Kit Review: ShredXS Downhill shorts and Freeride jersey
16 October 2015
ShredXS is a young Scottish brand specialising in children’s MTB clothing. So far so good – we’re always keen to see increased choice in the children’s cycling clothing market.
But what makes ShredXS interesting is that it belongs to two MTB-mad kids: brother & sister Jessica and Fraser provide the creative and technical drive for the business.
Sure, they are supported by their mum and dad, but it means ShredXS kit is designed & made to meet the requirements of precisely the kind of young riders who need it.
We tested the mainstays of their range, the Downhill MTB shorts and Freeride jersey.
ShredXS Downhill shorts and Freeride jersey
Age 12 years
ShredXS – www.shredxs.com
About the clothing
The shorts look very purposeful – ready to hammer down any challenging trail. ShredXS’s young designers have pulled off the trick of making the shorts look mature whilst still attractive to kids. They have a technical appearance that’s attractive to serious riders but they’re still suitable for casual riding too. And they are equally appealing to girls and boys.
But if you do want a more race-oriented, vibrant look ShredXS offers the same shorts in a bright orange colour too. Both colour schemes proudly show a bright blue ShredXS logo prominently on each leg.
The shorts cost £40 and are available in sizes starting as small as Age 3/4 to fit the smallest trail rippers. We tested the Age 12 size.
The Freeride jersey has a classic loose fit and it comes in two “Triangle” colour schemes which match the styling of the shorts well. Like the shorts, the jersey’s sizing goes right down to Age 3/4.
About our test
This test was one of our simplest: put the clothes on a keen 12-year-old mountain biker, wind him up and let him go! The ShredXS kit was tested on cross-country forest trails and on more challenging downhill runs.
It was worn off the bike quite a lot too, because even the hardest-ridden children’s MTB clothing is likely to spend a lot of time sitting in trail centre cafes – or larking around climbing trees perhaps.
To help you with the sizing, you should know that our tester in the photos is 1.48m tall and weighs 35kg. The shorts and the jersey shown are both Age 12.
Quality, fit and performance
Let’s look at the shorts first. They’re made mostly from a super-tough polyester material that feels like it would stop a bullet. There are also ribbed Spandex panels which allow the shorts to stretch in the key areas that need it.
All that heavy-duty polyester fabric could make the shorts pretty hot, but ShredXS has used several mesh panels to help them breathe.
There’s some nice detailing such as the chunky zip and extra press-stud fastening, and the small zip pocket to carry a few coins.
Inside the shorts there’s a mesh liner and removable Velcro-fastened padded hip pads to absorb some impact if the rider hits the deck.
The bold rubberised brand logo on the thighs gives some protection too. ShredXS tells us that the shorts are designed to accommodate all kinds of kneepads too.
The shorts are definitely designed for kids with an athletic build, and ShredXS gives guidance in its detailed size guide to order a little larger if your child is hovering between sizes. The “Age 12” sized shorts fitted our lightweight tester well, leaving plenty of room for growth still. He used the Velcro straps to draw the waistband in a bit tighter.
In use the shorts moved well with the rider and didn’t restrict his pedalling action or body movement. He said the waistband was comfortable and didn’t cut into him.
The tough polyester fabric had no trouble dealing with dirt thrown up from the rear wheel.
Fortunately, perhaps, our tester didn’t need to find out how well the various protective features softened the blow of crashing.
The Freerider jersey is a much simpler garment than the shorts. It has a straightforward design with a loose cut, and there’s plenty of length in the arms and body.
It’s made from a soft, quite shiny polyester fabric. There’s a V-neck with the same black trim as the cuffs. Our tester found it perfectly comfortable to ride in.
The jersey was cool to wear during warm rides, and in colder conditions you’ll need a decent base layer or two beneath it.
The Downhill MTB shorts came through our test completely unscathed looking as good as new. The stitching, zip, stud fastening and Velcro waist adjusters didn’t show any sign of wear.
Washing the shorts and the Freeride jersey at 30 degrees cleaned them both up nicely. They dried quickly too.
Value for money
£40 is a good price for specialist shorts made in low volumes by a small firm. By selling direct ShredXS can keep the price at a reasonable level but still make a return on sales. It’s possible to buy general kids’ MTB shorts at a lower price but you’ll struggle to pay less for quality junior Downhill shorts.
The case for the Freeride jersey isn’t quite as strong. It’s a less specialist product than the Downhill shorts with a much simpler design & construction. £20 is still very reasonable but there’s more competition for the jersey.
Note that ShredXS does offer a £5 saving if you buy the shorts and jersey as a bundle.
The ShredXS Downhill MTB Shorts are very appealing – they look good, are rhinoceros-tough, and they do their job extremely well. We think they’ll be increasingly popular with junior MTB’ers.
We liked the Freeride jersey too, and it does nothing wrong. It’s just not quite as compelling as the shorts.
Well done ShredXS: these products show just what can be achieved by a small family firm with a passion for riding. The business and its products deserve to succeed.