- Sizes: S, M, L, XL (see chart)
The state-of-art eXo™ skeletal pad delivers maximum performance for those who ride long and fast. >Pad and shorts' outer fabric are laminated as a single layer - providing increased precision with minimal movement between the fabrics and your saddle. >Near seamless interface between pad and shorts' body. >External and internal differential-density mouldings provide additional padding at pressure points without increased bulk. >3D anatomical shaping and seamless construction hug your body for a performance fit. >Polyester-knit face fabric against your skin disperses heat and moisture. >Anti-bacterial finish maintains hygiene. >Dries rapidly after washing.
Baked Alaska, Snake Bites & Lucifers — Bike Rumor, Feb 14
New Zealand’s Ground Effect clothing company has recently started a push for U.S. customers, and that’s a good thing. Saris reviewed a few of the women’s mountain bike pieces and liked them. I’ve been testing their men’s road stuff for the past few months and have come away mostly impressed.
The items include their Baked Alaska long sleeve partial wind block jersey, the Snake Bite bib knickers, Lucifer wind block socks and Baked Beanie. All have performed very well, providing plenty of warmth and comfort with well conceived features like New Zealand Merino wool, snug leg cuffs, their “exo-skeletal” chamois pad and cycling specific cuts.
The Baked Alaska jersey uses a Windfoil soft-shell panel over the neck, chest and abdomen with an overall merino interior face and polyester exterior. The Snake Bites use a four-way stretch, lighter weight merino fabric with textured Lycra cuffs at the leg openings that keep them solidly in place.
The jersey is form fitting without being overly tight, particularly around the neck. That’s good because it kept my neck warm without making me feel like it was going to choke me or inhibit head movement…so I was more likely to keep it zipped up and warm. Sizing is really the only issue we have with their stuff, which I’ll explain a bit further down.
Sleeves have thumb holes and are long enough to actually use them without pulling the jersey too taut across the backs of the shoulders. The fleecy interior is soft and warm, with or without a base layer. I found both pieces to work very well on their own down to the high 50º’s (F). From mid-50º’s and down, a thin short- or long-sleeve base layer was all that was necessary to make them work down to the mid-40º’s. For the bottoms, I simply slid a de-chamoised pair of cycling shorts over top below 50º.
There are only two pockets, both oversized, rather than the standard three. Not 100% in love with that, but don’t hate it either. Long zipper tabs on the pockets, jersey front and bibs are easy to grab even with thick winter gloves. The jerseys come with a standard tube/tire patch sewn inside it. The top of the zipper seam has reflective piping.
One downside to the slightly looser fit and huge pocket openings, is that once you get a gloved hand all the way in, it can be a bit of a wrestling match to get it out. About the fit. The tail is extended quite a bit, and the stretchy nature of wool means heavier items in the pocket can exaggerate the length a bit. At 6’2″, I originally ordered an XL, but it was simply gargantuan and the tail hung well below my butt.
It’s worth noting that there’s a Frosty Boy that uses the windproof material all the way across the sleeves for just $20 more. Both items are available in multiple colours. Women’s versions are also on tap.
The fit on the Snake Bite bibs was spot on with a size Large. Perhaps the most visually different feature on them is the non-hidden chamois panel. We’ve only seen this on one other brand, and the idea is to reduce the number of fabric layers between you and the saddle. That means less slipping and sliding and a more direct feel with the bike. There’s still padding, and very good padding at that, so they remain comfortable.
The front section covers a good portion of the abs for improved warmth, and a long zipper with garage panel at the top make nature breaks easier. Straps are wide but comfortable. The material throughout is thinner than the jersey, so when first heading out it was a bit chilly. After a few miles though they were perfect at the above mentioned temps.
The other visual standout is the textured Lycra cuffs. They look good, have reflective tabs on the back and are very comfortable. They come down over the calf – which means, as with the jersey, shorter folks should pay careful attention to the sizing.
