Compared to “the tight shorts,” as my Texas uncle calls traditional cycling shorts, I’m the first to admit that I think baggies are all fashion with what’s almost always a noticeable reduction in function.
But over the years I’ve grown to like baggy shorts for things like coaching, doing downhill runs or in other situations where there’s as much standing around as there is pedaling. But when it came down to actually pedaling in loose shorts, I always knew I’d made a sacrifice. Let’s count the ways: annoying swishing sounds while pedaling; baggy crotch hanging up on the saddle; too heavy and/or hot (not to be confused with hot and heavy); inner liners not cooperating with outer liners and, finally, silly plumber-crack sunburns.
And then Fox sent us the Ventilators. Wow. I’ve put in almost a dozen rides in these shorts with no complaints — and I love to complain. The new Evo-M chamois in the removable 88-percent nylon/12-percent Spandex liner is a drastic improvement over last year’s high-end chamois, and were still comfortable into hour four on the bike.
The four-way stretch, 13-percent Spandex outer shell rides like they were made by the weavers in the “Emperor’s New Clothes,” with no noticeable swishing, binding, catching or sagging. And as far as the namesake, I can only say they’re fantastically breathable in sunny 70-degree weather as it hasn’t been any hotter here. But, I will say the front and rear vents allow enough air flow that I’ve actually opted for different shorts on some of the cooler spring days here in Colorado.
These are definitely a lightweight, streamlined pair of shorts with the only real exception being one mesh-lined, zippered pocket that houses a removable optics cleaner and a headphone port. All the employees at Fox must wear glasses 24/7, as it seems like everything they make comes with optics cleaners, which is great in my book. There are two snap buttons and a zipper for a fly closure, and two Velcro side waist adjusters to fine-tune fit.
And that’s it: No belt loops or cargo pockets or zipper-accessed vents or hook-n-loop thigh leashes, or any other features that would bump up our size 34’s weight over 12.5oz (355gms).
A bit of a head’s up on sizing: Make sure to try these on before you buy them, even if you already own a pair of Fox shorts in a different style. We’ve noticed that there’s some variation from style to style with Fox, something that they are aware of and working on. I fall in between sizes a bit, so I optimistically ordered the smaller size, hoping that my summer fighting weight arrives sooner than later. Until that moment happens, yes, I know these shorts make my butt look big.
There, I complained.