Review by Courtney Steen // Photos by Brandon Turman
The long days of summer are slipping away. Temperatures are becoming cooler and cooler. Jersey sleeves are becoming longer and longer. Each warm day in the forecast is a carpe diem call to the trail while each cold day’s goosebumps call to the memories of summer. On those summer days and the warmer fall days, I’ve been rocking the Women’s Skyline short and jersey, staples of Troy Lee Designs’ collection. These designs are based on the “no flowers, no butterflies, just bold, aggressive styling” ideal of the company. With color options from wild turquoise and lime to mild black and grey, there is something for everyone to hit the trails in.
Troy Lee Designs Women’s Skyline Short Highlights
- 2-way stretch, highly durable 90% Polyester / 10% Spandex mix
- Ribbed spandex stretch panel
- Belt loop with embroidered accent
- Reflective logos on front and side of the short
- Pedal friendly side pocket with secure zipped front stash pocket
- Specially cut to fit a woman's contours
- Sizes: S, M, L, XL
- Colors: Black, Turquoise
- MSRP: $68 USD
Troy Lee Designs Women’s Skyline Jersey Highlights
- Mesh polyester fabric features anti-microbial and moisture wicking properties
- Breathable mesh fabric for increased airflow
- Lycra rear neck panel for easy entry and comfortable fit
- V-neck collar for increased comfort
- Raglan sleeves and relaxed fit jersey
- Hidden stash side zip pocket
- Sizes: S, M, L, XL
- Colors: Gray/Black, Lime
- MSRP: $50 USD
Fresh out of the box the Skyline jersey is lightweight, stretchy, and the mesh fabric looks very breathable indeed with all those wee holes. The v-shaped neck is a softer fabric than the body mesh for comfort. There is also no sewn-in sizing label at the collar to chop off, the information is screen printed onto the back of the neck instead. The colors are all sublimated to the fabric making for sharp design edges. With no large screen printed patterns to be seen, the jersey’s breathability and weight are primo. There is TLD branding on the center front, upper back center, and along one side of the v-neck. All the seams lie flat and are overlock stitched. A hidden stash pocket about 3 x 5 inches in size is built into the back left side of the jersey. In fact, this pocket was so hidden, I didn’t even realize it was there until looking at the stitching on the inside. Super sneaky.
The Skyline short is made from a lightweight, 2-way stretch material. It actually feels stretchy enough that I thought it was a 4-way. An elastic stretch panel at the back adds to the stretch ability of the short. The waistband has sewn-in elastic running the entire circumference with two scrunched segments on each hip for further stretching. Two side-by-side snaps above the zippered fly securely close the waistband. There are also belt loops if someone were to need a belt to keep this puppy up. For cargo space, there is one cargo pocket on the left leg with a snapped closure, two open hand pockets, and one little zipped stash pocket in the right-side hand pocket. The hand pockets are constructed from a mesh fabric. In addition to pocket space, a little elastic loop inside the short looks like a spot to secure something like a key. There are a few embellishments on the short to add a little flare. TLD branding is screen-printed on the side pocket, Troy Lee Designs screen-printed on the lower right leg, contrasting piping sewn into the top edge of the hand pockets, and a little tribal tramp stamp embroidered on the rear belt loop.
Trying on these two items, the jersey is not the softest I’ve ever slipped into, but is the most ventilated. It definitely felt like it would be nice on hot days. The short however…ruh-roh. Given the circumference measurement of where my shorts normally sit and what size jeans I normally wear, I ordered an XL. This size was far, far too big. The short was way too baggy and falling off. After exchanging for a size smaller, it fit worlds better. Measuring the waistbands, they are true to the Troy Lee sizing chart. It appears the cut is meant to sit nearer the natural waist, not hang off the hips. The size L short measures in with a 34.5-inch in the waistband, 11-inch inseam, and a 10.5-inch rise. Now that I had the short figured out, time to do some riding.
On The Trail
The Women’s Skyline jersey came out to play for both downhilling funsies while in Whistler and for trail riding. In the peak of summer while it was pretty toasty out, all the venting in the jersey mesh was very welcomed. On chairlift rides up, I could feel the breeze coming through all the little holes. Refreshing. It was also comfortably cooling while out on trail rides. The fit of the jersey was a bit snug in the hips and long on me. I also found the bottom hem was prone to riding up a little. However, given the close fit and all the holes, I never felt like the jersey was flapping around in the wind while blasting down some bike park flow.
