SHOWERS PASS CROSS COUNTRY DWR SHORTS
274g Black 36 inch waist £73
On and off the bike, touring, commuting, off-roading, general riding, Showers Pass Cross Country DWR shorts are high in quality, with numerous nice touches to make the ride comfortable. Taking them on tour in mixed weather, to work, doing some aggressive – ok, by my standards – gravel, as well as wandering around off the bike, they have performed well and are a pleasure to wear. As it says inside the fly, “Enjoy the Ride.”
Pros: well-made and adaptable.
Cons: length option would be a nice touch.
Ignoring the trims, 91% nylon and the rest Spandex is a pretty decent mix for shorts designed for general riding, whether on tour, off-road or on the way to work. DWR stands for Durable Water Repellent. Note, repellent, not proof. The fabric is lighter at the front and stronger at the back, with four way stretch articulation.
There’s a silicone gripper waist strip, and Velcro waist adjusters, promising a sharp, comfortable fit. Sizes run from 30-40 inch waist.
Two side pockets and two press-stud fastened rear pockets give options for keys and other daily burdens – although that sort of thing is personal preference, especially on the bike.
Zips on the side pockets would add security on and off the bike, but their lack is not a deal-breaker for me: I prefer to keep side pockets empty when riding.
There’s a little reflective detail on the lower leg.
A full zip fly and hook and press stud fastenings look really solid and secure.
Although there are plenty of internal seams, they are beautifully finished, and have caused no irritation.
Length is what one would expect, though these are sleeker than real MTB baggies. I’d like a leg length option – as I prefer touring shorts to be, well, a tad shorter. However, that’s a personal thing.
Water Resistance 3.75/5
Persistent light drizzle made little impact. Ten minutes in a torrential downpour soon brought a damp feeling around the thighs, but, paired with the Showers Pass Elite 2.1 Jacket, more protected areas remained dry. So nether regions were unaffected, likewise, padded underwear. On the other hand, don’t expect to stay comfy on a wet day on tour. However, unless you are very unlucky, these should protect you during the average commute. In any case, the shorts were dry within twenty minutes.
Machine wash warm, but with liquid detergent, they are line-dry in an hour or so. They’ll dry overnight at the hostel or in the hotel.
There’s no padding, although contact areas are reinforced. That’s not been problematic over moderate distances, but then the tester has a well-moulded leather saddle to match a leathery, less well-moulded, arse. When out for a full day I have donned supermarket brand padded underwear. Showers Pass offer inners.
Waist adjustment is excellent. Although sizing seems spot on, making finer adjustments adds to all-day comfort. Combined with the silicone gripper that runs around the back of the waist, there’s no danger of riding-up, even when shifting weight during gravel of MTB expeditions, for example, when honking on ascents.
At 17-20 mph on humid wet showery days, temperature has stayed moderate with no anticipation of nasty fungal developments. Four days on tour, with showers or persistent rain, each day saw them dry overnight, and stay comfortable without washing. Integral pads or inserts can be debated, but there’s a lot to be said for flexibility on multi-day rides.
Off the bike, they look casual enough for informal pub or café, or indeed just wandering round town. They are clearly cycling gear, but they don’t declare it too loudly.
By the way, though you can shuffle about in the saddle, these are no slippery escape artists – even on polished leather saddles.
At £73 a pair, these are not cheap. On the other hand, they are very good. Sharing many of the qualities of Altura’s Attack One 80 shorts– adjustable waist, stability, length, the Cross Country DWR have the edge, in my opinion. Water-repellence, comfort, and fit all seem a little better on the Cross Country, although Altura’s may have the edge for MTB jaunts. They come in at around the same price. Some more out and out MTB shorts offer similar qualities – even better in some aspects – but come in a little more expensive and are less suited to general riding.
Much pricier are Chrome’s Folsom Shorts (£110). These probably have the edge off the bike and have some unusual features – such as a D-bolt holster. A closer comparison, with similar DWR fabric, would be Chrome’s Seneca Shorts, at £85, which come in a choice of two colours.
Thoughtfully specced-out and well-executed shorts, perfect for general riding as well as meandering round sans bicycle. Regular riders who cross cycling disciplines and want an alternative to Lycra should take a good look.