Back in Spring time, when our trails weren’t completely dusty and blown out like they are now, here in Santa Cruz, we headed down the coast to Sea Otter for our annual trip to see some new goods and old friends. We stopped by the Troy Lee Designs booth for a look at their new line of apparel. The Southern California brand recently hired a new designer to lead the charge in bicycle apparel. Since then, nearly all of their apparel has gotten a facelift; and not only in terms of drastically better materials, but also in cut and sew. Most notably, the fit has been dramatically improved all the way around in regard to lengths, widths, proportions and beyond. Shortly after Sea Otter, we received samples of a few pieces of garb. On test here is the Skyline Checker Jersey and Skyline Short…
One of the bigger stories behind the updates to TLD’s new gear is that they have partnered with Bluesign. In short, Bluesign is a company that works as an intermediary between apparel companies and textile suppliers to encourage sustainable practices and eliminate harmful chemicals in the manufacturing process. Beyond that, and the improved fit and materials in general, you can read up on more key features and specifics below.
Skyline Jersey Features & Materials
- Relax fit mountain bike jersey, casual in nature, technical by design
- Compact left side zip pocket, with reflective TLD logo.
- Optical wipe inside
- 92% Polyester/8% Spandex®
- Moisture wicking/quick dry
- Fabric weight 140gm/7.9oz
- Fabric is certified as Bluesign® approved
- S, M, L, XL, XXL
- $55.00 USD
Skyline Short Features
- 95% Coolmax® Polyester/5% Lycra® Bluesign® certified approved fabric with warp & weft stretch material for excellent movement
- Available for purchase as a shell only or with the TLD AIR COMP liner w/ TMF® 4 hour pad
- Single TLD low profile snap button with Velcro backing ensures solid closure without added bulk
- New improved fit with revised rear 2-way stretch panel. Stretch panel also features breathable mesh for better cooling
- Slim TLD embossed Velcro waist adjusters provide snug, on-the-fly fit adjustments
- Inner waistband silicone grip keeps shorts from slipping down
- Fabric is certified as Bluesign® approved
- Waist size 30, 32, 34, 36, 38, 40
- $70.00 USD
On the trail
Before actually hitting the trails and commenting on materials, the first noticeable improvement was to the overall fit. The jersey in particular didn’t bind up and chafe in the armpits like prior versions of the Skyline. It also had just enough additional length, at both the midriff and in the sleeves. The same goes for the long sleeved Skyline that we’ve been wearing while riding the big bike, but that’s another story. Anyhow, what also made the updated fit seem even better still was likely the dramatically improved materials. The fabric is insanely soft to the touch, it’s super light weight and extremely stretchy. The breathability is top notch and it dries much faster than anything else we’ve worn from TLD. Although it might seem gimmicky, the absorbent eyewear wipe is absolutely clutch during the hot summer months when sweat is constantly dripping into your sunglasses.
Compared to the last version of the Skyline shorts, the current model isn’t quite as long and baggy. The length is just right, so that you don’t get the dreaded kook gap between your kneepad and the cuff of the thighs. They shorts cover just enough, but let you move freely, without having any bulk to snag on your saddle. The higher cut waist out back prevents roost from ending up in your butt crack, and the slightly lower cut front keeps the button and velcro fly closure from bunching up and pinching. It’s hard to gauge, but the fabric seems ever so slightly thinner and does boast a bit of stretch, but we haven’t had any durability issues after a few months of frequent use. The old Skyline shorts had one slash pocket, which was nice for getting your phone out quickly, but in reality it wasn’t the most secure setup, so having zippers on both pockets is likely the best option. It’s worth noting that the Skyline short is available with and without a liner. In all honesty, we haven’t had the best of luck with TLD liners/chamois in the past, so we stuck with our tried and true Giant/Exteondo bibs.
As far as aesthetics go, the simple, retro, color blocking is refreshing, and it’s great to see TLD bringing in some less garish offerings, but perhaps more broadly appealing, and much needed in their line is the standard Skyline jersey that’s also available sans graphics, in a clean, minimalist version that comes in 6 colors.
Between this kit and a few other bits of apparel that we’ve been sampling from Troy Lee Designs, it’s clear that they have made a massive improvement to their apparel in general, on all fronts. We’re left with little to gripe about, but we are well impressed by the vastly improved fit and materials, plus, in our opinion, better graphics and color matching options. In the past, the brand may have been too focused on racy looks, but they no longer leave riders hanging who just want subtle, clean graphics and colorways. In terms of value, what we’ve been riding thus far has held up admirably, and been very reasonably priced. Last, but not least, their partnership with Bluesign is also worth the tip of the hat. If you haven’t tried anything from the brand’s completely updated 2018 line, you’re honestly missing out.