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Product Review Apparel from DHaRCO
Most of the big time mountain biking apparel makes you either look like a Transformer wearing pyjama’s or a stealth secret service agent trying to hide his identity. In an oh so refreshing way, DHaRCO has made a presence in our world as a super high quality riding brand and brought the good vibes with it. DHaRCO (Downhill associated Riders co) brings a coastal lifestyle feel to their range that feels casual enough to pull in for a burger and beer after standing on the podium at a local race wearing the same kit.
True to their commonly known hash tag #noordinarylife, DHaRCO shares the philosophy with riders that jumping on your bike washes the stress of the day away and brings the good times. It’s my pleasure to have worn some of the gear available from www.dharco.com
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Item: Mens SS Jersey (three versions shown are Deep Red, Blue Steel and Atoll Leaves)
Purchased From: DHaRCO (www.dharco.com)
Purchase Price (approx): $69.95
Usage: Downhill, enduro, trail riding, giving Labrador’s chin scratches.
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I’ve worn the SS jerseys from the end of winter into our hot summer. We aren’t known for super cold winters on the Mid North Coast of NSW but I haven’t worn anything under one of these jerseys to keep me warm on those ten degree mornings. The material is a great quality moisture wicking and quick drying polyester with a nifty small pocket on the side and mesh panels to keep the air circulating. They are a loose fit and sizing is so perfect in this range with great length overall and perfectly positioned short sleeves that don’t bunch up and bug you.
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Initially, it feels like a heavier jersey but is designed as something you wear in summer. Perhaps it was a win win situation that this works well to keep you warm enough and it vents well enough to keep you cool in summer! I’ve worn each of the jerseys on the three types of rides I do: Downhill, enduro and XC loops around the local. In the downhill world, the jersey doesn’t flap around and pull at your armpits like some do, it’s a very nice loose fit that would have ample room around the chest for the folks who wear some light body armour. I often run elbow pads and although this is a short sleeve design, I don’t look too much like a massive dork with skin showing between the sleeves and the top of the elbow guard; fashion over function and all that. ;) The only time you sweat on a downhill ride is after the pinned lap and jumping back in the car to head up again and I must say this is where I noticed the seemingly heavier feel. While the jersey does breathe so well, it does cling a little in the spots where the moisture of your sweat has wicked away but once you’re up and moving and not sitting in the car, it basically dries to that crisp new feel right away.
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On a casual trail ride, the jersey is damn near perfect. You’re rolling along without a pack on and you’re having a good time. There’s no sweaty sticky back panel going on and it stays a true fit without riding up and hanging on anywhere. The small side pocket is big enough to carry a snack or your car keys but being a casual loose fit, I wouldn’t put anything weighty in there that might swing around and annoy you. With that said, maybe treat it as a nifty spot to store your lift pass. ;)
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So it feels great and wears well on a cruisey ride and it looks and feels rad on a downhill ride. How about those long days riding enduro trails though? Fear not! It’s a deadest winner but you will notice the unvented area blocked by your backpack if you carry one on those long climbs but name me a jersey that doesn’t block the ventilation when you’re packed up? I have a rule of thumb that when climbing, I’m not out to beat the world but I want to be comfortable and eliminate the annoying things that can make a climb arduous and uninteresting. One of those things is a jersey that doesn’t cop a hiding when wearing a pack with parts of the jersey roiling up around the straps of the bag and of course not scrunching up around my back when I’m pushing pretty hard. The polyester material DHaRCO have entrusted the design in sits so freely on your torso that bunching is just not a thing but again, you’ll get a sweaty back around your pack. Once you’re at the top though, sit back, take your pack off and relax, that SS jersey will be dry in no time.
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Have I had a crash wearing these jerseys? Yep. I have had a couple in different scenarios: One I slipped a front tyre on a sandy loose surface and hugged a recently burnt tree. The white portion of the Deep Red jersey instantly turned a nasty shade of charcoal but alas; no tears or long lasting marks! The ash washed off in a normal cycle with other colours in the wash and looked as good as new.
I’ve hit the deck twice wearing the Blue Steel SS jersey, both on dusty occasions. Same deal as the charcoal tree; the dirt just washes off leaving no trace. One of the impacts was an over the bars moment and my left shoulder had a pretty hard impact. I thought it would have ripped for sure but luckily for me, it wasn’t a hard enough hit to dent the material and it’s as fresh as daisy’s after a wash.
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All in all, the SS jersey is basically all I’ve worn for a few months and along with the recently reviewed Nukeproof range I reviewed, this stuff is all I plan to wear for the foreseeable future. It’s affordable, it’s really nice to wear and the range is great. The DHaRCO designs are so eye catching that they create their own impression and presence and are instantly recognisable in any crowd but not too blaringly obnoxious. The subtle approach to a good design with tastefully placed branding is cool. You can of course get loud with the Party designs emblazing flamingo’s and palm trees too!
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To compliment the comfort of the jersey’s, I’ve also run a set of the Rouge mens gloves. What makes a good glove is truly in the hands of what you desire. For me, it’s about a good fit that leaves no extra material dangling off my fingers, good contact at the base of your fingers, a firm fitting wrist and a grippy palm. These bad boys boast touch screen compatibility for the all important Instagram uploads and a cool thin gel line of text that not only gives you grip on your brake lever finger but extra traction across the palm. Aside from the obvious features, what I love most of the fit around your wrist. There’s no Velcro, no strap, just a firm elastic feel that never budges. Two thumbs up for sure!
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The only disappointment I have is the shorts. I cannot offer any insight on the goodness of materials, the function of the fitting around the waist or the pockets etc etc ‘cause............they are so small. I typically wear an XXL size and vary between a 38 to 40 in most sizes but these shorts are a small fit. Two local guys who regularly wear a large are tight in an XL and more comfortable in a XXL. I can only hope the DHaRCO range includes some more generous sizing for the shorts in the future as they look mint and I want some in my stable!
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DHaRCO do offer an expanding range and the 2019 stuff is popping up on the online store as we speak. You can treat yourself to some cool gear including the rad women’s range, hats, a youth range, the reliable stubby holder, the nicely finished frame wrap as well as shorts and gloves. It’s been so cool seeing the rise of DHaRCO to the world stage but still so much more rewarding to see a brand supporting the grassroots weekend warrior folks. The brand is becoming a renowned presence at just about every venue you go to in Australia and becoming very common in New Zealand and Canada. Too many companies lose their grip on the little things that seem to matter to most so it’s great to see these guys kicking butt on all levels.
Treat yourself to some flash looking gear that performs so well. Wearing the DHaRCO stuff is a total pleasure and you’ll be so happy you joined the party.
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You know what is hotter than the pending Australian summer? This 2019 Polygon Siskiu N9 from Bicycles Online! This is the Polygon enduro bike we’ve waited for and boy does it deliver!
When you make a shortlist of things you want when looking at your next enduro bike you’ll ask is it long travel? Tick. Is it super plush dual suspension? Tick. Can I ride it up the dreaded climbs a bunch of times? You bet! You want it to be half the price of bikes with a similar spec? Have it! Is it possibly the nicest frame design matched with a bang on set of colours? You bet!
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Item: Shingleback Off Road five bike rack
Purchased From: Shingleback Off Road ( www.shinglebackoffroad.com )
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