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February 2010

Fresh produce: the T that thinks it is a sports top

This week we are launching a new type of product we have been trying to land for a long time: the T shirt that thinks it’s a sports top. And to get you started down this new path we are doing the first week’s sales at $25 a pop.
Most of us live in T shirts, and a lot of you ride in them. They feel nice and comfy, and you can wear them on any occasion, not just when you are riding. Life is complicated enough without having stuff you can only wear at certain times.
Nzo and Schoeller have collaborated on the 3XDRY cotton T. That is right: 100% cotton, a regular T shirt (admittedly, a very nice one) that has been made to wick and disperse moisture on the inside, and repel water (and dirt and and other debris) on the outside. This stuff happens at a microscopic level so the whole thing still feels like a normal T.
I am always dubious about the claims of fabric designers regarding the performance of their products, I run best in cooler temperatures and am inclined to be dripping sweat when it gets warm, moreso than most people. I took one of these 3XDRY Ts for a comprehensive trail test yesterday, and here is my honest report:
It was a mint late summer day, a little humid, little cloud cover.
The ride was 2.5 hours at an honest pace, and took in two decent sized hills, one of which took half an hour of solid climbing including 15 minutes in the granny ring on a gravel fire road in direct sun.
First off, it felt weird but kind of neat just stepping out of the car into my riding gear, and hitting the trail. After half an hour or so we started to really go uphill, and into the sun, and I confess, I got pretty warm. It is a cotton T shirt, no doubt about it. After the big climb we staopped for a minute ot two and I was sweating like a monkey, but strangely the shirt was not really wet and felt quite cool against the skin.
As soon as we started the long singletrack descent I was cooled off, at least as quickly as in a polyester riding top. The Schoeller info had said this would be one of the effects of the 3XDRY treatment, and it worked. By the bottom of the hill I felt dry except for the bit under my pack. We had half an hour of undulating trail to get back to the cars and worked up another head of steam, but on inspection at the end of the ride the shirt was only noticeably wet directly under the pack pads, and some of the harness. The whole thing felt kind of damp, but not even as wet as my bike top would feel after the same outing. I have decided that for me, the 3XDRY will be the go for any ride in the woods except a real epic or a race.
I was guiding some American visitors as well as testing the T shirt, and they came out to the barn to see the global headquarters of NzoLand. They browsed the website and departed with a couple of pairs of Dobies (never seen anything like them) and a small bale of 3XDRY Ts. Perfect day really, from my perspective.