Scotland and Australia may be located 10,000 miles apart in totally different hemispheres with opposing seasons but when you actually think about it, we do have a surprising amount in common.
For starters we both love booze. A lot. And we’re also both pretty good at rugby (I’m being kind, we’re actually much better) and we definitely both have far too many annoying bitey insects to contend with on a regular basis.
One thing we don’t normally have in common however is spanking hot weather. Anyone who’s spent any decent amount of time in Scotland will know that there’s really no such thing as ‘barbie season’ in this country but this year has been different. 2018 has treated us to an exceptionally hot and swelteringly sunny McSummer so far - a real Aussie ripper in fact.
Endless long, hot days with full-on 30 degree solar glare have seen us Scots emerge from our Buckfast-shaped bedrooms blinking into the light and reaching for the Factor 550 before throwing ourselves head first into as many outdoor activities as humanly possible.
Carpe-ing the f**k out of these mega hot Diems has been the order of the day in recent weeks and has finally presented a long awaited opportunity to put some new Aussie Grit MTB gear to the test.
Founded by the uber-talented and enormously popular ex-F1 Australian racing driver Mark Webber, new brand Aussie Grit produce top quality, exceptionally well designed off road biking and running gear.
Renowned for his mega fitness, apparently Mark has always hated the claustrophobic nature of the gym (a man after our own hearts), preferring instead to get his fitness kicks outdoors and push himself on nature’s vertical.
Having retired from driving in 2016, Mark’s considerable energies have been channeled into various projects with Aussie Grit arguably closest to his heart.
A collection of no-nonsense, fit for purpose off road apparel for male and female trail runners and endurance mountain bikers, Aussie Grit has authentic adventure and fitness foundations so we were super keen to give the kit a try.
Test Location - Torridon
With its stunning mountains, spectacular lochs, world-class singletrack and fairly decent selection of hostelries, Torridon is right up there when it comes to mountain biking destinations.
At 24km, the Beinn Damh circuit is by no means the most epic route in the ‘hood but when temperatures are up in the 30’s and clegs (aka asshole horseflies) are out in their gazillions, it’s a pretty good option for a short day out. Remote lochs, jaw dropping mountain views, technical climbs, and epic descents – it’s a pretty good circuit for anyone looking for a Torridon taster.
Plus it begins and ends at a pub. Winner.
We opted for the Bike Jersey as it promised functionality for the demands of the trip and the conditions and the Bike Shell was there for emergencies and extra protection if things turned thunder-tastic.
The understated-looking Bike Jersey is a road bike style top with a slim stretch fit, full zip, high round neck and series of easily accessible back pockets.
It slides on a treat, feels immediately smooth against the skin and fits close to the body without that restrictive feeling that you can get from other similarly snug-fitting tops.
Constructed using four way stretch fabrics, the Bike Jersey holds its form and offers unrestricted freedom of movement when pushing hard on the technical sections of the trail. With zero chafing and/or bunching in the wrong places, the Bike Jersey took us from the long hot sweaty ascent to the woopla fun of the downhill without having to stop and adjust the top at any point.
As already mentioned, it was a super hot day and the Bike Jersey’s 50+ UV protection, mid bicep sleeves and high zip neck combined brilliantly to help us avoid looking like a crispy crimson sunburnt Scot in the pub at the end of the day. The breathable perforated fabric in the Jersey’s front and rear panels and stretch mesh side panels also did a might fine job in keeping us as cool and stink-free as possible out on the trail which was no mean feat considering the demands of the day and the 30 degree temps.
The addition of rear pockets onto a MTB jersey is a new one for us. Whilst we can see the point if you’re out for a quick blast around the block or doing races where you don’t have to carry more than a few gels at a time, most of our trips are a bit more wilderness-based and as a result we always carry a backpack with spare tubes, tools, water, extra layers, food, head torch, emergency shelter, first aid kit etc.
Having said that the pockets combined with the overall race-style of the Bike Jersey does open up its functionality to road cycling which is no bad thing if you’re into both disciplines and looking for a 2-for-1 top.
Whilst the Bike Shell stayed firmly in the pack for the majority of this ride, we did pop it on at the trailhead at the end of the trip when the sun and body temperatures began to cool down a tad. Waterproof and breathable, this 3 layer soft shell is a really well designed bit of kit with multiple impressive off road-specific features such as longer rear cut, waterproof auto-locking zips, reflective highlights, and silicone gripper that stops the jacket from riding up at the back.
We’re particular fans of the asymmetric zip as it adds a point of differentiation in terms of style and makes it compatible with other zip top layers in the Aussie Grit collection.
We used it a couple of months ago on a quick spin around the Golspie Wildcat MTB trails in the Highlands and had zero complaints. It’s definitely a rugged jacket and is best suited to cool, wet, muddy conditions aka normal Scottish summer conditions!
In terms of overall look, think off-road subtle Rapha-type style rather than baggy gnarly downhill dude.
If functionality and performance are your primary goals and you’re into close fitting off road endurance biking apparel then Aussie Grit Apparel is definitely worth a look.
The collection is expanding all the time and we look forward to seeing what Mark and the team come up with next.
All together now - Aussie Aussie Aussie…
The Nitty Gritty
Buy this kit - if you're looking for to straight forward, well made off road endurance clothing that will dig in and perform when you really need it
If you buy this kit – you won't have anything to blame apart from yourself
Don’t buy this kit – unless you're prepared to throw a metaphorical shrimp on the barbie when things get tough out on the trail
- Perforated four-way stretch fabric under the arms
- Durable fabric used in sleeves to reduce snagging/tearing
- Four rear pockets include one water resistant, zipped phone pocket
- Premium fabric with advanced wicking properties and 50+ permanent UV protection
- Reflective back pocket zip for visibility at night
- Longer tail to protect from mud and dirt
- 3-layer soft shell fabric with waterproof and breathable membrane
- Reflective highlights on arms and rear logo
- Offset zip designed to layer with Aussie Grit gilet and jersey
- Vertical chest pocket with laser cut earphone eyelet inside
- Silicone Gripper ensures shell doesn’t ‘ride up’ at the back
- Binding at cuffs for close fit and to stop water getting in
- Longer tail to protect from mud and dirt
Brand Nationality: AUSTRALIA/UK