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Staying comfortable in the elements with Pactimo’s new Ascent, Stratos, and Divide pieces

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Pactimo got its start creating custom clothing for teams back in 2003. Since then, they have expanded their offerings and now have a full line of off the rack apparel. A Colorado brand, Pactimo prides itself on making quality clothing that performs in a wide range of conditions. For 2017, Pactimo has several new pieces along with updates to long running items. Read more about two new pieces from Pactimo, their Stratos bibs and Divide vest, and their updated Ascent 3.0 jersey to learn how they performed…

Stratos Bibs 
Pactimo calls the Stratos their “12 hour short”, and that’s asking a lot of a short. It has to fit well, have a comfortable chamois, breathe well, not bind, and support without constricting. While I didn’t quite put in a 12 hour day in the Stratos, I did put some solid long days in the saddle on them and was duly impressed.

Starting with the chamois (because if the chamois isn’t right nothing else really matters), Pactimo worked with chamois maker Cytech to create what they call their Endurance Anatomic Super Air chamois. The goal is to keep the chamois in place once it’s on, and I had no movement during my rides. I appreciate a thinner chamois, and this one has just enough padding in the right place.

For the fabric, Pactimo chose Cerami-K, a unique fabric that has a rough texture on the outside. That texture comes from the ceramic particles bonded to the outer which help remove moisture and pull away heat. Cerami-K is also abrasion resistant, so the fabric does not wear down or pill. This layer will also give you some protection should you lay it down in a loose corner.

The 10.5 inch inseam finishes with a 7.5cm or 4.5cm compression leg band (your choice) with a soft silicone gripper to stay in place. I like the length, and the silicone isn’t anything like the silicone grippers of the past. It’s soft and unnoticeable, just what you want. Flat lock stitching is a necessary detail for a long ride short like this.

Overall, these are some of the best performing bibs I’ve worn. The feel is soft and they move well to the point of being hardly noticeable. The chamois does conform well to your body, staying in place and offer true all day comfort. For my long rides they were my go-to short and if you are really going out on a 12 hour ride, the Stratos would be a great choice. They retail for $225, a cost that is well below many others top performers, so you can afford to buy two pair.

Ascent 3.0 Jersey

The next iteration of the Ascent line, the 3.0 continues with what made the Ascent 2.0 so popular and adds a few key changes. SwiftDry fabric up front and BreatheLITE mesh panels at the back make for an incredibly light jersey. The cut is slim, but the stretch of the fabrics give it the flexibility to move with you and the feel is soft to the skin. Pactimo adheres to the latest trend in sleeve length, with longer sleeves that use a soft compression arm band to keep everything tight and in place. There are the standard three rear pockets with a silicone gripper across the back to keep things place.
On rides through the mountains and on the flats I found the Ascent 3.0 to be a solid performing jersey. The fit was a perfect for me, slim and close to the body but not constrictive or annoyingly tight. With more form fitting jerseys, the feel of the fabric takes on greater importance, and I was impressed with SwiftDry. It has the right blend of stretch and softness that kept me comfortable mile after mile. And speaking of comfort, the anti-chafe tape across the neck is also a nice added touch. For longer days, I was able to pack a vest, arm warmers, food, and a pump into the pockets. Even loaded down, the pockets remained stable and in place.

At $100, the Ascent 3.0 is a great multi use piece that is tight enough for the aero obsessed crit racer but has the comfort and storage to be your all day jersey.

Divide Vest
I love the versatility of vests and have a small but growing collection. That may come to an end with Divide. For me, the fit was the biggest plus. I despise the flapping of a wind vest, it’s just annoying. I’ve used a few Pactimo vests in the past and sized down from a medium to a small to keep windflap at bay. With the Divide, I stuck to my usual size medium and the fit proved to be the perfect balance of close to the body but not constrictive. A large part of this is due to the cut. Pactimo rolls the shoulders forward, as you do when you’re riding. This cuts down on excessive material being bunched up and catching wind. The shoulders also taper inwards more than most vests I’ve worn, again reducing windflap.

A vest needs to protect your core as well, so Pactimo uses a wind resistant material for the front, side, and shoulder panels. It’s plenty light but does the trick when descending or rolling out as the sun comes up. The back has a stretch mesh panel running down the middle to help with heat release. A large silicone gripper runs along the back to keep it tucked close to your body. If your pockets are loaded down, the gripper helps keep things stable. All of this will pack down into your fist and fit easily in a jersey pocket.

The Divide instantly became my go to vest for any ride. It’s packability made it an easy decision to bring along for chilly morning starts and ride into the mountains. My ultimate test was riding down Trail Ridge Road, the highest continuous road in North America topping out at 11,700 ft., in a small snow/hail storm. I packed the Divide in my back pocket knowing the descent would be a chilly one with a slight chance of rain. What I did not expect was the snow/hail that pelted me for a solid 15 minutes as I descended back down to the trees. While my cheeks stung and hands felt the bite, my core stayed surprisingly warm and I never got that deep in your core chill. With a retail of $90, it’s a investment you won’t regret.

I was impressed with each item, blending smart features with versatile fabrics and real world technologies. Pactimo continues to refine and innovate their already strong line up to make clothing that will enhance your ride mile after mile.

Zach’s Take:

jersey Pactimo summer weight jersey and base layer

I ended up with a similar collection of the new Pactimo goods as AJ, though I found myself spending the better part of the summer in the Ascent Air 3.0 jersey with or without the Zero-Weight Base Layer. My rides this year have either been scorching hot and humid – or cold with torrential rain. For the hot ones, the combination of the Stratos bibs, Ascent Air, and Zero-Weight base layer seems to be unbeatable. Using the same Zero-Weight mesh on the Ascent Air jersey, the two pieces do a fantastic job of keeping you cool and mostly dry depending on the weather. The Ascent Air 3.0 does a good job of making an incredibly breathable jersey without looking too sheer (I’ve yet to get sunburned through the jersey), and the fit is similar to the Ascent 3.0 jersey with a snug, but comfortable fit. As usual, I’m right on the edge between small and medium so the zipper gets a bit tight around my collarbone, but only in that very specific spot. Otherwise, fully zipped, or unzipped it stretches and fit’s well without a lot of puckering at the zipper.

Initially, I was skeptical about the Statos bibs being any cooler than a bib without the ceramic printing, but there really does seem to be some cooling effect going on. Even if it’s just a placebo effect, they are still insanely comfortable and great for long rides. If you’d rather go full matchy-matchy, Pactimo has color coordinated Ascent Vector Bibs as well.

See these items and more (which are all part of their July Stages sales event) at Pactimo.com.

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6 years ago

Any silicon grippers? I hate grippers of any kind, since they grab hair follicles and sort of force them to be ingrown, creating rash areas.

5 years ago


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