was how soft and light the fabric is. That was great considering I was heading to the desert in a few days. I also really loved the little details that I somehow didn't notice from the website. The snaps were pearlescent and pretty, the sleeves had a button and cuff detail that added just the right touch of cute, and there appeared to be a slight drop tail. I also found that the size guidelines on Fox’s website were accurate, which I was psyched on. The only thing I was slightly confused about was why they chose to use quite so many snaps, but I would quickly learn that there was a method to their madness. And then, the snow finally melted and we got ready for the first bike trip of the season - time to get outside and put the Flygirl jersey through her paces!

On The Trail

If I can focus on riding and not stress about my gear then I am one happy girl. I never found myself thinking too much about this jersey when I was riding. It is made from light, stretchy material that allows me to move around on the bike and is long enough to not get hung up on my hydration pack waist belt. It truly is quick dry fabric and it kept me cool in the summer and helped me not get too chilly when temps dropped mid ride. I also appreciated how there are more than enough snaps to keep the shirt tightly closed even with a pack on. This might seem like a design flaw to some guys but I know that this girl appreciates keeping it classy. Oh and if you enjoy rocking out to tunes on the trail you will be pleasantly surprised with the headphone outlet built into the pocket. An added bonus is that the polyester fabric doesn't seem to get too gross after a long day of riding even in the summer!

Things That Could Be Improved

While 95% of the jersey was incredible and blew away my expectations, the side hem pocket could definitely be improved. It is of good size but the location leaves something to be desired. According to the Fox website the Flygirl has “back pockets”, which is only slightly true. The zipper (which is low profile) is in the seam and the pocket does extend toward the back but it won’t stay put if it contains more than an Ipod Nano. I found that any weight in the pocket would cause the jersey to twist forward slightly, and I think that the design could be improved by creating a true back pocket with the same low profile zipper. This issue is eliminated if you mostly ride with a hydration pack but it was certainly worth noting. Finally, the thing that I was more bummed about was the lack of the advertised lens wipe sewn into the hem. This would have made the jersey almost perfect.

Long Term Durability

I have had this jersey since March and have worn it quite a lot. OK full disclosure, this is my only true jersey so it sees a lot of use and abuse. With that in mind, I have been truly impressed with how it has held up. I was a bit skeptical of how all the snaps and buttons would fare after repeated washes but my skepticism was totally unwarranted! The fabric washes clean without fading and the styling I love about the shirt has stayed put.

What’s The Bottom Line?

Buy the Flygirl jersey! It nails fit and function in a women’s market that has a few holes to fill. I love that Fox paid attention to the technical aspects of this jersey first but also added quite a few pieces of flair. Even if the pocket design stays the same and they chose to not add the lens wipe, there is a lot more that Fox got right. All this and it comes in at a reasonable price point. Women would be hard pressed to find a better jersey that can transition so easily from ride to beers and bbq.

Check out www.foxhead.com for more details.


About The Reviewer

Amanda Richter fell in love with mountain bikes in 2005 after moving to Colorado and wanting to explore her new home. This love of riding, pushing her limits and exploring has taken her all over the US and even a few places internationally. It has motivated her to become a PMBI certified coach and personal trainer so that she can help people both on and off the bike. She has dabbled in racing downhill and XC and looks forward to more events and racing this coming season. While any day out on the bike is a good one, she is the most happy on anything that it challenging both uphill and down. Amanda recently moved out to Truckee where there is no snow this year but thankfully lots of new riding to explore!

This product has 1 review