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REVIEWS

Cruiseliner DeLuxe Review from NZ Mountain Biker

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Every now and again a product comes along that completely redefines mountain biking. Suspension forks did this. Disc brakes did this, and dropper posts are arguably such a product. There is no argument, Nzo’s Cruiseliner shorts are not such a product- they’re only under-shorts after all, and when was the last time underpants were credited with changing the world? OK, fine, you got me - Superman.  But(t) all that aside, these are without a doubt the best chamois shorts I’ve used.

What’s so great about them? I’ll make a list: the fit is great. They’re notably not designed just for 4% body-fat athletes. That doesn’t mean they’re baggy (that’s what NZO’s outer shorts are for), it means they fit without pinching or bunching anywhere, even when I’m ‘winter-weight’. The much-wider-than-usual waist elastic is a big part of this, such that, aside from bib-shorts, these are most comfortable cycling chamois shorts around the waist that I’ve ridden in. I do like bib shorts, especially for really long rides, but bibs are not always ideal – for instance, these are so much easier to take a nature break with, noticeably cooler on a hot day, and you can’t accidentally forget to put the bib-straps on and be reminded of it by a stranger as the straps dangle out the back, threatening to get caught in the rear wheel (I was the stranger on this occasion).

Also, the legs do not have grippy bits at the bottom of them to ensure your tan lines are really sharp – nope, they’re free to sit where your leg moving up and down wants them to sit – ideal. Next point: the legs are made from a mesh material that breathes really well and is sometimes noticeably breezy, especially if your outer shorts have mesh bits in them too. It does mean that if you ditch your baggies and go for a swim you’ll be wearing fitted tight black mesh shorts, which may be something you do anyway – I don’t judge. Luckily, the front and back middle portions are not mesh material, so you won’t, legally speaking, be exposing yourself. In any case, despite the name, these aren’t made for swimming in the pineapple-shaped pools of cruiseliners, they’re made for riding in. Speaking of which, the super-comfy chamois is just the right thickness, it sits in the right place (unlike some of my shorts where the most important part of the chamois sits half-way up my back – what’s that about?)  and it’s soft on the skin. I still use chamois cream on longer rides, but on shorter rides I don’t have the need to.

What else? They last for ages and they’re affordable. The best chamois shorts are usually really expensive. While more expensive than a Farmers 12 pack of briefs, for a riding short, the Cruiseliner DeLuxe is a bargain. Any niggles? Only that you won’t have much use for most of your other chamois shorts once you have a pair (or two) of these.

 

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Welcome to the world of Nzoactive

(republished from Juliana.com) Words by Anka Martin / images by Sven Martin

WP2 Exploring the Chilean trails early season 2014.

"On my very first visit to New Zealand in 2006 for the DH World Champs in Rotorua, I bought a bike T-shirt from a very “home grown” type vendor/stall. This doesn’t happen often, as I’ve never been a real fan of most of the bike apparel out there. This was different, the designs were clever, it was fresh and fun, and funnily enough, I still own this T-shirt.

Fast forward a few years on and we find ourselves living in New Zealand (a dream come true) and on a road trip to the North Island to the bike mecca of Rotorua. Ever since I had bought one of Nzo’s T-shirts back in 2006, this company has intrigued me and I wanted to learn more about the people behind this brand. To me, it’s about the people, their products, how they run their business, and what they give back to the community. When you’re new to a country, you feel this immense sense of pride and this loyalty to promote it and everything that it has to offer and I was on a mission to live and breathe everything kiwi, but I digress. Once in Rotorua, I stopped off at the bike shop to buy my first pair of Nzo shorts. It was love at first fit and I’ve never looked back since. I wanted to represent this kiwi company and have them along for all my adventures, journeys, and races. A quick call to introduce myself and say hello to Gary Sullivan, or Gaz as he is known, and Glen, and they insisted I head over to Mount Ngongotaha for a cup of tea and a tour of their home workshop. Perfect.

Backcountry exploring on the Heaphy Track in New Zealand pre season 2015 in my old faithfuls. Backcountry exploring on the Heaphy Track in New Zealand pre season 2015 in my old faithfuls.

Heading into the 2014 season, the Scuffers were my shorts of choice, combined with one of their many funky T-shirts and raglans, Gary also printed up some custom Kowai designs (along with other sponsors logos) for me onto merino raglans, so I had sweet “race” kits too. With this combo, I suffered through all the Enduro World Series races, survived the grueling Andes Pacifico race in Chile, the Trans Provence multiday stage race, loads of filming and photo trips, product and bike launches, clinics, adventures, missions, wet as a dog conditions, slipping, sliding, snow, crashing and burning, and of course lazy days just lounging. I was covered, literally, for anything.

WP12114 Sarah Leishman looking killer in her new kit as she navigates through the tricky, wet roots of the Whakarewarewa forest in Rotorua at EWS round one 2015.

