The (almost) perfect short legged, foul weather protection
These Mavic Crossmax Ultimate H2O waterproof shorts are perfect for providing wet weather protection for your legs. Highly packable and very lightweight.
These are a piece of kit that proves invaluable time and time again. I’ve ridden these to death over the last twelve months and they still bounce back almost as fresh as new.
Better than normal riding shorts?
Rather than a normal pair of riding shorts made from thicker, waterproof materials, the Ultimate H2O is more a thin waterproof overshort. That’s not to say the Crossmax is a shapeless, baggy bit of kit. Quite the contrary. In fact, the slim cut allows them to work exceptionally well as a ‘normal’ set of trail shorts with just a padded liner underneath. I would probably go as far as saying they work better this way than when trying to fit them over the top of bulkier trail shorts.
The tailored fit has enough space around the thigh and knee area to interact nicely with knee pads. The hem of short is cut just below the knee so pedalling in soggy conditions still keeps the thighs nice and dry, with no nasty gappage. Another neat touch is the angled cut, putting the front of the knee lower than the rear. This helps minimise excess material and any possible discomfort behind the knee.
Durability in spades
Wet weather performance is exceptional and, as they are of the short-legged variety, breathability hasn’t been an issue. What’s also been a real bonus is the durability of the DWR coated fabric. I have had no issues hosing them down after particularly muddy rides and then just shoving them in the washing machine with the rest of my dirty kit. Time and time again, they come out looking as good as new and there has been no discernible drop in performance.
The Crossmax Ultimate comes with a handy little stuff sack that looks too small to fit the shorts in. But with a little bit of effort they squish in. Leave them in for a little too long (I often shove them in a pack for weeks on end) and they come out looking a little wrinkly. But again, performance isn’t hindered.
I so wanted to give these shorts the coveted ten-out-of-ten but they do have one slight flaw. The two pockets sit too low on the thigh to be really practical. Any heavy items bounce around a bit too much and are a little too distracting. It also puts objects in the firing line in case of a crash, possibly leading to a nasty injury or damage to whatever was in the pockets.
After a year of riding, I don't think I'll be parting with these shorts. Taking up such little space means I carry them everywhere as an emergency, wet weather layer. But the bonus is the Crossmax Ultimate can just as easily be worn all-day as your only shorts.