Apparel Review: Zoic Mountain Bike Jerseys, Shorts and Socks
Ever since our first review of the Zoic products, we have been hooked on their high quality materials and craftsmanship for mountain bikers looking for riding apparel that is geared more towards trail riding and can be worn after the ride without looking like an idiot at the gas station on the way home.
Zoic Clothing decided to send us some more of their products for review on Bike198 after a refresh of their lineup, so we were excited to get our hands on some of the new products they had out to see how they performed on the trail.
About Zoic Clothing
ZOIC was formed in 1994 on the mountain biking trails of the Marin Headlands. The belief was that clothing plays an integral role in connecting you to the active outdoor experience. While technical performance is a necessary element for the connection, components such as color, fit, fabric, and feel can enhance it and bring it to the next level. Ultimately this experience evolves into a lifestyle, in which clothing becomes the defining and expressive representative.
ZOIC was the first company to successfully integrate the baggy mountain bike short into the mainstream cycling conscious. Incorporating the “inner liner” with the “external shell” has become the clothing of choice for many cycling enthusiasts. This clothing alternative has captured mountain bikers of all shapes and sizes, who have helped launch ZOIC into the forefront of their outdoor pursuits.
Zoic Long Sock Review
These long socks from Zoic are made of 82% Coolmax/Polyester/18% Spandex and come up to your calf in length. MSRP: $15.00
So what did we think of the Zoic Long Sock on the trail?
How much can you really say about socks? I will say that these have become one of my favorite pairs along with the Swift Wicks due to their length and compression feeling. I even started grabbing these socks for my road rides. They stay cool in the heat and I love the feeling of the longer length.
Other than that…they are socks.
Buy the Zoic Long Socks here.
Zoic Paramount Jersey Review
The Zoic Paramount Jersey is a 100% Nanomineral Polyester with a 9″ front zipper, 3/4 collar and 9″ rear pocket. It is another loose fitting jersey designed for trail riding and commuting with venting under the arms and a tech pocket for your MP3 player or phone. MSRP: $54
So what did we think of the Zoic Paramount Jersey on the trail?
Surprisingly enough, even though this is a black jersey (also available in other colors), it was not incredibly hot out on the trail. The breathable venting under the arms along with the zipper made this jersey very versatile on the trail. The 9″ rear pocket provided adequate storage for anything you might need to carry, but keep in mind…with a loose fitting jersey you can feel that stuff move while you ride. For that reason, my stuff generally goes in the hydration pack as I can’t stand that feeling.
The really simple style of this jersey is appealing for my personal taste. I did find that when zipped up all of the way, I could feel the zipper on my neck. This made it so that I generally kept the jersey partially unzipped just past the collar for most riding and zipped down for when things got really hot and humid outside.
The material itself does a great job of getting sweat off your body so you can stay cool and the cut of the jersey is great for those of us that like looser fitting jersey without it feeling like you are wearing an oversized dress. It was just fitted enough not to hang all over the place while baggy enough to look like a regular tee.
Buy a Paramount jersey here.
Zoic Libertee Tech Tee Review
The Zoic Libertee Tech Tee is a simple 100% Nanomineral Polyester relaxed fit tee. It features to small side pockets and UPF 40 rated fabric to shield your skin from harmful UV rays. MSRP: $40
So what did we think of the Zoic Libertee Tech Tee on the trail?
This quickly became one of my go to jerseys for riding…purely due to the simplicity. I like loose fitting shirts for trail riding and this seemed to fit the bill perfectly while being very simple. The pockets on the back are small, so this jersey is great for short rides where you do not need to carry much gear or long rides when you will be utilizing a hydration pack. While the two side pockets are a nice addition, I didn’t end up using them at all. Everything either went on the bike or in the hydration pack.
The fit and finish on the jersey is great and it breathes incredibly well considering there are no zippers. The lack of zippers was also one of my favorite parts are there was nothing to itch my neck or feel inconsistent down my chest. While I didn’t like the loud color in the shorts reviewed below, this orange quickly grew on me and proved to be cool in the direct sun (orange is the #1 color for diverting heat as proved by the engineers at NASA on the space shuttle tanks).
