by Kevin Shiramizu
Sombrio has been around for a long time, so obviously they must be doing something right with their clothing. I've had a pair of shorts from them for several years now and they have lasted really well. They were hand-me-downs from a friend, and after my time in them, they got passed off to another friend and are probably still going out for rides. That said, bike clothing has changed a lot in the last decade, so how does the new stuff from Sombrio stand up?
N'Fluence Short HIghlights
- Ultra durable custom printed 4-way stretch fabric with DWR and soft inner face
- Wicking hand pocket bags
- Back zippered pocket
- Innovative 2-way zipper mesh lined airflow core vent
- Belt Loops
- Seamless crotch panel
- Fully lined with wicking mesh
- Locking zip fly with snap and VELCRO back up
- Sturdy seam construction and bar tack stitching throughout stress zones
- XS, S, M, L, XL, and XXL sizes
- Blacktastic, Mineral Grey Fromme, and Raw Green Fromme graphics
- MSRP $125.00
Disciple Jersey Highlights
- Multi panel ¾ sleeve design
- Cool Wik Material
- Wicking & antibacterial treatment
- Back ventilation yoke panel
- XS, S, M, L, and XL sizes
- Sublimated graphics
- Mineral Grey Fromme and Raw Green Fromme graphics
- MSRP $69.00
On The Trail
Johnny Cochran would agree, the most important element in bike clothing is fit. If it doesn’t fit, the rest is meaningless. Being the average sized human that I am, the size medium shorts and medium jersey were spot on. The ¾ sleeves on the Disciple Jersey only look long until you get into riding posture. Nothing was constrictive when trying to move around, while pedaling or turning, and nothing bound up when contorting around trying to save a crash. The Cool Wik material is pretty thick for a riding jersey, at least for warm weather use, but is smooth to the touch and vents pretty well. The material also tends to draw moisture away from your body, and dries quickly.
Construction quality on the shorts and jersey were great. There’s a big vent on the leg of the N'Fluence Shorts that you can zip open half way for ventilation, or all the way for pockets and even more ventilation. Max airflow also means the potential for pocket spills, so Sombrio wisely added a key-clip in the right pocket to keep those put and not leave you stranded back in the parking lot after a ride.
Things That Could Be Improved
The pockets on the shorts place anything you stow on top of your thighs, which is less than ideal for pedaling. Then again, you’re probably storing most of your stuff in a backpack anyway. The shorts also have belt loops around the waist. I’m not sure I know anyone who rides with a belt? This seems to be in place of cinch straps that most bike shorts have, but if you buy the right sized shorts, I don’t see why you would need a belt. That said, it’s not like un-used belt loops are much of a problem.
The jersey comes with a sticker advising you to keep it away from hard-side Velcro and it’s not joking. That material does hate Velcro, which is unfortunate given that most of your other articles of cycling clothing have that, including the N'Fluence Shorts, so close it all up before chucking it into a load of laundry lest you end up with a chewed up jersey.
What's The Bottom Line?
The Sombrio N'Fluence Shorts and Disciple Jersey are well made. Looks are subjective, so maybe this is your thing, and maybe it isn't. Those in search of something more subtle should check out the Mineral Grey Fromme print. The fabric both items are made from is quite heavy and hot for warm weather trail riding, but at higher altitudes or cooler fall weather you’ll be comfortable. As for bike park cruising, it will do you just fine. This kit isn’t revolutionary by any means, but it does the job and has proven to be quite durable, which counts for a lot over flashy looking stuff that skimps on quality and busts seams after a few rides.
For more details, visit www.sombriocartel.com.
About The Reviewer
Kevin Shiramizu has been riding mountain bikes for over 15 years. During that time he accumulated multiple state championships in Colorado for XC and trials riding, a junior national champ title in trials, and went to Worlds to get his ass kicked by euros in 2003. His riding favors flat corners and sneaky lines. After a doozy of a head injury, he hung up the downhill bike for good in early 2010 and now foolishly rides a very capable trail bike with less protection and crashes just as hard as ever. He likes rough, technical trails at high elevation, but usually settles for dry, dusty, and blown out. He spent 5 good years of his youth working in bike shops and pitched in efforts over the years with Decline, LitterMag, Dirt, and VitalMTB. He also helped develop frames and tires during his time as a guy who occasionally gets paid to ride his bike in a fancy way in front of big crowds of people.