Yorkshire weather-fighting fanatics Spatzwear has now expanded its range from protecting your extremities and core warmth with a range of ‘regular’ riding kit based on several years of pro-based development and a deep dive on fabric tech. Its Convoy cargo shorts are a super practical design that has gone straight to the top of our ‘most worn’ rankings, but price and “Utility with speed” pocket/performance balance mean they’re definitely not for everyone.
Design and aesthetics
Some brands such as Assos are moving towards a single-piece construction the Convoy’s 14 piece construction is definitely from the ‘more panels equals better fit’ school of thought. The seams are all broadly flat locked for strength and fabric has a high Spandex 46 per cent for durability and stretch, too.
The Spandex/nylon mix does have a slightly ‘are these a bit damp?’ feel at first and you’ll need to do a bit more hoisting than normal to coax the multi-panel cut and tenacious extended gripper hems up into place. Once they’re up and snug though we’ve not had a single issue with saddle hook up, dangling pad, lower leg creep or any of the other fit shifts that can become a real niggling hate issue on longer rides. The extended hems (they sit just above the knee on an average femur) and weight of the fabric add a welcome extra bit of warmth when temperatures start to drop and they work great with leg/knee warmers, too. Breathability and drying speed is still good on warmer/wetter rides as well.
The Spatzwear development crew is mostly made up of current pro- or elite-level riders and they’ve put two years and a huge amount of mileage into testing different pad options. The end result doesn’t have any fancy branding or slogans attached but the 3D-ribbed and perforated synthetic pad is up there with any premium seat pieces we’ve used. Again drying/wicking is good enough not to leave you with trench crotch after hot/wet rides and it never feels bulky, despite relatively deep buttock sections that are comfortable enough for big days out on rough gravel.
The extra cargo capacity is a real help on longer rides, too, letting you carry more bars, gels or whatever else you need to keep you going. It also adds all-weather versatility in terms of being able to use the shorts with a non-pocketed base layer under a shell and still take your phone/keys/cards with you. With just two rear pockets and a small mesh thigh pocket on one leg load carrying is limited compared to competitors like the original Specialized SWAT shorts. Talking to designer Tom about his current pocket strategy that’s to keep lines clean and aero rather than risk overloading but having pockets on both legs would be more ambidextrously inclusive and obviously double the capacity too. As it is you definitely need to think of these as a ‘card and go’ performance set up rather than packhorse cargo pants. If that’s all you need though then we can’t fault the shorts in the way they ‘disappear’ their contents dynamically, holding everything secure in the right places to create zero rub or niggling irritation.
Safety is added in the form of reflective tab flags on the rear leg seams, subtle reflective logos in the gripper fabric and printed on the legs - including inside the mesh thigh pocket. There are more reflective tab flags and inside logos on the back pockets, too.
Spatz has done a great job of creating a pair of cargo shorts that compete with the best extra-capacity, long-ride happy alternatives from even the most established brands. The bulk/capacity balance definitely prioritizes speed over stowage, but they still add useful value-added versatility. This even includes ‘bibs out’ reflectivity and excellent knee/leg warmer compatibility that pushes their use deeper into the dark months than most shorts. You’ll need deep pockets not just cargo pockets to put them on your shopping list though.
Tech Specs: Spatzwear Convoy Cargo bib shorts
- Price: $TBC / £209.99
- Sizes: S, M, L
- Colors: Black