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Thread: XC/AM shorts - a survey/review (2016)

  1. #1
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    Default XC/AM shorts - a survey/review (2016)

    I've been trying out a number of XC/AM MTB shorts over the last few months and have some reviews which may be of interest:

    Troy Lee Designs (TLD) Ruckus shorts ($130 MSRP, purchased for $81 at Backcountry) Ruckus Mountain Bike Short | Troy Lee Designs(R):

    RIPFADBK.jpg

    I purchased the TLD Ruckus shorts in March. The shorts are lightweight, and good for AM riding, though the rear waistband has a bit of fleece which makes them warmer than necessary. The size 34 shorts were true to size, and had velcro waist-band adjusters. The shorts included a liner short, made primarily out of mesh, with a cheap chamois. The velcro waist-band adjusters have the hook portion on the adjusters and roughed up the short fabric in the wash, but otherwise functioned well. The fit is good for riding, and the fabric is stretchy enough to allow for comfortable pedaling. Pocket layout is good, with multiple zipped pockets in pedal-friendly locations. Small knee-pad gap is present with TLD 5450 pads. After approximately a dozen rides, in June, the liner short tore in the chamois stitching and rather than replace them under warranty, Backcountry refunded me the $81.

    Pros:
    - Nice MTB styling
    - Good pocket layout and zipped pockets
    - Good for pedaling
    Cons:
    - Very cheap liner
    - Poor durability (liner)


    Endura Humvee Lite shorts ($99 MSRP, purchased for $99 at LBS, available online for $54) Endura - Products:

    endura-hummvee-lite-bib-shorts___r010109001-11_g1.jpg

    Purchased these in June to replace the TLD Ruckus shorts. These shorts are extremely lightweight, with a silk-like fabric hand, an elastic waistband and an integral belt adjuster which works well. Construction quality is high, with solid, clean stitching. They are very good XC shorts and good for summer. Despite their light weight, they've demonstrated good durability. The Humvee Lites include a snap-in liner of significantly higher quality than the TLD liner. The pocket layout is not as bike-focused as the TLD shorts, with open handwarmer pockets and limited zipped pockets on the legs. Short inseams and lightweight fabric make them less suitable for use with kneepads (lots of gap), but a solid entry for summer XC shorts. Styling is pretty horrible 70s dad, but for dedicated summer XC shorts, these are good. For me that's a limited use window, because I'll just pull on bibs, but that's ok.


    Pros:
    - Lightweight and good for the hottest summer days
    - Liner is good quality
    - Well-built
    Cons:
    - Don't work well with knee pads
    - Pocket layout is mediocre
    - The styling is uninspired at best
    - Fabric feels a bit too slippery/silk like

    Acre Supply (Mission Workshop) Traverse shorts ($165 MSRP, purchased for $165 at Mission Workshop) ACRE | Traverse All-Mountain Short:

    all-mountain-riding-short-3.jpg

    IMG_4637.JPG

    I purchased the Acre Supply Traverse shorts in August to have a pair of go-to fall riding shorts. The Traverse shorts are a premium short, costing $165 without a liner. I also purchased the associated Parallel liner, which uses a Cytech EIT chamois ($125). The Traverse shorts have great styling, a long inseam, narrow legs, and a flap to ensure compatibility with knee pads, though large knee pads still cause a bit of interference. The waist sizing is managed via an integrated belt with an aluminum tightener; it's a very useful system though pulling them snug leaves a bit of a tail to contend with. They have minimal pockets, with just two on the outside legs, but the pockets are well-placed for pedaling. I really thought these were my future shorts. Unfortunately, I noticed immediately after buying them that the pocket stitching was loose and slopped, and after one wear and one wash, the side seam on one of the leg pockets let go entirely. I thankfully noticed this when putting on the shorts and inadvertently caressing my thigh while putting my phone in the pocket, but if it had happened on a ride I might well have lost my phone or tool. Moreover, despite their vaunted customer service and warranty, the return process was, at best, inexpertly handled - they failed to respond to my email with pictures of the problem, and while on the phone, they didn't agree to cover return shipping until I prompted them, and certainly no apology for the failure of the shorts to deliver was forthcoming. Pretty disappointing for a "premium" company.

    Pros:
    - Great fit and awesome styling
    - Good waist adjustment
    - Nice hand to the fabric
    Cons:
    - Not great for kneepad integration
    - Very poor stitching quality
    - Poor customer service
    - Price
     

  2. #2
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    Default Re: XC/AM shorts - a survey/review (2016)

    certainly a step up from champion golf shorts at target!
     

