Recently I was able to try out two short products from Race Face, courtesy of Travis at Decorah Bicycles- the Piper and Khyber shorts.
This review will be on the Piper short which comes in two colors: black and turquoise
Available at Decorah Bicycles for $79.99
Available at Decorah Bicycles for $79.99
First impressions of the short:
Soft fabric! Sometimes you have shorts that have a fabric that makes you feel like you're wearing a brillo pad. Bending and flexing my legs, I knew I wouldn't have chafing or discomfort from potential "break in" time.
Lightweight and breathable. These shorts will be ideal for warm temps and more humid days. During the cooler months they will be fine to wear over top of lightweight (not thick) tights.
Made with InterFlow fabric, a combination of nylon and spandex the shorts claim rip stop and quick drying properties.
I'm a bit clumsy with mountain biking sometimes, but on my first trial run with the shorts I didn't fall. However, my friend had a tumble and her shorts suffered no damage whatsoever. (I'm not talking epic proportions of tumbles downhill, but you could say sticks/shrubbery, and possibly rocks could be factored into our terrain.)
With mountain biking I prefer having baggies on vs. straight up lycra shorts. I like the extra fabric that could potentially save my upper legs from being scratched, scraped, or otherwise dinged up. I do not want to wear fabric that I feel could be easily torn. I also look to see if the baggies will snag the saddle. I rode in these shorts comfortably the entire time without being tripped up by saddle snags. YEAH!
I'm also a person who will wear clothes for years as long as they are durable- that is key. I ride a lot, I wash items a lot, I want everything to last as long as possible.
I'm a huge fan of waist adjustors, all of my shorts need some sort of adjustment- I'd consider myself athletic in build. Muscular legs, thigh/hip/butt- not large numbers, but typically a 26/27 waist is what I need for jeans. I feel my torso is pretty much non-existent to a point. This also means I dislike waistbands that go up too high and make me feel I'm bending over a bar.
(Short torso/long legs and the inability to wear skinny jeans unless they are jegging-style material due to calves.)
When I put on the shorts I looked for tabs, there were not any to be found. However, the shorts fit fine?! The Piper shorts are built with a Retract waistband system that auto-adjusts up to fit your waistline. This also allows you some wiggle room for post-ride eats and beverages without worry of button busting.
I've not worn an "auto-adjust" waistband short before, so I was a bit skeptical on how these would work. Let me tell you, I have no complaints. For one thing, without having velcro tabs I eliminated the annoying "jersey sticking to the tab" issue that can crop up with one of my most favorite pair of shorts. With the area I ride in there are a lot of hill climbs. Not once did I feel like the short would potentially fall, granted I'm used to being able to get a tighter fit around the waist- I wasn't uncomfortable. The waistband itself was very comfortable. I didn't feel like I was wearing a girdle.
My friend who tried the shorts the same day I did has a different body build than I do. Per reviews she decided to give them a go as they are a stretchy fabric which basically fits to you. She had no issues with the shorts either, and enjoyed them immensely.
Point- if you have wider hips/thighs and have a butt you will probably like these shorts a lot because of their ability to stretch and not feel like they will split seams. If you have more of a waist and are in-between sizes, you should find these shorts to be comfortable and not restrictive.
Note- These shorts do not come with a chamois liner short. Wear your favorite! (Some may choose to not wear liner shorts.) However you roll, you'll look amazing on or off the bike. I appreciate shorts that make my butt look good!
Zippered fly with snap closure. No velcro keeping things covered- I am a huge fan of upgraded shorts that come with zippers.
Zippered pockets- because zippers ensure your items like money, a key, etc. are contained and not going to fall out because your velcro closure wasn't completely shut.
Soft brushed inner waistband- nothing harsh or uncomfortable about the waistband at all. Sometimes stitching can aggravate the skin- no irritation here!
Zippered side cargo pocket- because it's awesome to have pockets with zippers. Not everyone wears a Camelbak, so having more storage is a bonus.
Zippers have zipper pullers to assist you with opening/closing your pockets without having to remove your gloves.
Double reinforced seams mean these shorts are durable and will not fall apart after two wears. (I have not had a pair of shorts fall apart, yet. however, additional stitching is always a bonus.) I love products that can handle tumbles without having to worry they will tear instantly.
Would I recommend these shorts? Yes! I don't consider myself super picky, but at the same time I spend a lot of time mountain biking- so I ultimately am. I have worn several pairs of baggies. These are up in my top 5.
Baggies are my short of choice when I'm out on the trails, and these are definitely comfortable enough for me to enjoy wearing them off the bike. Plus? I love how they hug my butt. (Not too little or too much. Just right!) The length is nice too. I'm one that prefers to have shorts that hit around the knees (or slightly below).
So stop on in at Decorah Bicycles and try on a pair of these shorts! They are durable, soft, self-adjusting, and figure flattering for many shapes. PLUS extra protection against those branches and shrubbery on the trails vs. lycra- you will not go wrong with a pair of Race Face Piper shorts for your summer off-road riding.