This article was produced in partnership with Pit Viper
Grab the antivenom—Pit Viper strikes again. The fun-loving brand has been killing it with its impossibly rad, retro eyewear since 2012, all the while snake-charming the party crowd with irreverent stunts (watch Jim York jump a limo through an RV) and unconventional sweepstakes (did we ever find out who won the 1996 Thunderbird Racecar?). But Pit Viper ain’t done yet, announcing its expansion into mountain biking gear and apparel known as the LXIX collection. (Yes, that’s 69 in Roman Numerals. You can always count on high-potency cheekiness.)
“Sunglasses and T-shirts only cover half your body,” says Pit Viper brand manager Spencer Harkins. “Black mountain bike shorts and jerseys are boring. We’re here to have fun.” That’s why the team tapped Whit Boucher, a long-time pal of founder Chuck Mumford to lead the creative development and design for LXIX. The new collection marks a slight departure from Pit Viper’s existing wearables, which were limited to über-casual tees and party swag, now introducing exclusive higher-end clothes that can be worn mountain biking or mounting the DJ booth.
“Needless to say, I was ecstatic about the opportunity,” Boucher says. “Being given full creative expression is a rare opportunity, and one I’m incredibly grateful for.” Before joining Pit Viper, Boucher spent nearly a decade at Aspen-based winter sports apparel company Strafe Outerwear (he was actually the company’s very first employee), doing everything from customer service to design and marketing. This past May, the fruits of Boucher’s labor as a Pit Viper “key player” came to life with a collection of technical mountain gear called High Speed Off Road.
Whit’s a devout mountain biker addicted to the saddle (“Better than being addicted to hookers and cocaine, right?”), so designing a technical line as the first release was a no-brainer. “The materials for High Speed Off-Road are really what I think set our product apart,” he explains. “Lots of time on the cycle have made me very discerning when it comes to what fabrics actually work well across a spectrum of criteria that are crucial for for mountain biking.” That included vetting lightweight fabrics that wouldn’t be hot or bulky, especially ones that had an element of stretch to allow for dynamic movement. But ultimately, durability was the top priority. “Like it or not, if you ride, you’re gonna eat shit every once in a while,” he continues. “Me? I dine on the doo-doo all the time. So I needed to find a fabric that could check all the boxes, and, personally, I think we’ve found it!”
With the slogan “Be Fast, Have Fun,” the performance-focused mountain bike line looks to the trails with a series of unisex downhill pants, mountain bike shorts, tees, cycling jerseys and bibs, and moisture-wicking tanks for men and women. The bottoms are made of a nylon-spandex blend and are chock-full of comfort-enhancing features, like laser-cut thigh ventilation, hidden pockets, and an adjustable hook and loop waist system. The jerseys are made of UPF+50 fabric for added sun protection.
Just this week, Pit Viper dropped Coco Bronze, a summer line of men’s and women’s tanks, T-shirts, shorts, swim trunks, and bikinis—all designed with patterns directly influenced by the ‘90s, which Boucher developed alongside Pit Viper’s art director, Joel Bender. The overall aesthetic of Coco Bronze draws from several different points of inspiration: boxier, wider fits reference Japanese streetwear and clothing from the designer’s youth, while bold colors and flashy geometric graphics recall Nike’s original Challenge Court apparel from the ‘90s.
What are the pieces to get most giddy about, according to Boucher? “One thousand percent the Boba Tees and Tanks made from US-grown Supima cotton,” he says. “It has a cozy, classic tee feel, but also has incredible stretch, and the fit is loose, boxy, and vintage fit; it’s the go-to everyday tee.” Think of your Dad’s hand-me-down shirts—but without the pit stains. And of course, there’s a chest pocket for your Pit Viper shades.
Since we’re in the full swing of summer, Boucher also brings up the super-stretchy Men’s Mankini (available in black and PV’s signature two-tone orange and purple) for its next-to-skin feel you can wear cannonballing into a pool or saddling up to the bar. “Anything goes here at Pit Viper,” Boucher adds. “It’s all about the celebration of self-expression. I think that’s really what sets us apart. Be exactly who you wanna be, own that shit, and have fun while you do it!”
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