With cycling season in full swing, here’s a round-up of the freshest bike gear from active apparel supremos, Showers Pass. Featuring updated colors for existing items of clothing and completely new bike kit that will have you reaching (again) for your emergency bike kit fund.
If it all feels like it might be a reason for a celebration, then it is. This year is Showers Pass’ twenty-fifth anniversary of manufacturing some of the finest outdoor clothing. So, break out the party poppers and let’s party hard.
There’s a new look for some old (and much loved) friends brought to you by the color ‘Buckthorn’ and the name ‘Apex Shorts’, amongst others.
Plus, exciting new additions to their range, including MTB pants and a new waterproof jacket (with an awesome hood that fits over your bike helmet). These have nothing whatsoever to do with kids TV shows and everything to do with having fun on two wheels cycling along mountain bike trails, gravel roads and even heading in to the office.
Let’s take a look, shall we?
Apex Merino Short Sleeve T-shirt
Men’s colors: Black (New) / Arctic Dusk (New) / Alpine Blue / Clay / Light Teal; Sizes SM to 2XL
Women’s colors: Black (New) / Alpine Blue (New) / Clay / Dark Shadow; Sizes SM to 2XL
I’ve been testing out the men’s Apex short sleeve tshirt in Medium Black. I’m 5’8” and 180 and this shirt fits like a dream.
The Apex has been a regular in the Showers Pass roster for some time and the team have now added to the color choice with the Black and Arctic Dusk for men and the Black and Alpine Blue for ladies.
Long-time readers will know that I’m a big fan of merino wool apparel and I’ve been wearing the Apex long sleeve shirt throughout most (ok, all) of the springtime. Well, we’ve hit summer here and things have got a little warmer. So much so, that long sleeves are getting harder to justify and the Apex short sleeve has become a very welcome addition to my cycling closet.
The short sleeve Apex has all the benefits of its longer-sleeved sibling:
It’s a lightweight fabric (150gsm) which feels just right in the heat (though you might also like to team it up with a merino hoodie for early morning rides and later in the evening for campfires ‘n’ beers).
The cut is great for cycling – fitted on the shoulders and upper arms, with a looser style through the rest of the body and a slightly longer tail. This allows freedom of movement and the drop rear hem keeps your lower back warm when you’re hunched over the handlebars.
The 87% merino wool / 13% nylon blend of fibers is, for me, the sweet spot of fabrics for a cycling baselayer. You get the softness and warmth of the merino combined with the stretch and shape-holding that comes from the nylon.
As with all merino garments, the tshirt stays stink-free no matter how much sweat and B.O. you throw at it. Virtually no washing required. It’s really quite an incredible property of merino wool and will leave your washing machine weeping softly in the corner.
“Stays stink-free no matter how much sweat you throw at it…and will leave your washing machine weeping softly in the corner”
A special mention too for the construction of the tshirt – the raglan sleeves and flatlock stitching on them gives a smooth surface that won’t chafe your skin underneath tight backpack straps. This works superbly for bike commuting, mountain biking and any cycling where you’re hauling gear on your back.
I’ve been very impressed by the t-shirt and I know that this is going to be a regular for me throughout the summer’s trail riding.
Apex DWR Shorts
Men’s colors: Buckthorn Brown / Black / Fatigue Green; Sizes: 28”-40”
Women’s colors: Buckthorn Brown / Black; Sizes 2 to 14
I’ve been testing out the Men’s Apex shorts in the 34” and the new Buckthorn brown.
It’s just possible that these might be my new favorite pair of shorts. Ever.
First a mention for the new color: Buckthorn Brown. I was initially hesitant over this as TBH most of my clothing is on the darker end of the spectrum. Would it be a little too ‘out there’ for me? I wasn’t sure. In the end though I shouldn’t have been concerned. I love the color.
The fit is really fantastic for me and for the cycling I do (a mix of urban commuting, backcountry trails and casual park rides).
The waistband is adjustable with Velcro tabs at both sides that can be used to tighten or loosen as needed – snugger for skinny days and a little more generous on days when the cookie jar has been raided more than once.
The nylon/spandex fabric blend gives an amazing amount of stretch in the areas where you really need it (think: back of the thighs and across the butt) and this makes the shorts super comfortable for cycling.
They don’t bunch up painfully when you crouch down on the ground to pump your tires and they don’t snag the back of your knees when you pedal.
They’re so comfortable in fact that you can be forgiven for forgetting that you’ve got them on.
The lightness of the fabric (along with the mesh panel along the back waistband) gives great breathability. Combining this with two zippered-pockets-cum-air-vents down the outside of the legs and these shorts stay cool for hot summer cycling.
There’s an array of useful pockets to stash all your important stuff: as well as the two I’ve just mentioned, there’s a further zippered pocket on the right butt cheek and two side pockets.
