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A Layer for Every Occasion: Royal Racing 2021 Range 2

From hot summer days in the bike park to cold and rainy mid-winter slogs around your local bog, Royal's 2021 catalogue has you covered.

A Layer for Every Occasion: Royal Racing 2021 Range

Originally founded by Steve Peat and Nick Bayliss, Royal Racing has been around for over 20 years by now and all that experience has been put to good use in developing the 2021 range. With a focus on creating the perfect layering system for all your mountain biking needs, there’s something in the line-up to equip you to take on anything from sweltering summer days to full-on rain storms – and everything in between. Here’s a quick overview of some of the new items along with our riding impressions fresh from the trails.

Royal Racing Quantum Short Highlights

Royal Racing Quantum Jersey Highlights

  • 4-Way Stretch Fabric
  • Quick Wicking & Drying
  • Laser Cut Ventilation Holes
  • DWR Coated
  • 2 Zippered Pockets
  • Ratched Closure
  • MSRP: $99.99 USD
  • Made from 100% Recycled Materials
  • Casual Styling
  • Relaxed Fit
  • Anti-Bacterial Treatment
  • Long or Short Sleeve Version
  • Quick Wicking Fabric
  • MSRP: $44.99 USD (SS) / $54.99 (LS)

Royal Racing Core Jersey Highlights

Royal Racing Quantum Tech Hoody Highlights

  • 85% Polyester/15% Cotton Mix
  • Fast Wicking
  • Anti-Bacterial Treatment
  • Casual Fit
  • Short or Long Sleeve Version
  • MSRP: $39.99 USD (SS) / $44.99 USD (LS)
  • Part of Quantum Layering System
  • Breathable Midlayer
  • Casual Fit
  • Lightweight and Breathable Fleece Construction
  • Baffled Wrist Cuff and Inner Storm Flap
  • 2 Zippered Pockets
  • Adjustable Waist
  • Adjustable Hood
  • MSRP: $89.99 USD

Royal Racing Matrix Jacket Highlights

Royal Racing Apex Jersey Highlights

  • Breathable and Waterproof
  • 10,000 DPI.MVP Fabric
  • Ride-Position Cut
  • Vented
  • 2 External Pockets and 1 Internal Phone/Media Pocket
  • External Pockets Serve as Vents
  • 2-Way Adjustable Hood
  • MSRP: $139.99 USD
  • 100% Recycled, Feather-Light, “Micro-Mesh” Fabric
  • Extra Stretchy
  • Anti-Bacterial Treatment
  • Sweat Wicking
  • MSRP: $69.99 USD

Initial Impressions

After a few years of more or less wild experimenting with colors and designs, Royal has settled into a style of their own more recently. The hues are fairly subdued although a few splashes of color are there to brighten up your day if you so choose. The Quantum product family has seen the most significant updates and additions, to the point that Royal now refers to it as the “Quantum Layering System”. Starting with the first layer, the Quantum jersey is now made with 100% recycled materials, repurposed into a wicking and quick drying polyester fabric that also features an anti-microbial treatment to help keep the odors at bay.

Quantum Jerseys and Tech Hoody - part of the Quantum Layering System

All-new for 2021, the Quantum Tech Hoody is made from a fleece-like fabric that is designed to keep you warm yet allow sweat and body heat to escape as needed during an effort. It features 2 zippered pockets for storage, and an adjustable hood that can be worn under a helmet if the temperatures should drop on you during a ride. Pair it up with the Quantum Jacket, a super-packable yet waterproof jacket that can be pulled over the hoody in case of a sudden downpour (we did not receive the Quantum jacket to test but thought it should be mentioned here as part of the layering system).


The Quantum short is a do-it-all short featuring a bike-specific cut and the latest 4-way stretch fabric. The short has been simplified thanks to the fly-less, ratchet-strap design that serves both to close the short and adjust it at the waist, and there are laser-cut ventilation holes to help keep you cool in action. 2 zippered pockets provide plenty of space for your cargo, and 2 silicone strips on the inside of the waistband help hold the short up. Clear, bonded graphics keep the look clean yet classy.


