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First Ride: Troy Lee Designs Sprint Ultra and Flowline

Pants, trousers – tomayto or tomahto, what we really want to know is if you have joined the pant revolution or not yet? Pants have been making a comeback over the past couple of years, and not only in the bike parks. With lighter materials and better understanding of how to cut a pant for cycling, certain brands have been producing long leg lowers for everything from trail to DH. Troy Lee had perhaps fallen a bit behind the curve when it comes to the venerable old slacks, but they are starting to right the ship with the new Sprint Ultra collection – we’ve been testing it out together with the all-new Flowline range and we’re here to take you through it all.

TLD Sprint Ultra Pant Highlights

TLD Sprint Ultra Jersey Highlights

  • TLD Ultra Tech fabric
  • Cowhide leather for chain abrasion
  • More durable stretch fabric across the quads and around the rear of the shorts provide additional abrasion resistance in the event of a crash
  • Optimized rear mesh panels along the calves improve range of motion while increasing ventilation
  • Self-fabric waist adjuster
  • "Troy Lee Designs" heat transfer on legs and back of waistband
  • Tapered lower leg design keeps pant away from chain/seat stays
  • Fabric is certified Bluesign approved
  • MSRP: $185 USD
  • TLD Ultra Knit Fabric
  • Laser perforated ventilation
  • Moisture wicking and quick dry finishes
  • Fabric is certified Bluesign® approved
  • MSRP: $95 USD

TLD Flowline Short Highlights

TLD Flowline S/S Jersey Highlights

  • 2 way easy access hand pockets
  • Rubber waist adjusters
  • Zip fly and single snap enclosure
  • 21.5” outseam
  • Comes with new COMP padded liner
  • 100% Coolmax Polyester
  • Fabric is certified as Bluesign® approved
  • MSRP: $79 USD
  • Wicking and quick drying material
  • 85% Polyester/15% Cotton
  • Ring spun club jersey
  • MSRP: $45 USD

Video Review

 

Made from technical, Bluesign approved fabrics – good for the environment and good for people – the Sprint pant features a fairly tight cut that should give you that extra aero advantage as you blast down the hill. The sizing runs true, if a bit tight around the waist line. There is plenty of room for a full knee pad under the pant, and the fabrics used are of the stretchy variety which is also useful in this particular area. The lower leg tapers off to make sure there is nothing that can get caught in your chain or on your pedals. There is also a natural leather patch on the inside of the right leg to help protect this area from damage caused by the drivetrain. All the seams are stitched AND welded, which bodes well for longevity. Laser cut ventilation provides extra airflow, but there are sadly no pockets to store any essentials in while riding. Certainly a race-oriented decision – we can only hope that that a more enduro and trail-oriented model will follow at some point in time.

In action, the Sprint Ultra pant soon makes itself forgotten. The cut is spot on, and it works really well on the bike. It is just about loose enough to be able to accommodate a protective base layer if you wanted to run one of those, while kneepads fit with no issues whatsoever. Thanks to the flexible fabrics, the pant is really able to follow your movements on the bike, a far cry from those heavy, moto-like nylon shells of days gone by. Pedaling is completely unrestricted, which means that you can certainly wear this pant for enduro and trail rides as well, even when you plan to spend the whole day in the saddle. There is plenty of ventilation which will help you keep your cool in the heat of battle. The pant is not waterproof, but the fabric does not retain much moisture and it dries super quickly, which also makes it easy to care for – pop it in the machine and hang it out to dry, it will be ready for action again in the morning. Just don’t tumble-dry this one as it won’t like the heat. The only real negative point we can find with the Sprint UItra at this time is the lack of any pockets. For a pant that is sure to attract the attention of many a park-rat, this is a somewhat curious decision – definitely race-inspired, but it would have been nice to have somewhere to put a lift pass, credit card and phone at the very least. Let’s hope for a future model to address this point!

Complementing the new pant, the Sprint Ultra jersey adds a touch of tech to the upper body as well. Made from a lightweight “Ultra-Knit” fabric – once again Bluesign approved – it features a mix of flatlock and bonded seams that give it a clean look and a comfortable fit. The cut is close to the silhouette without being tight, leaving room for some body armor or extra burritos at lunch (elbow pads can be hard to squeeze in, depending on the thickness of the pads and your morphology). In action, the Sprint Ultra jersey breathes well, and the lightweight fabric helps it avoid getting clingy as you start sweating. 

Moving right along to the other side of the price scale, TLD’s all-new Flowline collection is here to provide comfortable, technical, yet affordable kit for the enthusiast mountain biker. That sounds like just about everybody, and with the short retailing for just $79 INCLUDING a very high quality liner, we’d say it hits the mark.

Photo

Two pockets, waist adjusters, and a zippered fly with two snap buttons is a good list of features, while the flexible fabric and yoke help ensure maximum mobility in action. To complement the short, pick from either long or short sleeve Flowline jerseys in a variety of different designs, all of which tend towards the more subdued side of graphical design. Natural hues blend in nicely, and there are models with very discrete branding as well. The fabric is a mix of polyester and cotton, and the cut is casual yet athletic. There are no pockets or other features present. 

On the trail, the Flowline flows well. The short features a pretty short inseam, so it may not be the first choice if you have long legs. Just make sure your knee pads sit high enough on the leg to avoid any unfortunate gaps. The sizing is generous, the 34 tested here left plenty of room around the waist for this 88kg/1m84 tester. The adjustments provide good range to fine tune the fit. The pockets have small openings but generous internal volume, and they work well in action too. The overall comfort level is high, the fabric does not retain much moisture and is quick to dry out. The chamois liner is super comfortable, TLD’s liners have long been at the top of our list and even this more affordable Comp version ticks all the boxes. The Flowline jersey fabric is soft to the touch, thanks to the 15% cotton in the mix. It breathes well, and does not cling as much to the skin when it gets moist. Much like the short, it dries out quickly too. All in all, the Flowline short and jersey really hit the mark. Coming in a great price point, both items deliver minimal extra features but they score highly where it counts – comfort and usability. The calm colorways and sober branding should prove popular with a broad range of tastes as well.

More information can be found at www.troyleedesigns.com.


About The Reviewer

Johan Hjord - Age: 46 // Years Riding MTB: 14 // Weight: 190-pounds (~87kg) // 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.

Video by Tal Rozow, Nils Hjord and Johan Hjord

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