Established back in the mid-80’s as a specialist store for camping gear & apparel, Kathmandu has grown over the past 2 decades to become one of the largest outdoors retailers in both Australia and New Zealand. Ask any of your mates where they got their polar fleece or thermal bottoms from, and aside from telling you it’s none of your god damn business, chances are that they got them from within the walls of one of the huge green & gold stores. The outdoors gear giant has had plenty of crossover products in the past that have straddled the needs between mountain biking, bushwalking and climbing, but with the off-road and urban cycling markets continuing to grow at a rapid rate in both Australia and New Zealand, Kathmandu is looking to fine-tune their garments with a dedicated line of riding gear.
Last year Kathmandu introduced their first mountain bike baggies, called the Rouler Shorts. Using a lightweight and stretchy outer shell, the Rouler has an appeal not just for casual mountain bikers but also commuters and recreational cyclists too. There’s a padded liner that is built into the outer shell, which uses a Coolmax lining for better breathability that say, wearing board shorts over the top of cycling nicks. Available in Black or Carbon colours with an RRP of $159.98.
Next up in the range is the new Partenza Short, which builds upon the Rouler with a higher quality and flexible outer shell that uses a material mix of 12% Elastane & 88% Nylon, for less restriction whilst pedalling. The padded liner is removable in the Partenza, so that you can wash the inner short separately, and also wear the outer shell with your existing bib nicks if you prefer. There’s a bit more length in comparison to the Rouler and a few more available pockets as well. Only available in Black and with an RRP of $239.98, the Partenza is competing with some pretty high-end mountain bike shorts, so we’ll be keen to check these out soon to see how they compare.
Bearing in mind the oncoming Aussie Winter, Kathmandu also make a range of thermals and cold-weather accessories for those crisp mornings out on the trail or along the bike path on the way to work. We really like the look of the ‘Butte Beanie‘, which is a thin Merino skull cap that’s designed to fit neatly underneath your helmet. Available in Blue or Black, the Butte sells for $39.98.
If your ears have a habit of freezing off during Winter rides, then the Advection Earmuff could be better for you, with it’s Windstopper outer shell and warm fleece-lining helping to keep the cold wind off your noggin. Kathmandu also apply the same material to a full beanie, long-finger gloves and a ‘neck gaiter’ that could very well be your ticket to shielding your throat and neck from fierce gales. RRP on the Earmuff is $59.98.
The keystone of the 2013 Winter range, the Silverdome Jacket highlights the recent push from Kathmandu and their design team into producing better dedicated cycling gear. It isn’t a full waterproof, but more designed as a windproof outer shell that packs down easily into your riding bag, ready to be pulled out when the weather turns foul. Clever loops at the end of each sleeve allow you to hook your thumb through them to stop the jacket from riding up your arms and helping to keep the cold air outside. There’s a storm flap chin guard, zippered pockets, and an MP3 pocket on the front of the chest with an internal headphone port too.
Like most of the Kathmandu cycling apparel, the Silverdome comes in both Womens and Mens versions. It also has a clever party trick with the zip-off sleeves that turn it into a vest when required. This is perfect for rides where you start out cold and need the extra thermal protection, but once you warm up you can remove the sleeves to allow for better circulation around your upper back and armpits. The Silverdome can be had in Black or Aqua (Mens) and Black or Pink (Womens) and retails for $289.98.
While not necessarily designed for mountain bike racing, the new Delter Pants hint at Kathmandu’s push into the urban cycling and ‘crossover’ market. With a close-fitting cut that uses a polyester construction with a small blend of stretchy Elastane, they’re designed to stay close to skin and avoid the flapping-in-the-breeze tendency that a lot of other riding pants are guilty of. A very neat feature is the inclusion of a reflective logos on the inside of the lower pant leg, so that when you roll up the base (to minimise any rubbing on the drivetrain) you make yourself just a little bit more visible to traffic on the city streets. There’s currently only the Black colour available, and the Delters sell for $159.98.
While there’s far too many cycling accessories from Kathmandu for us to list here, we do like the look of their new riding bags, and especially the Mirage AMA Pack. It’s built as a hardy trail pack, coming in at around 800 grams with a thick polyester/nylon construction and includes an internal sleeve to fit up to a 3L hydration bladder. There are two main storage compartments complete with internal organisers, with compression buckles and an adjustable harness to fit the pack to your torso. There’s the Green/Carbon colour above, though if you don’t like the acid-look, there’s a more sedate Black colour also available. RRP for the Mirage is $179.98.
We’re hoping to get our hands on some of the new Kathmandu gear for testing in the coming weeks to see how it fares against the more established cycling brands. In the meantime, you can check out more of the range at the Kathmandu Website.