Safety (and durability) first, but that means weight comes second
POC’s essential bibs and jersey are a solid choice for your everyday kit. The materials feel strong and held up to repeated washing with the rest of our laundry. The bibs were comfortable and kept our sit bones comfy after long rides, and the jersey felt airy considering the thickness of the mesh.
This mountain biking-focused Resistance Ultra Zip Tee was exactly what we needed for a few days away from the pavement. It’s protective materials around the shoulders provide confidence when brushing against bushes (or somersaulting over dirt), and the mesh backing keeps the jersey cool enough for warmer days.
POC Essential Bibs ($150, competitivecyclist.com)
The bibs boast a deep center channel in the chamois and a wide cushion that keeps the stitching far away from friction points. This design did well to prevent chafing and nerve pressure, but the chamois material was not as breathable as some of the others tested, and we found sweat did build up on the hottest rides. The material thickness provides compression on the thighs that was a noticeable help on rough roads, keeping our legs fresh longer.
POC Essential Jersey ($125, competitivecyclist.com)
The jersey shared the durable feel of the bibs, and is heavier than you might expect given that it is made almost entirely of mesh. Despite that thickness, the jersey fit slightly loose and allowed air to flow over the body well. The pockets were well placed and deeper than most jerseys, and we like the zipper pocket for credit card and house keys.
POC’s Essential Cycling Kit is a durable kit that performs well enough to be a year-round staple for seasons to come.
POC Resistance Ultra Zip Tee ($160, pocsports.com)
On a recent bikepacking trip on the Tahoe Rim Trail, I chose the POC Resistance Ultra Zip Tee as my only Jersey for three days and nearly 200 miles of gravel and single-track riding. As a triathlete, I crash more than I’d like to admit, and I wanted the protection of this jersey’s thicker shoulders. As it turned out, my gravel bike was no match for the endless rock gardens around Lake Tahoe, and I found myself on the ground several times. This jersey absolutely lived up to its name, withstanding the abuse unscathed, and protecting my skin from abrasion. Even more impressive was how well it wicked moisture away from my skin, even while wearing a pack. I paired this with the Giro Men’s Chrono SL Baselayer and Pearl Izumi Interval Cargo Bibs—a combination that kept me dry and cool through gnarly climbs in the August heat. The jersey is heavy, but it also sheds water quickly. I washed it in a river repeatedly during the day and was confident that it would be dry within minutes.
In addition to the smart use of materials protecting the rider, the jersey also boasts deep pockets at the perfect height and size to quickly reach for what you need. An additional zipper pocket on the side keeps your credit card and ID handy and secure.
If your adventures are leading you toward cross country mountain biking or gravel, or if you never want to worry about ruining a jersey by snagging a branch, the POC Resistance Ultra Zip Tee is a good choice.