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Scott Gravel Tuned Shorts review – high performance, as long as you can live with the length

Scott’s premium gravel baggies are short in length but not short on performance

Scott Gravel Tuned shorts
(Image: © GuyKesTV)

Bike Perfect Verdict

Scott’s Gravel Tuned shorts are nicely detailed high performance, unisex short shorts for fast riders of all sorts.

Pros

  • +

    High performance, showerproof stretch fabric

  • +

    Variable ventilation

  • +

    Three mesh pockets

  • +

    Full zipped fly

  • +

    Comfortable waist adjustment

  • +

    Reflective trim

Cons

  • -

    Fabric is quite noisy

  • -

    Short legs won’t suit everyone

Scott’s Gravel Tuned shorts are a sweetly versatile and innovatively detailed design with both wet and warm weather features. They work well for every aspect of gravel biking from racing to wilderness adventures as well as MTB too. The short style and contrast white zips won’t be to everyone’s tastes when it comes to gravel bike shorts, however.

Scott gravel tuned shorts rear

Tailored fit keeps the Tuned Gravel shorts fitting pert and pedal friendly (Image credit: GuyKesTV)

Design

The shorts are made from a tough yet lightweight 4-way stretch DUROxpand CORDURA fabric. The tailored cut uses no less than 15 separate panels including a  seamless inner leg and crotch panel. The multiple pieces means a lot of flat-locked seams. They’re shared cleverly with the hand pockets and the rear elastic mesh pocket which stretches right across the back of the shorts just below the waistband. The waistband is doubled over which means minimal stretch but there’s a side adjuster strap that hooks into a webbing strip on the right hip.

There’s a full zip fly with metal press stud in the front. The hand pockets have bright white contrast zips too and the mesh backing extends both in front of and behind the zips. There’s a single line of laser-cut ventilation holes up the inner thigh and small reflective metallic foil graphics on the left leg and right butt cheek.

Scott gravel tuned shorts side

Zipped hand pockets also work as vents for boosting the breeze from the inner thigh perforations (Image credit: GuyKesTV)

Performance

While it’s not really a performance aspect it’s the length of the leg that’s the most important to whether you’ll get on with the Tuned shorts or not. Stood up, the hem just about skimmed the top of my knee, but sat down/pedalling it’s a fair way up the thigh. That's far enough up that under shorts (like Scott’s Gravel bib shorts ) will stick out from underneath and that there’ll be an embarrassing amount of flesh between short and knee pads. That’ll make some folk recoil in horror and definitely puts dual duty use for Enduro out of the picture for anyone aesthetically sensitive. 

However, having ridden marathons in Europe I’m aware that short shorts are very much on trend when it comes to smashing up multiple Alps in a day whatever shape your bars are. They’ve also been swiped by both my wife and daughters for riding and they loved the leg length so while Scott don’t actually offer them as a women’s fit they obviously work great.

Our testing explained

For information on Bike Perfect's testing procedures and how our scoring system works, see our how we test page.

Once you’re past the aesthetic question the performance is an interesting mix. The fabric is actually pretty stiff and noisy rather than light and floaty and it’s got a non PFC DWR coating to shrug off showers and spray. That could potentially make them quite hot but the perforations up the inner thigh provide a refreshing/occasionally startling breeze into your nether regions. You can also open up the hand pockets and let the mesh inners act as exhaust vents for extra cooling flow.

The fact the mesh inner extends both in front and behind lets you flip the contents so they're in front of the thigh for wandering about, or behind to the side of your butt for pedalling. Then there’s the other mesh pocket at the back which will comfortably handle a large phone sideways. In other words while they’re short on length they’re not short on ride ready storage.

The multi panel fit stays close and flap-free compared to the average baggy MTB short. The cut and side strap fastening system also works well to give a close, tailored fit with minimal shifting around in or out of the saddle. ‘Nature break’ access is easy thanks to the full fly, and they work as general ‘sports shorts’ if you’re okay with the style. The seamless crotch also works really well on long days with a minimal pad – or on a gravel bike where suspension is limited. 

While the eco-friendly coating didn’t last more than a couple of washes (that’s pretty much standard) the shorts still shrug off weather well, dry fast and are still looking totally fresh after plenty of use this summer. 

Scott gravel tuned shorts rear pocket

There's an extra broad mesh pocket across the back of the waistband too. (Image credit: GuyKesTV)

Verdict

I know I keep banging on about the length aspect here, but that really is the decider on whether the shorts are for you. If you’re fine flashing thigh then these are tough, weather versatile, tailored fit shorts with useful storage. Add the seamless crotch and they work really well for long distance riding whatever your gender or your bar shape.

Tech specs: Scott Gravel Tuned shorts

  • Price: £81.99 / €89.90 
  • Sizes: S-XXL
  • Colours: Black only
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Buy at Scott-Sports.com (opens in new tab)

Guy Kesteven is Bike Perfect and Cyclingnews’ contributing tech editor. Hatched in Yorkshire he's been hardened by riding round it in all weathers since he was a kid. He spent a few years working in bike shops and warehouses before starting writing and testing for bike mags in 1996. Since then he’s written several million words about several thousand test bikes and a ridiculous amount of riding gear. To make sure he rarely sleeps and to fund his custom tandem habit, he’s also penned a handful of bike-related books and talks to a GoPro for YouTube, too.


Rides: Pace RC295, Cotic FlareMax, Specialized Chisel, Vielo V+1 gravel bike, Nicolai FS Enduro, Landescape custom gravel tandem

Height: 180cm

Weight: 69kg