  3. #3
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    Default Re: XC/AM shorts - a survey/review (2016)

    Kinda hard to please, aren't ya?
    DT

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    Default Re: XC/AM shorts - a survey/review (2016)

    Quote Originally Posted by funcrusher View Post
    certainly a step up from champion golf shorts at target!
    No, in light of these, those are pretty much still my favorite. If they went +3" on the inseam and had leg side pockets they would be perfect.
     

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    Default Re: XC/AM shorts - a survey/review (2016)

    Rapha Touring shorts do the trick for me. I bought them on sale four or five years ago. Simple black stretchy fabric and not too long or baggy. Wish they had a better pocket, but I just use my enduro fanny pack instead BRO!
     

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    Default Re: XC/AM shorts - a survey/review (2016)

    I'm a fan of the twin six two quarter shorts. They come without a liner and are made with a soft shell/stretchy material that has proven to be durable through a couple of easy crashes. At $100 they are also a premium short, but have held up well for over a year and a half. And I would bet that their customer service/warranty handling is pretty top notch, but that is somewhat of a presumption.

    Two Quarters (ASPHALT) – Twin Six
     

  7. #7
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    Default Re: XC/AM shorts - a survey/review (2016)

    I really like the Troy Lee Designs Connect shorts. They fit great on and off the bike. They are not too long and are super light material but have not ripped.


    -Joe

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    Default Re: XC/AM shorts - a survey/review (2016)

    Very informative and timely review, Christian. As I mentioned recently, I had been looking to replace my SWRVE _blk label lightweight (regular) shorts and ended up getting some Mission Workshop/ACRE Supply Loch shorts. Got them a week ago and only have several rides in but so far, so good. I use a Kitsbow Merino Base Short as a liner and it's a good fit. I debated getting another pair of SWRVE shorts, the lightweight trouser shorts, but I liked the design of the Loch more. I'm hoping they're more durable than your experience with the ACRE brand.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: XC/AM shorts - a survey/review (2016)

    I bought some alpinstars and some dakines on clearance. They both work but the alpinstars fit better and are lighter weight.
     

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    Default Re: XC/AM shorts - a survey/review (2016)

    I was on the hunt for a set of XC/AM type shorts that were fairly simple, well made but on the lightweight side. I've been really impressed with 7Mesh's offerings. Their Glidepath short has been exceptional. Short review here via the blog.

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    Default Re: XC/AM shorts - a survey/review (2016)

    Those Glidepath shorts look AMAZING. I wish I'd seen those earlier!!!

    That said, I think I've found a really good cheap option: Target golf cargo shorts.

    Back in 2013, I discovered the C9 by Champion golf shorts available at Target. The plaid ones are 5% spandex and they cost around $25. They're true to size, extremely durable, and trim enough to not cause any hang up on the saddle. The downsides I found with them are that the rear pockets do not have any closures (so stuff can fall out) and the 10" inseam is a tiny bit short, so you will get the dreaded knee pad gap if you ride with pads. Anyway, my review, as it was, here: http://www.velocipedesalon.com/forum...ay-36190.html9

    Now they've added zipped leg pockets! And buttons to the rear pockets! The C9 Champion Golf Cargo Shorts are a 100% polyester, 10" inseam short with belt loops, through-button rear pockets, and a zippered cargo pocket on each leg. While they have wider legs than the Acre Supply Traverse shorts, they are still narrow enough to work well without saddle interference, and they actually work better with knee pads than the Acre shorts (though the 10" inseam means you'll still get the occasional knee gap). The button through rear pockets mean that they are safe to keep license/credit cards in, and the cargo pockets are well placed for pedaling, as long as you don't put anything too heavy in them.





    $29 at your local Target or at target.com. I bought two pair. But I'm going to get a pair of Glidepaths and Recons, too, I think. LOL.
     

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    Default Re: XC/AM shorts - a survey/review (2016)

    SNIP

    Quote Originally Posted by christian View Post
    Those Glidepath shorts look AMAZING. I wish I'd seen those earlier!!! ...

    But I'm going to get a pair of Glidepaths and Recons, too, I think. LOL.
    I have both. I would highly recommend them to anyone. Especially the Glidepath's - very versatile 3 season short. I just got a chance to use the Recon's since weather has finally shifted to fall like temps. Wow. The hem line and knee patterning is pretty clever. Gusset in the crotch take away all the bulk for a really clean fit (no saddle nose snags). They're very spartan in construction which I like. The gore windstopper fabric breaths well and sheds water/breaks cooler temps really well. I stayed warm and comfortable without being wet/damp with a set of arm warmers, vest and those Recon shorts on a few rides that have been cooler. Really looking forward to putting them through their paces as things get colder up here. You will not be disappointed.
    Kristofer Henry : 44 BIKES : Made to Shred™
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