A good winter option for die-hard shorts fans.
O’Neal’s latest top-tier Mud shorts use a thick three-layer fabric that’s extremely waterproof, tough and rip resistant. Inside, well glued, fully-taped seams don’t skimp on the overlap and outer pockets with rubberised zips use the same three-layer material inside. This last detail means, unlike some other waterproof shorts, the front pocket used for my phone always stayed fully dry.
Cut long enough to cover pads with no thigh gap (unless you’re exceptionally tall), the Muds come pre-shaped with a knee curve that works well for pedalling and tracing pad movement. A stiff, padded rubber waist has enough stability to stay planted pulling shapes too; thanks to extremely tenacious Velcro tabs that work way better than sometimes flimsy, overly stretchy fasteners on rivals. One drawback with this, however, is combined with minimal stretch in the fabric, O’Neal’s shorts are a bit stiff next to skin and inflexible compared to lighter/stretchier options.
Waterproofness and durability here is top notch, and the proper thick (more like a full-on mountaineering outdoor jacket) waterproof material lets absolutely zero mud and crud inside, even on bike park days in the rain where you’re sitting in uplift vans and wet clothes all day long.
Build quality and function are excellent then thanks to lots of double-stitched seams and the tough fabric, but I struggled a bit with flexibility and freedom of movement. The waist is stiff as mentioned and the fit is also quite ‘racy’ and narrow and better suited to riders with skinny hips and not much thigh and glute chunk.
O’Neal’s shorts are a considerable investment at £110, but are well-assembled and very waterproof, making for a solid UK winter option if they’re a good fit for your shape.