28 December 2009

bikefix Initial Review: Smartwool Rambush shorts

Update 1/13/09: We've had a call from Smartwool and they think that Charlie received a mislabeled pair of shorts. The company made some running changes to the Rambush's sizing and something may have gotten confused. A replacement pair are on the way- we'll let you know how they work out...

I am very angry at Smartwool. They have made an excellent short and there is no possible way for me to use it. I don’t know what happened between these shorts' design and their manufacture, but the sizing of these shorts is ridiculous. I barely fit into a Large- I rode it maybe twice, and decided to give them to a friend thinking I could then order the XL. Well, the XL falls off of me- literally falls off. I’m a 34 to a 35 in waist size and that is a pretty common waist out there. Smartwool risks alienating a huge part of the market with this mistake.

Smartwool lists their size Large as fitting waists 34-36 and the XL 37-39.5 so it’s clear why the XL didn’t work, but the large should have been perfect. It's possible that I got a Medium that was mis-labeled. If that’s the case, then I hope they see this and send me a properly-sized pair of Large sized shorts because I’m not going to buy a third pair- at $140 each, I'm already out nearly $300.

Outside of the sizing issue, the Rambush are really nicely made shorts. The quality is obvious when you see them. The stitching looks strong and the materials feel soft and durable. The outer is made with recycled polyester. The liner is where the expected wool comes in (it makes up 39% of the mix). I rode these shorts one day in Moab- which was quite hot and they worked fine. They probably aren’t the coolest choice (temperature wise – not trendy wise), but they’re not at all unreasonable for a dark brown ("Earth") baggy with wool in the liner. Still, for hot summer rides I might like something thinner and lighter colored. Speaking of which, these shorts are only available in dark colors (black and "Earth"). I might let that slide on freeride type shorts, but on a high-end XC type short you need to have a lighter color for those hot sunny days. Tan would be nice.

I really want a pair of these shorts in my size. For the rest of you, just make sure you try them on first, or that you can return them. The Rambush is a pricey $140 MSRP, but it should be worth it if they fit. I’ll let you know how they work out if I get pair that fit.



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