Monday, April 11, 2016

Gear Closet: G-Form Pro-X Compression Shirt and Pro-B Bike Compression Shorts

A few years back, when I got my first iPad, I looked for a case that could protect it when carrying the shiny new tablet with me in remote locations. I checked out a number of different products, but ultimately settled on the Extreme Sleeve 2 from a company called G-Form. While it was a bit thicker than other cases that were out there, it also was engineered from a high-tech material called G-Form RPT that has the unique ability to sense an impact and automatically stiffen to provide support. The Extreme Sleeve ended up saving my iPad on more than one occasion, more than proving its worth in the field.

Fast forward a few years, and G-Form has taken that same material and applied it to a line of gear designed to keep us safe while participating in a wide range of sports. The company has produced compression shirts and shorts that can be used in a wide variety of activities, as well as shin guards, elbow pads, and other gear for skaters, soccer players, or anyone else who needs a little extra protection. These products incorporate the same G-Form RPT materials, protecting athletes from impact in the exact same way the Extreme Sleeve protected my iPad.

Recently, I had the chance to try out both the Pro-X Compression Shirt and Pro-B Compression Short while on a few mountain bike rides. Both pieces of apparel feature strategically placed RPT cushions that are designed to offer protection in case of a crash. Fortunately, I didn't suffer any significant wipeouts while wearing the products, but I was able to put them to the test through other means, and came away very impressed.

If there is one thing that I need from my active apparel it is the ability to move without compromise. If I wear an article of clothing – no matter how well it performs technically – if it impedes my motion I'm probably not going to like it much. That was my fear with both of these items, as when you look at them before putting them on, it seems like they might be restrictive in some way. But that couldn't be further from the truth, as both the short and shirt fit like a glove, but moved nicely while I walked, jogged, and rode my bike.

The designers at G-Form went to great lengths to find just the right places to install their RPT shields. I found them to sit exactly where I needed them to if they were going to provide any kind of protection, but not in such a way that I was put off by their placement. In fact, within a few minutes of putting these two pieces of apparel on, I actually forgot that I was wearing anything out of the ordinary. That's exactly the point of these products however, as they provide good protection without making you feel conspicuous in any way.

The shorts feature a built in chamois that is a bit on the thin side, but does provide a measure of protection. Considering mountain bikers who wear this type of padding are probably not going to be spending a great deal of time in the saddle however, it never became too much of an issue. I'm sure there will be some riders who would prefer a thicker level of padding, but it was seldom a consideration on my part.

Both the Pro-X Compression Shirt and Pro-B Compression Short are incredibly comfortable to wear. I wore a pair of baggy shorts over G-Form's shorts without any problems at all, and simply wore the compression shirt completely on its own. Both fit well, moved nicely, and have the ability to wick moisture while breathing, all things that come in handy when you're on an intense ride.

Both the compression shirt and shorts are a bit pricey. The shirt will set you back $129.99, while the shorts cost $119.99. That will undoubtedly cause sticker shock for some, who simply want to wear a comfortable shirt and riding shorts when they hit the trail. But for those of you who ride more difficult terrain, and are not unfamiliar with unexpected dismounts – aka the occasional crash – G-Form's RPT technology will come as a welcome addition to your wardrobe. They'll not only protect the more important parts of your body in a fall, they'll also have you back on the bike riding much more quickly too.

As I mentioned, I didn't personally suffer any crashes during my testing, so instead I put on both article of clothing and had a friend hit me directly the sports where the RPT pads were located, both with a fist and with a wooden stick. While in both cases the force of the impact was registered, the energy from that impact was deflected and diluted nicely by the pads. That means that while I could feel the impact, it didn't really have an real effect on me. There was not pain, bruising, or injuries at all, which is exactly how you'd hope these pieces of gear would perform.

If you need a bit of extra protection for your mountain bike rides, or other activities for that matter,  check out G-Form's products at

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