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The Showers Pass Ridgeline Half-Zip long-sleeve shirt works well on or off a road bike or mountain bike, inside or outside a café, as a baselayer or jersey. The combination of technical features and merino-synthetic material creates a wardrobe staple that you'll probably wear more often than just about anything else.
To my mind, a quality merino baselayer is essential for every outdoors-orientated person's wardrobe. Capable of being worn for days without causing a stink, keeping you warm when wet and cool then it's hot, the miracle of merino is well documented. It's now possible to purchase low-cost merino, but there's still a market for well-executed premium products. At £73, the Ridgeline is towards the upper end of the price spectrum, but you definitely get what you pay for.
Showers Pass markets the Ridgeline squarely at mountain bikers, and lacking three rear pockets or a full zip, it's not your traditional road cycling jersey. Recent trends for decent on-bike spares and tool storage such as the 76 Projects Piggy and the increasing prevalence of tubeless mean you can quite safely ride for many hours without needing to load up your clothes. Mountain bikers have never really gone for pocketing kit, preferring either backpack water reservoirs or increasingly taping stuff to frames, so it's no surprise that a 'mountain bike' top only has a small zipped valuables pocket. That said, I think it works pretty well on-road too.
The size Medium tested fitted me bang-on all over, the generous arm length being most welcome. The fit isn't body-hugging but nor is it baggy, making the Ridgeline suitable for wear as a casual about-town or apres-ride top that pairs well with jeans and doesn't scream 'CYCLIST'. The zip comes down to mid-chest, affording plenty of cooling on climbs while not looking out of place in town.
At the rear, that zipped valuables pocket is good for a decent-sized mobile or a set of car keys, but the light weight of the material means much more than that would start to drag the hem down. The hem is dropped ever so slightly to afford cover when on the bike, but again it's not obvious when walking about. A reflective tag is sewn on the left of the hem, belying Showers Pass' US origins.
The zip ends in a garage at the collar, which when zipped up snugly fitted my 15.5in neck.
The front and back panels are a 50/50 merino/polyester mix with the grey underarm-side panels 87% merino, to afford durability and anti-smell properties where needed. Wearing the Ridgeline for three days straight about the house/office as a baselayer, it passed the sniff test – obviously strenuous physical activity will shorten this timeframe, but it'll be much less offensive than 100% synthetic.
Layering the Ridgeline under either shells or jerseys for cycling or running worked fine; no issues with fit or movement evident and wicking/insulation on par with other higher-end lightweight merino I own. No, this won't be the one to go for on a sub-zero morning unless there are at least two more layers over it, but then it's marketed squarely as a summer garment including SPF40 UV protection.
I'd say the Ridgeline would really come into its own on a long bike tour or gravel expedition – a top that can go for days between washes, mixes well with other garments, can be worn by itself in a range of temperatures, and blends in with civilisation when you need to go undercover. That said, when about home you'll probably find yourself in it more often than any other bit of bike kit.
A utilitarian, flexible garment that can be worn in a variety of sporty or non-sporty settings
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Showers Pass Men's Ridgeline Half-Zip LS Shirt
Size tested: Medium
Tell us what the product is for
It's a really flexible garment for all types of cycling and adventuring.
Showers Pass says: "Stay comfortable on all day treks with the Ridgeline half-zip long sleeve Shirt. Featuring anti-microbial properties and UPF 40+ UV protection, the Ridgeline fights odor forming bacteria all while maintaining a comfortable temperature, even while sweating. Washable durability is achieved by ring spinning 18.5-micron merino wool around a nylon core; the result, a lightweight, moisture wicking, quick drying and non-odor forming garment."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
From Showers Pass:
Soft and durable - 50% Merino Wool, 50% Polyester blend on the front and back
Side panels offer natural antimicrobial protection from odors with 87% Merino Wool and 13% Nylon blend
Lightweight merino wool blend fabric provides natural breathability and sweat wicking performance
Relaxed fit with longer back length for on-the- bike coverage
Hidden zippered back pocket
UPF 40 protection from the sun's harmful UV rays
150 gsm summer weight fabric
Reflective label on back
78% Merino wool, 12% Polyester, 10% Nylon
A combination of flatlocked and normal stitching, good seam work and overall a quality feel.
The fit and wicking are bang on for the intended use.
Time will tell, it's a lightweight fabric so not going to be bulletproof.
I found it just the right mix of fitting, even with my longer arms.
Really light, as you'd expect for a summer garment.
Forget-it's-on-you levels of comfort.
£73 is definitely 'not cheap'.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Still looks good, a month on and lots of wool-washes.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
I liked it and can't think what, if anything, fell short.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The arm fit. Lovely!
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Possibly a stronger hem would support the pocket more, but that's really being picky.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
We've not really reviewed mountain bike-style tops recently, but for a premium multi-use product it's about mid-range.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
If it were £50 it would be a 5-star deal. As it is, you'll still be liking it long after you forget the price.
About the tester
I usually ride: Merida Ride 5000 Disc My best bike is: Velocite Selene
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: A few times a week I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo-cross, club rides, general fitness riding, mountain biking, Dutch bike pootling
Living in the Highlands, Mike is constantly finding innovative and usually cold/wet ways to accelerate the degradation of cycling kit. At his happiest in a warm workshop holding an anodised tool of high repute, Mike's been taking bikes apart and (mostly) putting them back together for forty years. With a day job in global IT (he's not completely sure what that means either) and having run a boutique cycle service business on the side for a decade, bikes are his escape into the practical and life-changing for his customers.