30 June 2010

bikefix Exclusive Review: Louis Garneau Durango baggy short

Designing a really good mountain baggy short, with integrated chamois of some sort or another, seems to be an extremely hard thing to do. There is no shortage of mediocre ones out there, but very few seem to find their way to the top of my clothes pile the way a good Lycra short will.

While they seem to be a well-made short, the Louis Garneau Durangos’ biggest problem is the shorts' chamois. The first thing I noticed when pulling on these shorts is that the Perfo HD chamois is large. It’s not thick, but it is extra generous in surface area. I could feel the sides of the very wide chamois contacting much further down my inner thigh than I’m used to. As a result, my legs push the pad around as I pedal. Rather than sitting flat against the saddle, it sort of creases down the middle and proceeds work its way between by buttocks. Across the back of the short, in the “tramp stamp” location, is printed “Louis Garneau Awakens Your Soul.” At first, I thought it was just a slogan that translated oddly from Garneau’s native French. After a few rides with these shorts, I realized that it might actually be a warning: if that was how they were going to go about it, that's not something I can say I’m very comfortable with.

Besides the expansive and disturbingly mobile chamois, the Durangos fit nicely. The size medium seems to be intended for a person about my size (6 foot tall, 155lbs). Being particularly long-legged (33 or 34” inseam) and thin waisted, I could see these shorts being quite long on some people- they were pushing the limits of too long for me (down to the bottom of my knee cap). I am much fonder of the baggy part of the short than I am of the liner. The shorts have two cargo type pockets on the bottom front of each leg. These are big enough to be useful, but poorly placed if you want to actually ride with things in the pockets- whatever is in the pocket will bounce around off your knees a lot. I appreciate pockets on my baggy shorts for the convenience of stuffing wallet, phone and keys in my shorts on my way out for a ride. The pockets’ location keeps these things within easy reach, even while driving. I then transfer these items into my pack when the ride begins, so the location of the pockets works fine for me. The outers’ Bamtex nylon/bamboo/spandex material seems very nice as well (Garneau claim that the bamboo helps to make it odor-resistant too). The crotchal region is nicely articulated and uses a good stretchy material (that’s the technical term), which rarely hangs up on the nose of the saddle, as lesser baggies often will.

I have ridden the Durango outers with different liners, and liked them quite a bit. My one concern is that they seem to be a bit warmer than similar shorts I own.

Despite a good outer, the pad in Louis Garneau’s Durango short keeps me from really wanting to wear them. I think this will be the fate of these shorts, to be used as outers paired with other liners that I am more fond of. I originally thought that the liners would no doubt get buried deeply in the short pile, and only be used when washing machine breaks down. I've since found that adding a bit of chamois butter does seem to keep the Perfo HD pad's wandering in check and I'm finding myself wearing the Durangos more and more, even in the middle of summer.

The Durango shorts retail for $110. Are they a good value? It’s hard to say. How do they compare with other shorts in that price range? I have more expensive baggies that I like less. With a better pad (or sold without the soul awakening liners for $80 or so), their value to me would be a lot higher. With the current liner, I think they are worth looking at if you are the baggy short wearing type, and especially if you happen to have long legs, a skinny waist, and a bit more booty than I do.

dan

www.louisgarneau.com

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

A little information about "bamboo" in clothing. link:http://www.inhabitat.com/2009/08/30/bamboozled-by-bamboo-rayon-we-arent-so-sure/

bikefix said...

Anon,

Thanks for the heads-up! We hadn't seen the bits about bamboo-based rayon possibly not being anti-microbial...

marc