For years, I’ve been lamenting the fact that despite searching in every cycling shop I visited, I was unable to find a pair of women’s shorts with a water resistant seat (back). My husband had purchased a pair a long time ago and it always frustrated me that when we were out biking together on those wet and muddy days, I was soon soaked to the skin while he stayed relatively dry.
I figured manufacturers believed that when conditions turned inclement, women stayed indoors…
I was under no illusion that wearing a pair of water resistant backed shorts would keep me bone dry, but I was hoping to stay more comfortable for longer when conditions were soggy. One consideration had been a pair of full waterproof shorts/trousers which I came across a year or two ago, but they just felt too heavy and uncomfortable – plus I expected that I would overheat wearing them in Autumn/Spring.
The day I came across the Madison Flo DWR shorts in 18 Bikes brought a big smile to my face. Finally, a manufacturer had concentrated on technical kit for women to ride their mountain bikes comfortably throughout the year. I have to admit that I love Madison cycling clothing (everything I’ve bought so far has performed well and been super comfortable to wear), so it took very little to persuade me to purchase.
Armed with my new shorts, I headed up to Scotland in October for a few days playing around on the trails at Glentress. I expected cool, wet conditions with plenty of opportunity to fully test my new purchase. What I actually found was one of the warmest weeks of the year. The waterproof backed shorts were too warm for the conditions and ended up relegated to my bag for the entire trip.
The next few weeks were relatively mild and dry with little opportunity for some proper technical testing – ironically, for once, I wanted muddy, wet conditions. Eventually, my wish came true and after a day mountain biking through some huge puddles in Swaledale, I finally got to test my new shorts in anger.
They were superb.
The large waterproof rear panel was great for delaying water seepage and I was glad that it covered more than just the immediate seat area. Thumbs up Madison for considering that – they are a step up from the ones my husband has been wearing all this time!
The bagginess in the shorts stops them from feeling restrictive and I love how they look off the bike. Combined with the stretch in the front panel (which is DWR fabric), they’re a really comfortable short to wear. However, the bagginess does also mean that they sometimes feel like they’re flapping around while cycling – admittedly I’ve not worn them with knee pads yet (I suspect the extra volume would then be welcome).
The legs have extra venting with zips opening to mesh (although I haven’t felt the need to use them so far) and there is plenty of storage in the zipped pockets.
There’s very little that I would alter about these shorts. If I was being really picky, then perhaps they’re a little low at the back, meaning that they rode down a tiny bit while leaning forward on my bike. However, that is being really picky and tightening the Velcro more at the waist minimised the movement. It’s certainly not something that would stop me from purchasing the shorts.
If you’re in the market for a pair of waterproof backed shorts, definitely check them out. At RRP £69.99 they’re not the cheapest pair of shorts I’ve ever bought, but I honestly think they will be the best value for money I spend on cycling kit this winter.
Oh, and the orange (red chilli) zips match the colour of my Madison Flux Softshell jacket perfectly – bonus!
Product Reviewed: Madison Women’s Flo DWR Baggy Cycling Shorts
Technical details, taken from the Madison website:
- Constructed using a blend of 3 fabrics to produce the ultimate year round trail short
- A huge waterproof 3 layer rear panel keeps out any trail spray
- The DWR fabric over the front of the short is a durable stretch fabric that will withstand all manners of abuse
- Double faced stretched ripstop fabric over the knee is abrasion resistant to withstand trail rash when you bin it!
- 2-way mesh backed zippers running up the length of the short allow you full temperature control
- Boasting water resistant hand pockets and an ergonomic waterproof phone pocket, your essentials are protected from the elements
- Silicone print in the back of the waist grips to your liner short to prevent any unwanted movement
- 2 pop studs and a chunky fly zipper add to the shorts bombproof construction
- The built in waist adjuster allows you to dial in your fit
- Limited lifetime warranty