First Ride: Troy Lee Designs Spring 2019 Apparel

Spring is definitely in the air, and for us Northern Hemisphere dwellers that means that it’s high time to get the final preparations for a new season of shredding underway. You’ve probably given your trusty old bike a full service, or you’ve got a brand new steed chomping at the bit already, now all you need is a fresh look for yourself and you’re good to go. We’ve recently taken delivery of a few new items from Troy Lee Designs that will not only have you looking the part, but also feeling good. The fact that they are produced in an ecologically and humanly responsible way is the icing on the cake. Check out some of the highlights below, then read on to get our first impressions straight from the trail.

Skyline Short Sleeve Jersey

  • Relax fit mountain bike jersey, casual in nature, technical by design
  • Compact left side zip pocket, with reflective TLD logo.
  • Optical wipe inside
  • 92% Polyester/8% Spandex
  • Moisture wicking/quick dry
  • Fabric weight 140gm/7.9oz
  • Fabric is certified as Bluesign approved
  • MSRP: $55 USD

Skyline Short

  • 95% Coolmax® Polyester/5% Lycra Bluesign certified approved fabric with warp & weft stretch material
  • Available for purchase as a shell only or with the TLD AIR COMP liner w/ TMF 4 hour pad
  • Single TLD low profile snap button with Velcro backing ensures solid closure without added bulk
  • New improved fit with revised rear 2-way stretch panel. Stretch panel also features breathable mesh for better cooling
  • Slim TLD embossed Velcro waist adjusters provide snug, on-the-fly fit adjustments
  • Inner waistband silicone grip keeps shorts from slipping down
  • MSRP: $79 USD (without liner)

Skyline Air Long Sleeve Jersey

  • Loose fit is casual in feel but with leading technical design features
  • 92% Polyester/8% Spandex Bluesign certified approved fabric with moisture wicking/quick dry properties
  • New revised neck line and sleeve placement use SE-PRO moto jersey design features for increased freedom of movement and comfort
  • New compact rear side pocket, w/reflective TLD peace sign logo
  • Hidden optical wipe inside rear pocket
  • Inner arm vented mesh
  • Fabric weight 140gm/7.9oz
  • MSRP: $70 USD

Ruckus Short

  • Low-profile double button enclosure designed to eliminate overlap in riding position
  • Rear two-way stretch panel fabricated from new breathable mesh material and repositioned for improved articulation
  • Contoured waistband designed for all-day comfort and durability, with laser perforated rear offering enhanced ventilation
  • Easy-to-operate pull-tab adjusters providing two inches of adjustment on each side
  • Available as shell-only model, otherwise combined with new AIR mesh liner with our Premium TLD pad – a six-hour rated pad made in Italy by TMF
  • Fabric is certified as Bluesign approved
  • Fabric weight 210gm/7.4oz
  • MSRP: $109 USD (without liner)

Ruckus Jersey

  • Moisture-wicking 100% polyester knit material is lightweight and breathable
  • Neckline offers fresh styling and improved freedom of movement
  • All-new optical wipe conveniently stored in rear pocket and fastened by micro cord
  • Integrated ventilation with perforated rear panels and vented mesh side panels
  • The longest length 3/4 jersey in TLD lineup provides ample coverage and relaxed fit
  • Easy-access storage from two rear zipper pockets, strategically placed to prevent swaying and movement when loaded
  • Fabric weight 190gm/6.7oz
  • Fabric is certified as Bluesign approved
  • MSRP: $60 USD

Initial Impressions

The Skyline and Ruckus product families are long-standing classics in the TLD line-up, and we always look forward to finding out what improvements will appear in each new version – not to mention the new looks. For 2019, most of the TLD range is now Bluesign-certified, which basically means that the stuff is constructed from fabrics produced in an ecologically responsible way, and put together by people who are treated fairly and enjoy good working conditions. Our planet and those who live on it certainly need all the help they can get these days, so that’s a good thing in our book.

Digging deeper into the features of the new range, here are some of the most important points:

Ruckus

The Ruckus short is all-new for 2019. It is now made from Bluesign-certified fabrics, which also happen to be a bit lighter than previous versions. The short is still every bit as sturdy though, as you’d expect from TLD’s do-it-all freeride short. In terms of features, there are two pockets (one of which is zipped), venting side panels and two zippered vents on the inside of the legs for even more airflow on those long and grueling climbs. There is a double button flap that partially overlaps the front zip, and two Velcro-tabs for fine tuning the fit. As is true of all the gear reviewed in this article, the Ruckus short has been put together with care and the level of workmanship on display is impressive.

