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Showers Pass Gravel 10" Shorts

rated 5.0 of 5 stars
photo: Showers Pass Gravel 10" Shorts active short

The gravel shorts are made for mountain biking and double as a good pair of hiking shorts. Some cycling-related features and adjustments make these a good choice for biking. The shorts have no padding, so I liked these better with a padded undershort for longer and rougher rides. For hiking and cycling, these shorts are a winner.

Pros

  • Cycling-related features
  • Comfortable
  • Versatile - good for hiking too

Cons

  • If you like bike shorts with cushioning, you will need a padded undershort

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BASIC INFORMATION

The gravel shorts are made for mountain biking. They are made from a 95% nylon/5% spandex fabric that has a nice bit of stretchiness that cyclists will appreciate. They have two big front pockets and one smaller, rear pocket, all with mesh liner material that helps with ventilation. The rear pocket is actually a dual pocket - it’s an open pocket, but within that, there’s a section that’s secured by a zipper. 

 

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The shorts have a number of design elements that make them particularly good for their mountain-biking purpose. Starting with the waist and back, you’ll see there is a strip of very stretchy fabric along the back, right below the belt. That’s great when you’re cycling on anything with traditional geometry - I primarily ride a cycle cross bike, so I’m not as upright as on a mountain bike. 

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The black strip of fabric is super-stretchy and helps vent heat

Inside the belt, there are diagonal strips of silicone, which are sticky and keep your shirt from accidentally pulling out. In addition, the back of the waist is elastic and adjustable - you’ll note there are tabs on either side of the inside that pull the belt area tighter, another features that keeps the shorts firmly situated on rides. Finally, the front closes with a sturdy metal hook and a pair of snaps. All of these help customize the fit and feel - I really like that. 

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Note the diagonal silicone strips, tabs, and black Velcro strips.
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Zip fly with hook and snaps. It says ‘enjoy the ride’ inside the fly - interesting decorative choice!

Finally, in addition to the mesh pockets and vented/stretch strip on the back, there is a zippered ’pocket’ on each thigh, but they really aren’t pockets - too small for most items. they’re vents you can zip open when you ride, backed by mesh like the other pockets.

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HOW THEY WEAR

These shorts are tremendously comfortable. 10 inches is a good length for both hiking and cycling - the legs ride up a bit while on the bike. Sizing is specific, sold by waist size rather than S-M-L-XL etc., and that is a very good thing for shorts with this kind of customization options. The fabric is forgiving, the hook and snaps are very secure, and they have belt loops if you favor a belt while cycling or hiking.

it’s important to keep in mind, for a cycling short, that these have no chamois or padding. I strongly prefer some cushioning. So, after the first few rides, I wore the gravel shorts with a pair of cycling liners with cushioning. In case that’s not a familiar concept, a number of cycling apparel companies sell liners made of very thin, light spandex with a padded seat. The Pearl Izumi pair of ‘minimal liners’ I wear with these cost $30 on sale and dramatically improve the comfort level while riding. 

Because the shorts are loose and have some stretch, they feel good both hiking and riding. I thought the zippered openings on the thigh were useful when I was riding over the summer in serious (over 90 degree Fahrenheit) heat. 

TESTING CONDITIONS 

 The gravel shorts became my primary cycling short this summer. I ride on a combination of paved roads and dirt/gravel trails, all on a cycle cross bike (looks like a road bike but has somewhat fatter tires, beefed up forks, frame and seat post). I usually ride 15-30 miles on weekdays and aim for 40-60 omn weekends and holidays. I have a couple of favorite long rides. From our home in Maryland, a round trip ride to Mt. Vernon, Virginia (George Washington’s home) is just short of 60 miles, the first 10 on a dirt track, the rest on paved roads and paths. The C&O Canal is a dirt/gravel towpath that follows the canal and parallels the Potomac River; it runs 10 miles into the District of Columbia and 170 miles outbound into Pennsylvania, so I can ride pretty much any long distance I want doing an out-and-back riding west/outbound. Finally, there is a fairly hilly paved artery that runs west into less-populated/more rural towns near our home if I prefer to stick to pavement. 

Over the past number of months, I’m guessing I logged between 500-750 miles in these shorts, primarily on the bike. Summer rides were steamy - July 4 weekend, the ride to Mt. Vernon, i consumed more than a gallon of water. 

I also wore these shorts on a number of hikes locally and a day hike up the bobsled/luge ‘hill’ (about 1000 feet vertical) in Lake Placid. They proved to be comfortable and sturdy on hikes. I would normally wear shorts like this with a webbing belt, but with the ability to tighten the waist internally, i didn’t need a belt. 

DURABILITY

Less than half a year doesn’t tell me much about how long a garment will last, but despite very frequent wear, they‘re totally intact. Hardware is firmly attached, stress points have double layers of stitching, and no scuffs or tears so far.

TAKEAWAYS

I generally always cycled in dedicated bike shorts before testing Showers Pass’s gravel shorts. Pairing a pair of shorts like these with a liner was a foreign concept for me. However, if you want a comfortable cycling experience while wearing a pair of baggier and more presentable shorts while off the bike, and shorts that double nicely as a hiker or around town short, I highly recommend these. 

 

 

Background

4-5 months of consistent use for cycling and hiking.

Source: received for testing via the Trailspace Review Corps

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Specs

Price Current Retail: $89.00
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