When it comes to cycling attire, most urban cyclists hedge on the side of fashion over function. Who wants to be seen riding downtown or walking into work in full spandex? Ok, I know a few of you do (with a complimentary colored hip pack, to boot) and some people are more than happy riding in cut off jeans or Dickies. For those who want a little more function without totally going out of fashion, the solution is often found in the wide world of mountain bike clothing.
Spectrum Techwear is a small company started by a serious mountain biker named Brad Walton. Brad’s not just a fan of jumping off big cliffs—he’s into long rides, too. Since most freeride apparel isn’t meant for mile-long climbs, and most cross-country attire isn’t built to withstand repeated crashing, Brad set out to design some stuff to bridge the gap.
It’s not surprising, then, that Spectrum’s clothing works equally well in an urban environment. Sure, you can tell that it’s sportswear, but with subdued logos and graphics it doesn’t immediately scream, “Look at me, I ride bikes!!!”
Of course what’s more important is how it functions, and that’s where Spectrum’s stuff really shines, especially the Wilson shorts. Made by some of the best clothing manufacturers China has to offer, the shorts have yet to lose a single stitch. The nylon material has survived a handful of wipeouts and countless wash and dry cycles without ripping, tearing or even showing any wear. Rather than coming with a silly padded liner, the Wilson shorts feature a smooth polyester-mesh lining throughout. So you can wear regular briefs, padded bike shorts or even go commando if that’s your thing.
The legs feature long zippered vents, which are really appreciable on 90° days. Both of the cargo pockets feature zipped closures, so your valuables will still be with you at the end of the ride. There’s no rear pocket for your wallet, but maybe that’s a good thing since it’ll just get soaked on a rainy day.
If I had to pick any nits I would say the waist adjustment system could be a little better. Since the shorts run a bit big (size small has a 31” waistband), I have to cinch them up a good bit, which leaves a fair amount of abrasive Velcro exposed. It’s not a huge deal, but sometimes it rubs my skin the wrong way, especially during seated climbing. And the rivets are a cool decoration, but I have to imagine they’re rather heavy compared to some additional nylon thread, and you won’t see them unless you’ve got your shirt tucked in (which isn’t likely).
Speaking of shirts, Spectrum makes a nice, simple long-sleeve jersey that works real well for cool weather. Essentially a t-shirt cut from moisture-wicking fabric, the Intro LS jersey features a relatively subtle skull and crossbones motif.
The Intro jersey retails for $35, the Wilson shorts are $55. For sizing, colors and more info, visit www.spectrumtechwear.com.