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Patagonia Dirt Craft Bike Shorts

photo: Patagonia Dirt Craft Bike Shorts active short

Specs

Men's
Price MSRP: $159.00
Current Retail: $99.00-$159.00
Historic Range: $58.99-$159.00
Fit Regular
Weight 329 g / 11.6 oz
Inseam 11.5 in
Materials Outer shorts 4.2-oz 95% nylon (65% recycled)/5% spandex stretch plain weave with a DWR (durable water repellent) finish / Liner 5.2-oz 72% polyester/28% spandex stretch interlock knit
Fair Trade Certified sewn
Women's
Price MSRP: $149.00
Current Retail: $109.95-$159.00
Historic Range: $34.96-$159.00
Fit Regular
Weight 312 g / 11 oz
Inseam 12 in
Materials Outer shorts 4.2-oz 95% nylon (65% recycled)/5% spandex stretch plain weave with a DWR (durable water repellent) finish / Liner 5.2-oz 72% polyester/28% spandex stretch interlock knit
Fair Trade Certified sewn

Reviews

1 review
5-star:   0
4-star:   1
3-star:   0
2-star:   0
1-star:   0

Patagonia's Dirt Craft Bike Shorts are a lightweight, breathable mountain bike short for everyday riding on the singletrack. Made with a nylon/spandex outer short for full range of movement and a removable inner padded liner, they're soft, stretchy, don't chafe, and are super comfortable whether climbing or descending.

I've worn my Dirt Craft Bike Shorts for two seasons of riding—cross-county, enduro, and lift-assisted—and have found them incredibly comfortable for long days of riding and reasonably durable, though not impenetrable. They're expensive, but they're well-made and essentially you get two shorts, which can be paired up with other bike shorts and liners for versatility.

Pros

  • Comfortable
  • Lightweight
  • Breathable
  • Nice stretchy material

Cons

  • Small pockets
  • Not impenetrable, mine tore on first big crash

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Construction

The Patagonia Dirt Craft Bike Short is the most comfortable pair of shorts I have ever worn mountain biking.

The outer shorts are made mainly from a stretchy nylon (95%, 65% of which is recycled) with some spandex (5%) and have a DWR (durable water repellent) finish for longevity. The breathable padded liner short (72% polyester, 28% spandex) is separate and has a 3-D engineered Italian chamois for cushion. It's also treated with HeiQ Fresh for odor control.

The padded liner is removable, so people like myself who prefer to ride without one can do so. For those who do, the chamois is about as comfortable as any other, but is a little on the thin side. The shorts and liners can also be mixed and matched with other shorts and liners, from Patagonia's ever-growing mountain-bike line or others.

In addition to being 65% recycled, they're also Fair Trade Certified sewn, because it's Patagonia... In fact, Patagonia has the first 100% Fair Trade Certified sewn mountain bike apparel collection. Since introducing mountain biking apparel several years ago, Patagonia has continued to build out the line with men's and women's pants, shorts, liners, jerseys, and more. 

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Front view (with kneepads)

Fit

I found the men's shorts true to size, wearing a medium just like my other shorts. The nylon/spandex shorts material is very breathable and I've remained comfortable during all-day rides. The shorts feel almost soft to the touch and don't chafe at all. They are very lightweight (men's 329 g/11.6 oz; women's 312 g/11 oz) and do a great job wicking moisture away from my legs.

Summers in Maine can get pretty hot and the Dirt Craft Bike Short is light enough to be comfortable for almost all temperatures you can safely ride in. It does fall a little short in cooler fall weather (pretty much anything below 45°f); then heavier shorts or pants are needed instead. 

The shorts also fit extremely well. The waist has a curved waistband to fit your hips and allow for movement, and is adjustable with a hook and webbing design that can be fitted to a very fine level. I'm 5'10" and with the 11.5-inch inseam the shorts come to right above my knees (the women's version has a longer 12-inch inseam). 

The looser fit of the lower portion of the short also makes it easy to fit kneepads under without any tightness or bunching of the short or kneepad. Both the men's (11.5-inch inseam) and women's shorts (12-inch inseam) are designed to be long enough to cover the tops of most kneepads, and I've never had any gaps.

patagoniashorts2.jpg
Side view (with kneepads). The longer inseam (11.5" men's and 12" women's) means they're long enough to cover the tops of most kneepads.

Both the men's and women's shorts come in multiple colors and in a fairly wide size range—28 to 40 inches for men and sizes 0 to 18 for women. Since you get both an inner and outer short with the Dirt Craft Bike Shorts, you could even mix and match them with your other bike apparel. Since these cost $159, some versatility is key.

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Features and Pockets

The Dirt Craft Short has three pockets, and only one is zippered. There are two standard front pockets, and one zippered left-hip pocket. This means that if you want to bring anything with you on your ride you'll need a pack of some sort, especially since the non-zippered front pockets are shallow and things may fall out of them. For this reason, I typically put my valuables into a hip pack or backpack while riding to avoid potentially losing items.

There is the zippered pocket on the left thigh, but due to its placement, items will bounce up and down while pedaling and can become quite distracting. If you don't mind that, the pocket is large enough to hold a phone and/or wallet. I generally wear a fanny pack while biking instead.

IMG_1975.jpg
Paired with a Dakine Hip Pack for the essentials

Durability

On a different note, while well-made, the Dirt Craft Shorts are not impenetrable and have some questionable durability. My first crash I had wearing them last summer I tore a small hole on the thigh. However, this was a decently hard crash onto sharp gravel and it produced only a small hole. In the year plus since that incident, although they have accumulated some scuffage, no other major holes or issues have occurred.

Best Use/Recommendation

If you need a good everyday pair of mountain bike shorts that will feel comfortable and look good, the Dirt Craft Mountain Bike Short is for you. With the separate short and padded liner they offer versatility for most three-season riding and are extremely comfortable. Even though there are significantly cheaper options for bike shorts, the Dirt Craft short delivers on its price tag, being well engineered and thought out and performing over miles and miles of ascents and descents.

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Enduro racing
IMG_5595a-2000.jpg  

Experience

I've used the Patagonia Dirt Craft Bike Shorts for two seasons of riding and have been impressed by them. While I wouldn't recommend using these for bike park or DH riding, they have served me well as a general trail garment for hundreds of miles.

Source: received for testing via the Trailspace Review Corps (Sample for testing and review provided by Patagonia)

About the Author

Burke MacLeay is a high school student in the mountains of Maine and a competitive freeride skier and enduro mountain biker. He enjoys being on snow and mountains, and building things, like trails and skis. When he's not in school, he skis when there's snow and rides his mountain bike when there's not.

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