Troy Lee Designs Skyline Air Riding Jersey

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Tested: Troy Lee Designs Warm Weather Gear

Keep cool and carry on.

Rating: Vital Review
Tested: Troy Lee Designs Warm Weather Gear

The warmer months are finally here, which means drier trails and longer days. As mountain bikers, we know all too well that this also means we’re going to get a lot hotter and a lot sweatier. There is not a lot you can about this except dress accordingly, and that is precisely what Troy Lee Designs set out to help you with when creating the Air series of gear. From gravity to trail, there’s something here for all kinds of riding, and we’ve been putting the stuff to the test over the past month or so to let you know if it will keep you as cool as it looks.

Skyline Air Jersey Highlights

Skyline Air Short Highlights

Sprint Read More »

The warmer months are finally here, which means drier trails and longer days. As mountain bikers, we know all too well that this also means we’re going to get a lot hotter and a lot sweatier. There is not a lot you can about this except dress accordingly, and that is precisely what Troy Lee Designs set out to help you with when creating the Air series of gear. From gravity to trail, there’s something here for all kinds of riding, and we’ve been putting the stuff to the test over the past month or so to let you know if it will keep you as cool as it looks.

Skyline Air Jersey Highlights

Skyline Air Short Highlights

Sprint Air Jersey Highlights

Terrain Jersey Highlights

  • Innovative, highly breathable construction for hot weather conditions
  • Clean athletic fitting MTB jersey
  • Soft hand 100% Polyester moisture wicking fabric
  • Side stash pocket for small accessories
  • MSRP: $60 USD
  • Innovative, highly breathable construction for hot weather conditions
  • Equipped with a breathable mesh short liner, the new AIR 2.0 LINER.
  • Classic short features 12.5” inseam
  • Soft hand 100% Polyester construction
  • Premium four-way stretch fabric
  • Rubber Troy Lee Designs “no pick” waist adjusters
  • Two front hand zipper pockets
  • Reflective logo details
  • MSRP: $95 USD
  • Innovative, highly breathable construction for hot weather conditions
  • 100% Polyester soft breathable fabric
  • Targeted ventilation and stretch panels
  • 4-Way stretch rear mesh collar
  • Race inspired fit with drop tail rear
  • MSRP: $50 USD
  • Same fit as skyline jersey
  • 100% Polyester mesh fabric
  • Premium moisture wicking fabric
  • Zipper pocket on back with silicone print prevents pocket from sagging when loaded
  • 5” Front zipper
  • MSRP: $70 USD

Initial Impressions

Shorter sleeves and less layers is the standard answer for warmer conditions, but what if there was more to it than that? Troy Lee thought so, and created an Air version of some of their most popular items, which feature specifically developed fabrics for extra breathability. The Skyline and Sprint jerseys and shorts are classics in the line-up, and the new Air versions follow very closely in terms of cut and features. The Terrain jersey is last year’s Skyline Race jersey, which can be paired with the all-new Terrain short as well (the latter was not in stock when we started this test). Finally, there are new Air base layers as well, sometimes adding a layer might actually be the thing to do to keep comfortable, even in warmer conditions.

The Skyline Air jersey is made from a lightweight polyester mesh featuring a special weave pattern that is meant to let more air through. There is a small stash pocket and a sunglass wiper, and a soft stretch collar for extra comfort. Our sample was from the new SRAM logo series, but there are of course non-billboard versions available as well.

The Skyline Air short is modeled on the popular Skyline trail short, but made from a specific and highly ventilated polyester mesh. It features two zippered frontal pockets for carrying your phone and keys, waist adjusters, 4-way stretch panels and an extra-stretchy yoke panel in the back. The short comes with the all-new Air 2.0 liner.

The Sprint jersey is a classic on the competition and racing scene, having stood on podiums everywhere from the World Cup to Rampage. For the new Air version, Troy Lee again went with a highly ventilated polyester mesh fabric, but here it is slightly heavier than the one featured on the Skyline Air jersey for improved durability. It will also address any unfulfilled fishnet fetishes you may have been harboring at the same time. There is a soft stretch collar for extra comfort, but no other features or pockets are available.

The Terrain jersey is last year’s Skyline Race. In terms of ventilation, it sits between the classic Skyline and the new Skyline Air. There is a zippered collar to allow you to get a little extra airflow going on the climbs, and silicone strips on the back to help stabilize the rear cargo pocket. The fabric chosen is once again a ventilated polyester mesh, but with smaller holes compared to the Skyline Air. The Terrain jersey also features a sunglass wiper.

To round out the new Air series, there are two new base layers available. Troy Lee says that adding a lightweight mesh base layer actually helps create an insulating layer of air between your skin and the jersey, which can keep the outside heat off the body. There’s both a sleeved and a sleeveless version on offer.

On The Trail

All the items we tested here run true to size. The fit of the Skyline Air jersey and short is what TLD calls “Trail Fit”, which means they are form fitting but never tight. From the outset, we were impressed with the level of ventilation on offer. If there is the slightest breeze, you feel it through the fabrics, and as soon as you are moving along, there is a constant flow of air to help you keep cool.

Out of curiosity, we alternated between running the Air base layer or not. Surprisingly, we did not find ourselves getting much warmer with the base layer on, and it definitely kept us comfortable. It evacuates sweat and pushes it into the second layer, and because it sits tight on the skin, you never get that wet blanket effect that a regular jersey can sometimes cause.

Now, even without the base layer, the Skyline Air jersey is certainly among the most comfortable we have ever used. Even when you are absolutely soaked in sweat, this jersey rarely gets to the point where it’s saturated and heavy. It still feels reasonably light on your skin even when drenched, and it dries out quickly. The fabric itself is also super soft to the touch, even when worn under a pack.

