MXA TEAM TESTED: O’NEAL HARDWEAR AIR GEAR
WHAT IS IT? The Hardwear Air gear is based on O’Neal’s tried-and-true Hardwear line, which is known for its durability. While we’ve always praised its dependable construction, the Hardwear gear had room to improve in the mobility and breathability departments. For 2023, O’Neal upped the game on its Hardwear gear by adding a vented Air line.
WHAT’S IT COST? $54.99 (jersey), $189.99 (pant).
CONTACT? www.oneal.com or (805) 426-3300.
WHAT STANDS OUT? Here’s a list of things that stand out with the 2023 O’Neal Hardwear Air gear.
(1) Jersey. The 2023 O’Neal Air jersey is made of a high-quality, moisture-wicking, mesh material that offers maximum ventilation. At only 6 ounces (size large), it’s O’Neal’s lightest jersey ever. The graphics are sublimated into the mesh material to ensure they never fade, and the tail of the jersey extends an extra 3 inches, with clear silicone printing to help it stay tucked in.
(2) Pant. The Air pant uses the chassis of the Hardwear pant but has more vent holes in the fabric. The inner knees have premium leather heat shields for durability and grip, while the waistband is closed up with a durable zipper and 360-degree Velcro belt. High-denier fabrics are used to add strength, and they are combined with vented stretch panels to improve ease of movement. There’s also a hidden zippered hip pocket that allows you to carry a smartphone with you wherever you go. Plus, the pants have a cross-stitched padding in the seat and nylon half-liner that stops the Velcro straps on your knee braces from snagging.
(3) Fit. The O’Neal Hardwear Air jersey has an athletic cut, and the two-way stretch material ensures it never restricts mobility. The pants have a standard fit—not too loose and not too tight—and they have an ergonomic, pre-curved leg design that conforms to the ideal riding position. Plus, the wraparound Velcro belt guarantees the perfect fit around your waist. We never worry about our Hardware pants coming loose or sliding down.
(4) Performance. The Hardwear Air line is noticeably more breathable than the O’Neal Hardwear, Prodigy or Mayhem gear. In motion, you can feel the breeze going through the jersey and vents in the pants while the four-way stretch panels at the knees create a snug fit over knee braces or knee pads. On the track, the O’Neal Hardwear gear moves with the rider without any restrictions.
(5) Durability. In 2022, O’Neal answered our requests by adding more stretch material and vents on the Hardwear line. The new Hardwear gear is still durable but lighter and flexier. The leather heat shields on the inner knees held up great, and we had no tearing anywhere on the pants. The only miscue we could find was frayed fabric in the vent areas on the front of the pants and the jersey after being hammered by roost at the races.
(6) Options. The O’Neal Hardwear Air gear comes in four different colors. The jersey is available in sizes small to double-extra large, and the pant comes in 28- to 42-inch waistbands.
WHAT’S THE SQUAWK? We wish the pants didn’t come with the inner liner so that they could breathe more.
MXA RATING: The Hardwear Air lineup isn’t the most vented gear on the market, but it ranks high in our books when you consider airflow, durability and practical features.