The Baked Beanie is pretty straightforward: Merino fabric with wind block band to protect the forehead and ears. It doesn’t come down far enough to fully cover the ear lobes, but does the trick on non-freezing days.
The Lucifer socks are simply bad ass. I wore them during the Biltmore NCCX race with at-freezing temps with regular, well vented Shimano mountain bike shoes and it was just the right combo. Toes remained mobile and with feeling, and I saved the rotational weight of full winter boots. They’re slim enough to fit into virtually any cycling shoe, and the seams sit on top of the toes rather than the front. It, and all the other pieces shown here, have flat seams. Insides are fleecy and warm. Honestly, these things are amazing. Couple them with shoe covers on the super cold days and you’re golden.
Whether wool’s your thing or not (they have plenty of items without it too), Ground Effect clothing is worth a look. They’ve got a huge range of mens and womens cycling clothes for all seasons, plus a few casual items, and so far, everything we’ve tested has been very nice.
Tyler Benedict bikerumor.com
Snake Bites — Bicycles.net.au, Oct 12
It was very much about wearing the right gear for the weather, and so this review of two pairs of Ground Effect knicks has been a long time in the making. The knicks, Supersonics and Snake Bites, arrived as autumn was rapidly disappearing into winter; the 3/4 Snake Bite bib knicks were more versatile and got some immediate action, while the Supersonic knicks didn't get much use until the "leg warmer" weather was finished. Now that I've given both a thorough testing, I can finally make some qualified comments.
I used the Supersonic knicks primarily for road biking, but I did also wear them for mountain biking, underneath light shorts of course. I chose the medium size which was a good fit for me; not too tight but firm enough. The wide leg bands are really good; they seem to work well keeping the knicks from bunching up and it was a good feel compared to the narrow and tight cuffs common in knicks. The black is neutral, so if you are after style points, they can be easily matched to the rest of your kit.
On the bike I found that I was adjusting my position on the saddle for the first five to ten kilometres of each ride before I become settled. Every backside is different and some knicks tend to suit me better than others. Once I settled into the knicks however, they were flawless, no discomfort or chaffing, even on long rides. Wearing leg warmers with these worked well, though for cold weather these knicks are a little "light" in the parts you want to keep warm.
The 3/4 Snake Bite bib knicks really suited me well but, I have to admit up front, they are incredibly un-sexy. When people use the pejorative Middle Aged Men in Lycra (MAMIL), they're thinking of me wearing these knicks. I really wasn't helping the cause at all; full length tights or standard knicks are a better look. The annoying flip-side is that they are quite practical and I really enjoyed wearing them.
As bib knicks they are comfortable and add another clothing layer to the lower torso (good for the kidneys). They stretch over, and keep warm, your thighs and knees, and only your lower calves are exposed. During an early morning criterium, another rider in my grade commented that I had no chance of performing in the race with my legs exposed. I don't know whether he was being thoughtful or had spotted me as a serious contender and wanted to intimidate me, but I took the challenge and achieved my best placing for the season in that race. Obviously my legs were warm enough.
Where these knicks really stood out was during long rides with cool early morning starts. They work really well for the transition from cool to warm; you may get a little more air on your calves when it's cold, but when it does warm up they are light enough to keep you from feeling as though you are stuck in jogging pants. It's a bet for both sides; if you face changing weather conditions they leave you a little less exposed and they save you from having to stow leg-warmers in your back pocket.
Compared to the Supersonic knicks, these were comfortable the minute I sat on my bike and didn't need time to adjust and wear in. For long rides I never had issues with a sore backside. The chamois used in the Snake Bites is the (relatively) new eXo skeletal pad and Ground Effect are onto a winner with this, at least for me.
Both of these knicks are well made, they have nice and clean stitching and when you have them in your hands (and on your butt) you can feel that they are quality products. Ground Effect are still making their gear in the land of the long white cloud (New Zealand); they don't outsource their quality.
