With roots dating back nearly twenty years, Ground Effects is no new comer to technical riding gear. Started in 1994, the company has dedicated itself to producing high quality clothing that is both affordable and understated.
Today, they’ve expanded that mission to include environmentally sustainable business practices. Not only is the gear designed by cyclists for cyclists, it’s made in New Zealand out of locally sourced fabrics. That’s all good and great, but how does the gear perform on the trail?
Hot Toddy Long Sleeve
The Hot Toddy Long Sleeve top is listed as thermal underwear, but can be worn alone or layered when the temperature dips. It’s not quite the depth of winter yet, but the jersey is plenty warm when riding in the 50s . When it gets windy out, you will want to have a gore-tex type jacket within reach.
One thing to note, is that Merino Wool doesn’t wick sweat as efficiently as modern polyester fabrics, but it is more odor resistant. Which makes this number a great bet for touring. Unlike many cycling tops, this long sleeve does not have pockets. Which is a negative for those who’ve grown addicted to riding without a pack. What it does offer is a measure of camouflage. With it’s unassuming cut, few will guess you’re actually a dorky cyclist when you’re out running errands or stopping for a brew.
The size small top fit my 5’8 frame well, with enough room to wear a light t-shirt underneath. The best feature of this top is the lack of seems across the shoulders. So the jersey is form fitting without making you feel like the She-Hulk.
My favorite feature was the adjustable “Trim Tabs” located on the front of the shorts. Unlike shorts with the velcro tabs located inside the waistband, you can wear the Ground Effects short without a liner and not worry about any exposed velcro chaffing your skin.
The fit is loose but not baggy. Compared to offerings from Dakine and RaceFace, the sizing is on the smaller side of a medium, but if sometimes find you fall somewhere between a small or medium – these will fit perfectly.
The shorts also offer plenty of room for knee pads. The G-Form pads pictured are fairly minimal, but you could easily run a more robust pad underneath these shorts. A full on DH knee pad like the 661 Kyle Straights might feel a little tight.
My only complaint about this model is the lack of pockets. The singular pocket is just barely large enough to zip up with an iPhone 4s inside. Since the Hot Toddy Top doesn’t come with pockets either, they are best paired with a hydration pack.
Dove Tail Mesh Shorts
The Dove Tail liners are Ground Effect’s entry level chaomis, but don’t confuse low cost with low quality. The liners are extremely breathable and utilize a soft ~2″ wide textured-lycra cuff that gently grips your thighs.
The actual chamois was comfortable for longer rides, but the shorts tend to ride up uncomfortably when pedaling. Sizing felt right but perhaps going down a size would have ameliorated the issue.
On The Trail
True to their reputation, Ground Effects delivers quality in an understated package. The refreshing lack of logos keeps you flying under the radar and riding in style. Fit was spot on, although it did run a touch smaller than similar American offerings. So far they have held up admirably through several washings and I expect they will last for years to come. My only complaint is the lack of pockets. This is a common non-feature of women’s clothing in general, but is a trend I’d rather not see extended to outdoor oriented clothing.
If you’re in the market for simple high quality gear, look no further. Not only is the clothing competitively priced with many of the big-box companies that dominate the industry, but as an added bonus, it’s sustainably produced in New Zealand by a rider owned company.
Tyler has several mens items in for review as well, so stay tuned for the XY perspective.
For more gear, visit Ground Effects