I've been using the “Roost” shorts and long sleeve jersey together for some time now and I have been impressed. The quality and attention to detail shines bright unlike the British weather they we’re forged in, with a lot of thought clearly going into the products from Flare Clothing Co. Without further ado, I present my review on the 2015 Roost kit.
The shorts have a simplistic design and are less feature-packed then you might be used to with only one zippered pocket. Is this a handicap? No, in fact I found it to be a big plus, it teaches you to take only the essentials you need with you and focus on the ride instead. They look quite stiff due to their 500D Cordura textile but are actually really flexible because the flex-liner is in the proper places. The “Roost” series is meant for gravity racing and comes right down to a snug fit around the waist with a velcro waist adjustable and a quality zipper to seal the deal.
Have I mentioned tough? And really tough? Really though. The 500D Codura is very durable and has a high resistance to abrasions, tears and scuffs. I’ve skidded across asphalt, rocks, logs and fire roads but they’re still in one piece with no tears or serious battle scars to notice. They look quite heavy and are not your average lightweight racey trail shorts at first glance. Regardless, I still use them as trail shorts because they are in fact not that heavy at all and quite versatile. They're just comfortable to pedal in, with little restriction when it comes to knee/leg articulation. The waist fit is perfectly tuneable and you still keep a good leg silhouette instead of looking like you’re wearing Kanye’s newest Yeezy clothing line or looking like you just ordered one of those Frappononsense from Starbucks with your silly man bun and skinny jeans. These shorts have a relaxed fit and I often find myself wearing them on hot days around the house instead of summer shorts because they’re just that comfortable.
The deep but bright red colour is fierce and penetrating, you can be easily easily spotted on the trails and look great in pictures. Having said that, you WILL be chased down the streets of Madrid during the annual bull runs when wearing this kit! All jokes aside the fabric has a good texture, is quite rain resistant but not waterproof. You will eventually get wet when it’s pouring down. I absolutely love the little cut-out splits at the bottom of the shorts that give your shorts more space to manoeuvre so they don’t get caught above your knee pads while pedalling in a seated position for longer stretches.
The Roost jersey is designed in the same quality and style as the shorts although obviously with another fabric. It fits like your favourite sweater if you pick the right size. I’ve been using the medium size and the length and width is perfect in every aspect. It compliments my body build and I’ve still got all the right space to manoeuvre around the technical descents if I need to without stretching the jersey. When cutting corners and getting your arm caught in a thorn brush at high speed you’d expect the fabric to tear or “plush-up” destroying the smooth look of your newly bought kit. Surprisingly Flare Clothing Co.’s Roost jersey doesn’t do this. I was pulling the thorns out of my lower arm as I was riding with rolled up sleeves but above the sleeve there were no thorns or tears while I did get caught on it. Tough as nails. I found it to be a comfortable jersey, with the fabric feeling soft to the touch and big bonus: it’s dries up quite fast. Keeps your temperature on downhill’s and cool on uphill’s even when wearing a medium-sized hydration pack when your back gets all sweaty.
My take on things:
Combine the shorts with the matching Roost jersey and you're going to look pretty damn sharp. Just a tad less sharp then biking in a three piece suit, but hey, the dry cleaner won’t be too happy with you dropping that off covered in mud now would he?
I like the simple logo application, I fancy simple designs that don’t scream for attention. The logo is subtle but powerful. It has quite a relaxed fit, and the medium size I have used fits me like my favourite hoody, a little loose but snug enough for be comfortable. The size guide on the website is pretty much on the money, and the fit is comparable to other mountain bike clothing brands, so there's no huge surprises if you're trying it for the first time. There was no hint of a bad odour accumulating during longer rides, or even when grabbing a bite, post-ride. All in all, I would recommend these products to novices and experts alike. The British are an Island race that thrive on defying the worst conditions, built with that in mind, this kit is keen on living up to the task. Try it yourself.
Words by Remco Vaessen
Photo by Ilja Huner