ION Avic Riding Short (discontinued)

Vital Rating: (Excellent)
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Discontinued
47502-5710 ION - Bikeshort Avic_saffron_f
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Tested: ION Avic Short and Helium ¾ Jersey

Rating: Vital Review

ION popped up on our radar in 2013, when we discovered that the watersports apparel company had arrived in mountain biking with a full complement of bike-specific wear and protection and a style all their own. More than just a source of inspiration, the MTB offering draws on materials and construction used in the watersports line, the end result an eye-catching design that we were eager to put to the test. The Scrub range is designed for all types of riding and long days in the saddle, and with that being right up our alley, we set out to see what the fuss (and those colors!) were all about. Read on to find out more.

ION Avic Short Highlights

  • 88% Nylon / 12% Spandex Double Weave with durable water repellency treatment
  • Loose Fit: Comfy fit, loose cut
  • 4way stretch fabric
  • Sanitized – ION’s

ION popped up on our radar in 2013, when we discovered that the watersports apparel company had arrived in mountain biking with a full complement of bike-specific wear and protection and a style all their own. More than just a source of inspiration, the MTB offering draws on materials and construction used in the watersports line, the end result an eye-catching design that we were eager to put to the test. The Scrub range is designed for all types of riding and long days in the saddle, and with that being right up our alley, we set out to see what the fuss (and those colors!) were all about. Read on to find out more.

ION Avic Short Highlights

  • 88% Nylon / 12% Spandex Double Weave with durable water repellency treatment
  • Loose Fit: Comfy fit, loose cut
  • 4way stretch fabric
  • Sanitized® – ION’s Anti smell treatment
  • Phone Neo: Integrated water-repellent smartphone/MP3 pocket
  • Boardshorts closure with lace ports, triple seams, bonded details, 2 zipper front pockets, reflective details
  • Chamois/liner not included
  • Sizes: 30/S, 32/M, 34/L, 36/XL, 38/XXL
  • Colors: blue danube, saffron, dark shadow
  • MSRP: EUR 139.00 (Europe)

ION Helium ¾ Jersey Highlights

  • Front body: 85% Polyester, 15% Cotton drirelease® with Freshguard®
  • Back body and sleeves: 100% Polyester (Sanitized® with active biocidal substance: zinc pyrithione)
  • Loose Fit: Comfy fit, loose cut
  • Clear Optics: integrated lens cleaning fabric in hem
  • Ticket pocket: 1 lift pass pocket on hip
  • Reflective details
  • Sizes: 46/XS, 48/S, 50/M, 52/L, 54/XL, 56/XXL (unisex style)
  • Colors: fiesta red, insignia blue
  • MSRP: EUR 79.90 (Europe)

Initial Impressions

Walking up to ION’s booth at Eurobike in 2013, we wondered if maybe we had somehow taken a wrong turn and ended up at Eurosurf 2013 instead. Boardshorts galore, and lots of color – but no, this was actually the mountain bike range in all its glory. Intrigued, we took another look, and beyond the in-your-face styling, we discovered a very serious, passionate, and innovative company. ION has carved out a solid market share in the watersports world (specifically kitesurfing, wakeboarding and windsurfing), but with the company owner an avid biker, it was only a matter of time before they turned their attention to two-wheeled fun as well. And rather than take the me-too approach, they looked at what could be brought over from the aquatic arena, and as it turns out, there’s more than you’d think there. For example, what happens if you make a boardshort for biking? The Avic short (part of the 2015 Scrub range) is pretty much just that.

As you’ve no doubt noticed if you’ve paid any attention to the pro riders on the ION roster (Antoine Bizet, Sam Pilgrim, Thomas Genon, and others), this brand is all about color. But before you get too hung up on the loud side, know that there are much more subdued versions of all ION models available. As such, you could get the Avic short in grey and the Helium jersey in a quiet blue, if you wanted to blend in more than a Picasso in a piano store. We’re not afraid to go all in however, so we went for the yellow short and the jersey in “fiesta red”, and it’s definitely a party. But more than just a splash of color, what really caught our eye upon the first inspection was the obvious attention to detail and the seemingly very high level of quality on display throughout. There’s a ton of little features like a wipe for sunglasses and a hidden liftpass pocket on the jersey, and liberal use of interlocking and overlapping stitching and welded seams had us looking forward to a comfortable experience.

The standout feature on the jersey is the use of a cotton/polyester mix for the front panel. Soft to the touch and with a distinct non-jersey look to it, it had us wondering how it would behave on the trail once we got a bit hot under the collar. The “drirelease” fabric promised “4x faster drying” but would it stay comfortable when drenched in sweat?

