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October 2013

FLOWMOUNTAINBIKE.COM Nzo MERINO REVIEW

Sometimes you just want to ride your mountain bike, but without looking too much like a mountain biker. You know, whack on something a little more ‘basic’ and going for a shred leaving that anti-fungal-sweat-wicking-reflecto-multi-pocketed-silicone-grippered jersey at home and getting back to your roots.

This is what drew us to Nzo’s latest merino goodies, the Nomad Hoodie and Bart Tee. They reminded us of simpler times, when our riding kit didn’t have logos galore and wasn’t made from the same fabrics they use on the Mars lunar lander.

The look and feel is far from the razzamatazz of most cycling kit, but the Nomad and the Bart have two secret weapons:

1)   They’re designed by Gaz Sullivan. Gaz is an actual real-life mountain biker. He started Nzo in Rotorua as a way to nurture his mountain biking lifestyle. He’s a mellow kind of middle-aged guy, who rides hard and often, likes nice bikes but likes nice trails more. Safe to say, he knows what real-life mountain bikers want.

2)   They’re made from Merino wool, nature’s own super fabric. The Merino that comes from NZ’s omnipresent sheep is ideal for mountain bike apparel; it doesn’t get stinky, it’s soft to wear and it handles moisture exceptionally well.

The Bart is a pretty simple affair; it looks and fits just like a slim-fit tee-shirt, but it is made from superfine Merino. The knit is soft on the skin and ultra flexible too, not at all restrictive in spite of the slim cut.

Weight wise, it’s a heavier feeling garment than most cycling kit, but that doesn’t mean you’ll cook in it. We would say it’s better suited to cooler temps, but the Merino wicks sweat away quickly, so you never feel like you’re trapped in a sticky, hot sack even if it is a warmer day.

There are no pockets, but they’d ruin the casual vibe of this garment anyhow. We’ve machine washed ours from day one, and while it has shrunk a tiny bit, it shows no signs of wear or loose stitches. At $49 too, it’s a bargain for superfine Merino wool.

We cannot stop wearing the Nomad hoodie ($89), both on and off the bike. On the trail, doing downhill runs, on road trips – it genuinely feels like we’ve spent more time in the Nomad hoodie than out of it over the past three months. We’ve worn this thing to death, and while the weave has a slight wrinkle to it from dozens of runs through the washing machine, there’s no sign of wear and tear at all.

Like the Bart, it’s super comfy. The slim fit seems just right for most mountain biker’s body shapes (if there is any such thing!), and we wore this hoodie on plenty of rides throughout winter. It’s just a great, casual alternative to layering up in bright, shiny cycling garments.

There are two zippered pockets, both small enough that they don’t flap around or sag if you pop your keys in them, but it’s the proper full length zip we like most – it zips all the way up to right under your chin. The attention to detail is cool too, especially the print on the inside of the hood.

Like it says on the tag – ‘made from sunshine and grass’ – these are pure and simple riding clothes, for what is ultimately a pure and simple sport. You’re not paying for logos, you’re just paying for good kit. We like the ethos and we like the clothes.

 

FLOWMOUNTAINBIKE.COM SCUFFERS REVIEW

Nzo’s original Scuffers impressed the pants off many a rider. And with extra stretch and an updated look, the latest version Scuffers stick to the body like quality tyres to sweet Rotorua trails.


 Nzo’s 2012 Scuffers retain many of the original version’s well-loved features.

Velco waist tabs offer approximately 8cm of adjustment, to cater for a wide range of body shapes. Deep hip pockets and a zipped side pocket allow you to securely carry your goods. An elastic back panel moves effortlessly in response to riding position.


Knicks are BYO: the Scuffers are unlined but cut to fit your favourite pair of seat-padders, should you choose

In the new Scuffers, Nzo’s new heavier, stretchier main fabric, NzoFlex’, and an extra panel on the inside leg are the most noticeable updates. These two features keep the shorts securely in place while you’re riding and put an end to any swishing or vertical movement mid-pedal stroke.

The elastic properties of NzoFlex allow for unrestricted movement, freeing you to give your full attention to the trail ahead.

The only drawback was they felt a bit hot at temperatures above 30°C. After a few months of use it’s hard to tell our test pair of Scuffers from a new set.

With their versatile cut, which will suit a range of body shapes and riding styles, and their secure trail-fit, Nzo’s Scuffers are easy to recommend.

They’re built for riding, but we expect to see them off the bike too.

 

BIKERADAR.COM SIFTERS REVIEW

Nzo were one of the first cycle companies to separate the baggy outer short from the inner. While this is now a reasonably common way to create a baggy short, Nzo arguably know it better than most.

The Sifters is a casually styled outer-short that wouldn’t look out of place just walking down the street. A slim, yet non-restrictive cut leads to a comfortable ride without excess material flapping in the wind.

