The perfect summer weight pair of the best MTB shorts is an elusive thing – too light and they aren’t durable enough, add some heft and there’s a danger you’ll overheat. The POC Essential Enduro is made from a lightweight nylon that seems to hit the sweet spot between protection and warm weather comfort, and being designed for enduro mountain biking, they have been specified with extended wear in mind.
Design and specifications
The Essential Enduro shorts are made from a lightweight stretch nylon that has a PFC-free water repellent finish. The cut is slim, but shaped for the ride with pre-bent knees, an elasticated higher back, and side tabs that pull from the back to front to adjust for fit.
The inseam leg length is a generous 14-inches with a knee that drops slightly lower over the front and is compatible with pads. Rounding it off are two good-sized zipped side pockets.
Out of the box I was sceptical that these shorts would be long enough for me, but it must be the slim cut that deceives, because once on they sit at exactly the right length, just dropping down over the top of the knee.
The pre-curved shape of the leg combined with the stretch of the fabric means that there is no need for extra room to move, the shorts just follow the shape of your leg throughout the pedal stroke. As the fabric itself is also lightweight, that translates into something that is very comfortable to wear over the course of a long ride. The shorts move with your legs, not against them and simply put, they achieve the holy grail of hardly being aware that you have them on. I’ve been wearing these on three hour plus rides with temperatures ranging from 14-22 degrees C without overheating. The slim leg shape is perfect for classic cross-country riding when you’re consistently turning the pedals and don’t want to wear anything that get’s in your way or cuts the pace.
The trade off to lightweight is usually a less durability, but the Essential Enduro short is not disappointing in terms of wear so far, and despite many miles under the wheels and as many turns through the washing machine, they still look and feel like new. Oh, and it’s a tiny detail, but I like that there’s a hook loop on the back – the shorts dry fast and it makes me more likely to hang them up to make sure that happens between rides. Incidentally if you’re thinking multi-day adventures, they will wash and dry overnight in the summer.
I don’t personally like to carry much in my shorts pockets, and the zipped side pockets here are big enough and secure enough for valuables or keys. The hip position means you’ll feel the contents more than a leg-positioned pocket, but loading these up somewhat defeats the object of a lightweight pair of shorts, so in my opinion, not a deal breaker for the intended use.
These are just a great pair of shorts for what I’d term, traveling fast and light. The sleek shape makes for no-fuss pedalling, even over long distances and the shaped-for-the-ride curve of the leg really does feel barely there. Throw in the durable handle and it’s a versatile warm weather style that it’s hard to go wrong with. Available in a wide range of colours beyond basic black, it’s easy to co-ordinate with POC jerseys, my favorite this season being the POC Reform Enduro jersey. A women specific version is also available.
Tech specs: POC Essential Enduro Shorts
- Price: $100 / £85 / €100
- Sizes: XS-XXL
- Colors: Epidote Green, Sylvanite Grey, Turmaline Navy, Uranium Black, Jasper Brown