Of course, we haven’t tested every brand and model on the market, but these are a few standout kit options that we continually choose. Each option is a combo from a specific brand. We know this can be subjective, so rather than giving each option a star rating, we talk about what works and what could use some improvement. This will give you some options to choose from, whether you are looking for exceptional performance/protection, comfort for all occasions or genuine value for the long haul.
ASSOS TRAIL KIT
The Swiss brand Assos has a rich background in producing apparel from the finest materials. The Trail jersey and Trail cargo have a very trim fit, yet they are not restrictive. The design is versatile for multiple disciplines.
The trim of the shorts helps avoid saddle snag, while the cut of the jersey doesn’t make you feel like a sailboat in the wind. Assos uses a soft, circular knit material for the jersey that is highly breathable, tough, and remarkably light. The most notable feature is the AZPtech (abdomZeroPressure) elastic waist on the shorts. This tapered design holds the shorts in a perfect position without the extra pinching or pressure that is associated with a Velcro waist adjustment. Underneath the shorts, we utilized the Trail Liner, which has a removable, lightweight and flexible polyurethane pad for a bit of extra protection.
Great looks, functionality, precision fit and comfort, but unfortunately it come with a steep price tag. While this is not the cheapest complete kit we reviewed in this collection, it is easily one of our first choices if an all-day pedal is in the works.
Top: Trail SS Jersey, $109
Bottom: Trail Cargo Short, $139
Bib liner: Trail Liner, $129
Socks: XC, $20
Total for kit shown: $397
TASCO SMALL BATCH COMBO
Tasco is a small crew that can rapidly create designs and have them produced/launched sooner than the big names. Their mission is to be a part of the daily stoke! To do this, they produce an active lifestyle line of clothing that can be worn on the trail, for the post-ride beverage, and even out on an adventure that doesn’t require wheels. Tasco keeps it simple for the consumer by having a minimal assortment of options. Unique to other brands, Tasco comes out with a new matching glove and sock set every month. Just like the Blaze socks and gloves we’ve been testing, this is a fun way for riders to change up some colors while sticking with a minimal jersey and a sleek short design.
The jersey they simply call the Trail is ideal for warmer rides. It features breathable material and moisture-wicking fabric. On the trail, we liked the more casual fit; however, some of our test riders would go up a size if they preferred a looser fit.
The shorts, socks and gloves offer a very secure fit and run true to size. Tasco’s Scout MTB shorts also have some noteworthy features, such as a phone stash pocket, internal waist adjustment and a handy parkpass hanging loop. We feel that this complete kit is a great value for its durability, breathability and overall quality.
Top: Trail Jersey, $60
Bottom: Scout MTB Short, $99
Gloves: Blaze Double Digits, $34
Socks: Blaze Double Digits, $16
Total for kit shown: $209
GORE C5 TRAIL
This is by far the most expensive getup in this gathering, but you will see why. Gore’s products feel similar to Assos’ in quality. They both have high standards in terms of material used and the cut of their apparel. The C5 3/4 Trail top is very lightweight and ideal for trail riding in mixed conditions. If we were to compare fits, it is a bit looser with not as much of a “race fit” as the O’Neal Mayhem-Lite around the forearms.
Accompanying the C5 top for this kit are the C5 Trail Light shorts. These have an elastic waist that is very similar to the one we love on the Assos cargo bottoms while being even lighter weight. The fit is very XC-inspired and has lots of airflow from side vents. While the comfort is top-notch, riders tackling more enduro terrain might want something more durable.
For this kit collection, we also wanted to mention the C5 jacket and C5 gloves. Not all riding areas are hot in the spring! These two items were great to start with for an early-morning ride and shed later as things heated up. Both the jacket and the gloves are perfect for when you don’t need the bulk of full rain gear. The jacket is more breathable than a hard shell, moves well during riding, and is windproof and water-resistant. Admittedly, this kit is not cheap, even without the jacket, but if you are ever unsure of possible changing conditions, you will not regret an investment in Gore’s apparel.
Tops: C5 ¾ Trail Jersey, $74; C5 Hybrid Hooded Jacket, $229
Bottom: C5 Trail Light Short, $99
Gloves: C5 Gloves, $60
Total for kit shown: $462
O’NEAL ROCKSTACKER MAYHEM
O’Neal’s eye-popping Mayhem Lite jersey was crafted to be bold while remaining lightweight and breathable. For 2021, they used Hexx material for an athletic fit and microfiber four-way stretch fabric for comfort. An additional fit feature is the infinity neck and cuff design that makes every edge soft to the touch with zero snags or abrasive areas. As a long-sleeve jersey, this is hands down our favorite option over our pads during a hot day on the lift. The trim fit keeps our pads securely in place. While we’ve done colder rides in this kit as well, it might be worth running a base layer underneath if the forecast is chilly for your ride.