I don’t think there are too many companies, never mind “smaller” companies out there that will do what these guys have done for our team. The timing was impeccable, as they were just getting ready to launch their new ultra lightweight Burner trail shorts, so Gary and Glen offered to match our shorts with our three different race jerseys. We now had red, purple, and green to choose from, to match our jerseys. We could pick whatever color we were in the mood to wear on that given day and we could all rock a different color on different days to mix it up and keep our new women’s team looking fresh and funky out on the tracks. Something different and unique to what everyone else is doing and wearing.

WP12116 Kelli Emmett ripping up the heather-clad hills of Scotland at the third round of the EWS 2015 Tweedlove.

I’m getting ready to put my Scuffers to their biggest test yet, spending the Month of March 2016 in these shorts, pedaling 3000km from the tiptop of NZ to the very bottom along with the main man Gaz himself in the Tour Aotearoa.

WP12117 Our shorts held up during these flash-floods and torrential downpours in Ainsa Spain a few weeks ago. Tough as. Sarah and I were struggling to hold onto our bikes however!

 

 

 

Nzo Shorts review from Bikepacking.com

Here is a review of our key products from a website that focuses on bikepacking, hence its name: bikepacking.com

Review and photos from Logan Watts, Scuffers tested by Gin.

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NZOs are a product of New Zealand and a favorite of expedition savvy bikepacker, Joe Cruz. We reviewed the Dobies, Sifters and Women’s Scuffers.


Nzo is a mountain bike apparel company based out of Rotorua, New Zealand. They’ve been making shorts for the better part of 15 years, and some say they’ve perfected the art. I first saw a pair of Nzo’s shorts on the Kokopelli Trail. As it turns out they were Joe’s second pair over the course of 12 years.

Finding the perfect pair of bikepacking shorts has been a goal for sometime, for both long trips and overnighters alike; I had to give Nzo shorts a try. Here are thoughts on each:

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Nzo Dobies


Characterized by their geometric construction, an elastic waist, and a minimal bit of padding sewn into place, Dobies are the comfortable classic of the Nzo lineup. Think function over form. Even though they look pretty good, they’re all about comfort and performance. The elastic waist band, complete with drawstring, isn’t seen much on contemporary riding shorts, but it works in a retro-progressive kind of way. No more worn out velcro straps popping loose or flapping about. The centre section and back are made of ‘Nzonium’, a stretch knit fabric developed by Nzo. The side panels are made of ‘NzoFlex’, a quick dry blend of nylon and polyester, which is strong and light, but still a little stretchy.

Designed with versatility in mind, Dobies can be worn over a chamois under layer, with an underlayer, or commando style. Instead of installing a permanent thick chamois layer, Nzo chose to outfit these shorts with a minimal sewn in fleece layer to add just a bit of forgiveness.

Dobies have a few other great features, including ‘perfect’ pockets. They aren’t too deep allowing items flap about in the deep recesses, yet not too shallow. There are also two thigh pockets with perforated interior fabric that double as air vents.

Not the most elegant photo we have ever seen of our flagship product, here used as a flag in the eastern USA.

 

When I asked Joe Cruz about his, here is what he had to say, verbatim:


Oh, man, the NZO Dobies. I love those shorts. The fit and look are great, they’re ridiculously comfortable with their thin pad worn “commando” style, and they are basically indestructible. I’ve bought exactly two pairs in my life. I got the first in 2003 and wore them on countless day rides and dozens of trips. Alongside a pair of lycra race bibs, they were the only shorts I had for the 11 months I spent in Asia and were my mainstay for warm weather. By 2010 they were just starting to show some age, so I got a new pair. That second pair has been to Nepal, Southeast Asia, the length of South America and through South Africa. I still reach for them nowadays and I can’t say they look much worn at all. Crazy.

 

 

Here is Joe somewhere in his travels, in one of his original pairs of our original  Dobies. We made this model with various refinements form about 1999 to about 2008. Here is Joe somewhere in his travels, in one of his original pairs of our original Dobies. We made this model with various refinements form about 1999 to about 2008.

Dobies are a ridiculously comfy riding short with superior durability. They range in sizes from small to 3X-large  More at NZOactive.com.

Joe out on a salt lake in Bolivia, wearing his Nzo Dobies. Joe out on a salt lake in Bolivia, wearing his Nzo Dobies.

 

Nzo Sifters


Sifters are Nzo’s ‘trail’ shorts. These shorts are designed to be worn when you’re slaying single track, but would be equally at home in the local taproom. In fact, they’re pretty much the ideal short for a minimalist month long dirt odyssey. Made with a similar geometric construction to the Dobies, Sifters have more of a casual appearance. They also add contemporary systems such as a front zipper and velcro tightening. They are extremely comfortable, and built for motion and durability. Honestly, I have never had a pair of shorts that fit better. They move, stretch and flex in all the right places, with burly enough attachments to keep them in place. There is no sag in the gusset to hang on the saddle nose. The velcro tightening system is sturdy and the straps don’t twist or pop off. The front is reinforced with a heavy duty double button closure that has no chance of popping, even in the “fluffier” winter months.

