We’re a bit obsessed with good looking high end technical apparel made from premium fabrics, but that doesn’t mean you need to spend a ton to have versatile and functional pieces in your cycling wardrobe. We found three shorts that are solid performers in the baggy trail riding short category that might not have been your first pick, but are definitely worth taking a look at. Their basic looks may not be flashy like the racey kits so frequent on the trails these days, but can easily be paired with other pieces, and you won’t look like a walking advertisement.
Aerotech Designs Urban Cargo Shorts
This short is possibly the best value in a basic “baggy” cycling short we’ve found. It’s light weight and comfortable with a great fit and profile for trail riding, and the casual look means you’ll end up wearing them for for more than just riding. As a basic piece, we recommend it as a “buy”. Did we mention the price? These things are only $40! There are a few weird quirks to be sure, like a left hand zipper entry, a button closure (we’d prefer to see snaps, but they do include a spare button) and we’d like to see a seamless crotch area, but it’s hard to beat, especially considering it features four zippered pockets and a nylon belt. It also features cargo pockets, which I generally am not a fan of, but they’re low profile, and barely noticed. They feature an 11″ inseam and the length is great for trail riding. I prefer my shorts to be more slim fitted so they don’t catch or flap around so I sized down and ordered a small as opposed to a medium.
At this price you’ll need to pick up a liner separately, which is to be expected. I’m ordering one more pair, in case this is a limited run.
List price is steal at $39.99.
Check it out: Aerotech Cargo Commuter Cargo Multi-sport shorts
Funkier Eagle Baggy Shorts
The Funkier brand came across our radar recently with the Buzzard Short catching my fancy. It had a lot of the similar qualities as a favorite trail shorts by Endura I reached out to find our more about the apparel brand. An Israeli company, they’ve been around for over two decades. Although they’re big in Israel, they just started breaking into the US market and are currently available consumer direct via their website.
They were kind enough to send a sample pair to try out, the Funkier Eagle. Turns out my pick, the Buzzard is being replaced by a newer model that isn’t quite available yet. A matching padded liner (they’re sold separately) was also included.
To be honest, the Eagle model wouldn’t have been my first choice. Unlike the other two shorts here, it screams mountain bike utility short. While they’re all performance shorts, the Eagle feels the most technical of the lot. My beef though is personal: I’m over cargo pockets on my shorts— why do I want stuff bouncing off my knee with every revolution of the pedals? That said, the cargo pockets are low profile, and weren’t that noticeable. Since the only time I would ever use a cargo pocket is to hold my gloves when I hit a store mid-ride to grab snacks, I’ll probably add a stitch or two to keep these hanging flat.
After the first ride in the Eagles they started to win me over. They’re well thought out, with a lot of features and some nice touches: seamless crotch, 7 zippered pockets, bar tacks at all the stress points and an integrated belt. I love my pockets, and I like them secure- the Eagle nails that. Constructed of 100% nylon, they dry quickly and have nice fit that tapers a bit and isn’t too baggy. They are definitely a warm weather short though- the unique mesh placement on the thigh is great, providing an abundance of ventilation. However, there’s no way to zip it up or close it, so you get the airflow whether you want it or not— not as nice now the mornings are brisk. Since we’re coming into fall, I’ll be saving this pair for wearing on warmer days.
Like the Aerotechs, the Eagle uses a button closure, which I’m not a fan of. In fact, my sample was actually missing the button. Fortunately I possess a needle and thread, and that was easily remedied with the spare button from the Aerotechs. So far so good.
The Eagle lists for $84.99 and is available in gray or black. Funkier USA is currently running a 20% off promotion that includes free shipping when you spend more than $40, so if you’re interested in trying a pair, now’s the time.
Check them out: Funkier Eagle Baggy Shorts
Zoic Black Market Shorts
Of the three shorts listed, Zoic is likely the only brand you’ll run across at your local bike shop. They’re also the only one that includes a liner out of the box. Like the other two models, it includes a nylon webbing belt to adjust for size, but uses velcro for the closure as opposed to buttons or snaps. The fit is more relaxed than the Aerotech or Funkier models making it a good option for those of larger girth or meaty of thigh. That said, it doesn’t feel or look too baggy when you’re on the bike, and the black color of the model we’re riding in hangs well, so they don’t look overly baggy. It may be Zoic’s basic short, but I actually prefer it to their more expensive models. The casual look means you can wear it around town as well.
It features two leg zipper pockets on the front of the leg which continues to confound me- why do I want stuff bouncing off my knee with each pedal revolution? That said, similar to the cargo pockets on the Eagle, you don’t need to use them and they’re barely noticeable. I just wish they were on the back of the leg, so I could actually use them to hold energy bars or something. Overall though, it’s another great value in a basic short, and during this summer it made it into my regular rotation, as it’s light, comfortable, and dries quickly.
At $69 with a liner, it’s a solid buy for a performance trail short that can also double as an all around short.
Check it out: Zoic Black Market Short