Rock on Tommy!
The Polaris Discovery Zoned MTB short has a set of removable braces to keep them in place without reverting to a restrictive waistband.
Cutting to the chase, I love these shorts. I get really, really grumpy if they’re not available to wear when I go for a ride. I wear them on any rainy ride or any ride that’s likely to still have puddles on it at some point, so that basically means every ride then!
What’s so good about them? They keep tyre spray at bay. And they stay put. They don’t droop. They don’t bunch up around your gut. They don’t flap about. They don’t turn into steam saunas. You put them on and go for a ride and never have to fiddle with them at any point.
The unique braces are the genius invention here. At an instant a whole swathe of baggy short problems go away. These shorts are suspended from your shoulders and as such never droop or snag on your bike. There’s a light hug from the lightly elasticated waist band which helps keep drafts and drips out further. The extended rear brace attachment panel ensures a constant and comfy overlap between your jersey/jacket and the shorts. Chilly splat lower back is a thing of the past.
When you think about the new wave of waterproof onesies – such as the DirtLej Dirtsuit – one of the principle issues they claim to solve is the ‘uncomfortable overlap’ issue, where your jacket and your shorts let filth get in at your lower back zone. These Polaris shorts solve the same problem. For much less money. And much less ridicule from your mates.
They aren’t a fully waterproof short all over. The bum, inside leg and lower back panels are fully waterproof, the rest of the short is made from stretchy DWR-coated material. They do eventually wet-out on torrential rides but the trade-off is decent breathability, quick-drying on-bike. It’s a compromise design that has the balance bang-on. The flexible comfort and lightweight nature of a semi-waterproof design is well worth having over absolute total everywhere waterproofing. And that’s coming form someone who lives in the Pennines.
Are they perfect? No. The handwarmer pockets aren’t deep enough to hold anything. Stuff will fall out of them as soon as you start pedalling anywhere. They’re fine for holding valve caps and multi tools etc during trailside repairs, but that’s it. You’ll need additional garments with pockets if you want to carry stuff whilst riding. And that’s fine by me. I always wear a jersey or jacket with pockets anyway. There is a small zipped pocket which is very handy for money and/or a house key.
Any other niggles? Um… the braces get tangled up in the washing machine and require a bit of a faff to undo and re-attach. Despite this faff, I’ve never once gone “ah, forget it I’ll wear something else.” I always put up with sixty seconds of faffing.
Speaking of additional layers, it’s a good idea to wear a base layer under the braces and tucked into the shorts. If you don’t you risk the dreaded nipple chafe from brace rubbing. You should wear a base layer anyway if you’re wearing damp-weather shorts like these.
Having said that, you could always wear the shorts without the braces. They’re quickly detachable. And there is a lightly elasticated waistband there to help retain the shorts in place.
Aesthetically speaking, I like the petrol blue colourway. They’re the ‘correct’ length. They’re roomy enough for leg movement whilst remaining nicely fitted.