Since Charge launched their Surface Clothing range back in Spring, over the summer pretty much all of the office staff have been wearing a hoodie, shorts, or both! Aimed a bit more at the commuter / urban end of the market, the range is practical on the bike and also stylish enough to wear off the bike too (don’t all reviews say that??). Well, this gear is. I’ve been using the hoodie and shorts for a few months now, on my commute, on shorter MTB rides, a trip to the Alps, and just generally out and about.
The Surface hoodie is probably the most versatile item of the range – it is made of a lightweight material called Liquistretch and comes in black or brown. The thickness is just right; if you are riding around town, it will keep you warm when it gets a bit chilly (as the mornings as now becoming), but you won’t overheat if the sun comes out. It is comfy and the fit is good and on the slim cut side (no bagginess, especially around the arms which I like, and the length is just right). I also like how it feels when zipped right up, it goes right up to your chin and has a little zip garage for comfort. I take a medium in most clothing ranges, and this fitted me just right.
The best feature though is the material – it is basically water repellent. So if you are caught in a shower, the rain drops will magically run right off, behold!
This makes it perfect if you have a short commute, to and from the train station maybe, or just generally have shorter rides. I’ve been caught in a lot of showers and have remained totally dry – in prolonged heavier rain, you’ll need something a bit more heavy duty, but this does the job perfectly in those short showers or drizzle. So now I’m getting quite good at gloating / pointing out how well it works to everyone I meet when it’s raining.
This is a very practical piece of clothing, looks good, and there is nothing else really on the market like it. I am sure it will get even more use as we move into autumn!
Like the hoodie the Surface shorts are also made of Liquistretch, and perform exactly as well in the showers / light rain – these wont prevent you getting a wet arse on a long ride in the rain / mud (tell me a short that does!), but on shorter trips they are excellent. The material is really quite stretchy so very comfortable. The cut is nice and on the thinner side too, so no flapping around. I’ve been wearing these on both the mountain bike and road bike, and they are very at home on either. Sizing wise, I tried a Medium / 32” but they were actually quite tight around the waist, so I ended up taking a 34”, which was much more comfortable even though there is a little give in the waist. Another plus point is that the material is also actually very good in the heat, I wore these shorts over the whole weekend at Bikeradar, most of which I spent lapping the MTB and road circuits – it was baking hot that weekend and I was kept nice and cool.
If its dry, I’ll be wearing these shorts riding, but if I know its going to be wetter, I’d probably stick to something more suited to the mud. On a practical note, both the hoodie and shorts are dead easy to clean in a single wash, even when pretty muddy, and I have found they dry extremely quickly too. And most importantly, they have retained their water resistance!