ILABB TRAVERSE COLLECTION REVIEW
Review by Alex Sardella | Photos by Vinnie Zacha-Herthel
The crew over at ilabb in New Zealand are making a big push into the global mountain bike scene this year. Building out a stacked freeride roster with the likes of Griffin Paulson, Bas Van Steenbergen, and Vinny Armstrong, you will most likely catch ilabb apparel on some big mountain lines this summer. To cater for that level of talent on the team, ilabb has been manufacturing dialed threads for all four seasons, and we have been putting some time in their Traverse collection recently in the height of shoulder season in the mountains.
All items in the Traverse series include ilabb’s DRY-RYDE technology, which essentially is a purpose-built polyester composite fabric. The fabric is everything you would come to expect in a high-end fabric: breathable, moisture-wicking, and lightweight. All Traverse products are available in the same colors and size range, for both men and women.
ilabb designed the Traverse Capsize Jersey for enduro and downhill riders, and offers it in short, three-quarter and long-sleeved options to suit your preferences. It’s a 100% polyester tee with some different paneling throughout the jersey. A super airy back and arm pit fabric, combined with heavier duty polyester on the front and arms, makes for a well-designed long sleeve jersey. There is an elastic cuff at the sleeve and bottom of the jersey that is a touch stiff which gives the jersey a professional finish. A small stash pocket at the hip includes an integrated goggle wipe on a leash. The Traverse jersey is available in black, green or grey with a stout range of 2XS-2XL for sizing, and $65-$73 retail cost depending on the sleeve length.
Both the short and pant option in the Traverse line share many of the same features. It is nice to see ilabb’s consistency in the line and bringing the same features to both. The material is a 68% nylon blend with 32% spandex, making them relaxed both on and off the bike – the pants almost feel more like sweatpants, but in a good way. The shorts feel more robust than most and are built for dh and enduro riding. Both Traverse bottoms have adjustable Velcro waist tabs, Velcro on the fly, and a snap button for the closure.
There are two zippered pockets on each side, with a small, zippered stash pocket for a bike park pass or car key. There is a slightly more durable Nylon gusset around the kneecaps which will help the shorts and pants hold up in a crashing hot spot. The area is obviously bigger on the pant and drops below the knees, but still a decent size on the bottom of the short. More features include a vented inner thigh area and an inner silicone waist gripper with the words Live Without Barriers. The Traverse Shorts and Pants come in the same black, gray or green color options, with sizes 2XS – 2XL, and run $121 and $142 respectively.
Let’s kick off with the Traverse long sleeve jersey. The light green combined with the bold black branding stands out more than subliminal offerings that I typically prefer. So, you really must be a fan of ilabb to sport this one. Branding aside, the jersey is well constructed and thought out. The XL runs true for me, however the sleeves run a touch short, which I actually don’t mind but it won’t suit everyone. You can easily bunch these up for a ¾ sleeve look. Some super nice features are the thinner fabric on the back and arm pits – if you are one to sport a backpack you will know how nice a vented back is. The pocket on the left side seam is a useful size to store a car key or lift pass, and inside you will find a pink goggle/glasses wipe. Having this integrated into the shirt means always having a small terry cloth to wipe sweat, moisture or water off your lenses – nice touch!
The Traverse Short is a bit more robust than your average trail short. It’s built with Enduro and DH intentions in mind, so it’s a bit stiffer and thicker from a materials standpoint. The material does not affect the comfort as the shorts are still cozy to wear throughout the day before and after rides. The Traverse Pant is the premium pant offering from ilabb. It fits well; not too slim, not too baggy. The cuff at the ankle fits snug and has a polished finish at the bottom. There are some coordinates and branding on the back calf, designed vertically, which kind of look like a hipster tattoo. I’ve never really seen this as a hot spot for branding but ilabb is keeping things fresh and trendy with this design. The additional fabric around the knees is a solid bonus for fending off abrasions when you hit the dirt and reminds me of a snowboard pant. Some might not like this look, but personally I don’t mind it – it helps break up the neutral gray of the pant color.
Looking at both the bottoms in the Traverse collection, the zippered pockets on each side are well placed and can fit a phone, small wallet or snack with ease. The smaller stash pocket within is ideal to keep smaller items separate and secure. The adjustable Velcro on the waistbands feel premium and has a lot of stick to it – so much so that it likes to snag articles of clothing in the washer/dryer. All in all, the pants fit my lanky legs and size 32 waist real nicely – you just may find yourself wearing these more around the house as leisure pants due to the coziness. I have noticed they are a touch warm, especially those days 50° where you are not sure if pants are right choice, but below this or on lower effort days they’re a great option.
The Wolf’s Last Word
All in all, the Traverse line from ilabb is well thought through from a design and materials perspective. The threads are high quality, and my time wearing ilabb gear has been positive all around. I do think the colors provided clash a bit as a kit and a different color option would make the kit look better as a whole – the gray and light green blend together a bit too much for my liking. It’s great to see the massive range of sizes as ilabb is set out to build apparel for all sizes and shapes of mountain bike riders. Ilabb was kind enough to send us an additional summer kit, so I’m stoked to spend some more time in their lighter weight gear with summer approaching.
Traverse Jersey: $65-$73
Traverse Shorts: $121
Traverse Pant: $142