Premium kit maker, MAAP, has taken the cycling world by storm. With all the high-end brands on the market, MAAP continues to stand out with classic styles and functional fabrics. This time, they have taken aim at the growing gravel market with a unique mix of materials and style in their Alt_Road kit.
MAAP Alt_Road LS Jersey and Cargo Bib Shorts Features:
- NATURALMATCH® merino wool jersey with other fabrics
- Mixture of mesh and fleece-backed fabrics underarms and sides
- Three rear jersey pockets and single zippered pocket
- Mid-rise collar that’s more compatible with jackets
- Elastic hem with silicone grip all the way around
- Cargo bibs feature thigh pockets for added storage
- Thicker short material vs summer bibs for added durability
- Wide leg hems with grippy material
- MSRP: $215 (jersey) and $335 (cargo bibs)
Alt_Road is for the cool kids
I ride gravel bikes and gravel terrain a lot. I love to ride fast and efficient there just like I do on the road or singletrack. Because of that, I’ve eschewed the lumberjack movement that has become the flavor of the day in the gravel scene. No worries and it’s all good if you’re into the Paul Bunyan style, I still always prefer efficient, comfortable and performance-oriented clothing when I’m on two wheels. MAAP is well-known for their racy road kits, so, when they went Alt_Road, I perked up and took a good look.
The jersey features proprietary Naturalmatch merino wool blend throughout. These natural fibers are awesome for their comfort and warmth and they tap into the natural side of the gravel movement. Don’t think of this as that itchy wool sweater in your closet. These fibers are knit with the latest technology to provide a smooth outer face and a brushed interior. With that, the face is more durable and the lining is comfy and offers better moisture management. Non-Merino materials are used on the sides and under armpits for added moisture management.
The Alt_Road Cargo Bib Shorts are more versatile than the MAAP Team Bib Evo Shorts that I tested all summer. The fabrics are thicker and less stretchy than the the Evo’s. But, more importantly, they include pockets on both thighs and they offer better muscle compression. Wide leg cuffs are comfortable and stay snug but are never constricting.
With the increased compression, the front panel tends to look ruffled as it struggles to stretch across the contours of my body. That said, it all adds up to supreme comfort and a chamois that stays put. In fact, the whole combination of materials and chamois delivers top-shelf comfort. I’m very impressed with how these feel after miles of gravel. And, at this price point, they darn well better be comfortable. Kudos to MAAP for what may now be the most comfortable bib shorts I own.
The full Alt_Road LS Jersey and Cargo Bib Shorts kit has only been used during cool rides so far. For temps in the 50’s, I can go out in perfect comfort with only a sleevless base layer underneath. As temps drop into the upper 40’s, a vest is needed. Below that, you’ll really want a thicker material covering your lower half as these allow a bit too much chill to penetrate by the time you dip below 50-degrees. Overall, this kit really nails rides between 50-65 degrees.
The cargo bib shorts really are awesome with those usable side pockets. Placement is perfect to carry a phone, gel or other small/flat items without any issues. I still use the jersey pockets, but it’s nice to know that if those are loaded up, you have a bit of a buffer on the shorts. The wide straps are always comfortable and, as mentioned, compression really keeps your muscles taut and comfortable.
With the jersey, you will want to be careful with any gloves that have Velcro cuffs. That stuff is notoriously bad for Merino wool, so use caution so as not to cause pilling at the sleeve cuffs. Speaking of sleeves, MAAP has added the right length throughout the jersey for proper coverage. With Naturalmatch materials, the jersey maintains odors to a minimum after multiple rides (and the bibs do too). I tend to use them 2-3 times before washing. Part of that is also due to the lower temps I’m riding in.
Sometimes jersey pockets can be quite difficult to reach and access. But, I’m happy to report that everything is spot-on with the Alt_Road LS Jersey. The pockets are easy to reach and add/remove items and they offer excellent amount of storage for everything I’ve thrown into them. I can do it all with full-finger gloves too (which is nice).
I’m notoriously picky about my zipper pulls and I was a little taken aback with the cheesy rope-style pulls that MAAP used here. They look out of place on such a high-end jersey. However, they have won me over with their easy function. I can pull the front zipper up/down with or without gloves and that’s awesome. That JanSport-style patch on the right rear pocket looks cheesy and subsequently fell right off after a few months.
On my cool-weather rides so far, they haven’t felt overly warm and are just right for rides in the 50’s. Below that, you can wear them but you’ll begin to feel the cold chill at speed.
Fit: I’m 5’11” and 173 lbs. The size Large top/bottom has a sublime overall fit.
- Perfect fit and cut everywhere
- Attention to detail is off-the-charts
- Excellent blend of natural and synthetic fibers for best performance
- Added utility of cargo bibs is great
- Bibs are arguably the most comfortable I’ve ridden (giving Assos a run for their money)
- Gravel style without being lumberjack-esque
- Great for cool weather and easily layered up
- Jersey pockets are easily-accessed and have great capacity
- Stay stink-free for multiple uses
- Line dry only (not always easy to do in my household, but I’ll keep trying)
- Fabrics aren’t as thermally warm as a traditional thermal jersey (Training Thermal LS is warmer)
- Jansport backpack styling and tidbits feel forced (and they have subsequently fallen off)
- For the money, these better last a LONG time
The Bottom Line: MAAP Alt_Road LS Jersey and Cargo Bib Shorts
Make no mistake, this MAAP kit is quite an investment. But, like other high-end kits, it all adds up due to the thoughtful fit, construction and style. If you are a serious gravel aficionado and are looking for the ultimate cool-weather kit, there’s nothing finer than this one. And, I daresay that the MAAP Alt_Road Cargo Bib Shorts will blow you away with their supreme comfort and utility.
Buy Now: LS Jersey or Cargo Bibs
Hey Jason – thanks for this review. We are just about the same size so I’m curious what size jersey or bibs you might be in other, comparable brands like Velocio? I’m almost always a size medium in jerseys and bibs from Velocio, Ornot, etc. at 6’0″ and 170ish lbs. The one time I did try on a MAAP long sleeve jersey I believe a medium was too short but I cannot entirely recall. Thank you.
Great to meet you, Ben. And, thanks for the sizing question. Yes, we are pretty similar. I do wear medium in Velocio (top/bottom) and I wear large top/bottom in MAAP. They run very much Euro sizing, like most Castelli or similar brands do. Good luck! Love the MAAP stuff.