The Ruckus jersey features 3/4–length sleeves and is made from a particularly heavy-duty fabric – which is also physically quite heavy too, although it gains some perforated panels for 2019 to help with ventilation. There are two zipped pockets, one of which contains a sunglass/goggle wipe attached to a handy, elastic leash. As far as we can tell, the cut remains unchanged compared to last year’s version. The only thing we didn’t really like is how you can feel the seam between the two different colored panels used on the front of the “Bolt” jersey featured here. The simpler versions with a single front panel don’t have this extra seam in case you think that is something that might bother you.

Skyline

Skyline is TLD’s go-anywhere, do-anything trail riding family of gear. It is made from lighter fabrics and places the emphasis on comfort over ultimate durability. The Skyline short mixes two-way and four-way stretch panels with a slightly slimmer fit, and features two zipped pockets of generous size for those who like to carry some of their gear on their person. There is a lighter and less elaborate Velcro fly with a single button snap closure, and adjustable Velcro tabs on each side to help fine-tune the fit. A generous silicone grip strip inside the rear waist line ensures that the short stays up even as you get a bit acrobatic with it. Just like with bigger brother Ruckus, you have the option to buy the short with or without a chamois liner – we strongly recommended springing for the liner version, TLD’s chamois has long been among our absolute favorites and the latest version is even better.

There are several versions of the Skyline jersey in the 2019 line-up. Short or long sleeves, “Air” or regular, the choice is yours. They are all made from a soft, light-weight fabric and they all feature one zippered pocket for storage. The “Air” versions have little perforations in the fabric all over the jersey to help with airflow. The perforations don’t go fully through the fabric, rather they are spots where the fabric is thinner. Looks less awkward than the previous generation of “Air” jerseys which had a bit of a fishnet-stockings thing going on. The regular version of the Skyline jersey uses the same perforations on the back panel only. Like on the Ruckus jersey, the pocket on the Skyline also features the same integrated sunglass/goggle wipe on an elastic leash.

Skyline Air Long Sleeve
Skyline Short Sleeve

On The Trail

This tester measures 6’0” (1m84) with an inseam of ~33.8”, and weighs in at around 88 kg. He usually wears a size L in pretty much everything, and that turned out to be a perfect fit here too (size 34 for the shorts). In general terms, Ruckus sizes a little bit more generously than Skyline, although both provide enough room to run full-sized pads both on your knees and elbows if you want to.

Ruckus Short and Jersey
Skyline Short and Short Sleeve Jersey

In action, The Ruckus short is a good improvement on previous versions, the lighter fabric feels less cumbersome but still gives off a very robust vibe. The fit is great and the shape works well on the bike, and the short feels like it breathes better than before. The legs are of average length, just about always long enough to cover the dreaded kneepad gap. The jersey remains fairly heavy, making it ideally suited for uplift days or somewhat chillier beginning or end of season rides. The cut works really well in action, and the 3/4-length sleeves make you feel extra freeridey. With TLD athlete Brendan Fairclough’s Rampage antics in mind, we even felt pressured into find our own little awkward rock to jump off for the obligatory action photo.

Skyline is the kind of kit you just grab by default. XC loop with buddies who like to pedal? Check. Quick lunch ride at local enduro spot? Check. Weekend summer epic in the Alps? Check! The Skyline short is comfortable enough yet rugged enough to be worn all day, every day. The cut works well on the bike, and the short never feels clingy or oppressive no matter how warm it gets outside. The two pockets are well placed to carry your essentials without getting in the way as you pedal. The Velcro tabs do a decent job of adjusting the short to your exact measurements, although we think the elastic strap could be made a little bit stronger to help really cinch it down for riders who are in between sizes – as it is, the effective range of adjustment isn’t massive.

The Skyline jersey is super soft to the touch. AS we mentioned in the initial impressions section above, the “Air” version features subtle perforations in all the fabric panels, while the regular version makes use of these perforations only on the back panel. In both cases the overall breathability is good, and the jersey manages to avoid feeling too clingy when it gets soaked. The whole line is also very quick to dry after you wash it, and it does a pretty good job of avoiding the buildup of nasty odors as you exert yourself. 

Skyline Short and Skyline Air Long Sleeve Jersey

What's The Bottom Line?

TLD’s apparel line is always evolving, and we like the changes made to the 2019 version of some of their classic models. There’s something here for any kind of riding, and whichever line you opt for, you get quality items that look good and work well on the bike. Now you just have to decide whether to play it loud or stay under the radar when you pick your colors.

More information at: www.troyleedesigns.com.


About The Reviewer

Johan Hjord - Age: 46 // Years Riding MTB: 14 // 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 Nils Hjord and Johan Hjord

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