The Transition line of jerseys had proven itself to Pedal Pushers before but, this new product (available for Fall 2005) showed some adjustments that might make it even better suited to cycling. In general, this line of clothing is made to carry the user between borderline weather conditions. On a cool morning ride (maybe 45 degrees) the sun will come up and the temps shift up to 60. This means that when you are starting out you'll need a jacket but towards the finish of the ride you'll be over heated. Not so with the Transition. The Transition line is one of the few products that I have experienced that really does what a good jacket is supposed to. It doesn't keep you warm... it keeps you moderate. What this means is that it keeps a temperature that is not too hot and not too cold, one that is comfortable for your body. Now this is really important, many athletes err in their thinking when they decide, "I don't care, I want to be really warm when it's cold out". Profuse sweating on a cold ride can be the kiss of death if you have to stop or cool down in anyway. This is when you can catch a chill and that will drain you of vital energy.
By use of technical materials, Mountain Hardwear manages to create a garment that has a wind blocking front to cut the draft to your core yet is breathable to help regulate temperature. There are probably some really interesting technical explanations of how these materials do their job (which I won't get in to) but, what I will say is that they work phenomenally well. The cool weather weight jersey version (tested in this review) of this jersey comes with a light veneer of brushed fleecey material on the inside. The soft touch of the fleece feels cozy against while it helps moderate your core temperature. So, through a very smart combination of fabrics Mountain Hardwear has created a stellar jacket that's going to allow you to ride comfortably through days of changing or unpredictable weather.
An excellent example can be taken from my recent adventure excursion to the West Coast. In the Bay Area of Cali, the temps were in the 60-70's. The temps in San Franciso were in the upper 40's. In Tahoe it snowed and the temps hovered at or below 35. Since this cold snap was unexpected I wasn't prepared for it. The only cold weather gear I had was the Mountain Hardwear Transition Jacket and Vest. It's extremely lucky that I had planned on testing these jerseys because they absolutely saved my hide. They protected me from fierce winds in San Fran, and blustery, snowy winter storms in Donner Pass and Tahoe. Which left me with plenty of energy to slap down a few bucks on the roulette table in Reno...
Form and Function:
The other thing I like about the Transition line is that it looks cool on and off the bike. I wore the Vest around San Fran on a walking tour, in the mountains around Lake Tahoe, and even around the casinos in Reno and never felt too out of place. The styling is sharp and low key at the same time. So, you can look sporty without looking like a weenie. Additionally, it really looks like Mountain Hardwear is taking some cues from cyclists. In the newer designs they've added the back pockets to the jerseys that are essential to cyclists. They've also made the cut a little more form fitting. All characteristics that make Mountain Hardwear the ones to watch for cycling gear in the near future.