Review: Fox Demo FR Shorts & Demo Jersey

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The kind of apparel we once associated with the aggressive side of mountain biking has been gradually streamlined from something that was essentially designed for another sport. Recognizing that mountain biking isn’t moto-cross is a start, but taking cues from our nearest and dearest two wheeled relation can also deliver product that can take more than we can dish out. In this review we’ll take a look at two items from Fox’s all new ‘Demo’ line…

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Words: Olly Forster | Photos: Thomas Gaffney

Expanding from an already popular item in their range, the Demo Short, Fox have now grouped together a range that encompasses all the kit you would need if you like your riding a little on the wild side. Covering everything from full length ‘race pants’ to 3/4 length jerseys and gloves – the popular Demo short is also back and in a plethora of colours and designs for all you racers out there wanting matching kit – the Demo line is designed from the ground up for what we do.

From the Demo range, the new long sleeve DH race style jersey and lightweight Freeride short looked like two contenders and were certainly a hit as far as the aesthetics are concerned. Want to know what we thought? Keep reading, it’s good for you!

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Demo Freeride Shorts

While not an out-and-out DH short, the Demo FR shorts are a light weight number aimed away from those who feel more preserved in a heavier weight short. The 2-Way stretch material really comes into its own on long days shuttling DH runs and combined with the front and rear mesh paneling, will not only keep you cool, but also make these shorts ideal for trail and enduro riding.

Available in two colour-ways, the Black number here with grey detailing or a similar black offering with red detailing. While brightly coloured shorts are in right now and we love them, riding in the kind of conditions we’ve had the last two years, black is always a winner – besides, I really like the bright jersey and black short combo! Looks cool, but without being overly ‘racer’.

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If your moving around on the bike, there’s no getting away from the fact that the 2-way stretch material used in the Demo FR’s construction, is where it’s at as far as comfort is concerned, but more than that, it allows the designers to refine the cut and keep the shorts volume to a minimum. Baggy shorts not only flap around at speed, but can also pose as a snagging threat…

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Pockets – you gotta have pockets, but not too many! I think the Demo FR’s have the mix just right with two ample sized pockets on either side like a regular pair of shorts and one smaller pocket on the upper thigh. Waist adjustment is an internal affair consisting of an elasticated hem with velcro tabs. While the cut of the Demo FR’s is spot on as far as how baggy they are, I did find them to be less forgiving on the waist against other shorts we are testing right now.

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Demo Long-Sleeve Jersey

The new long sleeve Demo jerseys looks awesome and after previous frustrations wearing baggy and oddly sized Fox MX jerseys, I was keen to see what they had on offer for the DH crowd in 2013…

The fit on the torso and shoulders is absolutely spot on, but that’s not the first thing you notice as the arms are cut pretty close and especially so around the cuff – initially an area of concern as I am what my mother would class as, “well built”. I eat my greens is all I’ll say, but the tight fit and any concerns soon vanished and quickly became an area of commendation when out on the bike – what Fox have done is actually look at the specific needs of DH riders…

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If your kit is excessively baggy, there’s every chance it will flap about and to an extent, get in the way or worse still, snag on your bike or a tree. Not only that, it will slow you down and while that might sound ridiculous for most of us, why fit a ti spring or have your suspension tuned? You do these things to improve your bike and hopefully your ability to go quicker too. So, what the designers at Fox have done is deliver a jersey with cycling, yes ‘cycling’ at its core. Because downhill riding is a form of cycling and while what we do is a bit like Moto, it’s also completely different at the same time.

Classic drop tail design, but not to the extent of a moto jersey – needing to be tucked in. The Demo jersey’s cut is spot on – perhaps odd at first, but refreshingly well received after a few hours on the bike. The quick dry polyester construction is there for those sweaty days in the coming months.

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Out on the Trail

Testing apparel always starts in front of a mirror for me – yes, I am sort of posing, but I’m also trying to see how everything hangs on me and its nice to see fresh kit before its dragged down a dirty hill somewhere. Slipping the new Demo FR shorts and jersey on for the first time was an eye opener, especially with as much experience of Fox’s MTB apparel over the last 15 years as I do. An eye opener because this ensemble just felt more refined, but more than that, more purposeful with regards to what it was designed for.

Snowing in Spring? You gotta love the UK! Fox have listened to their riders and have delivered kit that is very much of the here and now. While the close cut arms and cuff might not suit the rider who wears full body armour, you have to ask – who wears that stuff anyway? Spine, elbow and a neck brace at the most and you’ll be laughing in the Demo jersey! We know that while armour helps, it can also prevent us from naturally rolling out of a crash, plus it sucks to wear, unlike this stuff, which down right rules!

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Conclusion.

Although the benefits of heavier, more robust shorts is more than evident when we talk about DH riding, there is a lot to be said for having choice and if your not tearing down rock infested world cup tracks at the week end, a lighter, comfier and generally “nicer to wear” short could be a real eye opener. The Demo FR is certainly that short and while the standard Demo short from Fox would be my choice for racing, the Demo FR is certainly what I’d go for with a long days riding on most of the tracks around me. It’s also worth pointing out, that with a suitable liner, these are fantastic shorts for playing on the little bike and getting the miles in. Downsides? At £85 they are a fraction dearer than some DH/FR shorts on the market, but the cut, 2-way stretch fabric and mesh paneling make them pretty bang on for your buck!

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Jerseys are jerseys right? To an extent, but a good jersey is more than a flashy t-shirt alternative and should be perceived as a technical garment that is there to help as well as make you look good. The new Fox Demo jersey is both tailored to the task at hand, but also manufactured for it too. With 4 designs to choose from, many of which matching the Demo pant or short, you can certainly kit yourself out with a theme in mind. At £45 the Demo jersey is priced around the market average, but like the shorts this is not your average jersey. Good enough for Bryceland, Smith and Hart, it could well be good enough for you!

For more on the Fox Demo line and more, tap the big logo below and get involved. Happy trails, Olly.

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