Zoic Clothing: Final Review- by the N.A. Staff of TNI
Editor’s Note: Here we bring you our final review on the Zoic clothing that we introduced to you here.
I received three garments for review: The Woodsman LS flannel jersey, the LS Asylum jersey, and the Reign knickers. The Asylum jersey came in the max-biggy Andre the Giant size…XXL…and that went right to JeffJ as well as a LG Woodsman jersey. JeffJ and Guitar Ted will both add their thoughts, so here goes my two cents worth.
First, my favorite piece of the lot…the Reign knickers. For a suggested retail of $59.00, the Reign comes in three colors: black, tan, and castle which looks like a light grey on the website. I got a set of the tan ones in a size Medium (I have a 31″-32″ waist). Tan is not the most practical color for mountain biking, but it has great city/all around potential. Now I love knickers of pretty much any kind. I live in a set of wool knickers on pretty much all my rides from Fall through Spring, so when I saw the Reigns, I saw a way to increase my temperature range and buck some of the cold wind that typically haunts us in a So Cal winter. Taking the Reigns in hand gives you a feel for the silky, stretchy fabric they are made from. It feels very good against the skin. You have pockets galore. Two conventional back pockets, two velcroed AND zipped shut thigh pockets, one with a built in eyeglasses cleaning cloth (Really? Yes really. Very cool). One thigh pocket set has an MP3 port and a headphones loopy is sewn into the right side @ the belt line to keep the cord corralled. The other thigh pocket set has a little open pouch that would be good for sunglasses (but is not a secure pouch). There are also two front pockets. Wide belt loops, an internal drawstring and a velcro closure/snap combo keep them in place. I do find that, with all baggy-type shorts I have worn, keeping things in the thigh pockets when riding is annoying during any pedaling motion. Since the Reigns are a pretty soft fabric, keeping something like a cell phone in there and riding off road was not so good, although if I was just kicking around town or running errands I would accept it for convenience sake.
I found them to be very comfortable with a slim fit that did not get in the way of the saddle and did not decrease comfort when worn over the shorts. The fabric is not water proof in any real way, and only sort of water resistant, but it does cut the wind pretty well (and has pant cuff cords to snug them closed just below the knee). I wore them on windy days and found that they blocked much of the wind from whistling through my riding shorts, especially on the fast descents. I wore them into town for lunch after rides and I had a pocket for everything. They would be good to have for multi day tours and bikepacking (as long as water resistance was not required) as they roll up to a tidy bundle and would be comfy to sleep in too. I like them very much but I would like them better in black just for practical reasons.
The Woodsman jersey appeals to me just cause I dig the style and the non-roadie look. Combined with the Reign knickers I am making a statement of some sort although my wife just shook her head and laughed. No taste in men’s bike clothes, that woman. I found a Medium to do well for me as the sleeves were still generous in length and have that inner sleeve/cuff that keeps wind from blowing up the jersey sleeves. The fit is loose overall. There is a single zipped full back pocket with reflective pull tabs and two surprisingly useful ‘side’ pockets right at the hip bones. There are a set of vent ‘ports’ sewn in at the back above the shoulder blades and a fairly deep chest zipper.
I found the Woodsman jersey to be a bit of a confused piece of gear. If the temps got above the low 60s and I was working hard I would begin to feel overheated. But on the other hand, it was not that warm either, especially if the wind was up. For instance, the recently reviewed Alpinestars Drop long sleeve jersey is nearly as warm but does much better as temps climb. I liked the Woodsman best with a thin base between it and my skin and then it would go down into the 50s a ways. I had no comfort issues with the cut, etc, and the seams at the neck were sewn flat and did not annoy. I like it more for the way it looked than any stand out performance I experienced with it and I would not consider it a hard core piece of technical clothing, but rather a uniquely styled jersey that can be a good part of a layered system within the right conditions. It would be hard to layer over it for instance, with that loose fit. It sells for $80.00 suggested retail, but I have seen this and the Reign knickers discounted for quite a bit less. I like it and now that I know what to expect from it I will continue to use it this fall thru spring if for no other reason than to keep my wife wondering.
Guitar Ted’s Goods:
I received the Men’s Downtown Jacket and I have to say that this versatile jacket has impressed me. It isn’t feature laden, nor is it going to call attention to you, but I would call it a very “workman-like” garment that just gets the job done. Zoic says this is meant for “cold and wet weather”. I will say that it is, but it won’t really do this by itself, at least not as far as the cold part goes. The jacket is thin in feel, and softer to the skin on the inside. It would keep the cool Fall breezes at bay, perhaps, but if the temperature dips below 50°F, I would start looking for a companion layer to wear under this. The good news is that the Men’s Downtown Jacket is generously cut, so wearing layers underneath this and using it as a windproof shell works really well.