A stretch panel at the bum that extends to the side of the hips keeps the shorts in place and provides enough movement to never feel restrictive. The shorts feature two main pockets and a third zippered pocket on the leg. Each pocket was generously sized and caused no problems with affecting pedalling motion.

We found the sizing on the tighter side of things, our tester normally wears a small, or 30” waist pant and the small was on the too-small side of things. Just be sure to check out Nzo’s sizing chart to avoid this mistake and size up if in doubt - the velcro pull-tabs will take care of the rest.

The Sifters are fastened by a zipper and a push-button. With our test rider pushing the boundaries of the size, the fastener did accidently pop open, however, this wouldn’t happen if the shorts were the right size.

The Sifters are an outer-short only and so it’s BYO for the inner-short. We tested the Sifters with Nzo’s own Cruiseliner DeLuxe (AU$39), a basic inner short designed to be worn underneath your favourite baggies. The Cruiseliner features a basic chamois and breathable construction to fit like a comfy pair of undies. In conjunction with the Sifters, they make a great match and were comfortable for all-day rides.

We were even more comfortable using our favourite bibs underneath, but this combination is hotter and of course far more expensive.

After a few months of testing and having known other riders to use the same pair for years, we have nothing but praise for the durability. The Sifters are a quality short that were as comfortable at the coffee shop as they were on the trail. Our only gripe? If you don’t already own an appropriate inner short, the price may be prohibitive.

 

BIKERADAR.COM DOBIES REVIEW

The Dobies outer shorts are Nzo’s trademark product and are what made the brand what it is today.

BikeRadar recently reviewed the Nzo Sifter shorts and found that their performance and style were both great. Nzo say the Dobies are even better for riding.

The Dobies feature a unique integrated pad at the seat of the shorts. The pad isn’t thick like a quality chamois; it has a soft feel and is designed to be worn with a padded inner short. Alternatively, the brave can just go commando! The 'free' feeling wasn’t for us, so we used an inner short.

A draw-cord and elasticated waist gave plenty of flexibility in the size and was very comfortable when we were seated on the bike. Unlike the Sifters, the Dobies' sizing was spacious and offered plenty of winter-time growing room.

Large stretch panels across the backside helped to keep the shorts in place. Further stretch panels at the legs provided a soft feel and ensured there was no resistance during pedalling.

The durable materials used weren’t the lightest or most breathable, especially when used in conjunction with a pair of undershorts, but were comfortable enough, even on scorching days.

The only storage on offer was open side pockets and a zippered leg pocket. These pockets were shaped perfectly though, and held items securely while on the bike without interfering with pedalling.

Without the inclusion of an inner short, the Dobies are priced on the high side. We still feel they're good value though, given the overall quality, and judging by how many people are riding in 10-year-old pairs, they last really well. The Dobies are definitely the most comfortable baggy shorts we have ever used.

 

FLOWMOUNTAINBIKE.com DOBIES REVIEW

What’s under your pants? Personal question, I know, but a very relevant one when talking about the Nzo Dobies shorts.

The Dobies have been a mainstay of the Nzo line-up for many years now, and if the number of these shorts we encounter on the trail is something to go by, they’re both durable and very popular. We now know why. These may just be the most comfortable baggy shorts we’ve ridden in.

Low key styling, sensational comfort.

Designed with versatility in mind, the Dobies are equally happy over a pair of knicks, over undies or worn ‘commando’. Rather than supplying the short with a full-blown chamois/liner (which, to be honest, we usually just remove in favour of our favourite bib knicks) Nzo has sewn a soft fleecy felt pad into the crotch area to add some forgiveness for your nether regions. Kinda like your parts are being cupped tightly by your favourite tracksuits pants. Nice.

If you’re the kind of rider disinclined to wear knicks for a short ride, the Dobies are golden. Bung them on and go for a casual ride, no stretching yourself into lycra. For longer rides, we’d personally opt to still run knicks, but it’s not 100% necessary with the Dobies.

The casual approach extends to the styling too; in the world of Velcro and venting that dominates mountain bike apparel, the Dobies are a little more mellow. The absence of venting makes them a bit warmer than some offerings, but it does improve durability considerably. Pedalling comfort is excellent too, there’s just enough stretch to make them unrestrictive yet not so much that they snag or your saddle when wet.

The Dobues have one zippered pocket, and two standard open pockets, which is plenty. It sounds funny to harp on about the shape of a pocket, but the Dobies have it just right. The pockets aren’t so deep that the contents flap about your knees when pedalling and they’re just the perfect tightness so you can trust you won’t inadvertently launch your phone or keys.

Perhaps the most revolutionary non-revolutionary feature is the use of an elasticised waist with a drawstring. Rarely seen in mountain bike shorts, the elastic waist makes so much sense. No more stuffing about with Velcro tabs trying to get the fit right, and again, super comfy.

All up, the Dobies are the perfect function over form short, long on comfort and ride-em-into-the-ground durability.

 

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