Words Lester Perry
Images Cameron Mackenzie
RRP $400 – NE-Plus Ultra VPDS Bib Shorts | $210 – M’s Pristine Jersey
Distributor POC

POC is widely known for its unmistakable helmets, worn by selected pro teams and aspiring gravel influencers alike. Not so common, is the knowledge they’ve been applying the same design philosophy to their top-shelf apparel offerings. Clean, thoughtful cuts with block colours; simple and effective. Oh so Scandi’.

NE-Plus Ultra VPDS Bib Shorts
There are hundreds, maybe even thousands of bib shorts available these days. Lots are good, but many aren’t worth the number printed on the price tag. Shabby fits and baggy fabrics may start out looking great, but throw them in a muddy mountain bike or gravel race and they rapidly deteriorate, not lasting as long as expected. Fortunately, these days we’re starting to see quality, harder-wearing offerings from a few brands that specifically target long days, grimy conditions and the dynamic movements of off-road disciplines.

POC has stepped into the fray with their NE-Plus Ultra bib shorts and, in typical Scandinavian style, they’ve pulled together a quality, no-frills piece of design. It features their ‘Agility’ chamois pad that incorporates Silicone-based VPDS (Visco-elastic Polymer Dough) inserts to help with blood flow and absorb vibration, in the name of comfort. POC reckon the pad is shorter than most, to work well with shorter gravel targeted saddles. This isn’t obvious, and I would have thought the pad size has more to do with the wearer’s size than what they’re sitting on. But, I digress – it’s not a hugely thick pad and I wasn’t so sure what it would be like on big days in the saddle. I’m happy to report, there is plenty of comfort on offer and the pad has supported my behind for several missions without any sign of it not being soft enough or chafing. So far it’s holding up well to all conditions, including many overloaded machine washes – I’m not one for handwashing my bibs; “ain’t nobody got time for that!”

The shorts part of the bibs uses a fabric with a firm, compressive feel, it’s wind and water-repellent and feels like it should last a long time. It’s not the lightest or most breathable material but it seems like the designers have chosen durability and comfort on big days over any weight weenie goals. The fabric seems to strike a balance of breathability and warmth and, even on really warm days, I haven’t found them too hot or uncomfortable. On cooler days, the wind resistance keeps off the chill, helping you stay comfortable. I find the compressive feel of the shorts super comfy, and they stay in place exceptionally well. I’m sure the cut won’t suit everyone, but it should suit most bodies.

Fully flatlock seams enhance comfort next to the skin. I’ve mentioned in other reviews that most of the time it’s a case of “more seams, more problems” and, thankfully, this pair of bibs keeps things simple. Their smartly panelled cut working with the fabric; meaning there’s no overuse of panels and consequently fewer seams, ensuring a great fit regardless of your position on the bike.

There’s ample breathability on offer and it’s comfortable even on the muggiest of days.

M’s Pristine Jersey
Summer’s coming and in just a few short weeks we’ll be scouring kit drawers for our lightest, coolest jerseys as our El Nino summer graces us with hot temperatures and dry conditions; fingers crossed! I’ve been lucky enough to be putting the POC M’s Pristine Jersey (heck of a name) to the test on recent warm days. A slim, race-style silhouette is complemented by a low-cut collar and almost elbow-length sleeves. The body of the jersey is cut from a fully recycled and very lightweight material, it’s plush against the skin and evaporates sweat well. Mesh panels run along the underside of each arm, going right up under the armpits. The same fabric also features in the area behind the three rear pockets, a nice subtle detail that helps with cooling. There’s ample breathability on offer and it’s comfortable even on the muggiest of days.

In an effort to minimise seams, there are no side panels to the shirt, the front panels wrapping right around the torso to meet the back panel, an interesting touch that no doubt helps in the overall comfort and fit.

There’s a full-length front zip, it’s nice and svelte and moves well with the body, my only slight gripe is at times it’s hard to use with one hand, needing a hand on the zip and one to stabilise the garment.

Three rear pockets are good and deep, with enough width and stretch to fit a regular-sized drink bottle in them, so there’s ample room for plenty of cargo. On the right side of the main pockets, there’s a smaller, vertically zipped pocket, perfect for a credit card and keys.

The bottom of the shirt is held in place by a soft elasticated silicone gripper that extends around two- thirds of the hem, it works well and not extending the whole way around the front helps keep this area from unnecessary bunching. The arms rely on the fabric’s mechanical stretch to keep them in place, and I’ve found that to be pretty effective, no need to be continually pulling the sleeves back down.

In keeping with their devotion to safety, POC attached a Contact Info card in the left rear pocket – there’s space to record all your vital info should it be needed in the event of an accident. Below the rear pockets is a strip of reflective material, further adding to the safety story.

Although it’s a pretty understated, minimalist design, this is a top-performing, high-quality jersey. If you’re a fan of pro-style race cuts, long sleeves, and block colours then the Pristine jersey would be right up your alley. The lightweight fabrics mean it’s cool and comfy to wear, although the downside of this is, if you’re headed bush, the likelihood of getting it snagged on something could mean it’s easily damaged. If you’re spending a lot of time on the road or gravel, this jersey would be ideal; if you’re more trail-focused I’d proceed with caution.