DHaRCO – short for Downhill Australian Riding Company - is a young Australian outfit that has been making more and more noise over the past few years, signing up legends of the sport like Kyle Strait and Connor Fearon and growing their catalogue of performance apparel. More recently, they jumped onboard to dress up the Commencal Muc-Off team, so Amaury Pierron and Myriam Nicole can now be seen flying the DHaRCO flag as well. We wanted to know a bit more about how the stuff actually performs out on the trail, so we selected a few items and we’ve been putting them all to the test over spring and summer.
- Short Sleeve Jersey Camo Blades - $60 USD
- Short Sleeve Jersey Blue Storm - $60 USD
- Jersey ¾ Tie Dye – $60 USD
- Gravity Party Shirt - $68 USD
- Tech Tee Dark Tropical – $51 USD
- Gravity Shorts Black and Camo - $107 USD
- Gravity Pants Black - $153 USD
- Mens Glove - $32 USD
DHaRCO seeks its inspiration from Australia’s surf and street culture, and items like the Party Jersey and the Tie Dye ¾ sleeve definitely represent the quintessential DHaRCO look. There are versions available with less flashy colorways, for those who want to fly a bit under the radar as well. Because it gets pretty hot in Australia, all the jerseys are made from breathable materials and use features like mesh panels along the sides to further improve the airflow. A lift pass pocket is there to remind you that what goes down, needs to go back up for another run (jerseys only, not the Tech Tee). The classic jerseys are made from 100% polyester, while the Tech Tee is made from a 15% Drirelease fabric that feels soft to the touch but wicks sweat like a full polyester jersey.
The Gravity Short and Pant are here for tough days in the saddle, as you might have guessed from the name. Both items are constructed with pretty heavy-duty fabrics, and you can tell they were made for people who take more than their fair share of dirt naps. There are three pockets on the pant, and only two on the short – more on these later as we had some issues with their size and placement.
On The Trail
The jerseys are comfortable on the skin and breathe pretty well in action, as you’d expect from a brand born under the hot sun down under. The fabric does not feel super technologically advanced, thin or stretchy but is nice to the touch, in various weather conditions ranging from pleasantly cool to unbearably hot and humid. The cut is comfortable in every way; the sleeves are of the right length, the jersey itself is long enough to ensure you don’t suffer an acute case of builder’s bum at the wrong time, and the collar is not too tight.
The short and the pant both fit tight, so you definitely need to consider your average burger intake before ordering. The inseam and other dimensions are true to size, but there is not a lot of extra room in the thigh and crotch area. The pant offers three pockets for storage, including a rear pocket which provides the most protection for your phone – although not all of our testers liked this option. One of the side pockets sits in an awkward place, meaning you’ll only be able to store small items here. The waist is adjustable and there is plenty of room for kneepads. The lower leg tapers in to make sure the pant cannot catch a chain ring or similar, and we particularly appreciate the graphic applied to one of the pocket zippers – a nice touch.
Much like the pant, the short features a tight fit around the thighs and crotch. Once again, the sizing is right, in length and around the waist, it’s just the cut that is not loose. Our more athletically built tester found this to be a positive thing, with no flapping around in the wind and no excess material to catch any rebellious saddle noses. The short’s fabric is very stretchy and pleasant to the touch as well. The waist belt is stiff without any stretchiness to be found and when wearing the right size, helps keep the short in place with no slipping up or down during riding on the trail. FYI in these shots Yonatan is wearing size M in everything, at 1m83 for 75 kgs body weight.
There are two small Velcro straps on the waist for some fine tuning the sizing in case it’s on the bigger side for you. Sadly, the short lacks the thigh pocket of the pant, which leaves only the hip pocket for storage – and in our opinion it is too small and sits in an awkward place. You won’t like carrying your phone here as it will get in the way of pedaling, and like we previously stated, not everybody will love using the rear pocket for that purpose. Putting your phone in the rear pocket works well enough (unless your phone is huge), but it will feel strange in the beginning and of course there’s a pretty big risk of forgetting you have the phone there and ending up sitting on it in the car. Not ideal.
Long Term Durability
We’ve put in a good few months with the DHaRCO gear by now, and we’ve not found much to complain about in the durability department. The logo on the back of the pant disappeared after a few cycles in the washing machine, but other than that, everything is holding up. No ripped seams, no running treads in the fabrics. The stuff is pretty sturdy and it will definitely be able to hang even if you fail to keep the rubber side down a little too often.
What’s The Bottom Line?
Sometimes it seems like all the apparel brands come from the same background, so it’s refreshing when a new outfit pops up that does things a little differently – no MX hand-me-downs here! We’re stoked on the fit and the performance of DHaRCO’s stuff, with the exception of the pocket placement that could do with a little rework. As for the look, we love it! DHaRCO’s motto is “No Ordinary Life”, and the kit embodies that spirit perfectly.
More information at: www.dharco.com.
About The Reviewers
Yonatan Yatom - Age: 26 // Years Riding MTB: 15 // Height :6'0" (1.83m) // Weight: 161 pounds (75kg)
Yonatan is a born racer and a bike addict. As a true competitor the only thing on his mind when lining up in the start gate is the finish line. With a background in local enduro and DH races and even the occasional appearance in an Enduro World Series on his resume, Yonatan has more recently applied himself to building bigger legs and trying his luck racing XC as well. Throughout the week he’ll be manning the spanners at the bike shop, reading about new stuff on the internet, and thinking about how to improve everything he rides. Yonatan’s riding style is fully pinned, smooth, and quiet but can be nasty to his bike when needed.
Johan Hjord - Age: 48 // Years Riding MTB: 16 // Weight: 190-pounds (87-kg) // Height: 6'0" (1.84m)
Johan loves bikes, which strangely doesn’t make him any better at riding them. After many years spent practicing falling off cliffs with his snowboard, he took up mountain biking in 2005. Ever since, he’s mostly been riding bikes with too much suspension travel to cover up his many flaws as a rider. His 200-pound body weight coupled with unique skill for poor line choice and clumsy landings make him an expert on durability - if parts survive Johan, they’re pretty much okay for anybody. Johan rides flat pedals with a riding style that he describes as "none" (when in actuality he rips!). Having found most trail features to be not to his liking, Johan uses much of his spare time building his own. Johan’s other accomplishments include surviving this far and helping keep the Vital Media Machine’s stoke dial firmly on 11.
Photos by Johan Hjord