On the topic of moisture, pulling on the shorts for the first time has you feeling ready for the beach. The material is close to that of a boardshort, and the lace and Velcro closure a not-very-subtle reminder of ION’s aquatic heritage. The cargo pockets seem well-placed, and specific features like the internal neoprene phone pocket are a welcome sight for anybody who likes to carry stuff on their body rather than in a big pack. The adjustments work well, and overall the Scrub outfit offered a tailored fit in size Large for this tester’s 6’0 and 200 lbs. All that was left to do now was hit the trails…

On The Trail

Even before we climbed on the bike, it was obvious that this outfit was going to be comfortable. The drirelease front panel of the jersey is soft to the touch, and the fit struck the right balance of loose and functional. The shorts are light and non-restrictive and managed to basically make us forget about them after 2 minutes on the first trail. The pockets hold a phone and a pair of keys in the right place, the 4-way stretch accommodating most shapes and providing a snug hold to avoid your belongings doing the dreaded slap dance on your thighs when pedaling.

The short is just the right length, it covers the knee without any excessive flapping. The adjustments employed are solid when riding, both the laces and the velcro straps on the side. No excessive movement, nothing comes undone, and nothing snags. Fit and forget. If you are of the freeriding pursuasion, know that a couple of the pros asked for a lace dock to avoid those pesky barspin lace snags (we don't have such problems to deal with).

The big question we had about the jersey was whether or not the drirelease stuff would actually work. Well, much to our surprise, it not only works but it is way more comfortable than your standard issue polyester jersey, even when drenched in sweat. We rode in near 100-degree heat and 80% humidity with this outfit, and it was probably our most comfortable experience in such conditions thus far. The fabric doesn’t get excessively heavy when it’s wet, nor does it cling to the skin. And not only does the stuff dry out super quickly, it is also less smelly than many of our other jerseys, so you can keep it on for that post-ride refreshing beverage (if you are ready for the odd look or two from the other guests).

Things That Could Be Improved

We’re big fans of ¾ length sleeves, but we find they work best when the cuff is a bit loose. ION has chosen a slightly tighter cuff for the Helium ¾ jersey, which feels a little odd at first. It’s entirely functional, we just prefer the feel of a loose cuff (since the ¾ length keeps it away from your hands anyway). If you run elbow pads, you'd be better off with either the short or the long sleeve version.

The asking price for both jersey and short is at the top-end of the market. 139 EUR (~$175 USD) for the short specifically is quite a lot to ask for, compared to what you can get for around the $100 USD mark elsewhere. At a minimum, the 139 EUR should include a quality chamois liner (it doesn’t). We do feel there are enough features and innovation here to warrant a premium, especially with regards to the jersey and the use of the drirelease material, how much such features are worth to you is personal. (Note that ION are currently not selling in the US, but has plans to start doing so in the near future).

As for the look, it probably won’t be to everybody’s liking. However, if loud is not your jam, as we previously pointed out there are quieter versions and colorways available too. And with a lot of street and casual wear on offer, you can coordinate your look from the bike park to the bar which is always a plus (and don’t forget to throw in a Sam Pilgrim/Antoine Bizet tank top for those big mountain days).

Long Term Durability

The durability of both the new Avic short and the Helium jersey has been exceptional. It’s rare that kit actually looks like new after MANY wash cycles, but this is the case with the ION gear. We haven’t ridden in pouring rain, but we’ve worn this stuff in the desert for full days out, in the woods freeriding, we’ve crashed, we’ve dug, and generally had quite a good time in this outfit. It is super easy to wash and comes out the other side looking like you just bought it. This mirrors our experience with a 2013 outfit that we still ride in as well, proving that ION know their business when it comes to durability and quality. That’s good, because we seem to keep reaching for their gear when getting ready for rides.

What’s The Bottom Line?

They say you should walk the walk before you talk the talk. As loud as they are, ION back up their bold styling with true performance on the bike. Innovative use of materials and a lot of thought put into the cut and design of the Scrub range has created gear that stands out from the crowd in more than one way. From super-bold to more subdued versions, ION gear will raise a few eyebrows on the trails and definitely make you very popular with the photographers. But whether you go fully flashy or chose to tone it down a bit, know that you’re getting a lot more than just a fancy graphics package and some surf-inspired gimmicks. This stuff works, and really well too.

More information at www.ion-products.com/bike/.


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.

Specifications

Product ION Avic Riding Short
Riding Type Trail, Freeride / Bike Park, Downhill, Dirt Jump / Slopestyle
Rider Unisex
Shorts Type Shorts
Material 88% Nylon / 12% Spandex Double Weave with durable water repellency treatment
Pockets 2
Vents None
Size 30/S, 32/M, 34/L, 36/XL, 38/XXL
Colors blue danube, saffron, dark shadow
Miscellaneous Loose Fit: Comfy fit, loose cut, not ghetto, but extremely comfortable
4way_Stretch fabric
Sanitized® – ION’s Anti_Smell freshness
Phone_Neo: Integrated water-repellent smartphone/MP3 pocket
Boardshorts_Closure with Lace_Ports, Triple_Seams, bonded details, 2 zipper front pockets, Reflective_Details
Price N/A
More Info

MSRP: 139 EUR

More information: ION website.

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