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Having searched for a good pair of shorts to replace my (another brand was mentioned here), I am extremely impressed with these and am planning on riding them for many miles on upcoming trips. Sifters are available in sizes extra-small to double extra-large.  More at NZOactive.com.

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Nzo Scuffers (women's)


Scuffers are essentially a women’s version of the Sifters. Ironically, Gin took a nice ‘scuffer’ down hill on the Warrior Creek trails, just before this photoshoot. The main differences in the Scuffers and Sifters, aside from the cut, is that the Scuffers have a little color variation with blue zips as well as a single thigh pocket. To sum them up, a quote from Gin, “Finally, a pair of shorts that fit!”

On that note, Gin did find that ordering the shorts was a little bit of a gamble in the size department. NZO shorts are not sized gender-specifically, so relying on her standard “medium” fit didn’t cut it. The sizing chart was a little confusing too. Neither of us has quite figured out where exactly our waists reside. In short, Ginny opted for the small size, although her measurements had her somewhere between the small and medium. Good choice…they fit perfectly. Scuffers are available in Black or Carbon in sizes small to extra-large. More at NZOactive.com.

 

NZO BURNERS EWS TESTED

James "Geezer" Alexander at the end of a very long, very tough day on a mountain bike. James "Geezer" Alexander at the end of a very long, very tough day on a mountain bike. Nzo Burner shorts and Nzo 245 trail top.

This is verbatim copied from an email we received shortly after the Enduro World Series Round at Crankworx Rotorua. It came from a mate of ours, James Alexander. 

Choosing an mtb short from your drawer shouldn't be a decision... It should be a reaction based in instinct.

Instinct was what led me to choose to wear Nzo Burners the day of the EWS Rotorua.

My instinct was fabricated (pun intended) by factors my past shorts fell short of (ok, so less of the puns).  Fundamentally when you’re about to ride 7 hours, comfort is pretty high on the priority list - you don't want comfort... you NEED it!

As soon as you slip the Burners over your body you know something is different. It's the cut! Dare I say it they feel almost tailor made... well they should right!  After all they are designed by the legendary Gaz Sullivan. A man that oozes passion for riding and has been around the traps long enough to know that above great style, comfort is the winning formula that rules the roost.  Mention the word "Dobie" to any seasoned mountain biker and they give the kiwi eye brow raise of recognition.

Enough about "Dobies" we know they are good. Burners; they are very good.

What immediately struck me was how light they feel to wear. Not so light you feel unprotected, light in the fact they are supple, the cut so good, there is no bunching of excess fabric in weird places. Compare riding with a camel-back to not riding with one. Same deal. You feel free-er - that simple!

Some clever thinking has been injected into these too. The stretchy mesh strip along the width of your rump, keeps things cool and hugs you nicely to prevent the short from twisting. The double popper is a valuable upgrade over other brands. You'll never feel guilty after a pre-ride cooked breakfast ever again. No surprise "pop" up the first climb here. In the bigger picture (that damn pun again) if your weight fluctuates from season to season, congratulations for being human you’re rewarded with quality made cinch tabs to adjust your waist band to the millimetre as and when required.  With all this profound function, are they stylish?  You bet!  It's Nzo's trademark. ....."Does my bum look good in these?"

The last time I saw "the look" from my wife, she agreed to marry me!

 

SPOKE DOBIES REVIEW

I’ve had a pair of Sifters, Nzo’s less famous but still extremely popular short, since 2007 and they don’t look close to giving up just yet. In all that time I never had the inclination to try a pair of Dobies, the flagship model in the Nzo stable, until recently. And I’m glad I did.

Dobies are being made once again right here in New Zealand, and I’m all for local production of anything. This means the build quality can be monitored throughout the whole process, resulting in a tough and well made short. They use a fabric dubbed ‘Nzonium’ for the centre and back panels with ‘NzoFlex’ for the sides. What that means is it’s a short that feels light yet substantial, and moves with you when putting some hip and arse into your riding. It’s probably the most ‘don’t know it’s there’ short I’ve tried.

Teamed with the new Deanolite bib short, it’s a winning combo. Bib shorts are the ultimate for the road, but I’ve never been a fan of using them in the dirt. These however are the go-to undershorts now. With mesh panels to keep things cool, you don’t feel like you’re wearing a bib short at all. And although Gaz encouraged me to wear my Dobies sometimes without any liner at all, they really work best with the Deanolite underneath. But the thin pad sewn into them does a more than admirable job of providing some comfort and support.

There are good reasons why Dobies are a signature piece of Kiwi riding kit: versatility, quality, comfort and toughness. An old favourite I wish I’d tried long ago.

Brett Kennedy

 

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