by Kane Allen
June 15, 2016
James Vincent checks out a jersey, shorts, gloves and socks from the Fox Head Performance Collection
By James Vincent
The Fox Performance Collection (of which these items are all a part of), represent the very pinnacle of the Fox Head clothing, sorry, apparel range for 2016, and as such are constructed from the finest materials known to man and laden with technical features from head to toe. Completely redesigned for 2016, no expense has been spared with the range which is designed to be as non-intrusive as possible, and will (apparently) help you ride longer, stronger and better. Comprising a ¾ jersey, shorts, gloves and socks, all the items are nicely colour coordinated with the brand new Metah helmet without being too over the top, and are available in a choice of colours if red, white and blue are not your bag.
Fox Head Attack ¾ Jersey
At first glance the Attack ¾ jersey is incredibly lightweight and very well constructed from a tightly woven 4-way stretch fabric on the front and sleeves to help block the wind, and a looser mesh fabric on the back and sides for increased breathability. There are also laser cut holes under the armpits to aid with ventilation, flat locked seams in all the right places, and as with most Fox technical jerseys, there is a small zipped pocket (just big enough for an iPhone 6) backed with a wipe for goggles or glasses. Inside this small pocket is a ‘media interface’ (aka a hole) for the headphone cable, and at the neck of the jersey you’ll find a reflective loop to keep the cable secure.
Pulling it on, the fit was on the larger side – I went with a large based on measurements from the sizing chart, but I could probably have got away with a medium, so size down if you’re between sizes and don’t have the chance to try it on. The back is cut nice and long so there is great coverage over your shorts, and although the ¾ length sleeves felt odd when not riding, in use they weren’t an issue and were quickly forgotten about.
I’m a dyed in the wool fan of merino, so I was initially sceptical about the warmth of the jersey, thinking it would be confined to use on only the hottest days of the summer, but I was more than pleasantly surprised – my first ride was on an overcast day with plenty of stopping for taking photos, and the jersey did a great job of keeping my temperature regulated. I’ve since used it on everything from baking hot days to slightly cooler evening rides and it’s performed faultlessly, with the only drawback being that it needs washing after every ride, as it suffers from the same fate as most man made fabrics and holds onto odours a bit.
Fox Head Pro Shorts (inc. liner)
In a similar vein to the Attack ¾ Jersey, the Attack Pro Shorts are designed to be as minimal as possible, while leaving out none of the essentials – we have a midweight but tough 4-way stretch fabric throughout, well positioned laser cut ventilation holes, 2 large zipped pockets (with chunky zippers for use with gloves), low profile welded seams, three waist poppers (no fly) and silicon grippers on the waist. They are available in black or red to match the rest of the Attack range and have subtle graphics on each leg. They aren’t a super long and baggy freeride short, just a good, mid length trail short with enough clearance around the leg opening to go over all but the bulkiest of kneepads while avoiding the dreaded kneepad/short exposed strip of skin. The detachable liner is made from a lightweight mesh to avoid overheating, with silicon leg grippers to keep it in place and a Pro Chamois insert that is very comfortable without adding too much bulk.
As per the jersey, the sizing is a bit odd – I’m a 32” waist in most trousers so I that’s what I went for, yet the waist band actually measures a good 37” on the widest fitting. In keeping with the minimal nature of the shorts, there is no further waist band adjustment other than the two-position poppers offering 1” of adjustment, and even on the narrowest fitting I was able to pull the shorts on or off without undoing the poppers. I haven’t tried them, but I wouldn’t want to size down to the 30” option as the fit everywhere else on the shorts was supremely comfortable, and when riding the extra wide waist wasn’t noticeable, other than the occasional breeze or water splash down the back of them.
Because of this looser fit and the perforations, they are most definitely a summer short – I’m going to enjoy wearing them all summer long, but when the weather starts to turn I’ll be putting them back in the wardrobe for something with a bit more warmth.
Fox Head Attack Gloves
The lightest gloves in Fox’s extensive range, these are a perfect match to go with the rest of the Attack range and have been around unchanged for a few years now – if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it! Popular with BMX riders and downhillers looking for a ‘barely there’ feel, these are a cuff-less design with no padding on the palm, a super thin wicking back and a micro-suede thumb.
After a bit of a struggle to get them on, they fitted brilliantly and were incredibly comfortable, with no bunching of excess material anywhere (they are preformed to be in the perfect shape when holding onto the bars). Unfortunately, in putting them on I did manage to pull apart the stitching on one of the gloves, which is a shame as everywhere else the gloves fit really well. The silicon detailing on the first two fingers is also looking decidedly tatty – while this hasn’t impacted on the performance of the gloves, it is a shame and the two issues together don’t fill me with confidence about the overall durability of them.
I’ve yet to crash in them or catch my hands on any stray branches, so time will tell as to how much protection they offer, but overall these are the most comfortable gloves I’ve worn, and I’ll wear them until the weather turns colder.
Fox Head Trail Socks
A lightweight (I’m sensing a theme here) summer sock, these are constructed from polypropylene to provide insulation where it’s needed while offering superb wicking properties, feature flat stitching for greater comfort and have several meshed areas for maximum ventilation. Fortunately, the weather has been pretty warm throughout the two-month test period so I’ve yet to see how insulated these are, but I’ve worn them in the rain and am pleased to say that they dry out pretty quickly and on warmer days don’t overheat or smell too bad at the end or a ride. Obviously a lot of this depends on the shoes you’re wearing them with, but as the adverts say, every little helps and I imagine these will be more than ok well into the autumn. They are very comfortable, don’t fall down, and once on are pretty much forgettable (this is a good thing). They don’t add any extra bulk, so if you are used to wearing a slightly thicker sock you may find that your shoes are slightly looser, and I’ve chucked them in with a regular wash several times and they haven’t shrunk or started to lose their shape.
Overall: The new Attack range is very well thought out, and aside from the premature wear on the gloves and the minor fit issues on the jersey and shorts, have performed faultlessly throughout the test period and would be a great addition to your summer riding wardrobe. There is no denying that the jersey and shorts are expensive, but they are made from premium materials with construction to match, and should last for at least a couple of seasons or until the colours are out of date.