Blog Written By: Tim Bateman
I recently got my hands on a new pair of Mescal shorts fresh off of our production floor in Old Fort, and it oddly took me back to my first introduction to Kitsbow Cycling Apparel.
One sunny October afternoon I got a call from Western Spirit Cycling Adventures HQ (where I worked at the time) that our buddy Scot Nicol was in town and he needed someone to do a photoshoot for a new bike that Ibis was launching.
Of course, I was stoked to take this opportunity so I grabbed the bike secret-agent-style (it was wrapped in a blanket) from Poison Spider bikes in Moab and headed out to the trails to meet my photographer buddy Whit Richardson.
Little did I know I was also getting set up with a new kit from Kitsbow which included an early version of what is now our Mescal short. The cool part is that those shorts have been a staple in my gear and they are still going strong seven years in.
Ever wonder as you’re pulling on that sweet pair of Mescal shorts what makes them so great? Sure, it’s apparent when you pull a pair on that the lightweight fabric and the spot-on fit makes them disappear, but since I began working at Kitsbow, I've started to notice all of the extra little details that add up to a great pair of shorts that's built to last.
As the Technical Team Manager at Kitsbow, I know that there are fourteen sewing machines, two heat presses, four snap machines, an iron, approximately seventy-eight process steps and a talented Maker to produce those shorts. I also know it took an entire team of committed folks to take a proven design and make it better.
While much of the new short carries the original design there are a couple of changes that are certainly standouts in my opinion. The most apparent for me is the waistband, which I’m sure the maker team will appreciate, because, though simple on the outside, it is a complicated design inside, which complicates construction.
The new version has a much sturdier waistband, but not in a bulky way. Because the fabric is fused it is still relatively thin but is still able to retain a comfortable embrace around the waist where the older version tends to have a bit of sharpness.
The attachments are also more friendly in that the new style has a hook and loop attached belt that is easily adjusted with one hand where the old ones have a hook on each hip and a three point daisy chain to take up any extra slack. The older style presents a challenge to adjust, especially while on.
Another point of improvement is the pockets. They still live in the same place but the construction is much improved. The previous version has a fused zipper surrounding, which, on my pair, is starting to come loose and peel up a bit (I mean they are seven years old).
Don’t get me wrong, the pockets still work and are secure but there is stiff fabric that sometimes gets in the way when you’re trying to find the zipper pull.
Oh yeah, and that zipper pull used to have a little rubber “grabber” that is long gone on both sides. The new zippers are sewn right on the seam while retaining a much neater appearance and the zippers now have nice little webbing pulls that are sewn in and easy to grab.
The Mescal Ventilated Short is our most recent addition to our line of items sewn by Kitsbow in Old Fort, North Carolina and is probably the product that I was most excited about. Yep, we make lots of nice gear here at Kitsbow, but with this garment there was a deeper connection for me. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.