Over the summer, I didn’t wear the Skyline short downhilling. I prefer longer inseams when rolling on the big bike and in the big kneepads. It has a good cut for trail riding though. The waistband is plenty snug, and with the higher rise, it never had to be pulled back up like shorts with lower rises or more elastic waistbands. No plumber’s crack here. The double snap on the waistband also kept the Skyline securely closed. There was no danger of popping open in a hunkered climb or while partaking in a post-ride nachos and beer. With an inseam length short enough not to snag up on the knees while pedaling, it was still long enough that I didn’t feel I would suffer extra damages if (knock on wood) I ever hit the ground. The stretch material and mesh panel made for effortless movement. The fabric’s inside surface has a soft raised pattern that glides over the skin. This also contributes to the feeling of effortless pedaling. As far as swass goes, I haven’t noticed being uncomfortably hot or soggy in the Skyline short on the trail. The lightweight material seems good at temperature control. The short has no built in vents, but I never found myself wishing for some.
I love ice cream. I always ride with my cell phone in a pocket to track miles and elevation climbed so I can feel less guilty if I have that after dinner treat. In this short, I used a hand pocket for my phone. They are a good depth, and my massively encased phone hangs in a good place off the side of the hip. I’ve passed a number of people looking for dropped phones on the trail. With my phone case’s traction plus these pockets’ depth, I’m not worried about having to join them. In some shorts, the weight of whatever is in the hand pockets hangs over the top of the thigh. It’s not the most comfortable for pedaling. It can feel kind of like saddlebags weighing down my legs. In this short the weight in the pockets hangs from the waistband and is no bother at all while pedaling. Props to whoever engineered that weight bearing dynamic (golf clap).
Things That Could Be Improved
The Skyline jersey's mesh material is definitely great for keeping cool, but I wouldn’t mind if it were a bit softer. On a day I dressed in the morning for a later ride, while sitting around working at the computer, I had to go change my shirt. It just felt too rough/itchy for me to tolerate. That wasn’t just my itching to go outside and play either. This would be my one complaint about the jersey. It is the roughest of all my jerseys.
My one frustration with the Skyline shorts, other than my possibly personal but maybe shared problem with sizing, is the hand pockets. Yes, they are a good size and the cargo hangs well while pedaling. Bravo. But unfortunately, the construction is a bit bulky. In the top half, the pocket mesh is doubled with the main body fabric on the pockets' skin side. The extra fabric layers feel like little deflated pillows in your pockets. The mesh should be connected to the bottom of the main body fabric, or just let the entire skin-side of the pocket be main body fabric. Anything, just keep it as one layer, not two and three where the small zippered pocket is built in. Layers are good in cake, not in pockets. Mmmm….cake.
Long Term Durability
So far the Skyline jersey has been holding up well apart from some mud stains in the white sections. I haven’t crashed in this jersey, so I’m not sure how it will handle that abuse. I did take a digger in the Skyline short though. It took it well, complaining less than I did about what the heck I biffed it over. The desert dust brushed right off. There was no damage to the fabric though I had a nice phone-shaped bruise on my hip - rides like this are why I have a monstrous case on my phone. From regular wash and wear, neither the jersey nor short fabrics are showing signs of distress yet: pills, scuffs, runs, holes, etc.
What's The Bottom Line?
Troy Lee’s Skyline jersey and short are no flowers, no butterflies, just get down and dirty mtb style. With pretty average price tags and effective designs, it is no wonder I’ve seen them all over, from Whistler, BC, to Prescott, AZ. Having experienced them as the newest additions to my riding closet, I can see why other women rock them. The jersey is well vented, great for warmer days, and seamlessly manages the transition from downhilling to trail riding. The short is comfortable and great for pedaling around the mountains. These two won’t have to wait until laundry day to come out for a ride. They will get used and abused along with my other riding clothes faves.
For more information head over to www.troyleedesigns.com.
About The Reviewer
Courtney Steen has been hitting the dirt on two wheels since 2007 when she started riding mountain bikes in college. She raced alongside her collegiate cycling team in every event from XC and short track to downhill and mountain cross, scoring several podiums, fist pumps and shiny medals along the way. A dream trail for this girl would have lots of down, some fast and flowy, and like the sprinkles on a cupcake, some fun technical sections to keep her on her toes – we’re talking mountain biking after all, not cruising a sidewalk. Courtney currently lives on the road with her boyfriend in a 5th wheel toy hauler loaded with bikes, traveling from one mountain bike mecca to the next in search of the best trails North America has to offer. Anytime she's on a bike and in the dirt, she has two thumbs up and a big smile.