By Lynne Fitzsimmons
The premise of these shorts is to look like baggy MTB shorts but work well for road riding. They have only a single layer through the inseam — no extra fabric layers to bunch, chafe or retain moisture.
I tested a size “large.” These shorts run true to the stated measurements. In other words, don’t expect to “cheat” on the hip dimensions!
The shorts have an elastic waistband around the back and sides. There is no elastic in front and no drawstring.
The pockets are amazing. I put a cell phone in the flat zip pocket and a wallet and camera in the Velcro-closing side pocket. There is also a little mesh pocket suitable for holding an energy bar, gel packet or small phone.
The pockets made it easy for me to pull out my camera and take pictures while riding, then return it securely. The pockets’ design is such that their contents did not bang against my legs during pedaling. I hardly noticed anything in them. My friends are really envious.
The shorts have reflective material on the back, toward the top and on the bottom of the legs — good for extra visibility to drivers during night rides.
I wore the shorts in a wide variety of conditions, from dry weather in the high 30s (3-4C) to the mid 90s (35C), as well as on some rainy rides. They didn’tget sticky in the heat, although they are a bit warmer than traditional shorts in high humidity. The synthetic materials are not very water resistant but did dry quickly after a soaking rainstorm.
The shorts feature the Gore Alp-X Lady chamois, which is designed for mountain biking. It’s seamless, antibacterial, perforated and all those other good things about a modern shorts liner. It’s not too big or bulky, and the padding has variable thickness.
My longest ride in the shorts was 24 hours (230 miles; 370 km) in the low 50s (12C). The weather that day was occasionally very wet. For me, these were 170-mile (270-km) shorts. There was no inseam chafing or uncomfortably tight waistband, but my seat got sore. Even so, 170 miles is longer than any other chamois has stayed comfortable for me.
I wore the shorts with and without leg warmers. They were comfortable in either configuration.
I’ve washed them 10 times during 82 hours of use. The label says to wash them inside out, which I forgot to do once, to no perceptible ill-effect. Air drying is recommended.
The shorts are holding up well. The only wear and tear I’ve noticed is a slight fuzziness on the chamois. This appears to be a characteristic of the fabric and hasn’t presented a problem.
My husband is wistfully asking if there is a men’s version. Yes, indeed, there is.
Gore Bike Wear Alp-X Pro Lady shorts are comfortable, have wonderful pockets and thoughtfully placed reflective areas. They are expensive at $150, but my experience says they are worth it if you want durable shorts with a baggy look rather than a skin-tight fit.