Chicken Line is a three year old Italian brand, created by Elena Borroni, who started mountain biking seven years ago and found that the clothing options for women were lacking. So, she left the lighting industry after 20 years and went for it, launching her own collection. Based in Milan, all of the garments are made in Italy from Italian fabrics. And the name? It’s a playful jab at the “chicken line”, a colloquialism for the easy route, or ride around, adjacent to a dangerous technical trail feature.
It’s meant as a joke, not a suggestion that women can’t take the hard lines, but it’s memorable, helping the brand stand out. And, I mean, c’mon, that’s a cute chicken logo, too. Oh, and Elena rode all the good stuff with us while we were ripping around Dolomiti Paganella Bike Parks in Andalo. That’s her riding in the top photo.
She went big from the start. The launch collection included 25 pieces, and after just three years, they have more than 70 pieces. Options range from baggie shorts to tank tops, short- and long-sleeve jerseys, hoodies, wind-blocker vests, gloves, socks, and more. There are colorful options with nice graphics, and there are darker, more solid options for markets like the UK that are often muddy.
Sizes were originally just S, M and L, but as they grew, they had more requests from more women looking for smaller and larger options. Now, the range runs from XXS all the way up to XXL, offered in all the colors and styles. So, super small riders that used to have to buy kids clothes (which are also lacking in options, BTW) now have proper options, and bigger riders aren’t limited to just black.
Everything’s sold direct through their website, and everything is made in limited editions, so when they’re gone, they’re gone…mostly. They’ve found a few pieces that were so popular that they kept them in the line permanently. And if things sell out too quickly, which Elena says is happening more and more frequently, they’ll re-order a run or two in order to finish out the season. Another nice touch is that each season’s collection uses coordinated colors across all pieces, so you can match several jerseys with several shorts, and the accessories match, too.
The new 2019 line uses elasticized Cordura for the shorts, which is lightweight but stretchy, and they get a DWR treatment. And the cargo pockets are larger to fit today’s oversized cell phones. All of the jerseys get a zippered size pocket, plus a microfiber patch on the inside to clean your sunglasses or goggles. Jersey’s range from fitted XC/gravel style jerseys up to 3/4 and long sleeve freeride jerseys.
The vests get a fitted hood that goes under your helmet, and they pack down into their own zippered pocket. Their windbreaker jacket also packs down into it’s own pocket and ends up small enough to fit in a jersey pocket.
Socks are also well thought out, offering three different lengths and made with ultrasoft materials. The tallest cuff option adds a little padding at the top, too, to protect against pebble and pedal strikes. Gloves come in thin and padded versions, and the pad extends further back down the palm to offer more cushion no matter your hand position.