Words by Georgina von Marburg

Photos by Nick Waygood

Let it be known: women’s mountain bike apparel deserves the same tech, comfort, coverage, and performance as men’s apparel. It sounds simple, but this has been an ongoing battle with brands and suppliers to produce and import the same depth of models across both men’s and women’s ranges. It’s a common occurrence that high-end kit will be available in men’s sizing, but not in women’s. Of course, there’s the more complex argument of supply and demand: the proportion of women demanding high-end product is comparatively low in a sport statistically more popular among men. However, I’m a firm believer in the maxim ‘if you never try, you’ll never know.’ Times are changing, and women are entering and influencing the sport in droves. Brands should see this as an opportunity to get with the times, offer some premium women’s kit, and capitalise on a burgeoning market. 

One of the bigger players to recognise and embrace this market is Fox.  They appear to have done their research, offering an impressive range of women’s mountain biking apparel. Not only does their women’s range tick plenty of performance boxes featured in the men’s, it also looks good. Long gone are the token frangipani flowers and hapless shades of purple; instead we are presented with aggressive, albeit feminine, designs and aesthetics. 

Over the summer, I tested their women’s Flexair jersey – a purportedly featherweight and highly breathable jersey targeted at long, sweltering days on the trail. This jersey has been in development for some time, with Fox taking on extensive feedback from their multitude of World Cup riders. 

Fit and Cut 

While conceding that varying body types will prefer different cuts, I personally found the fit and feel of the Flexair to be… near perfect. 

Let’s start with the sleeves, which are the most underrated feature of the jersey. Many apparel brands continually make the mistake of cutting women’s sleeves far too short. Cropped and cuffed sleeves serve no purpose other than exposing extra skin to damage from the trail and elements. While I was working in bike shops, it was common place for girls to opt for men’s jerseys for better coverage and protection. So thank you Fox for delivering a sleeve that is ready for serious riding, while being slimline enough to avoid a baggy look or feel. The Flexair sleeves are not your basic t-shirt cut; they’re tapered and functional, ready to cut through the air and skim past the trees.  

The collar is also to be commended, with a high-cut and minimalist trim. Like the sleeves, the torso was tapered while providing enough room to be comfortable walking into the café. The jersey length is also functional; it’s short enough to avoid excessive pocket overhang, but long enough to be tucked in to trail pants. In summary, slipping on the Flexair for the first time was an epiphany: this is how a women’s mountain bike jersey should fit. 

On the trail 

The Flexair’s claim to fame is its performance in hot weather, so what better what to test it than in the depths of an Aussie January. For consecutive days, I rode in the Flexair for 2-3 hours in the midday sun. It did not disappoint. Every slight breath of wind swept straight through the material, cooling and refocusing my efforts. The more abrasion-resistant sleeves are a stiffer material to the TruDri mesh front and back, so they did develop some serious salt stains; however the material was still light enough to avoid ever overheating. Wearing enduro-style bibs with rear pockets, the back of the jersey allowed for plenty of snacks and spares without compromising its shape. So while it may be too thin for the cooler months, the Flexair is a truly impressive summer jersey. 

I’m a big fan of casual tees on trail rides (mainly because comfortable and classy women’s jerseys are hard to find), but the Fox Flexair has forced an appreciation – and requirement – for the finer things in life. This high-performance and light weight jersey should be a staple in every girl’s summer wardrobe. Fox has developed a fit and cut worthy of a growing demographic of keen female mountain bikers, and other brands should follow suit. 

From: foxracing.com.au

RRP: $99.99 AUD

Hits:

  • Adequate sleeve length!
  • Practical cut
  • Lightweight
  • Breathable
  • Aesthetic 

Misses: 

  • None!