While the top runs true to size, the Rockstacker shorts run larger than the size marked. Our main test rider had to have the waist straps almost all the way tight in a size that should have fit with minimal adjustment. Although the waist fit is not perfect, the material used ventilates well and is durable if you take a tumble. While the shorts are not perfect, the gloves are a different story. We don’t always play the matching-brand game. We wear the Mayhem gloves regularly with other kits because of how light and well-ventilated they are and how precise the fit is. You might be sending some shorts back to get the correct size, but we think this great-looking kit is an affordable option for a racer or weekend trail shredder.
Top: Mayhem-Lite Hexx Jersey, $119
Bottom: Rockstacker Short, $99
Gloves: Mayhem, $29
Total for kit shown: $247
CLUB RIDE HI-FI DETOUR
Club Ride’s gear is our top choice when we are looking to keep it fun without reducing functionality. The team still designs gear from a bike perspective but does not shy away from catering to outdoor enthusiasts. The Detour shirt has a hidden lens cleaner, chest pockets, a hidden rear zipper pocket, a clear pearl snap-closure system, mesh side panels, sun protection, and fabric with anti-wrinkle and quick-drying properties. The Hifi shorts have eight pockets: two front and two rear, two zippered on the side, and two stretch-mesh pockets. Ideal for storage, the Hifi shorts also utilize two-way stretch for fit with a water-resistant finish. The shorts can be adjusted with external Velcro straps.
Although there is a sense of fun with Club Ride clothing, it does not let you down when heading out for an adventure. The buttonup design allows for lots of airflow, while the material used is superb at not wrinkling and dries very quickly. While the shirt is ideal for warmer conditions, the Hifi shorts are easy to grab for scorching-hot days or foggy morning rides. Overall, we enjoyed the durability and style of this Club Ride combo for any type of riding. If you happen to grab food at your favorite local spot or want to enjoy an afternoon hike, you’ll be just as happy with the kit on those occasions as well.
Tops: Detour Shirt, $89
Bottom: Hifi Shorts, $99
Total for kit shown: $188
PEARL IZUMI DIG DAY
While not the most matchy-matchy colored kit that we like to use from Pearl Izumi, it has a little something for a bit of trail time. The Summit top is made with recycled materials, but fits much like your favorite T-shirt. It offers a simple and clean look that wicks moisture away with its breathable, recycled, polyester mesh material. The top does perform well in cooler temps, but it is best to pack a jacket if the conditions are expected to go below 60 degrees.
The Canyon shorts are durable and up to the task of trail rides. We are not the biggest fans of the Velcro adjustment being on the inside of the waist, but it does give the shorts a sleek look while still being comfy on the trails. Pair these shorts with the Escape Quest short liner and you’ll experience all-day comfort in the saddle.
We’ve used the Pulaski gloves in the garage and around the house for handy work, but, most important, we love them for building trails! They are very similar to work mitts, but feature more ventilation at the top so they can double as riding gloves. Like all pieces of this Pearl Izumi combo, they held up well to all the elements.
This combo has the most exceptional value of the kits we’ve covered in this collection. It is ideal for a trail ride or a day in the dirt working with the local trail stewards.
Tops: Summit Top, $60
Bottom: Canyon Short, $85
Bib liner: Escape Quest Short, $50
Gloves: Pulaski, $45
Total for kit shown: $240
POC is well-known and has built a reputation for its constant innovations designed to improve protection. While this is more evident in POC’s helmet, the same approach applies to its riding kits. For testing, we got our hands on the complete Resistance line. The Ultra tee features large rear pocket storage that is kept from bouncing during long rides with a unique internal gaiter. Keeping safety in mind, the sleeves are made with Cordura, along with materials to protect your skin while riding in the sun. Given the extra materials for safety, this top is heavier than the rest of the kit options we tested.
The Resistance Enduro shorts use a highly durable and tear-resistant material through the hip, thigh and knee called Vectran. The shorts are water-resistant, have two zipped side pockets, a card pocket at back and can be adjusted with simple Velcro waist adjustment. The Resistance gloves are pretty standard; however, POC did incorporate silicone print on the brake fingers for extra grip and touchscreen compatibility at the thumb.
Overall, we thought the gear fit was satisfactory. It ventilated well in the heat for its weight,) and the extra sun protection was confidence-inspiring.
Tops: Resistance Ultra Tee, $150
Bottom: Resistance Enduro Shorts, $160
Gloves: Resistance Enduro, $50
Total for kit shown: $360