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Leatt first got into MTB through neck braces so a lot of their clothing range is enduro/DH focused. The Trail 3.0 V22 shorts are designed for faster/further riding though and they’re some of the best XC/Trail shorts AND best gravel shorts we've used.
Design and specifications
The outer shorts use a multi panel cut that sits slightly higher on the leg than a full short so there's potential for some flesh flash above kneepads. The styling and performance works great for fast trail, XC and gravel/bikepacking though. The fabric is very stretchy and soft backed avoiding the flimsy ‘running shorts’ flap of some lightweight baggies.
All the stitching is double and flat locked too and the doubled over waistband is soft lined. Deep Velcro adjusters either side give plenty of adjustment on the elasticated yoke. The full fly and twin press stud fastener helps with ‘nature break’ access and making them look more normal off the bike. There are laser cut perforations on inner thigh, and right around the waist from hand pocket to hand pocket. There’s a zipped (YKK with a chunky rubber Leatt tab) outer thigh pocket on the right leg and the metallic copper Leatt logo below it matches with the Trail 3.0 V22 shirt.
The liner short uses a flat-locked, four-panel mesh construction shaped to keep your bloke bits from bouncing around too much. There are long gripper sections to stop them riding up too. The real win is the dual-density pad from top road brand, Elastic Interface, which was a very welcome surprise as Leatt massively undersell it as just an ‘Italian Sport Chamois’.
The slightly shorter length, lightweight fabric and slim cut complement the high mileage friendly pad with a zero interference, and minimal flap. The stretchy fabric is really quiet and the brushed inner gives them a really natural feel compared to a lot of lightweight shorts. It stops them sticking when wet and helps wicking and drying too. The perforations on the inner thigh also work surprisingly well to deliver a cooling breeze into your delicates.
The thigh pocket works OK for riding but the hand pockets are constricted by the tighter fit. In other words, they’re fine for loose change and keys, etc while you’re chilling, but you’ll know pretty quick if you’ve overloaded them once you start pedaling. The fact they’re pinned into place at the corner stops them sliding out of place though. The mesh liner and perforations across the top also contribute to an overall cool ride. The ‘Elastic Interface’ pad is every good as bit as I’d hoped too, staying comfortable even on the longest, hottest days and making them one of the best MTB liner shorts I've used.
The broad Velcro adjusters and elastic waist let you tailor belly/back fit without it digging in or causing ache after hours in the saddle either. Even the metallic logo tab picked up positive comments from other riders and civilians alike and the Leatt’s have been allowed into the select ‘shorts I’m allowed to wear for normal life’ category that’s very carefully policed by my wife and teenage daughters.
They're stain/dirt/water repellent and while they only shrug off splashes for a few washes before needing reproofing, the shorts still look fresh after several months of riding. There’s no sign of the seat panel discoloring or wearing out either.
These are relatively short, snug shorts so we’d argue with Leatt’s "knee length, loose fit" description. If you don’t mind flashing a bit of flesh above knee pads though, we’re certainly not arguing with their performance. They’re totally unobtrusive physically and audibly, they’re well vented right round.The fabric has a really nice natural feel while still giving all the filth shrugging, fast drying benefits of a performance synthetic. Fit and stability are really good for high performance/high mileage riding too. That’s backed up with an excellent quality pad in the separate liner. They even look good off the bike, where the hand pockets come in handy (sorry, not sorry) and they come in a really wide range of sizes.
This all makes them a great short for XC/trail MTB but also for bikepacking and gravel use. Even at full price value is good, but as Leatt is distributed by the firm behind Chain Reaction/Wiggle you’re likely to find significant discounts online.
Tech specs: Leatt MTB trail 3.0 V22 shorts
- Price: $99.99 / £89.99
- Sizes: S to XL
- Colors: Black, Desert