Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Make mine a short - pair of that is.

An important topic of discussion, now that we have had a sudden jump in the quality of the weather this week, is that of which shorts to wear.

Now these lycra / spandex shorts are all well and fine when you are on the bike, nothing out of place there, but the minute you get off the bike you look like a total Muppet wearing a nappy. So the obvious solution is to wear a pair of shorts over them, any such shorts need to meet a few requirements.

  • Look good off the bike 
  • Look good on the bike 
  • Not be too flappy  
  • Hide the nappy underneath 
  • Be comfortable (sealed seams and all that malarkey). 

Now wearing a pair of sport shorts etc. may look good in the gym or on the beach, they are just not going to cut it if you walk into a pub or restaurant, basically you will look like a builder just come off site and what is the point of owning a bike if you can’t stop off at a pub mid journey? Besides their nappy hiding abilities are at best limited.

Taking the above into account, there is only one sensible option, ¾ length shorts, these look cooler and don’t show off you old man knobbly knees. But there is definitely a distinction that needs to be made of style over functionality. ¾ length shorts are going to be over your knees and therefore a little more restricting when cycling, but let’s take this argument to a logical conclusion as I feel this will better demonstrate my point. If we look at the “more constricting” argument – why don’t people wear Speedos with nappy liner? Why because they would look like an escapee from the Newcastle Gay March Parade for the criminally insane, and that is just not a good look. 

So point made, it is just a case of where your tolerance lies, for me I have low tolerance level, I think it has been made abundantly clear over the life of this blog that I am shallow and vain and therefore ¾ length is the only way to go.
So the above having been stated what shorts did I go for, I went for the Humvee ¾ length shorts by Endura.

(I went for black because I think I look cooler in black)

Let’s look at the marketing behind these i.e. the name chosen – Humvee - this represents Arnie Driving around California or macho soldiers driving around sorting out the locals. The shorts have a pseudo military look so popular nowadays that even M & S stocks them. Wearing these is like saying – I maybe on a bike but really I am well hard so don’t mess with me.

The thing that convinced me they were the right choice though was when the wife suggested I buy a pair for everyday wear as they looked good.

Now to some of the technical details – well they are reasonably water resistant, they won’t deal with proper rain but they will resist a light shower without  you getting wet under-crackers and that to be honest is all you want, any more water resistance would mean the fabric becomes heavier, hotter and less forgiving (flexible) so all in all they have the right balance. One of the things that initially attracted me to these shorts was the fact that they came with a removable liner, to be honest on reflection and after a month or so of use I have to say they would be better with an option to buy these shorts without them (they cost £17 per pair to buy separately). If you were to remove the cost of the liner then the price would be very competitive to the rest of the market, as it stands they are about mid ranged price (£55 approximately).

Sadly these inners are not really that good. I delayed on writing this review until I had bought a pair of a top of the line lycra nappies, this I did last week and to be honest when I have them on under these shorts the difference in comfort is very large. The top quality lycra shorts are way more comfortable and supportive than the liner that comes with these shorts. So my advice to Endura would be to offer these shorts at a price of £14 less and without the liner. I suppose their thinking must have been that if they sell a liner that clips into these shorts then it will guarantee people coming back and buying more of the lycra liner, but I suspect many cyclists are like me and they soon discover the requirement to have clip in liners is pointless (very soon you don’t bother clicking the liner to the shorts as it is a pointless waste of time and effort). Additionally, if my wife is anything to go by, Endura good do a great deal of additional business selling these shorts to non-cyclists. 

Another issue with the liner is the size of the liner does not seem to match the size of the shorts. The shorts fit fine but I find the liner too tight around the thighs, maybe this was another cunning ploy by Endura as they hope you will soon go and buy a second liner as a separate that will fit better.

I have been fairly harsh on the liner – it is better than some of the other lycra nappies I have, and it is certainly acceptable for the recreational user but it just won’t cut it for me doing a commute regularly, but if you want shorts for just the weekend ride then they are more than acceptable.

So what is the mambo score for this product – well it works and I think I look cool in them, just the minor annoyance of the liner so:

Mambo Score 9/10

For those that care here is the proper spec for these trousers:

Great value three-quarter length trail pant made of Teflon treated nylon. The Endura Hummvee 3/4 Trousers features include side-zipped ventilation, stretch lower back panel and seamless stretch inner leg panel. Storage is two rear tabbed large map pockets, two front zipped pockets, cargo pocket and zipped phone pocket. Adjustable belt, articulated knees and back calf. Ventilation and adjustment via Velcro strapping. Sold with 6-panel Clickfast liner with Coolmax pad.

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