At a Glance
Dirtlej were the first bike 'suit' brand I became aware of, offering what appeared to be a waterproof onesie that appeared to be a cross between a set of biking kit and a hazmat suit. Roll on a few wet winters and Dirtlej now have a range of five suits to, er, suit any rider.Buy Jackets on
There is now Classic, Pro, Core, Light and SFD versions of the suit depending on the application. Classic, Pro and Light are all short versions, i.e. the bottom half is 'shorts' length rather than the full leg. The Core and SFD are long legged versions with zip-off lower leg option. The Core is their main full suit whilst the SFD stands for 'Straight F***ing Down' and is bike park approved with space for pads and a more robust material.
Where the Light edition is obviously parred down at 390g, the Core and Pro are more similar with the Pro getting a more waterproof fabric and a couple more vents. The Core comes in at €199 whilst the Pro is €249, which considering the cost of waterproof jackets and trousers separately is pretty good going.
- A 'straight cut' and 'ladies cut' available and with sizes from XS to XXL
- Sealed seams and waterproof zips keep the rain out with a water column of 15,000mm.
- Breathability 10,000 g/m2/24h
- Helmet-compatible hood and easy storage when not in use.
- Waterproof pockets
- Eight vents to adjust airflow and temperature
- Reflective details on the suit to be seen in low light.
Fit on bike suits is potentially difficult to get right as without the overlap of jacket and trousers there is potential to end up with a lot of material around your middle. My initial attempt at sizing with the original Dirt Suit ended up with an XL that was way too big for my 190cm frame. With the Dirtsuit Pro Edition, and with some experience the sizing was easier to get right and I settled on the large for a much better fit.
There is a good size finder on the website where you can put in your height and weight, but that still suggests I should be either XL or XXL which would be absolutely huge on me. The moral here is to try and try one on beforehand or give them a ring for advice.
With the large working well for me, I could lean forward on the bike without huge amounts of fabric folding up around my front. The waist can be taken in with velcro adjusters but the height from the crotch to shoulders is always the crucial fit for these. Too tight and you can't lean forward, too loose and the fit is baggy.
On the Trail
The Dirtsuit feels like armour, and putting it on makes the prospect of riding in the rain and wind far less daunting. pop the hood up and leaving the van for a ride is a far more enjoyable experience. As mentioned the fit is good once you\'ve got your size, and riding uphill everything is comfortable and works well. My issue is being both slim and tall, so I would have happily had a little longer in the arms and legs, but less volume around the middle.
Depending on what you wear underneath I needed to make sure any undershorts were the right length to match the suit so they didn't stick out, but quickly found that temperature control was going to be key and ended up just using bib shorts underneath. Layering or lack of layers was key with the Dirtsuit as, despite the huge number of vents, you can get very hot, very quick.
The British climate is predominately warm and wet, which makes for challenging conditions to dress for. I found that bib shorts and a thin top was more than enough for riding in and keeping cool was the challenge rather than warm. If your ambient temperatures get down towards zero then more layers will certainly work, or if you are using uplift, but when pedalling hard things get sweaty. Some rides, despite the Dirtsuit being the best waterproof option, I opted for cooler clothing and the risk of getting wet as I would have sweated too much in the suit.
Temperature issues aside, the suits fit is good and descending feels unencumbered and free. There are not tight spots or limits to movement. The shorts allow for pads to be worn and even with the hood up, you get good visibility.
After a ride, it is particularly good to be able to just ditch the suit and hop in the van clean. After this, the suit just gets a rinse in the washing machine and hung out to dry, which has worked brilliantly.
Ideal for wet and cold conditions, the Dirtsuit Pro Edition is the answer for those looking to ride through the winter and keep warm and dry. Despite being a bit warm for milder weather, the suit removes any excuse for riding through the colder months.
By Ewen TurnerEwen Turner is a self-confessed bike geek from Kendal in the Lake District of England. He runs a coaching and guiding business up there and has a plethora of knowledge about bikes with an analytical approach to testing. His passion for bicycles is infectious, and he’s a ripper on the trails who prefers to fit his working life around his time on the bike.