Ladies MTB Shorts - Tested

In a short and sweet review we got our tester, Rachael to give us the low down on her most worn shorts this summer. Three pairs were in for review in a 'wear one, wash one, dry one' kind of test environment. These baggy shorts from Ground Effect, DHaRCO and Liv have seen some hard miles over the last four months!

Ground Effect - Martini's ($129.00 NZD)

Everything about these Ground Effect Martini's screams New Zealand, from the fact that they are designed and made on these very shores to the straightforward, no-nonsense style, these are everyday shorts are built to last. Ground Effect say the Martini is a short built for many needs, whether its an MTB ride, a commute or just chilling out with a coffee in one hand and a cake in the other. I can say I have used them for all three, the simple styling enables them to function well as a performance short and also as a casual item. 

The Martini's are fairly close fitting at the waist and use a simple popper and zip fastening. There are elastic inserts which sit directly on each hip and extends in a strip around the rear, ensuring a good fit whatever size and shape you are. I'm a size 10 and found a size small to be spot on, the stretchy fabric meant I pedalled in comfort all day even when things got hot, sweaty and sticky. The most pleasing thing about these shorts was the length, hovering just below the knee there was no chance of the dreaded 'thigh gap' here! The Martini's are fairly roomy in the crotch department but it isn't something that looks odd when on the move, a benefit is that it provides more room when in the saddle. 

Feature wise, the Martini's come equipped with two hip pockets, these are open hand pockets so not for your valuables but useful to stuff empty cereal bar wrappers and the likes on the fly. There is also an easy to reach zippered leg pocket which contains a hidden secret - a tube repair patch. Those of you who read my recent Ladies Jersey Test will know this is regular feature of Ground Effect clothing. 

I coupled my pair of Martinis with a pair of Siren under shorts, a high backed lycra chamois which proved ultra comfortable, being of a medium thickness and quite malleable. Four months later and I am still giving the Martini's a hard time, aside from the odd grease stain they still look like they have just dropped out of the packet, standing up to the abuse from both me and my washing machine extremely well! The Martini shorts are priced at $129.00 which given the rapidly escalating price of MTB gear these days is an awesome price for an item made right on our doorstep.

DHaRCO - Ladies Gravity Shorts ($119.95 AUD)

Recently introduced to the DHaRCO range of clothing, I have to say I'm a big fan of the Australian brand. The kit is well thought out, has a great cut, it's robust and hard wearing. The designers are also not opposed to a bright colour way or far out print either (check out the flamingo jersey), which is eye catching and bold without being over the top or garish. 

I tested the Ladies Gravity Short, a light but durable baggy short that has plenty of room on the upper thigh and is a great length - below the knee again, take note all manufactures! I tried both the small and medium sizes and found I was in between sizes, I opted to run a medium on test as I prefer a baggier fit. This wasn't a problem as the shorts have an adjustable waist band. Previously on shorts with this design of waistband I have found the excess tabs to flap about and get caught on my jersey, this was pleasingly not the case with the DHaRCO shorts, the tabs at the hips sat flush to the shorts at all times. 

The Gravity Shorts have two zippered pockets, on at the rear which are perfect for a car key on quick rides or a lift pass for your park rat days. The other is on the left hip, I'd have liked to have seen an open pocket on the other side but less pocket material does mean less bulk at the hips which can only be a good thing. 

On the trail the shorts are super comfortable and flattering to wear too, the four way stretch material ensuring they stay in place at all times. At $119.95 AUD, it'd be hard not to buy two pairs of these shorts, with orders over $100 receiving free shipping both in Australia and Internationally, it's doubly hard to say no!

Liv - Tangle Baggy Short ($110.00 USD)

The Liv Tangle shorts are definitely the boldest shorts I have ever tested, even in this black and white colour way, they are not ones to be missed. I have previously tested the purple Liv Tangle 3/4 sleeve jersey and was impressed by the light and cool material used. The same can be said for the shorts, the are cool to wear and don't cling to the body. 

I went for a size small which fitted well, I might be tempted to go for a medium in the future just to give me a bit more room on the upper thigh. The cut of the Tangle shorts sits high on the waist, which is different to the other low cut waistbands of the other shorts here. A stretchy band around the back  makes sitting and bending in the Tangle's as comfortable as any others. These shorts are also slightly shorter in the leg, the 12" inseam leaving them just above my knee, going up and downhill there was skin on show....

The Liv Tangle Short have pockets aplenty with two zippered hip pockets and two leg pockets, one of which contains a cord with an attached glasses wipe - a nice touch and one I haven't seem before on shorts. Performance wise, these fitted shorts were best suited to quick XC blasts in the sun. 

If you like a higher waistband and a closer fit of short, these will be right up your street. Also worth a look is the Liv Passo Trail Short, which comes with a liner which once worn in and washed a few times is super comfortable and cool. $110 USD (about $156 NZD) will buy you a pair of Tangle shorts, but $100 USD will buy you the Passo's with a liner. Admittedly the Passo's don't have the same elastic waistband as the Tangle's but the fit is the same and I didn't feel any less comfortable in them.