Review – Madison Zenith Riding Kit

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After a hedonistic summer shredding trails in the Madison 77 kit, we were very keen to get hold of some threads from the UK brand to survive the impending winter doom which is regularly forecast at this time of year by the simpleton press.

Stepping up to the job is the updated Zenith range with the ‘Ride, Then Ride Some More’ subtitle. This isn’t quite the apocalypse friendly D.T.E ( Defy the Elements ) range, but it sits comfortably in Madison’s year round offering and should take on the local Peak District and then some. In the words of the man with the crayons at Madison, Pete Newton, “Our Zenith collection is aimed at the seasoned British mountain biker that demands kit that simply works. No excess frills and designed with the aim of getting the balance just right with performance vs price.”

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There is also often a choice when it comes to bike clothing. Do you go with the kids wearing full race neon moto, or do you go subtle toned middle aged mountain biker? It follows, that what works in the bike park, might not work for a 6 hour muddy mid-winter mission.

What Madison have been able to do (and they are not unique in this, as we have seen some great looking kit from Fox, Royal and Endura this season) is fuse their race logic with their full range offering. You neither feel the need to huck, nor talk about your mortgage, It’s just a solid, if not cliché, balance of style and function.

Starting from the ground up, we have the Zenith 4-Season DWR shorts. These have a huge waterproof panel at the back for trail splatter and stretchy DWR coated fabric over the front to take care of the rest. The cut is nice and long covering either naked or padded knees easily. And there are some nice water resistant pockets for your stash and tech. Talking with Rus, the Senior Brand Manager behind Madison clothing, he filled us in with the logic. “The idea with this product was to offer a truly do it all short for the British mountain biker, that can be used 365 days of the year in all conditions. It won’t be the perfect short for the extreme warm or wet days, but it means you can spend out on only 1 pair of shorts that you know you can rely on.”

Up top we have the Zenith Long Sleeve Hooded Top. This is a bit of kit which seems to have been missing from the wardrobe in recent winters. It’s essentially a well cut and ventilated mid-layer, which can be worn on it’s own or with more layers when you need to hunker down. The ‘Ninja Hood’ has yet to been tested under a helmet in anger, but it might finally be an acceptable solution to frozen noise catchers.

Whilst not specifically winter spec, the Zenith Gloves are solid for riding in most UK conditions. Enough padding and grip for long days, but not so you feel disconnected from the bars.

Taking care of the wind and rain, this particular package is finished off with the Zenith Waterproof Jacket. I believe you would call this a ‘performance’ cut, with enough give for layers, but there is a practically zero flappage when hurtling along. Nicely packable, with some well placed pockets and ventilation options, this feels strong enough to take a season of abuse and a lot more.

Rus also added “We try to offer a good range of kit for women too, where other brands don’t. It’s hard because the sales volumes are smaller, but our women’s Zena range is really reaping the benefits of having such a full offering. On top of that, we’ve also recently launched a range of youth Zen kit, offering groms the chance to ride in some technical kit.”

So when the end of civilisation does happen, at least the whole family will be covered…

The complete set of kit is available now and the sizes are spot on, so no need for double guessing.

Zenith Men’s 4 Season DWR Shorts – £79.99

Zenith Men’s Long Sleeve Hooded Top – £59.99

Zenith Men’s Gloves – £24.99

Zenith Men’s Waterproof Jacket – £119.99

More information and available from madison.cc/zenith