Review by AJ Barlas // Photos by Jon Anthony
It seems the days of limiting 'XC' labeled apparel to lycra is drawing to a close, and that can't come soon enough if you ask us. Companies like Specialized have created entire lines of XC gear, none of which are revealing though all are made to breathe well, to be comfortable for trail bike use and technically capable of being ridden in all day.
The Atlas XC Pro jersey is Specialized's answer to a garment that stays out of the way, while keeping you cool on those long rides. We've been ripping about on the trail bike for a couple of months in this jersey to see whether it meets its goals and exactly what crowd it works best for.
Specialized Atlas Pro XC Jersey Highlights
- VaporRize™ moisture transfer knit fabrics
- One zippered side pocket with sunglass wipe
- Partial chest zipper with sunglass loop
- Laser perforated venting
- DeflectUV 30
- Relaxed fit
- Size: S, M, L, XL, XXL
- MSRP: $98.00
Upon receiving the Atlas Pro XC jersey the first things noticed were its light weight, quality materials, and the details. The materials used are top shelf, and the laser perforated vents look pretty trick. In addition to the laser vents, there is a mesh section down the side and up under the arm to provide plenty of airflow for when the going gets hot.
The little pocket on the lower part of the front of the jersey is an interesting feature, though it's hardly big enough to fit even a driver's license in and apart from the sunglass wipe in the pocket it saw little to no use throughout the review period.
On The Trail
Riding in the Atlas XC jersey feels great! The fit is very comfortable, not baggy and not too tight, and the use of high quality materials adds to the comfort while out on the bike. It's worth noting that although the jersey is labeled as a 'relaxed' fit, this refers to XC and is not to be confused with a relaxed fit in DH.
Despite riding in some extremely hot and dry conditions, the Atlas jersey kept us as cool as can be, while never sticking to our skin or getting uncomfortable. The short zipper on the front often aided with added airflow to keep the core temperature down as much as possible on hot rides and was particularly appreciated on a very recent ride in Moab.
The bonded seams along the sides of the jersey are well positioned, and the added, almost rubber like sections on the outside of these seams enable the jersey to hold some form when riding, rather than sagging out of shape thanks to the 2-way stretch materials used. This also helps the jersey remain in shape after many wash cycles. The bonding pieces over the shoulders also aid with holding the jersey's shape, despite us thinking they were nothing more than a bit of flair initially.
Long Term Durability
There have been no issues with the Atlas XC Pro jersey we tested. It displays no signs of pilling, no threads have pulled nor have any seams come apart and after long days in the saddle and many wash cycles, it still looks as good as new.
Things That Could Be Improved
The functionality of the pocket on the front, lower right of the jersey is pretty limited. If it were capable of comfortably holding a drivers license or credit card then it would perhaps be much better, but in its current state, cramming anything of this nature in there is less than convenient (leaving us wondering what use if any was actually intended here).
The sunglass hook on the zipper is another feature that was never used through the review, as we prefer to tuck them up into our helmet whenever not wearing them. The option is there for those that like to carry their glasses on the front of their chest (perhaps while climbing), or who prefer not to use the helmet option.
What's The Bottom Line?
The Specialized Atlas XC jersey is great for the rider looking for a lightweight, breathable, general purpose jersey to spend a lot of time in. It's fuss free, can be purchased in unassuming colors for a low key appearance and will do a great job of keeping you comfortable on the trail. For most the front pocket will be of little use, but that certainly isn't a reason not to look into adding this jersey to your collection.
For more info visit www.specialized.com.
About The Reviewer
AJ Barlas started riding as most do, bashing about dirt mounds and popping off street curbs. Not much has changed, really. These days the dirt mounds have become mountains and the street curbs, while still getting sessioned, are more often features on the trail. He began as a shop monkey racing downhill since day zero, only to go 'backwards' and start riding and racing BMX later on. He then came full circle once moving to Whistler. AJ loves riding everything from 8 hour mountain pass epics (bonking) to lap after lap in the park and 20 minute pumptrack sessions at sunset. Driven by his passion for biking and exposing people to the great equipment we ride, AJ started and maintains the Straightshot MTB blog. So long as wheels are involved, and preferably dirt (the drier and dustier the better), life is good.