Shorts, Schwartz, and more Shorts – In Wisconsin, we tend to wear shorts as long as it’s above freezing, and certain ‘lumberjack types’ stop shaving on Labor Day. I’ve been testing a slew of new apparel for the last few months, all while living the bike life. My waistline has been trending downwards, so I was in need of replacing my short rotation for both on and off the bike. My regular days include riding bikes and wrenching bicycles at a work stand. Ride-Work-Ride-Repeat. Bicis Locas en Wisconsin provided the testing grounds for the garments that I’ll be reviewing. ~Let the Fashion Show begin…
Chrome Folsom Shorts
Chrome built a pair of shorts made to ride and wear just about anywhere. These shorts are tough, yet almost as supple and stretchy as the Gore over shorts (reviewed below). These became my favorite shorts to wear to work. The Folsom shorts identifying characteristics include a U-Lock strap on the back, urban streetwear styling and a double layer seamless gusseted crotch. The Folsoms are equally at home at work, a party, or any ride. They’re not the most venty of shrts but they bring a bit more durability with their thicker 4-way stretch fabric when compared with the other shorts that we tested.
The pockets on the Chrome shorts are standard fare (no zippers) and the waist clasp is a jeans-style metal button/rivet. The fly on the Folsoms has a rather coarse tooth count zipper and I seem to have some difficulty with keeping it zipped but I might suffer from old-timers. These are a solid pair of shorts built to be in service for years to come. A great choice for when you want to have a fully functioning short for both on and off of the bike.
Mountain Hardwear Homme Shorts
Mtn. Hardwear’s Homme shorts are not riding specific but work well as an over short for all sorts of bike missions. These babies also have done quite a bit of duty between a bike stand and a workbench. They also spent a lot of miles in the saddle. They get kudos for having a zippered rear pocket and a jeans-style rivet button closure. The material is four-way stretch and it’s just slightly lighter than the chrome shorts and similar in weight to the Gore shorts. The one grape that I have is with the length (inseam). I’d like them to be an inch or an inch and a half longer but other than that nitpick these shorts are strong with the Schwartz!
C3 & C5 Trail Shorts
The Gore shorts are my favorite out of this bunch. The 4-way stretch fabric is right between the weight of the Mountain Hardwear Homme short and the Chrome Folsom shorts. These shorts are styled more like a ride specific short. There are no rear pockets however there’s a zippered thigh pocket that can hold an ID and some cash. I like zippered pockets because it’s really nice to keep your keys secure when you’re 20 miles from the car out in the middle of the woods.
The Gore shorts employee a Velcro-backed double snap waist closure. Back when I had a beer belly, this would have been a problem. Buttons are more secure than snaps, but these snaps seem to hold fast. I prefer the styling of the C5 pair over the C3 (lime green accents) – YMMV
These are the shorts that I’d take into battle astride Ten Beers for assaults on Emma Carlin or Blue Mound. I liken these shorts to Singletrack and Tacos…some of my favorite things! I think I’ll go ride some singletrack, while wearing these shorts and then stop for tacos. El Pastor or Chorizo? Maybe one of each!
C3 and C5 padded shorts
(For years) I’ve always joked that I’ve been testing the burst strength of Lycra and back when I was larger I adopted bib shorts for riding bikes. I still wear bibs but I decided to try a couple of pairs of riding shorts with no suspenders. I found a couple of pairs in my size on the Gore website and I pulled the trigger on a pair of C3 and C5 shorts…or what I call stretchy pants. Or maybe what might be considered a padded pair of professional wrestling drawers…¡Luchadores, para Siempre!
I get along well with Gore’s C3, C5, and C7 chamois and these shorts have probably set me on a course away from bibs. They’re cooler than bibs in the heat of summer and make nature calls a bit easier. These shorts paired well with all of the over-shorts mentioned above. Gore makes quality cycling apparel with innovative high tech fabrics that help to make weather disappear from the equation.