Is Alpinestars’ Drop Algorithm short a lightweight hit for the heat, or a more versatile year-round option?
These Alpinestars shorts are made from a mid-weight fabric mixed with 15% spandex to allow extra conformity while pedalling. While the material isn’t as thin and aerated as some we’ve tried, it strikes a pretty good balance between coolness and comfort, while still retaining its shape on the bike.
The fabric has a slightly coarser interior handle, which keeps it from getting too sticky and clingy against legs or liner shorts, and laser-cut perforations effectively encourage airflow. This ventilated zone is at the sides of the groin, rather than lower down the leg, and it seems to do a better job of cooling and promoting air flow on the warmest rides than most of its rivals in this test.
The nylon material here is sourced from 85% nonvirgin fabric. There’s a multi-directional stretch for enhanced freedom of movement, but it’s not quite as elastic as the Endura Singletrack Lite short. With a twisted cut and sculpted panels on the side of the glutes, it shares the Endura’s trait of sitting nicely on legs and flowing with your movement of pedalling.
Two main hip pockets (with mesh lining) are roomy enough even for max-size smartphones, and the contoured fit and stiffer fabric keeps contents safe without flapping or bouncing.
At the waist, a soft wicking lining on the sides absorbs sweat, and a double fabric panel at the small of the back helps keep the shorts nicely in position. To tighten, the front fly wraps over and cinches with a plastic ratchet. There’s a broad range of adjustment to dial in different waist sizes and small enough increments to tune perfect tightness.
One downside of this ratchet system is that it can twist the fly flap a little to one side when cranked tight, and also has all the tensioning at the front, rather than wrapping round more evenly on a continuous elasticated band like some Velcro designs.
Alpinestars’ Drop Algorithm is a comfortable, top quality and well ventilated short. We’d class it more of an all-rounder than a pure summer short though, as the fabric isn’t quite as light and minimal as some.