As for the short, the cut works really well on the bike, and even though it features the slimmer Trail Fit, it is never restrictive. The mesh fabric panels on the front ventilate much better than a regular short would, and the only drawback we found here were the pockets: because they are also made out of this mesh fabric, they don’t keep the contents fully protected from sand and dust.

We took a major slam with the Skyline Air kit, which resulted in a couple of holes in the jersey and a few leaks in the tester. Since our sample test kit was white and grey, we were sure we’d have to write it all off after soaking it in blood in the sun for a couple of hours, but much to our surprise, it all washed out at just 40 degrees C in the washing machine. Full marks for TLD on this count! Additionally, the jersey thread resisted running even after we put those holes in it, so we’ve been able to keep using it since this incident – great news, because it’s getting hotter every day out there!

The Skyline Air short comes with a new Air 2.0 liner that carries forward the same high standards that have made TLD liners among our favorites for some time now already. In particular, we love the new grip section at the bottom of the hem, which is made from some kind of silicone fabric mix. It holds onto your leg in all circumstances, but it does so without making you feel like you’re at the beauty salon having your hairy legs waxed at the same time. Not that this tester would know anything about how that feels, but so we’ve been told…

All in all, the Skyline Air kit is an excellent choice for warm weather riding. Pair it with the lightweight Ace gloves and a fresh new A2 helmet for best results!

These fresh new A2 colors were just released...
...and this rad new Blue Code D3 Carbon too.

When things get rowdy, you'll probably want a little more protection and long sleeves for extra peace of mind – this is when you’d typically reach for your Sprint kit. Thanks to the Air treatment, you can now enjoy your favorite racing style with additional airflow. The Sprint Air jersey is made from mesh polyester with a similar pattern to the one used on the Skyline Air, but the fabric is heavier on the Sprint version. As a result, it is not quite as soft on the skin, but it retains the same ventilation qualities. As soon as the air flows, it’s helping you keep cool, and much like the Skyline Air jersey, it does not get all clingy when wet. We’ve even used it for up and down enduro riding with good results, although you might get some looks if you don’t have the speed to back up the “For The World’s Fastest Racers” graphics (we don’t have to, we can always blame it on testing).

There is no Air version of the Sprint short, so the design pairs up with the regular Sprint short instead. Obviously, you can run it with a stealthy black or grey short if you want to keep your look on the more subdued side of nuclear fallout (it goes really nicely with the grey Skyline Air short tested here). Paradoxically, we’ve yet to have a major stack with the Sprint jersey, but it does a good job of warding off evil branches and the like. Based on our crash testing of the Skyline Air kit, we’d expect pretty good results in this department with the Sprint Air – but if durability is your main concern, you should know that these items are a bit more fragile than their non-Air counterparts. That just goes with the territory for such lightweight and airy mesh fabrics.

We also tested the new Terrain jersey. We love how quickly this particular fabric dries, although it is slightly less ventilated than the Skyline Air. We also like the classic cut and look, the plain colors ideal for flying slightly more under the radar (there is of course a wacky and wild “Chop Block” version in the catalog if you want to get loud and proud instead). We were not completely won over by the silicone strips on the back, the jury is out on whether or not they make an actual difference for carrying stuff in the back pocket, and they do have an unfortunate tendency to feel just a bit cold and clingy on the skin once you get sweating. Not enough to be a deal breaker, but we’d say this feature might be a bit over-engineered.

Things That Could Be Improved

We love how well ventilated the Skyline Air short is, but we’d also like to see the pockets made out of a classic tight weave nylon fabric instead of the same mesh that is used in the short panels themselves. As it stands, the pockets will let sand and dust pass through freely, which can be a bit of an issue if you store your phone there, especially when you stack it. This change might come at the expense of all that ventilation though, so who knows what the right answer is.

We see no real need for the silicone strips on the back of the Terrain jersey, they don’t really make a big difference in rear cargo pocket stability and they do feel a bit clingy when wet.

Long Term Durability

As described above, we’ve managed to put the Skyline Air kit through some fairly intensive use, including a massive crash that left the jersey with holes in it and the entire kit covered in blood. Not only did it all wash right out, but we’ve been able to keep using both items since as well. The short seems very robust and has yet to develop any signs of abrasion, and the jersey has held together just fine despite the extra ventilation features we added to it. The super lightweight fabric is slightly more prone to snagging on branches and other items, but the good news is that if a thread is pulled, it does not keep running which could lead to catastrophic failure. All told, our samples are still going strong and we expect to be able to get many more miles of happy – and cool – riding out of them.

What’s The Bottom Line?

If you’ve been looking for summer-specific kit to get through the next heatwave, Troy Lee’s new Air collection is for you. From trail to the park, this gear will keep you feeling fresh even as the mercury does its best to make you lose your cool. The Skyline Air jersey and short offer greatly improved ventilation and trail-worthy features in a comfortable and functional package, while the Sprint Air jersey combines improved airflow with the classic TLD racer style. The prices are all very reasonable too. Now go get your sweat on!

More information at: www.troyleedesigns.com


About The Reviewer

Johan Hjord 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 and Nils Hjord

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Specifications

Product Troy Lee Designs Skyline Air Riding Jersey
Riding Type Cross Country, Trail
Rider Unisex
Sleeve Style Short Sleeve
Material Polyester
Pockets 1
Vents None
Size S-2XL
Colors White, White/SRAM, Yellow
Miscellaneous
Price $60
More Info

​www.troyleedesigns.com