Craft Sportswear makes some pretty amazing clothing in partnership with professional athletes and teams such as Orica Green Edge, Bora/Argon18 and BKCP-Powerplus. It wasn't until recently, however, that there was much focus on mountain bike apparel- at least not in the US. That's why the introduction of a few key mountain bike pieces, including the trail bike short is so exciting.
DESIGN & FIT: The short is available in men's and women's cuts- something that Craft is famous for. Every piece of their line is uniquely designed to fit the sex it was made for- you wont find androgynous pieces that don't fit males or females from this company. There are slight differences between the men's and women's versions of this short, but both are equal in terms of design, durability, and comfort.
The trail bike short is composed of two main fabrics of varying stretch, though both are extremely durable. The main panels are predominantly polyamide (nylon) which is a very strong yet lightweight fabric with lots of stretch. The secondary panels are located in the hip and lower back areas of the short and are also polyamide, but have a greater percentage of elastane built in for greater stretch capability in those regions.
The shorts fit snuggly, so they look flattering when you're walking around the cafe post ride, but the stretch allows for a flattering fit AND comfort while on the bike. There's no extra baggy fabric to get caught on your saddle or nearby branches, but you aren't restricted in your movement whatsoever when wearing these shorts. The snap-in liner with chamois is also very comfortable, despite being a lower end version of Craft's chamois line-up. Both the liner and the outer short breath incredibly well, and so these shorts are comfortable in virtually any temperature conditions.
DURABILITY: I've put these shorts through the ringer, and despite scraping against trees and brush and even a few spills, this garment looks brand new. The fit and comfort are also unparalleled. Craft has pulled out all the stops when it comes to product testing and development before garments hit the market, and this piece is no exception.
FEATURES: There are two zipper pockets in the short, one on the lower left leg, and one on the back right side. Zippers ensure that no maps, keys, or cash get lost along the trail, and the pockets are placed such that there is no discomfort due to rubbing or movement of the pocket's contents. The shorts also feature grommet holes on each leg for increased ventilation, and velcro adjustable waist straps to ensure the perfect fit. The shorts have a zipper fly, and are finished with a velcro and snap closure for comfort, excellent fit, and style points!
OVERALL IMPRESSIONS: These shorts are a new staple in my line up, for both long and short mountain bike rides, and for race events. I've even used these for warm ups at muddy cross races to keep my kit clean! I couldn't be happier with the design and features of these shorts, and hope that Craft expands the product with more color and smaller size options in the future!
DETAILS: MSRP: $149.99, Colors: Black, Dynasty (purple), XS-XL, www.craftsports.us