As well as widening its Allroad gravel wheel range, Mavic has also taken the opportunity to bring some “gravel specific” clothing items into their already extensive range of road and MTB wear. Now, the cynic in all of us will ask what is wrong with the kit that we’ve been using to date? It’s a fair point, but the growth in gravel/all road/adventure riding perhaps comes hand-in-hand with a desire of many riders to step away from the head-down, performance is everything world of aero lycra and/or the fluorescent motocross inspired kit of some mountain bike garments.
There’s an increasing number of riders looking for clothing that is subtle, has styling that works on and off the bike, but doesn’t forgo performance when doing long days in the saddle. It’s therefore an ideal time for companies to try something new and perhaps better suited to a kind of riding that struggles to fit into a single bracket.
Rather than just tell us about their new threads, Mavic wanted a group of journalists to test it out on the kind of terrain it is designed for. It was a tough gig, but someone had to do it, so Tom spent a couple of days in the Pyrenees testing out the full range of Allroad clothing. Springtime in the mountains is always a risk weatherise and we experienced it all, from hot sun through to torrential rain. While a couple of days is near long enough to fully test kit, we left with some strong first impressions and will continue to test the kit’s longevity at home.
The Allroad range currently consists of four simple items: a short sleeve merino-mix jersey, a long sleeve full merino thermal jersey, a reversible gilet, and fitted “baggy” shorts. A pair of shoes will be joining the line up in September. For full details on each item and our first ride impressions, keep scrolling. We supplemented the Allroad items with base layer, shoes, bibshorts and a waterproof from elsewhere in the Mavic range.
- Price: £130
Is it a polo shirt, is it a cycling jersey? Who knows. Either way, it’s nice to see a riding jersey that is neither t-shirt, nor the usual zip neck. Three poppers allow you to open the neck a little, and a collar means it’s way easier to wear a Gravel Tie TM (ok, we made this up). We also kinda like the muted colours of the jersey and, of the range as a whole. It is made of a lightweight merino/polyester mix which wicked well under the spring sunshine in southern France. Mavic describe the cut as “regular fit” which for me meant relatively close fitting on the chest and arms, while looser lower down. It features three rear pockets – the middle slightly smaller – and an additional zipped valuables pocket. There is also a chest pocket, which most smartphones will fit into, although my iPhone 7+ in a protective case was a very tight squeeze (perhaps unsurprisingly).
On the bike, the jersey does all the important stuff well. It was neither too hot nor too cold in temperatures that fluctuated a fair bit during the day. Even when sweaty, the jersey didn’t get that heavy feeling that some pure merino products can have. It was nice to ride in something slightly less fitted and benefit from the extra airflow the cut provided. Poppers are obviously not as easy to adjust while riding compared to a zip, but for the most part I tended to leave just the top button undone and I’m not sure how effective an extra couple of inches of open fabric would have been when it comes to temperature regulation.
One issue that we’ve experienced with slightly looser cut jerseys in the past is that rear pockets tend to sag once loaded. This was again the case with the Allroad jersey. A phone and the bundled up gilet in the rear pockets lead to the jersey slowly getting tugged down over the course of a few miles of riding. It also means that the pockets are quite as secure when it comes to keeping items in them over rough ground. I lost my phone once bouncing down a flight of steps and another one of the group had a similar issue on some particularly rough singletrack. It’s a tricky balance though. For short rides, I always welcome rear pockets (when on longer ones, I may well have a frame bag etc anyway, so they become less important). The long sleeve jersey actually ran a single zipped pocket at the rear – maybe that would be a better approach for the short sleeve as well.
Pocket issues aside, I got on really well with the jersey and I can see myself reaching for it for all my riding other than pure road sessions in the future – which is good, as £130 is at the upper end of what I would consider to be a reasonable price for a short sleeve jersey. The Allroad would make for a great multi-day trip option where the merino comes into its own, and the more casual look works well when hanging out in cafes, etc.
Allroad thermal long sleeve jersey
- Price: £169
As the name suggests, the thermal jersey is a touch warmer than its short sleeve relative. Mavic has upped the merino content, and the wool has a brushed inner with a smooth outer face to the fabric. Pockets are kept simple, with the same-dimensioned chest pocket and the single rear zipped pocket mentioned above. The overall cut is a little closer, to aid keeping some valuable warmth in, but it is still a step away from “race cut”.
A full length zip is capped with a twin popper collar – with the idea that you can undo the zip slightly to allow some air in, without the jersey flapping too much. The only downside to this was the poppers are slightly heavy and the collar tab flapped around a little if not done up.
