Review | Race Face Ambush kit and Trigger gloves

By in Reviews

Race Face. Canada. ‘The Shore.’ Big hucks. Bigger personalities. The brand conjures up images of Brett Tippie, Wade Simmons, Paul Basagoitia, and more recently the Pivot Factory team with Berdard Kerr, Eliot Jackson and Macayla Gatto, all smashing their respective disciplines with immense style and personality. It’s no understatement to say the brand is bicycle history – they have been going over 20 years after all.

A shake up back in 2011 saw new ownership, which only further reinforced the brand as one of the most desirable brands in mountain biking. Their mantra; ‘This is where we work, and this is what we’re made of’ sums up what they are all about; sharing the same passion for cycling as their customers. Read on.


Ambush shorts

Race Face’s Ambush short are their top-of-line short, aimed at the more aggressive riders out there. Constructed out of their Tweedster fabric, the feel of the short is slightly textured for style and can certainly take the abuse. This you can feel as soon as you put the shorts on. They are a solid feeling product, something you know you’ve invested wisely in.


How do they fit?

The medium pair on test here are suitable for a waistline around 31.5” as quoted on Race Face’s website and it is pretty accurate. Neat internal adjusters do allow you to fine-tune the waist size a touch; the addition of belt hoops further helps adjust if you really need to tighten up. With a slightly higher back of the short your position on the bike needn’t be a compromised one meaning you won’t get an ass full of roost when hanging off the back of the bike – exactly what an aggressive short should be. A double popper/Velcro combo helps keep the shorts in place along with a zip fly that nestles snugly behind said closure – there’s no chance of the Ambush’s falling down that’s for sure.


Lengthwise the Ambush’s are fine for your averagely sized man, coming below the knee when on the bike and with sizes from S-XXL even the tallest and most rotund of us are sorted. The opening of the legs are substantial enough to accommodate knee pads of all sizes, we did find them flapping about a touch in comparison to some other brands of shorts, but this was minor.


What are they like to ride in?

For such a hard wearing, aggressive, short the Ambush’s feel relatively lightweight, so much so, that you won’t be afraid to pop them on for a lengthy XC ride safe in the knowledge that the ventilation is sufficient enough to keep you comfortable. The 3D mesh panel that runs from the back to front of each leg helps maintain airflow through the short and the additional zipped vents on the front are well positioned for an increased breeze when on the move.


The Ambush’s are made up of different panels, lovingly joined by double reinforced seams, helping shape the short for being in an aggressive riding position and while off the bike things can feel baggy, assume your position on the bike and the shorts fall into place, even for the pedal or push to the top. The extra material serves a purpose. Again, put this down to Race Face’s mantra (above). There are four pockets in total, very handy indeed, but they are a touch on the small side. Yes, you can take your phone and keys with you no problem, but they are a little tight to use, not that you need a great deal riding generally. Other handy features include pullers on each zip for ease of use with gloves, a given with modern shorts, but it is really handy when it’s time to Instagram your ride. The lime green really stands out with the ‘Rise’ filter. If you’re not that way inclined then more subtle blue and black options are available.


Ambush ¾ jersey

Again, at the top of Race Face’s line up the Ambush jersey is a relaxed fit, aggressive focused jersey. A subtle nod to Race Face’s freeride past with a moto inspired collar and ¾ length sleeves, the Ambush will be a hit with those that remember Tippie and Co. for riding bikes. Don’t that let put you off though the Ambush is bang up-to-date. Constructed from a quick-drying Cool Touch fabric it is every bit as technical as the shorts. Did we mention the sneaky pocket/goggle wipe? It’s the little things…Thank you Race Face.


How does it fit?

Ranging in sizes from S-XXL there will be one to fit you (and Tippie). The small on test here is quoted on the Race Face website as suitable for a 37” chest. You might want to try one for size though dependent on how you like your jerseys to fit. Although insanely comfortable, we found the Ambush to be a touch on the small side when compared to other jerseys, you may like it more freeride and less enduro, so be sure to check the fit guide on Race Face’s website. Still, we suffered no chaffing or annoyance.


What’s it like on the bike?

Cut for the purpose of riding a bike, as you’d expect, the Ambush jersey is as comfortable on or off the bike, it’s all down to how brave you are to rock these graphics in the pub… You might also be pleased to know it has a UPF rating of 50, which means that it will protect you from the sun and block 97.5-99%+ of UV radiation. How much of that is relevant in the UK we can’t be sure, but it’s nice to know that Race Face have your back (pun intended). If anything though, it shows the technical development that Race Face have put into the design of this jersey rather than just aesthetics.

Spending a few good long days in the jersey both, DH and ‘Enduro’, it certainly lives up to all of the claimed features. Only on really hot days might you feel it cling to you as sweat builds up, but I challenge you to find a hard-wearing jersey that doesn’t. Available in two colour options for those that may not want to be as loud as Tippie, this is a true do it all jersey, with style.


Trigger gloves

If it’s one piece (or two) of clothing that can make or break a ride, gloves are up there. If someone makes a bad glove, it’s the first thing a customer is going to notice. On first impressions the Trigger glove didn’t quite fire me up like the Ambush kit did. Why would they? On first impression, they are a simple glove, but this is where the magic lies…


How do they fit?

Like a glove… a little too well. The small on test here are a very good fit, some might think a little too good a fit. The back of the hand is a very lightweight stretch mesh with a lot of give, which in hot weather works very much in your favour, allowing the air to flow over the hand to keep things cool. Handy features such as the back of the thumb terry surface is a welcome addition on sweaty rides and the substantial wrist enclosure keeps the glove in place with plenty of adjustment.


What are they like on the bike?

On the bars the minimal material does keep you in close contact and the Kevlar palm will protect you, to a point, in a fall – fortunately we haven’t had the privilege of trying this out. The protective Kevlar doesn’t move quite as freely as the rest of the palm when off the bike, this is not noticeable when on the bars, but it’ll come into play with a post ride beer. Added grip on the brakes comes in the form of some neat textured graphics across the palm and fingers. Not only does it do the job, it reinforces that solid Race Face brand as cool Canadians that love to ‘shred the gnar’.


On the other hand (pun intended) though with the fit being so good we did find that the glove webbed across the space between thumb and index finger slightly. This didn’t affect grip on the bars but did add a little pressure to the end of the thumb and over time it did become more and more noticeable so a bigger size might be worth trying out compared to your usual glove size.

All in, if you want kit that you can smash DH runs on, go for an evening XC spin in, and most things in between the Ambush is a wise choice. The quality of materials, construction and Race Face’s passion, reflects well in the price tag with the shorts coming in at a respectable £76.95 RRP and the jersey at a slightly pricier £59.95 RRP. The Trigger gloves are a snip under £30 at £29.95 RRP which you might think is pricey for such a simple looking glove, but they are well thought out product. One thing to do will be to check out your sizing first.


Race Face are distributed in the UK by Silverfish. Hit up the logo to see the full range.

Race Face logo_scaled_1280



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