Overall, these are just so incredibly comfortable to wear for cycling. I’m wearing them right now. I had them on this morning for a quick blast on the bike around the local trails, drawing admiring and covetous stares from the sheep and ducks that I passed.
Might these Apex shorts be your new favorites too?
Apex MTB pants
Men’s fit only: Black; Sizes: 28”-40”
The Apex mtb pants are a new and exciting addition to the Showers Pass range.
These are similar in both construction and fit to the Apex shorts. The 34” size I’ve been testing out fits as well as the Apex shorts (which is to say, very well indeed).
The pants have an adjustable waistband and five pockets (three of which are zippered and two of these double as air vents).
They also have panels down the butt and legs which stretch as you move, making them comfortable for cycling. With zippers at the ankle making them easy to get on and off, these pants are most definitely feature-rich.
Billed as mountain bike pants, these sit in the space between mtb shorts (such as the Apex shorts above) and the sort of elite-level oh-so-slim-fitting and extreme-tapered enduro pants that only look good on pro riders and teenagers.
I am neither.
There hasn’t historically been a whole lot of choice in this middle ground, so it’s great to see Showers Pass provide some much-needed real estate in the form of these pants.
They have a slim (but not overly tight) fit and are tapered through the leg (though roomier than enduro pants particularly around the thighs). This means that (1) they won’t catch in your chain and (2) you’ll look like an actual normal member of society in the bar after you’ve finished your day’s trail riding.
“The Apex MTB pants won’t catch in your chain and, unlike enduro pants, you’ll look like an actual normal member of society in the bar after you’ve finished your day’s trail riding”
I love the Apex shorts but on chillier days as we head into Autumn and Winter, these pants will be much warmer. For trail riding, that longer leg will also give much better protection for your shins from thorns, rocks, and steel pins on flat pedals than a pair of shorts.
It’s clear that the Apex pants will be of most benefit to mountain bikers but I think they’ll have much wider appeal than that.
For bike commuters these will likely hit the spot too for useful office-friendly bike clothing. I’ve tried the pants out for a variety of urban cycle rides recently and they’ve performed fantastically.
Which is to say that they were great for the 5-10 miles cycle to a business meeting (where they went unnoticed) and then were similarly un-remarked upon by my friends at our local taproom afterwards.
Hmm. Maybe one pair of Apex pants won’t be enough…
Timberline waterproof jacket and pants
Men’s jacket colors: Cayenne / Black / Fatigue Green; Sizes: TBC
Women’s jacket colors: Cayenne / Black / Fatigue Green; Sizes: TBC
Men’s pants colors: TBC; Sizes: TBC
Women’s pants colors: TBC; Sizes: TBC
Bike commuters, would you like a high-spec waterproof cycling jacket and pants, with a soft and flexible feel, that has a roomy fit to go easily over your office clothes, a detachable hood that will fit over your helmet…and all at a price that will leave you with room in the budget for (yet) another new bike?
Of course you would.
Well, here they are: Introducing the Timberline jacket and pants.
Both the jacket and pants have a 3-layer construction with a bio-based nylon exterior, breathable waterproof Artex midlayer and a recycled polyester lining.
Wondering what ‘bio-based nylon’ is? Well, it’s a fancy new type of fabric that is made from renewable sources (think: natural fats and oils), rather than petroleum.
Sure, I’ve been trying out the Fatigue Green colorway, but really all the color options are green and eco-friendly.
The Timberline jacket, which I’ve been testing in the Medium size, has a full fit that allows for plenty of winter thermals underneath. The cuffs and lower hem are adjustable, preventing chilly air from getting in. Whilst the breathable Artex membrane allows moisture vapor to escape easily.
There are two large zippered side pockets on the jacket (which also double up as air vents) and a further two dump pockets on the inside mean that the jacket has some serious cargo capacity.
The feature that I’m the biggest fan of is the helmet-compatible hood. This goes easily over the largest of bike helmets and, with the drawcords around the face and at the back of the head, gives a secure wind-resistant fit.
It’s also detachable, so you can simply unzip it and leave it at home if it’s a dry day.
Though, if there was ever an action that tempted fate more than this, I don’t know what it would be...
The Timberline pants (I’ve got the Large) have the same fabric construction as the jacket and are easy to pack up and stash in your backpack.
They fit easily over office-friendly slacks (have I mentioned the Apex MTB pants…?) and also have a tapered fit through the leg ensuring that they don’t get friendly with your oily derailleur.
The pants work well for those gloomy winter commutes as they have a number of reflective elements, particularly on the lower leg area, which give drivers a heads-up that you’re heading their way.
The Timberline jacket and pants are a great addition to the Showers Pass waterproof range.
Biking to work rather than taking the car is green. Biking to work in a jacket and pants made from bio-based nylon and a recycled polyester lining is the purest green.