17 May 2012 - 12:26The Emperor’s New Clothes
Some would consider a black cape with a big cowl to be the perfect addition to their wardrobe, I don’t disagree, but they are pretty impractical for bike riding. You could easily get it snagged in your rear wheel unless you were going fast enough for the cape to flow behind you. Also, the hood could restrict your vision to the point where you might hit low hanging branches.
I’m super happy riding in my tight and bright Bike29 leotards. And my METAL kits from Twin 6, but sometimes, I don’t always feel that speedy. And sometimes, being all trussed up like a sausage isn’t cool in certain social settings. This is where the baggy short has saved the day. I’m somewhat of a coinesseur in this department.
A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, when I first started to ride with padded bike shorts, there were only a few companies making baggies. The two that I remember from back then was Zoic and Nema. I had a pair of each. The Zoics quickly fell apart, leaving me with the Nemas, which were my go to brand right up until the company exploded in early 2007. I made the leap to Oakley, who at the time, was producing an overbuilt, feature rich short that was a) comfy, b) fit, c) really expensive.
Since the demise of Nema, I have yet to find a baggie short that has lived up to the Oakleys. Unfortuantely, Oakley is a sunglasses company based out of Southern California, which means that it wasn’t really grounded in the needs of real world mountainbiking. At least for us riders in other parts of the country. The shorts became more about fashion than function, and what was once a truly awesome short quickly became a poorly executed tribute to the whims of Cedric Garcia and Brian Lopes, who seem to be the only people that can ride a short with a 28″ inseam. Didn’t we do gangsta pants in sports already, like in 1993?
Anyway, I’ve been on the hunt for a suitable replacement. Fit has always been a problem for me. Unfortunately, I’m built like a gorilla with long legs. It’s genetic. My first set of Oakley shorts were a struggle to get on, I needed a pant horn to get them over my huge ass, but once they were on, they felt really good. Except that trailside nature breaks were a bit of a problem. The issue is that if the short is baggy enough to get over my ghetto booty, then the waist is not tight enough to keep them up. Saggy shorts are no good, as they get caught on the saddle, and that can be a big problem when riding technical trails. Imagine being off the back of your bike on a steep loose descent, and having your pants come down half way on your way back over the saddle. That’s a fail in my book. Plus trail crack is not pretty.
My OG Oakley bagies are long gone, but these have been my go to shorts for the last few years. Now even these are starting to show signs of aging.
I’ve tried Fox, Bontrager, Club Ride, Endura, you name it, I’ve been in them. Now I have some Jett Raptor shorts to try out. Jett is a company out of Fort Collins CO, one of my favorite towns out west. The Raptor is their flagship short, constructed of a ballistic nylon, with a removable liner. They feature your standard hand pockets, plus zippered cargo pockets so you don’t loose stuff like your lunch money or trail maps etc. They also have vents on the front and rear of the shell, which hopefully will provide a bit of cooling. The fabric is a little on the heavy side (hopefully durable too), so some relief there would be appreciated.
Like everything else named “raptor” , I fully expect nothing less than total baddassery out of these shorts. I’ll let you know how it goes.