While the Supersonic knicks are good knicks, the 'Softail' chamois in these didn't seem to fit my backside as well as the Snake Bite 3/4 bib knicks with eXo skeletal chamois. The Snake Bites hit a sweet-spot for me and were perfect for transitional weather and varying riding conditions. Well, almost perfect, as they though don't earn any points from me in the euro-cool department.
If you're into the technical details, like the 4-way stretch nylon lycra, contour fits and multi-level pads, you can read up on these on the Ground Effect website.
Snake Bites — Bike Radar, Mar 10
These tights have been the biggest surprise of the winter. They hail from New Zealand so you won't be surprised to learn they're made, at least in part, from the favoured Kiwi material, merino wool.
The legs are Lycra, though, specifically four-way stretch Hot Shot Lycra which lets your legs spin freely and is sewn with flat-stitched seams for next-to-no-chafing even when wet.
For a bit of extra night-time visibility each leg has a reflective logo on the calf. Keeping things comfortable is a really good seamless synthetic antibacterial chamois. Whether wet or dry, there was no bunching, creep or hot spots. Perfect.
All these great features would be good enough in themselves to have us recommending them, but the SnakeBites have another trick up their leg. The torso portion fits more like a full vest, covering your chest, back and sides.
It's made from quality Heatwave merino wool and wearing it is quite literally a winter riding luxury. You can put a base layer underneath, but our tip is choose a thin one because you'll end up being a bit too roasty-toasty otherwise.
By Justin Loretz, What Mountain Bike.
4-way stretch winter luxury uniquely combines superfine NZ merino against your skin with a tightly woven, hardwearing nylon outer and lycra to stretch and move with your body. Warm as pie. Developed by Ground Effect and knitted for us in New Zealand.
- Composition: 74% nylon; 14% merino; 12% lycra.
A bi-component thermal fabric combining 51% merino wool and 49% polyester. Superfine 18.5 micron New Zealand merino wicks sweat away from your skin while the polyester provides a durable, non-pill outer. Lightweight at just 160gm/m2 and machine washable. Developed by Ground Effect and knitted for us in New Zealand.
- Composition: 51% merino; 49% polyester
Man vs Wild
Merino is unrivalled for comfort as a body layer. It absorbs more moisture than synthetic fibres, mopping up excess sweat rather than letting it settle and cool on your skin. However high-aerobic activities like cycling will often overload ordinary merino. Heatwave's polyester component repels moisture to avoid total saturation of the fabric - so it dries faster to keep you toasty.
Heatwave™ Merino tops are intended to hug your body, ensuring the fabric sits against your skin to wick sweat away - keeping you dry and not chilling out.
Hot 'n' Cold
As a single garment Heatwave™ Merino regulates your temperature through a wide range of conditions. Delivering comfort in all but the hottest climes. Yet it is versatile enough to layer under a WindFoil™, Vortex™ or HydroFoil™ shell in winter.
This chart is a guide only – if you fall in-between sizes, the right size for you will depend on your body shape and how loose or tight you like to wear your clothes. It's no hassle to swap it, if your first choice is not the best fit.
169 - 178 cm
175 - 185 cm
183 - 191 cm
98 - 104 cm
105 - 111 cm
112 - 118 cm
73 - 79 cm
80 - 86 cm
87 - 93 cm
94 - 100 cm
87 - 95 cm
96 - 103 cm
104 - 111 cm
112 - 120 cm
Unisex vs Women's Sizes
Most Ground Effect designs are unisex. The jackets, tights and baggy tops generally fit both men and women equally well. Fitted garments like cycle shorts and some tops are more gender specific so there is generally a women's version in the Outskirts range.
Some Ground Effect designs have an additional 'fit' description to help guide your sizing choice.
Closer fitting tops and jackets with less flap. Typically favoured by disciples of the tarmac, intent on travelling hard and fast. Size up if you need more room.