I could layer a thin wool hoody, a cycling jersey, and a base layer under this jacket and be quite comfortable down into the teens on my fat bike rides. The Downtown Jacket doesn’t breathe real well, nor does it have pit zips or vents, so if you are prone to heavy perspiration during exercise, beware of that. I managed my perspiration by zipping down the front as needed, but my arms would sometimes get uncomfortable on longer rides. By the way, the Downtown Jacket has generous, easy to zip up and down front slash pockets and a large cargo pocket with a zipper closure on the lower back. In fact, the zipper pulls are quite impressive on this jacket. Long enough to grasp with gloved hands easily, and made of a tacky, rubbery, stretchy material, they made the pockets a joy to use.
This jacket will also ward off the intermittent shower, or snow storm well. I actually used it to go sledding with my son on several occasions and never got wet from the snow I was sliding on, and into. Which brings me to times off the bike. This jacket looks smart, and doesn’t give away that you are some cycling geek. (Not that there is anything wrong with that, mind you. )
The Black Market Convertible Pants were the other piece I received and I was able to use these in perhaps a unique way as well. These pants are a gossamer thin material that is stretchy. Next to your skin, it almost feels like a lightweight pair of pajama bottoms. Zoic has a removable chamois short that goes with these, and it works nicely on longer rides. Off the bike, it can be removed for comfort and better looks. My friends could see I had something “funky” going on if I wore the inner liner, so be aware of that!
The lower legs zip off to make these into long shorts. In that role they do well, however; warm weather testing was not on tap, so I can not comment to how these do on summer days yet. On the winter training rides with the fat bike, I wore a cycling tight with chamois under these, and it worked really well. The Black Market Pants are stretchy, so they cover the tights, plus they move with you well. Other than giving me a non-cyclist look, I can not say that they did anything for the wind and cold, but hey! I looked fantastic! Plus I had several useful pockets at my disposal, and those did come in handy.
In conclusion, the Downtown Jacket is a very versatile, easy to use outer shell type affair that is windproof, durable, and water resistant. It is not very breathable, nor does it have any sort of venting system beyond simply unzipping the front. That said, if you have to use one jacket for commuting, occasional mountain bike rides, and be able to use it casually, then this jacket fits the bill. The Black Market Pant is a versatile, amazingly comfortable, amazingly thin garment that has zip off legs. I did not get to use this garment for what I think might be its purpose in life, and that is bikepacking. Since the zip off legs pack down to two handfuls of fabric, one could ride in shorts all day and zip the legs on for cooler evenings or forays into the local scene, I bet. The inner liner is comfortable enough, but you may want to just use your tried and true cycling shorts under these. They will fit fine under there.
Zoic seems to have a good grasp on value here, and the unique take on some features and details make these garments stand out from the rest.
JeffJ’s two cents worth:
I spent some time recently checking out the Zoic men’s ‘Asylum’ jersey. When I first laid eyes on the Asylum jersey, I liked the basic styling and the fact that it was of the non-nuclear-non-XC-race-cut variety that fits in with my wardrobe sensibilities quite well. What I didn’t notice straight away were the subtle features that don’t jump right out at you, but are there nonetheless.
Those features include the mesh panels under the arms that actually breathe, the tag-less label and the zippered ‘tech pocket’ on the upper section of the left sleeve that will fit an MP3 player (and has a slot to feed an ear bud cord to the inside of the jersey). The tech pocket is not quite long enough for my iPhone 4s, but is roomy enough for many MP3 players, or phones with a smaller footprint.
The fit of the XXL (the size I normally wear) was great for my size, with sleeves that are of ample length, even when in a riding position. The length of the jersey was also appropriate for my 6’5” frame, which is (sadly) not always the case for cycling jerseys. The neck-hole (collar?) was just large enough to fit my head through with stretching it, which is appreciated when the weather is cooler, which is after all, what this jersey is designed for.
What it all added up to for me, was a jersey that I didn’t really think about while riding, which is a compliment in the same way that the best referee in a sporting match is the one you never notice. It just does its job well and gives you no real reason to think about it rather than concentrating on the true task at hand; riding my mountain bike.
Note: Zoic sent over their products at no charge to Twenty Nine Inches for test and review. We are not being paid, nor bribed for these reviews and we will strive to give our honest thoughts and opinions throughout.