OK...NOT this.

OK…NOT this.  Happy belated 4Th.

Summer mountain biking and baggies go hand in hand, in my opinion, although in cooler times I am often in fleecy lycra knickers.  And since I had a few brands of baggies (and some jerseys to match) come along over the spring, I thought I would compile them all into one post.  The shorts pictured above are not included (they were out of my size.  Pity, that).

Note that, except for the Endura samples, none of the others were specifically called out as summer rated, or to say it another way, they were not sent as samples of cool wearing items specifically, but the three brands here do cross over a wide variety of uses, some more pure MTB rated and others more practical as daily drivers.  The jerseys all were light weight in fabric and had some concessions to hot weather use.

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Louis Garneau TechFit MTB shorts and HTO Tee Jersey

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“We know what MTB riding’s all about, which is why these mountain bike shorts are made with our toughest fabrics that offer great stretchability and optimal abrasion resistance. The innershorts are detachable so you can wear them together or separately. Multiple pockets with velcro closures allow you to safely carry your essentials, and the waist with elastic and belt loop plus adjustable velcro tabs at legs allow a custom fit without compromise on freedom of movement.”

MSRP $129.99 USD with the liner.

Canada based, but happy to supply riders around the world with quality riding apparel, The TechFit shorts are the full featured, deluxe short of the three we are looking at.  Heavier in fabric and cut long (12″ inseam), they are a nice, stretchy fabric that is said to be abrasion resistant.  It wears well and is good to hang out in.  It has a lot of pockets and the inner chamois liner detaches for casual wear around town.  The waist has large loops for a belt (no belt supplied…BYOB) and some elastic at the back for a bit of snugness if you choose to ride without one.  There are two front pockets and a zipped hidden pocket for valuables, two back pockets with velcro closures, and rear facing side zipped openings for ventilation.  There are adjustable tabs on the bottom of each leg that allow for closing the shorts down if required and there are reflective accents here and there.

The liner is a Detachable Drytex® 2002 innershort with chamois, Powerband and an 8″/20.5 cm inseam and can be worn together or separately.

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I asked for a LG in this short but should have worn a Medium ( I tend to be one or the other based on the brand…hard to say…32″ waist), so the fit for me as iffy.  However, they are a sharp looking short and well suited to wearing into town on a day off or on the bike and can go from trail to the coffee shop with no qualms.  For me, all those pockets detract a bit from them as a pure MTB short, but come into their own as you mix up riding with normal life.  They feel well made and look good, having a good length to them.  I did note a bit of an issue where the ‘short rises and falls’ on the thigh as you move through the pedal stroke and the resulting ‘swish…swish’ noise and drag on the top of the leg right above the knee is a bit annoying.  I suspect some panel cut is not right somewhere but I have no idea where.

I gave these to a friend to use, he being a new cyclist that mixes moderate rides with errands and work (he is a college teacher and movie industry consultant) and he absolutely loves them.  The function of the pockets, the almost dressy look, and the fit, were spot-on for him (36″ waist) and he feels better standing in line at Starbucks NOT dressed in pure lycra.  He has found the liner to be comfy, although he is not doing marathon rides.

Take away:  A classy looking short that offers a lot of practical features for trail or town.

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“The HTO Cycling T, made with IceFit, a stretch fabric that offers great moisture management, is fast drying, features UPF/SPF 50 sun protection and has a surface treated with Icefil, the HTO tee is ideal for those hot riding days.”

MSRP $44.99 USD

The ‘T’ in this product is the cut of the garment, that being it fits more like a T-Shirt than a typical cycling jersey and there is no front zip of any kind.  There is a single zipped rear pocket that has a media port sewn in and that is about it for frills.  I liked it quite a bit and it felt very nice on hot days, easily moving air through the fabric with the slightest breeze.  I did sometimes wish for a front zipper and I do think I would have liked longer cut arms as it would pull up above my typical cycling tan line, but perhaps that is part of the ‘T’ idea.  Still, it went well with the shorts and looks good in town apres riding, although I tended to leave icky sweat lines on it from salt that were less than attractive to those I was lunching with.  In that way it is like pretty much anything synthetic (not wool based).

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Endura Singletrack Lite short and Singletrak Lite S/S Jersey.

  • Lightweight Enduro Performance Stretch
  • 4 way stretch fabric perfect for nailing technical climbs and hammering descents
  • Slim fit
  • High stretch rear panel for enhanced fit
  • Durable seat panel
  • Side waistband adjustment
  • Zippered front fly
  • Zipped thigh vents for increased ventilation
  • 2 zipped hand pockets
  • Zipped rear media pocket
  • Clickfast™ compatible
  • MSRP $94.99

This is the killer, simple, MTB baggy summer short of the three tested.  It gets it all correct for XC to moderate trail riding…it is light weight, moves well on you, is just long enough, fits closely (not a heavy-duty baggy for big body armor days) and has few frills although it does have pockets here and there.  Of the three, it is my pic for a typical ride.

It also is stretchy so it does not bind and the legs do not ride up when you pedal in them.  Very nice.  The waist belt for adjusting fit is heavy duty and wide across the back of the spine so it does not offend or dig in.  Two front zipped pockets and leg vents keep it simple, but there is a small zipped pocket sewn into the very back of the waist area.  It is a tiny thing, and not much would fit in there.  I question if it really serves any purpose, as I would not put anything sharp or hard in there like car keys as I would not want to crash and have that bit of metal right on my spine.  Not sure what I would put in there and so I never did use it.

