If July is beginning to feel like National Mountain Bike Shorts Month at Gear Gals it’s because it probably is. We took the Troy Lee Designs Skyline short ($75), an enduro/all-mountain mountain bike short, out for some rides recently and this is what we think:

TroyLeeDesigns_Skyline_13

Lycra stretch-panel on the back

What I liked

  • Good ventilation features. A waffle-weave on inside of the fabric which creates a series of air-gaps that promote ventilation. A Lycra stretch panel runs across the upper back of the short and as a panel in the crotch to allow for additional stretch, comfort, breathability and range of motion. Each leg has a mesh opening to also allow for good ventilation on hot days as well as accommodate knee pads.

    TroyLeeDesigns_Skyline_10

    Lycra stretch panel in the crotch, too.

  • Waistband. The wide-panel construction makes it very comfortable with a high rise in the back for good rear coverage. However, the shorts also rise higher in the front, which can feel restrictive to the stomach when in aggressive riding positions. The higher rise in the front created some moderate bunching but did not chafe or feel uncomfortable—nor did it impact range of motion.
  • Knee-pad compatible. The inseam for the small runs 11 inches and hits well above the knee. But the tapered legs still accommodate knee pads due in large part to their shorter inseam length.

     Lee Designs Skyline Short

    Each leg has a mesh opening to also allow for good ventilation

  • Zippered pockets. The Troy Lee Designs Skyline shorts have three zippered security pockets. One pocket on the left hip, one on the right leg and one back panel pocket on the waistband. However all pockets are stash pockets rather than cargo. The leg pocket zipper is welded for water-resistance. Here’s where I have to admonish Troy Lee Designs: If you can put stash pockets on mens’ shorts, you can do it on the womens’.
  • Good ventilation features. A Lycra stretch panel runs across the upper back and as a panel in the crotch to allow for additional stretch and breathability. Each leg has a mesh opening to promote ventilation on hot days as well as accommodate knee pads. Depending on the size and coverage of the knee pads, some cyclists will experience a skin-to-short gap when in aggressive riding positions.

    TroyLeeDesigns_Skyline_02

    Evil!

  • Work well with all chamois. The Troy Lee Designs Skyline shorts do not come with an integrated chamois but I found that they easily accommodated all chamois worn, from Pearl Izumi to Sugoi with a brief stop at Gore.
  • Durable. I found them to be well-constructed with a medium-weight 4-way stretch Polyester and Spandex blend. Single-stitching is straight and precise with a medium-weight thread.
  • Stylish print. It’s “Evil”. What more could a mountain biker ask for?

Buyer Beware

  • Sizing runs on the small size. The Troy Lee Designs Skyline short runs on the small size and has a straight cut through the hips that is more in line with a men’s cut rather than a women’s. My sample size small (3/4) felt tighter in the hips and butt. This is a Troy Lee Designs design flaw (dammit, it has to be!!!). In all seriousness, when I buy jeans or pants, I’m more of a 5/6-size small not a 3/4-size small. I recommend you order the next size up for a more relaxed fit or lose three pounds. Still, I think this more constrictive fit makes these shorts better suited for enduro riding rather than straight-up cross country or urban riding.
  • External Velcro waist adjustments tabs. They do a great job of cinching in the waistband to assure no back gaps but also increases the probability of a jersey snag.
  • Minimal crash protection. The medium-weight 4-way stretch fabric of the Troy Lee Designs Skyline shorts lends itself to good protection during low-impact crashes but the shorter inseam of 11 inches, even when paired with knee pads, will leave leg skin exposed.

 Final thoughts

I like them. They have outstanding features to promote good breathability and ventilation and in Minnesota, that’s critical. They are well-fitted (could be almost too well-fitted for some), eye catching (if you get the Evil print) and are knee-pad compatible.

However the sizing runs small through the hips and the shorter inseam of 11 inches will almost certainly leave skin exposed in a crash. Just keep an open mind with regard to size. It is not a reflection on you if the next size up fits better.

  • Troy Lee Designs
    It takes grit and determination to pedal up, then rip down jarring rock gardens, root-latticed singletrack, and craggy alpine ridges on your two-wheeled trail conquistador. Keeping you relaxed and pleasantly cool with every pedal stroke, the Troy Lee Designs Men's Skyline Jersey combines timeless trail aesthetics with a moisture-wicking fabric. Its relaxed fit offers more freedom than form-fitting XC jerseys, which is great when you're popping off rollers, drifting around corners, and plunging into steep sections. Lightweight polyester fabric actively pulls perspiration off your body where it can readily evaporate. Mesh ventilation panels breathe exceptionally well to cool your body when you're riding hard. As a handy bonus, there's a side stash pocket for storing riding nutrition and small accessories.
    $49.50  from Competitive Cyclist
  • Troy Lee Designs
    It takes grit and determination to pedal up, then rip down jarring rock gardens, root-latticed singletrack, and craggy alpine ridges on your two-wheeled trail conquistador. Keeping you relaxed and pleasantly cool with every pedal stroke, the Troy Lee Designs Men's Skyline Jersey combines timeless trail aesthetics with a moisture-wicking fabric. Its relaxed fit offers more freedom than form-fitting XC jerseys, which is great when you're popping off rollers, drifting around corners, and plunging into steep sections. Lightweight polyester fabric actively pulls perspiration off your body where it can readily evaporate. Mesh ventilation panels breathe exceptionally well to cool your body when you're riding hard. As a handy bonus, there's a side stash pocket for storing riding nutrition and small accessories.
    $49.50  from Competitive Cyclist
  • Troy Lee Designs
    It takes grit and determination to pedal up, then rip down jarring rock gardens, root-latticed singletrack, and craggy alpine ridges on your two-wheeled trail conquistador. Keeping you relaxed and pleasantly cool with every pedal stroke, the Troy Lee Designs Men's Skyline Jersey combines timeless trail aesthetics with a moisture-wicking fabric. Its relaxed fit offers more freedom than form-fitting XC jerseys, which is great when you're popping off rollers, drifting around corners, and plunging into steep sections. Lightweight polyester fabric actively pulls perspiration off your body where it can readily evaporate. Mesh ventilation panels breathe exceptionally well to cool your body when you're riding hard. As a handy bonus, there's a side stash pocket for storing riding nutrition and small accessories.
    $49.50  from Competitive Cyclist
  • Troy Lee Designs
    It takes grit and determination to pedal up, then rip down jarring rock gardens, root-latticed singletrack, and craggy alpine ridges on your two-wheeled trail conquistador. Keeping you relaxed and pleasantly cool with every pedal stroke, the Troy Lee Designs Men's Skyline Jersey combines timeless trail aesthetics with a moisture-wicking fabric. Its relaxed fit offers more freedom than form-fitting XC jerseys, which is great when you're popping off rollers, drifting around corners, and plunging into steep sections. Lightweight polyester fabric actively pulls perspiration off your body where it can readily evaporate. Mesh ventilation panels breathe exceptionally well to cool your body when you're riding hard. As a handy bonus, there's a side stash pocket for storing riding nutrition and small accessories.
    $49.50  from Competitive Cyclist