Although Garneau is well known to road cyclists, their West Branch jersey and Derby shorts are geared towards MTB riders. These two pieces make up part of the cycling kit that Garneau had provided for a summer review. They both offer loads of style with an equal amount of tech, for comfort on the longest rides.
At first glance, the West Branch jersey looks pretty basic, but don’t be fooled. Icefil cooling technology converts your sweat into a refrigerant. This cools better than plain wicking, but mostly benefits riders in hot and humid environments. Utah is hot and dry, so I didn’t get to really test the cooling. But I can vouch for the antibacterial properties. Even in temps of 90+, I didn’t offend myself or my wife (too much) after a long hot ride. A nine inch front zipper and UPF/SPF 50 sun protection helped me stay cool too. If you like music while you ride, there is a zipped multimedia pocket on the left side.
Overall, it’s a clean and simple design that moves well and offers comfort flash. Garneau offers them in Asphalt (grey), Moroccan Blue, or Woodbine (a light-ish green). I like the fact that it weighs just about nothing. I’m used to a heavier feel, even on a summer jersey, so this was a nice change. This is a good choice for the MTB rider who wants a casual top that offers some nice features at a wallet-friendly price. MSRP is $49.99, and it was on sale for $24.99 at the time of my review.
Cycling shorts are one of the most important pieces of gear you’ll buy. Good shorts can make the difference between a tolerable ride, and all-day comfort. With the Derby, Garneau went all-out. From the Revolt denim-look fabric, to the Drytex® innershorts, there is a lot going on here. And it’s all in the name of comfort and performance. You can fine-tune your fit with the zip fly, drawstring waist, and velcro side adjustments. Garneau includes their Profile MTB chamois, which is anti-bacterial, anatomically shaped, and even has memory foam. While it doesn’t pinch, I did find that it bunches more than I’d like. But over time, that became less of an issue.
Inside, the snap loop system lets you remove the innershort/chamois. I tried this on shorter rides that ended in social events, and that was my preferred setup. For longer rides, go with the chamois. Zip your valuables into the (deep) right front pocket. Store your Clif Bar or other snack item in one of the two left side pockets. You’ll find two rear pockets which are nice when you are off the bike. Speaking of which, these make a nice casual short. I know not everyone likes Lycra for MTB riding. This is especially true when your ride ends at the local taco and beer joint. But you can rock these anywhere. I’ll probably wear them to work at least once, if I’m riding right after.
For its $119.99 MSRP, Garneau packs a lot into the Derby. Even for a big guy like me, they were roomy and moved with me. Some shorts can leave you rubbed the wrong way, figuratively and literally. My only minor complaint was the reflective accents. These are really small. Which is a shame, as they reflect well, there just isn’t enough area to be effective. Either make them bigger and more useful, or do away with them. Other than that, these shorts rock. You can find them in Asphalt, Jeans (blue), or Toasted Coconut (tan).
For about the price of a t-shirt, Garneau offers a jersey that will keep you looking and feeling cool. Combine that with the Derby shorts for enviable comfort. I’m not the fastest rider on my fat bike, but not the slowest either. And with this combo, I could ride all day, which is what counts. Be sure to check back next week for my helmet and shoe review. Garneau.com
I’d like to thank Garneau for providing their West Branch jersey and Derby shorts for this review. Both of them made Utah’s summer heat more tolerable.