Nukeproof Blackline Range - Jacket and Pants Long Term Review

Nukeproof Blackline Range - Jacket and Pants Long Term Review

The Blackline range is Nukeproof’s top of the line clothing collection based around giving riders total freedom of movement. By scrapping the heavy and unyielding fabrics of more old school mountain bike kit, and instead relying on modern fabrics designed specifically for maximising stretch and comfort for Enduro and downhill riding, the Blackline Trail pants and 2.5L Packable Jacket aim to give riders unrestricted movement across the bike while still being tough enough to stand up to the rigours of modern mountain biking.

Our Sales Supervisor and Mountain Bike Guide, Tomy, has been putting both the jacket and riding pants through the wringer for the past year. Find out what he thinks of them below...  

Trail Pants

Features

The Blackline pants use a 4 way stretch material throughout, making them some of the stretchiest bike pants on the market, and in my opinion, some of the most comfortable. The material is light and smooth to the touch, not crinkly like some other offerings out there. The lightweight construction means they’re usable year round, thanks in part to the breathable nature of the fabric and the laser cut holes on top of the thigh.  

A DWR coating is the only rain defence on offer, however any more than this would detract from the ultimate flexibility that the Blacklines possess. They are also lightweight and breathable enough that if they do get wet in a shower they’ll dry up quite quickly as you ride along.

Two big zip pockets allow you to carry a surprising amount of clutter with you as you ride, certainly more than enough room for the obligatory phone, keys, multitool and trail snacks. 

Easy to use velcro waist adjusters make cinching them up to fit snugly is very easy and I never had any issues with them coming loose. 

The only thing I would like to see on these pants would be a double layered, seamless, seat. As the highest wear area a touch more protection here would be nice to see, however, over the time I’ve been using the Blacklines nothing has come loose or worn through.

Fit

The Blacklines fit up fairly slim; a nicely tapered leg means there’s no chance of fabric getting caught in the chain but there’s plenty of room to fit knee pads underneath. I used a few different sets, varying from very slimline pads all the way up to a bigger DH set and never ran into any issues. 

I found myself in a pair of medium pants, with the adjusters set to almost all the way in. Having tried both small and medium I can say there is a bit of overlap in the sizing. The leg length, or lack of it as is the case on a lot of MTB pants, is excellent. I’ve not got exceptionally long levers but on more than one occasion I have found myself displaying a little too much ankle, this was never an issue on the Blacklines and it’s nice to see a pair of riding pants designed to fit taller, slimmer riders. 

Performance

In the year I’ve been using the Blackline pants, they’ve been my go to no matter what the conditions, keeping me comfy in blazing sunshine down to snow covered rides. In that time, through a good few crashes, the only mark on them is a bit of fading from countless washes and one small tear on the knee. Ever since I noticed the rip, I’ve kept my eye on it and it doesn’t seem to have spread at all. 

I like these pants so much, I’ve since got a spare set for when my original pair are covered in mud. I’m a big fan of the minimal graphics and overall subtle aesthetic, although this is personal taste. Without doubt though, the highlight of these riding pants is the material, with the 4 way stretch allowing you free movement over the bike, these are a step above anything else I’ve used. 

The bottom line is, these pants are tough enough to survive the harsh conditions we put our kit through, and are comfy enough to ride year round. The only thing I would like to see would be a seamless seat, just to ensure I can’t fret any seams loose. 

2.5L Packable Jacket

Features

The Blackline 2.5L Packable Jacket uses, as the name would imply, a 2.5 layer fabric throughout its construction. This keeps waterproofing high but overall jacket weight down, unlike some more bulky 3 layer jackets. The lightweight material used also means the jacket can be packed down into its own chest pocket, making stashing it in a low volume hip pack for emergency use much less hassle.

The jacket has fully taped seams throughout, as well as the fabric boasting a waterproof rating of 15,000mm. In practice this means the jacket will stand up to all but the heaviest of showers. A high level of breathability, rated at 30,000g/m², means that the jacket should remain quite comfortable to wear over longer days out in the hills. Armpit vents are a nice addition to circulate fresh air through the jacket if needs be. 

The hood of the jacket fits easily over all of the helmets I tried it with and the elastic draw-cords mean cinching it up to fit is, well, a cinch.

The two side pockets are more than big enough to be properly useful and both being full zipped closures just adds security and peace of mind so you can forget about what’s inside and concentrate on the trail.

Fit

The cut of the jacket, like the Trail Pants, is relatively athletic; this means there’s far less fabric rustling or flapping around as you ride along, giving a quieter and less distracting experience. While it’s not a baggy fit, I certainly wouldn’t describe it as tight. I was easily able to layer up underneath to keep me warm in blizzard conditions, something I’ve unfortunately found myself doing on more than one occasion!

One thing I really appreciated with the fit of this jacket was the length of the sleeves. They are comfortably long enough to cover right down to the wrists, which hasn’t always been the case in my experience. The cuffs are profiled to give a touch extra length on the top of the wrist, to cover the cuff of your glove. I really appreciated this in heavy wind and rain, as it means there’s next to no chance of water getting up the sleeve.

Performance

Over the past year I’ve been out in some pretty stern Scottish weather, and in that time I feel like I’ve given the Blackline Jacket a pretty thorough testing. It has been covered in mud and had a heavy guide pack grinding away at the material on the shoulders and back. After a year's worth of abuse like this, and countless washing machine cycles, I’m happy to report that the jacket is still functioning like the day I first put it on. 

I’ve been really impressed by how lightweight the jacket feels while still performing admirably at keeping the rain off and pushing condensation out, I’ve certainly not had the ‘boil in the bag’ feeling you can get with some jackets.

I like to keep my kit clean, but when it comes to waterproof items remembering to re-proof them with a wash in liquid can sometimes be a struggle. Even after my lack of care the jacket still kept me dry, and after a proper tech wash and re-proofing, water beaded off the fabric nicely.

Initially, the packable aspect of the jacket wasn’t of too much interest to me. However, after a few rides in showery conditions, where the jacket was in and out of a hip pack, this view totally reversed. Being able to pack the jacket down small into its own pocket means you're more likely to pack it on those marginal days where you want to pack light but aren’t totally sure it’s going to be a dry ride.

The Blackline 2.5L Packable Jacket is a great winter addition for a rider after a versatile jacket to use year round. While other jackets may offer a higher waterproof or breathability rating, in practice the Nukeproof jacket offered up really impressive performance, fits great and looks good too. 

If you’d like to get your hands on either the Trail Pants or the Packable Jacket, or check out more from Nukeproof’s Blackline range, pop into our shop in Innerleithen or check out our website.


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