I’ve always found it kinda weird that gravity-racing apparel has such a specific style. Sure, your bike, helmet, and pads need to be up to the task if you want to compete on the enduro and DH scene, but why should you have to wear David Bowie’s hockey outfit in the process? That’s been a bit of a sticking point for me when I look at kits from 100%, Troy Lee, and Leatt. And I look at them a lot. I’m a big fan of lightweight long-sleeve tops, which seem to be the go-to among the full-faced and flat-pedaled. So, when Leatt reached out with their catalog, the 4.0 UltraWeld seemed to have some more high-tech features than your run of the mill chairlift attire. And it also seemed to offer a fit that was a bit more familiar. According to Leatt’s sizing, I was pretty squarely a size medium, though at 6’2″ I’m almost always a large. As long as the sleeves would make it down to my wrists, I’d have an easy-to-live-with gravity jersey that wouldn’t be a fluttering torso parachute. So, I picked the color most likely to keep me cool over an unsurprisingly hot California summer, and prepared to look faster than I ever have.
The fit turned out better than I had hoped. Keep in mind, I’m not planning on ever wearing body armor underneath the 4.0 UltraWeld. If I were, a larger size would have been a must. But following the size recommendations got me a just-loose-enough fit that actually may be too tight for some. It was never constricting, the torso and sleeves were a good length, but it was decidedly Euro in its profile. And that’s perfect for me, as I have an equally Euro windbreaker to go over it when the weather gets cool.
But the weather has not been cool lately, which is why I love the 4.0 Ultra Weld so much. The perforations are many and massive. Or rather, I guess they’re not exactly perforations. It’s like there’s a mesh honeycomb that makes up the structure of the whole jersey. There are thousands and thousands of tiny patches of thin, sparse fabric. The wind reaches directly through it. It feels every bit as advanced as its $70 price tag would indicate. Unfortunately, the jersey has no published SPF rating, so it’s recommended that you still use some sunblock underneath it, but it does have the effect of keeping constant sun off my skin, keeping me cooler than if I were in short sleeves.
Those sleeves also have a couple slightly armored elbows. These are apparently only for some extra durability when crashing, because you can see the punctures I’ve accumulated on my brushy trails. It seems Leatt knows this is not the most durable garment out there, so those elbow reinforcements are probably a good call. And had they been on the whole forearm, they’d have limited the ventilation I like so much.
There are also a couple of interesting inside-facing pockets above each hip. Both are a little shallow, and a little wide for anything of value. I would have preferred that at least one of them were a little deeper and had a Velcro enclosure so I could trust it a little more. They’re better than nothing, though. They’re a good spot to stash things temporarily before and after a ride, or to stuff a pair of gloves on a climb. I wouldn’t trust a pair of sunglasses not to slip out, but I can confirm that they will also fit goggles, as the icon indicates.
I still don’t quite feel like my riding lives up to the edgy, asymmetric, race-ready style of the 4.0 Ultra Weld jersey, but maybe that doesn’t have to be a factor. It’s a high-tech, high-function piece of kit that I look forward to every time it’s clean enough to wear without offending people with the smell. And even sometimes when it’s not. As another perk that makes the loud colorway easy for me to live with, I ride alone most of the time.
Studio photos: Anthony Smith
Action photo: Chris Wellhausen