Review: Women’s Race Face Khyber Shorts

What Do Women Want?

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Slight exaggeration!

Well, that’s a question isn’t it! I don’t think I can answer that, but I am getting to know what I want! It’s not short shorts which seems to be the fashion that is on the high street and in the sports scene. Is it the accepted fashion that women have to show there legs and wear minimal clothing? I know there will be some saying ‘of course’.  Well maybe I am in the minority here, but I don’t, particularly as I don’t live  in a lush sunny country where you have an all year round tan. I don’t even tan, so putting my pasty legs on display is not on my list of priorities! I thought with mountain bike ‘baggies’ that this wouldn’t be the case, but I was wrong up until the few years! Times are a changing or just getting updated and expanding for the better!

Here I am browsing through what I can get hold of and to my shock I had options! The likes of Fox, Flare Co. Findra and Dakine had good possibilities, but the winner just now was the Race Face Khyber Shorts in a cool purple colour. I wanted something a little more colourful as all my shorts are black bar a pair of  green Scott shorts (XC summer short). It doesn’t take long to know if you like a pair of shorts or any clothing for that matter, if it fits right, you’re onto a winner!

These Khyber shorts fit nicely and here’s what I thought…

Style

These are a heavy duty short with a hard wearing material called Tweedster (awesome name in itself!) that makes a little noise when you wander round the shop feeling all smug showing off the new shorts that just got delivered (ha, ha, working hard!!!). It has lots of pockets, just a little upsetting that they are not matching (asymmetrical apparently) not being the same on each side. The one hand in pocket look it is then when I am posing up against a wall next to my bike (I don’t do this, honest!).

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Fit

Simply spot on. I am typically a size 8 and the small in these are cracking, not need to squeeze in or wiggle past the hips or too baggy around the waist, which is usually the case. You know when you try something on and just go ‘yes’, no question they just work and you feel good in them to. The length is great, so when standing in them they fall just below the knee (obviously this is dependent how long your legs are!). On the bike and pedalling its is just above the knee, and work well with knee pads too.

It’s all in the details

These appear to be really well made and should be for the price (RRP £69.95) so I hope they last for years. The small touches like getting a spare chain ring bolt on the tag is cool, but an expensive way to get a new set of bolts! There is a soft waist band that is nice and comfy with the adjustable straps incorporated into this (I didn’t notice them at first). It even has DWR (durable water resistance) treated. 8,000mm; 3,000g/m2 (waterproof/breathability) which I didn’t pay attention to, but that’s ace for most of the UK year! The mesh lined, zippered thigh vents are an appreciated feature on the hotter days, though I would go for a lighter shorter in the peak of summer.

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First Ride

I may have not picked the best riding conditions for these shorts, it was too hot (I know shocking right!). I’m not complaining about having a mini heatwave, but these shorts were not suited to the 24C we were experiencing. It was on the first climb that I was already over heating and feeling very sweaty particularly around the waist where it has the nice soft waist band. They were however comfortable to pedal in even with my phone, multitool, power links in the pockets. (Note: side pocket is just too small in length to fit an iPhone 5C in a robust case in with the zip shut). The first descent was comedy, 2 corners in and slipping and sliding I had a comedy fall onto the side, no grip whatsoever. Any way the shorts were fine, no holes just covered on one side with mud, ha ha love this biking malarky! The rest of the ride I was happy as Larry (whoever he is) in them, I’m sure they made me go faster because I felt cool, so riding like I was a pro (obviously after the crash!). All in all they were great, but just too much in the heat, so for the majority of the year in the UK they will be superb, but just not the few heat waves we class as our summer!

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The pro’s

  • Great fit and accurate if using there size guide
  • Superb colour choices – Black, Red, Orange, Blue and Purple (spoilt)
  • Good length
  • High quality materials used, so should be long lasting and durable
  • Waterproof with DWR technology
  • Zipped pockets and lots of them (maybe overkill, but nice)
  • Vent zips on inner leg, effective on the hotter daysrace-face-khyber-women-s-short-2015-save-20-on-stock-items-colour-lime-size-xs-5912-p

The cons

  • Expensive, but if they last it is worth it (‘buy cheap, by twice’)
  • Too hot in the higher temperatures, over 20C you will melt in these
  • A little heavy, more suited to going downhill than uphill

Final thoughts

As you can see the pro’s outweigh the cons, so that speaks for itself. These appear to be a great short, but for me the test will come after a year or 2 of use and if they are still just as good as my Altura Attack shorts that are still going after over 5 years  of use and I don’t stop biking in the winters! If you have the cash and like the look then why not treat yourself. They are comfortable, not too tight, great length and awesome colours, what more do you want from a short. All in all these get the big thumbs up, but may come out for the more enduro/downhill not the XC marathon rides!

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