Our second day in the Pyrenees dawned rainy and cool, so most of us chose to wear the thermal long sleeve under waterproofs. Pulling it on first thing, the jersey had that instant “snug” feel. It just feels lovely against the skin. As the sun came out later, I was impressed at how comfortable the thermal jersey remained as things hotted up. I can see it being in regular service over winter, but with extended use well into spring and autumn.
Other than the aforementioned flappy poppers, the only downside to the jersey that I experienced was that the arms were a little on short side for my lanky self. Worth noting if you often find yourself staring down at bare wrists.
Allroad fitted baggy short
- Price: £105
Fitted. Baggy? These slightly oxymoronic sound shorts are a nod to many off road riders preferring to cover up the lycra. The shorts are designed to be worn over your preferred bibs or lycra (or by themselves if you prefer) and, as the name suggests, are closer fitting than most MTB oriented baggy shorts. This keeps flapping fabric to a minimum, while preserving your modesty when in the bar for a post-ride pint. The fabric has a gentle stretch as well as a DWR water repellant finish. Two jeans style pockets are complemented by a zipped thigh pocket and rear pocket.
The design worked really well for me. Even on the mountain bike, I’m not a fan of really baggy shorts – much preferring something exactly like the Allroad. There was just enough stretch to never feel restricted – which I sometimes struggle a little with, as my waist size is relatively slim compared to my thighs. Over many, many hours in the saddle, I think just wearing lycra is still the more comfortable option, but for something a little more versatile, then the Allroads are an excellent option.
Allroad insulated vest
- Price: £140
I’ve got a confession; I love a good gilet, me. From plain windproof layers through to extra insulation, a sleeveless top always delivers plenty of bang for your buck; weight and bulk-wise.
Mavic’s take for the Allroad collection is to add some Primaloft insulation to a Pertex windproof lining. It is reversible – one side being a bright orange, the other uses the muted greys of the rest of the range. A storm flap keeps any errant breeze from sneaking through the zip and the gilet features two pockets. When worn with the orange side out, a rear zip pocket is available (and is also used to stuff the gilet down to large apple size when not in use). Flipped and another chest pocket is accessed. Rather than using poppers at the collar like the rest of the range, the gilet uses two small magnets as a closure. I actually found these less effective. They weren’t quite powerful to hold closed when moving around in the gilet.
Of all the items in the Allroad collection, this is probably the one that is most versatile across all seasons. I can see myself using it as a beer garden layer on summer night rides, a warmth booster to a sleeping bag when bike-packing, or to keep the chill off on the coldest of winter rides. Over our two days of Pyrenean fun, I kept the gilet tucked in my jersey pocket, ready to pull out at food stops and for the odd long descent. It is small and light enough to not really notice when packed away, but packs a punch in terms of warmth. And as a footnote, I’m sitting in the airport, writing this story while I kill some time before my flight and the Allroad gilet is still glued to my back – surely a sign of cracking bit of kit.
Allroad Pro shoe
- Price: £225
- Available: September 2018
Of all the Allroad range, these shoes were the only ones we were unable to test. They aren’t available until September, but Mavic had a few pre-production samples to check out and a couple of the Mavic team were riding in them.
“Knitted” shoes are not quite the new and unusual thing they were even a year or two ago. Mavic, though were keen to point out that these shoes are very different to the other knitted fabrics currently on the market. The Matryx material uses Kevlar in the weave, which Mavic claim means it is 5 times more abrasion resistant than regular outers and 10 times more abrasion resistant than other knitted fabrics. As well as being tough, the upper is stripped down to the bare minimum. The natural flex in the fabric, and lack of seams allows Mavic to do away with pretty much all padding.
The Allroad Pro comes with a composite/carbon mix sole which isn’t as stiff as an out and out race shoe, leaving some flex for the inevitable hike-a-bike that any good adventure ride will include. Finally, laces help fine tune fit for many hours in the saddle – it’s an approach that we quite like, but know that many others would rather velcro or a ratchet style option.
But, women ride gravel too?
One thing that is really notable in its absence from the Allroad range is any women’s cut clothing. Being generous, we understand that whenever a company is trying something new, it tends to do so tentatively – growing a range year on year. However, it still feels like a massive oversight to not cater for 50% of the population, especially in our non-scientific observations, gravel riding seems to have a slightly better gender balance than many other niches of cycling. Hopefully this is a gap in the range that Mavic will close quickly next year.
Full disclosure: Tom’s travel and expenses for this trip were covered by Mavic.