If you want to really simplify things, the Core range is for you. The Core jersey is made from polyester with 15% cotton mixed in, the goal being to retain the comfort of cotton with the sweat-wicking capabilities of the polyester. This everyday jersey exists both with long and short sleeves.


To round things off, the Matrix rain jacket has been a staple of the Royal catalogue for years now, but it’s been fully renewed for 2021 as well. With a 10k/10k waterproof/breathable fabric, this is the one to reach for when it’s really nasty outside. It will keep you dry without feeling like a sauna inside, as the breathable fabric blocks water drops but allows vapor to pass through. There are weatherproof pockets to store your essentials, and an internal pocket for your phone. The hood is adjustable both in depth as well as circumference of the frontal opening, and the cuffs can be cinched down with Velcro tabs. A pair of vents at the top of the back create extra airflow to really ensure you don’t have to get all hot and bothered in action.


Royal has “Racing” in its name, which is of course where the company originally came from with Steve Peat as one of the founders. The Apex line is made for those who ride against the clock, which shows through in the somewhat more impactful design language used here. Other than that, the jersey is super light and very stretchy, with no other features present. Much like the Quantum jersey, it’s made from 100% recycled materials.

This tester normally wears a size L, but stocks were low...

On The Trail

It’s been pretty hot and sunny since we took delivery of this stuff, so we’ve really only been able to properly test the shorts and jerseys. We still thought it was a good idea to present the whole range, as if you live somewhere colder, most of it might still be relevant on any given day (besides, given the stock levels of all things mountain biking right now, you should probably be planning ahead anyway...). The Quantum short has put in a great performance so far, with a versatile and comfortable cut this one is ready for pretty much anything. The sizing is generous, so take that into account if you’re typically between sizes. The Quantum feels solid without being heavy and restrictive, and it remains comfortable even when things really heat up. The pockets are big, which will please those who like to carry lots of stuff on their body, and they sit in a functional spot. There’s even an internal pocket inside one of the bigger pockets to help secure your phone and keep it from moving around (will fit up to an iPhone 11 Pro, but nothing bigger).

Core Jersey and Quantum Short

The Quantum jersey has a classic polyester feel to it, and it’s a level of sturdy that should see it deal with pretty much anything you can throw at it. It is less well suited to really hot days, as the fabric gets a bit clingy when it’s really drenched. On those days, reach for the Core jersey instead, the magic mix of polyester and cotton helps it stay super comfortable on the skin and dry fast after it gets soaked.

Quantum Short and Jersey

The Quantum Tech Hoody is one of these new, technical garments that we’ve seen pop up in a few places over the past couple of years or so. It’s light and thin yet manages to generate impressive amounts of heat – perfect for those chilly, high-alpine days or just for lounging about in town after you’re done riding for the day. It will wick away sweat in action and the full-length zipper will allow you to open it up when needed. The hood is small and is intended to fit under the helmet if your ears start feeling like popsicles during a ride.


The Apex jersey is on the complete opposite end of the spectrum, as the lightest and probably most breathable item in the range. The fabric is super comfortable on the skin, and this one does a much better job of managing excess amounts of sweat than the Quantum, as it is much thinner and does not develop that clingy feeling when wet.

Apex Jersey and Quantum Short

A final word on the fit and comfort offered by the Matrix jacket – we found it really fit for purpose, even with the hood up over a helmet it still follows your form and movements on the bike. The quality appears to be first-rate, with confidence-inspiring stitching and high-end hardware used throughout. We’ve not tested it in the rain yet, so we’ll refrain from a formal verdict, but our previous experience with Royal’s rain gear has always been positive. We’d expect nothing less from a company born in Britain!


What’s The Bottom Line?

As long-standing fans of Royal, we’re always excited to check out their latest offerings. The 2021 range did not disappoint, with a subtle yet impactful variety of different looks and the use of pretty advanced, technical fabrics to further elevate the user experience. Developing a functional layering approach and striving to use recycled materials where possible are further bonus points in our books.

More information at:

About The Reviewer

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

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