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The biggest negative are the two side pockets as the opening to get into the pockets is way too small for a mans hand, and if you have gloves on, fuggit about it!  How this was missed, I have no idea, because the rest of the short is super.  These are not the shorts I would grab to mix a ride with a trip into town for errands or a lunch out with friends. Still, I mostly use front pockets for temporary things like car keys and money when I am off the bike, getting loaded (the car, not me), etc.  And in that case, I can deal with the aggravation of the small opening for the time being as the rest of the short is spot on for me.

Take Away:  Of the three, the short that I would grab for a pure MTB ride.

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The jersey…Single Track Lite S/S

  • Enduro style relaxed fit
  • Rapid wicking performance cotton touch fabric
  • Antibacterial finish to prevent odour
  • Concealed ¾ length zipper for optimal ventilation
  • Discreet rear zipped media pocket
  • Compatible with back/hydration packs
  • Embossed panel details
  • Sunglasses wipe on hem
  • MSRP $84.99

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A deep front zip, looser ‘T’ shirt type fit, and wispy fabric that dries fast makes for a great summer jersey and is a fine match for the shorts.  I really have no complaints about this one and I wear it a lot in hot weather.

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Club Ride

You will have to pardon the Magura graphics on these as they were a bit of swag from the Magura Press Camp in Sedona.  But since they were a nice set of baggies and come with a jersey, I thought I would put them in the mix.  Club Ride has a unique vibe going on, what with the way they make technical clothing that can also work as apres ride wear or even just ‘no-ride’ wear.  I have a couple of shirts from them that I wear out for non-cycling casual events and the shorts you would buy could do that as well (since they would not say MAGURA on them in big letters!).  Note the mix of fabric patterns in the shorts.  Kind of cool, eh?  Like some old shirt you forgot about in the closet got sewn into the short.

Fuze short:

  • PowerWeave™ – Lightweight, quick-drying, wicking fabric
  • Durable, abrasion-resistant fabric 
  • UV Protection – UPF 30
  • Side storage & rear zippered pocket with media port
  • Seamless crotch gusset
  • Side waist buckle adjustment system
  • Removable inner chamois liner
  • RideLight™ reflective accents
  • Comfort fit
  • Inseam:  12″
  • MSRP beginning at $99.00

The Fuze short is light weight like the Endura baggy is but full featured like the Garneau short.  With a zipped rear pocket, two slash pockets in front plus a small ‘change’ pocket on the right, and even a rear-ward facing pocket on the left leg.  The waist adjustment is on the sides with two strap/buckle combos and you can add a belt if you like.  The length is shorter than the other two baggies, but looks a bit more normal around town.  This is the short I grabbed during a 4th of July ride to see the fireworks in town as I had places for keys and phones, etc. (recall that the Garneau shorts did not fit me well, or they would have been perfect as well).  They are very practical, and yet still good on the bike, being a bit lighter in fabric than the Garneau shorts.  The slash zip pocket on the left leg is really neat, holding a phone or glasses in a secure pocket that places its cargo in a non-offending position even when you are riding.

My only nits to pic are the somewhat short length that rides higher when on the bike compared to the other two, although this also lets them wear a bit cooler on hot days, and the other issue is the somewhat wimpy clasps that keep the waist adjustment in place.  They have been upgraded on the newer shorts, so they should hold faster than these did, which would release every so often as I wore them and allow the shorts to sag on my hips.

The included liner has treated me well so far over rides up to two hours, so no marathon rides in them.  It has loops that allow the Fuze short to attach to it and keep things up where they belong.

Take Away:  Not as nice looking or deluxe as the Garneaus, but just as practical and almost as good on the trail as the Enduras.  They are a nice blend of do-all features and performance.

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Rialto jersey:

  • RideXDry™ – lightweight, wicking, quick-drying fabric
  • UV Protection – UPF 20
  • Rear zippered and bottle holder storage pockets with media port
  • Front and back venting accents
  • RideLight™ reflective accents
  • Sport fit
  • MSRP $79.95

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It is kind of amusing looking at the line of men’s and women’s jerseys as some of them are really funky (now there is a word from the past!).  And some of the names are fun too, like the “Billy Bob”.  The “New West” and “Pure West” technical shirts look like you could go for a ride, then go line dancing in them.  Compared to them, the Rialto is kind of normal looking.  The fit is snugger than some of the others they sew up, but it still is relaxed and T shirt-like with a snugger waist.  The two rear pockets are somewhat unique, one being a zipped media pocket that maybe could be a bit bigger for the latest phone sizes out there (iPhone 6, for instance), but stretched to accommodate my iPhone5 and case with no issues.  The other pocket is narrow, but deep and is made to hold a water bottle.

The front zip is deep and the fabric allows for good airflow and it was a good match to the shorts.

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Baggies have come a long way from the early ones I tried and hated.  These new shorts and tops are comfortable, durable, and practical, so grab a set and go ride.

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Note: All the clothing shown here was sent for test/review at no charge to Twenty Nine Inches. We are not being paid nor bribed for this review and we will strive to give our honest thoughts and opinions throughout.