Also describes the Snug-as-a-Bug fit of Heatwave™ Merino bodywear. These tops are intended to hug your body, ensuring the fabric sits against your skin to wick sweat away — keeping you dry and not chilling out.
Middle-of-the-road comfort for all-purpose riding. Not too tight or too loose — just right for most cyclists in most conditions.
Big and breezy to match your attitude. Lets the breeze blow up your kilt and helps ease the transition from singletrack to café. The default choice when matching with baggy shorts.
Essential bodywear to survive nuclear winters and sub-zero training rides when there's no chance of overheating. Bibs keep you tucked in and the long front zip lets you relieve pressure without breaching too many by-laws.
> eXo™ skeletal pad - 3D anatomical shaping, multi-level foam, rapid drying, seamless synthetic 'chamois' pad with anti-bacterial finish.
> 3/4 length thermal lycra tights for mid-winter performance.
> Heatwave™ Merino bib with long front zip.
> No-elastic waist means zero pressure around your midriff.
> Flat seams. Yum.
> Hazard!™ reflective logos on each calf for increased nocturnal presence.
> Fast-drying, 4-way stretch Hot Shot™ Merino.
> Bandolier™ textured-lycra cuffs.
> Weight: 280 gm.
> Made by us in New Zealand.
Tell me about the pad in these shorts.
> The state-of-art eXo skeletal pad delivers maximum performance for those who ride long and fast. The pad and nylon lycra outer fabric are laminated as a single layer and sewn in as a separate panel - offering a near-seamless interface between the pad and body of the shorts and increased precision with direct contact between the pad and your saddle.
> Combined with variable density foams, 3D anatomical shaping, 4-way stretch and seamless construction, the eXo pad packs one helluva punch.
> There are two main differences between the women's-specific and men's-unisex versions of the eXo pad. While the moulded part of the pad remains the same, the pad is shorter at the front in the women's version. The position of the pad in the short is also gender specific, with differently shaped panels in the short's gusset supporting the pad.
What's the difference between the Daddy Long Legs and Snake Bites?
> The Daddy Long Legs are a layering garment that you wear over your lycra shorts. A double layer of Hot Shot lycra around your knees and kidneys provides additional warmth in those critical zones. The calf zips allow you to whip them off over your cycle shoes when the going gets hot.
> Snake Bites are two garments in one... a pair of Hot Shot Merino lycra thermal 3/4 tights coupled with a Heatwave Merino bibs.
> Snake Bites have our eXo pad for all day riding comfort. But you lose the versatility of the Daddy Long Legs than can be added or removed at your will - providing slightly less absolute performance but greater versatility.
> The Daddy Long Legs are also available in an XS size - which roughly equates to a women's small.
> Hand washing is sometimes the only option on tour, but a washing machine rinses more thoroughly and is preferable if you have the choice.
> With shorts in particular, cold-water detergents and those with bleach can cause 'nappy-rash' so if you're experiencing issues in that department try a warm wash and a change of cleaning brew. As a rule of thumb, product that is easy on the planet is also easy on your body. Select a mild plant-based soap like Ecover, Ecostore, Earthwise or Aware.
> Most Ground Effect gear dries super-fast so drying on the line or hanging over the bedpost does the trick. Or use a dryer on a warm (not hot) cycle.
> UV rays accelerate the decay of lycra. Our fabric is knitted so the lycra component lies on the inside of the fabric - shielding it from the sun when you're out riding. Consequently you should avoid drying these shorts inside-out. It's not a bad idea to do so occasionally as the sun does help keep the pad hygienic - although it is treated with an anti-bacterial finish anyway. But drying in this manner is a trade-off with the damage done to the lycra.
> It's common practice to not wear underwear with your riding shorts so you need to wash your shorts daily. And it's recommended to give your shorts an initial wash when they're new - the eXo and Softail pads in particular become less stiff after the first wash.