Last year The Spindle found a need to add Mountain Biking apparel to our arsenal of commuter/urban cycling gear. Yet, around every corner are baggy, very loud, vibrantly colored pieces that didn’t really fit into our style. Enter Kitsbow, a Northern Cali Mountain Bike apparel company with and eye for styling while using solid fabrics for a on the trail and off vibe.
The piece that immediately popped out to us was the Icon, a wool shirt in a variety of eye-catching plaids. But how can a shirt that looks this good fare in the trenches of the everyday cyclist? We dug deeper finding Kitsbow purchases Pendleton Wool made in Oregon, then designs and sews a well-cut, button-up shirt, fashioned it with abrasion and water resistant Schoeller patches on the shoulder and elbows for extra durability at the points bikers get slapped on most by branches and the occasional fall when hitting the trails.
The Icon can be used as a jacket or shirt, depending on the days temp. Down to about 40 degrees with a Merino long-sleeve base layer, then add my Acre Meridian and rode in 15-20 degrees very comfortably. This has become my go-to shirt least 2-3 days a week during the fall/winter, it’s just too damn comfortable and warm for me to pass up when deciding what wear.
Aside from the widely received compliments for the looks, I was eager to test it out on some gravel roads. The shirt performed as expected, albeit I over layered with a windproof jacket, it let just the right about of airflow through with added circulation in the perforated stretch gussets located on the back. Getting smacked by branches was eased by the Schoeller patches. However, I did take a mighty tumble landing on my forearm, only to find the gravel had torn through the wool, but stopped right at the elbow patch, needless to say, these well-placed patches saved the shirt from any more damage. Being a bit bummed about the holes the shirt due to my miscalculation, I contacted the good people at Kitsbow and they were cool enough to add yet another Schoeller patch onto the forearm in case things ever got squirrelly again!
For those no familiar, Schoeller is a water/abrasion proof fabric. The patches added will save you in a lighter rain, but it’s a wool shirt, anything more than that and the wool will soak it in, but it still isn’t uncomfortable to be in if it’s a little damp, it will keep you warm and it dries surprisingly quick once hung up. In cases of over-layering, the Icon packs nicley into a half-frame bag when folded properly, so can stow it away when starting to overheat, which is great for longer rides or when touring.
Quite bit of Icon’s have gone out the door at The Spindle, with customer’s coming back to us with tales of getting drenched in mud, only to easily wipe the shirt off to find it looking as good as it did before the trails. The detail in the stitching that goes into this piece just shows Kitsbow’s keen eye, while some people may not notice the work that goes into these beautiful shirts, we’re kind of suckers for this attention to detail and have been quick to bring it to light when conversing with customers.
With the Icon’s sleek design and durability aspects, along with the fact it’s made right here in the USA makes it an excellent shirt for all types of riders. The best part for us is that the Pendleton wool used is from a limited edition roll, so we’re very excited to see which color schemes will pop up year after year.
Photos by Nick Gividen @nickgividen