The cool thing about these lightweight baggies is the SWAT liner; integrated pockets let you carry tools, spares and gels.
Is that a mini-pump in your pocket, or are you just pleased to see me? Thankfully, in the case of the Atlas XC Pro, it’s more than likely the former; those curious bulges are probably nothing more sinister than a selection of tools and spares. The reason is that the Atlas baggy comes with Specialized’s innovative SWAT (Storage Water Air Tools) liner short, which goes some way to softening the £120 purchase price, and gives you the opportunity to leave your pack at home thanks to the integration of some clever stowage compartments. The big central pocket at the back is perfect for a water bottle and it’s flanked by two smaller compartments, suitable for an inner tube, wallet or phone. Additional pouches on each thigh can be used for a slender multi-tool or gel sachets. Best of all, it’s superbly stable when loaded up — certainly more so than a roadie jersey with the pockets stuffed — and you’re completely free to move around the bike without that annoying pendulum effect you sometimes get with a hydration pack.
The bib liner is really comfortable too, thanks to a slender, yet well-cushioned, Body Geometry chamois pad. Broad, Lycra leg cuffs spread pressure and keep blood flowing freely, while the waffle material efficiently wicks sweat. If the bib straps were a little wider, to stop them curling up, it would be perfect.
We’d like to see the SWAT bib sold separately, because although the Atlas XC outer is minimal and a good length, it’s not the most breathable short and could do with the pockets raising closer to the waistline. More importantly, this would reduce the price, and broaden the market, for what is a genuinely useful product.