Buy a Zoic Libertee Tech Tee here.
Zoic Fusion Short Review
The Zoic Fusion short is a 92% nylon shell for lightweight and all around use. Zoic pins this as their all around short for mountain biking, commuting or any other cycling event. The short features a total of 6 pockets (2 hip, 1 rear, 2 right leg, 1 left leg) with a headphone wire routing guide and built in sunglasses wipe. Waist adjustment is made via the rear elastic and front buckle while attachment duties are done via Velcro. MSRP: $74
So what did we think of the Zoic Fusion short on the trail?
You can tell right away when you pick these shorts up that they were made to be lightweight. The outer shell is not only waterproof thanks to the nylon combination but it weighs next to nothing. The graphics on these shorts are tastefully laid out and the black appeals to just about anyone riding (they are also available in gray and brown).
Like the other shorts in the Zoic line, the pockets are really easy to use and the features like the built in sunglasses cleaner is a very useful addition.
Of the two shorts reviewed, this was my least favorite…mostly because I do not believe it was really designed with my riding style in mind. The 11″ inseam was really too short for my tastes. When I sat down on the bike, the short ended a good 6 to 8 inches above my knee (33″ inseam for reference). I also didn’t like the amount of elastic in the waist or the front buckle. I would have preferred a button with side velcro attachment so the shorts felt more secure while on the bike.
Those shortcomings aside, the lightweight shell was nice on longer rides which leads me to believe that Zoic is really marketing these shorts more towards XC riders that might want one pair of baggies for when they don’t feel like wearing just spandex or more recreational riders looking for something lightweight that is also ok to wear into their favorite coffee shop after a ride. For those of us that are trail/AM riders, these are not long enough or provide enough protection.
Buy the Zoic Fusion Short here.
Zoic Ether Short Review
The Zoic Ether Short is a 100% Ripstop Nylon shell that is durable but lightweight. The shell features a total of 6 pockets (1 back, 2 right side leg, 1 left side leg and 2 hip), a removable liner, velcro/elastic waist adjustment and a cool headphone wire guide. Vents along the side and back help keep you cool while the attached glasses wipe to the second right side pocket makes sure you can see down the trail at all times. As you can see by the features list, there is a lot going on with the Ether short from Zoic. MSRP: $89
So what did we think of the Zoic Ether short on the trail?
The first thing that will catch your eye about these shorts is obviously the color. While bright ass blue is not exactly my style, there will be riders that opt for the louder colors in the spectrum. If I bought these personally, I would have gone with the black or gray. They are also available in an orange if you want to stick with the loud color theme.
I found the pockets and features of the short to be very useful…especially the built in glasses wipe hidden in the pocket. That seems to be an item I always end up leaving in the car, so having it attached permanently was a plus. The rest of the pockets are pretty standard and while the headphone wire guide for the media pocket is a cool idea…I typically just run that wire under my jersey anyway…so it wasn’t really needed.
Overall fit and finish on the shorts are excellent. The velcro and elastic setup fo the waist makes them fit incredibly well and the Ripstop nylon outershell is durable and the vents make this short wearable in even 100 degree humid GA temps. They carry a 12″ inseam for reference on where they will finish on your leg. For guys like me that have long femurs, this puts these shorts just above the quoted “above the knee”, but they were comfortable without getting in the way. The liner length could be a little bit longer for my taste as it stops on your thigh, but the pad is a great balance between thick for all day use and thin for saddle feel. It wasn’t too much or not enough for trail riding styles.
Of the two shorts reviewed during our test sessions with the Zoic products, this was my personal favorite due to the durability and length of the short. They are geared towards AM/Trail duty so if you like a short that is a little bit heavier but durable, this will be a great choice.
Buy the Zoic Ether Short here.
What do you think?