Abit Gear MTB Shorts7.jpg
REVIEW

Abit Gear MTB Shorts

Words Pete Roggeman
Photos Deniz Merdano
Date Feb 18, 2022
Reading time

I know what you may be thinking. "Just another pair of black riding shorts." Ho-hum.

But you'd be so wrong. Abit Gear is the brainchild of Justin Vander Pol, longtime rider and former Executive Director of the Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance, and a self-proclaimed "lean guy with a bigger butt" which probably describes a few of you reading this right now. A few, but not all. Some of you may be the opposite, or somewhere in the middle, or...hey, look, mountain bikers come in all shapes and sizes and having shorts that fit well is important. Too loose and you might snag 'em on your saddle (always just when you're dropping into something scary for the first time).
Too tight and everyone is wondering if you meant to grab your gravel bike instead.
Too long? Refer to too loose.
Too short and you're sporting that gaper gap between knee pad and hem.

It's vicious out there on the catwalks of the MTB world, my friends.

Justin decided there was an opportunity to fashion some shorts that weren't slaves to fashion, but designed to fit over a bunch of different butts. From that idea, Abit Gear was born ('Abit' is derived from 'a bit' as in 'let's try to make stuff that's a bit better than what's already available).

The Abit Mountain Bike Shorts are not trying to be all things to all people. What makes them unique is that for a given size* there are two volumetric options (Slim and Athletic) and two inseam options (Medium 12" or Longer 13.5"), meaning four available combinations for each waist size. Abit shorts aren't marketed as unisex but I imagine many women would find a size and shape they'd be happy with as well as the guys out there.

*waist sizes range from 28 to 40 inches in 2-inch increments

Features

The Abit MTB Shorts are constructed with a 190gsm material consisting of 90% nylon and 10% elastane that is both more durable and odour resistant than polyester, which is commonly used in outerwear like riding shorts. It has a 4-way stretch (essential for good fit and comfort in a dynamic sport like riding) and a DWR finish that brings splash resistance and quick drying attributes to the party, both important for riding through puddles and fending off post-ride beer spray.

Cam-lock waist adjusters and an integrated belt work to keep them fitting well throughout the ride, even when you're wearing a hip pack, which is nice because I find they pull the waist band of some shorts and pants down if the fit isn't quite right. They're easy to set up comfortably and can be quickly adjusted during a ride, even from the saddle if necessary.

A jeans button holds them shut up front and YKK zippers round out the durable hardware used throughout.

There are four pockets - two slash pockets and one along each thigh - all YKK-zippered and constructed of durable, fine mesh with reinforced bottoms. I leave the slash pockets open while I'm getting ready to ride so I can slide truck keys and other fast grab in/out items in them (my hands always seem full when I'm gearing up) and then usually leave them empty while riding unless I put an ear bud case or small multi-tool in there while riding in case I'm fine-tuning bike fit.

The thigh pockets are semi-hidden heroes that let you stash a modern-sized phone (there's a fabric sleeve within each pocket that holds your phone tight to your thigh so it doesn't bounce around while you pedal) and other large but flat-ish things like energy bars. In a short video on the site, Justin pulls a beer out of one of the thigh pockets - you wouldn't ride like that, but it would work for post-ride domestique duties ferrying beer from the cooler to the huddle. If needed, you can leave the thigh pockets open for ventilation on a warm day.

Abit Better Fit

Justin sent us a couple of pairs to test - Cam's been riding the Slim/Longer configuration in a 32 waist, and I've got the Athletic/Longer in a 34. Cam's inseam is 35", whereas mine is 32", and while I would be perfectly fine in the Medium inseam size, the Longer version is not too long for me. We're both between 6' and 6'1". Similar height and taste in beer, different body shapes, both very happy with the fit. The photos here are all of Cam but I'm similarly well-served. For my part, I have worn my Abit shorts for lots of different rides over the past year or so and been 100% happy with them. They fit as well as anything else I have, which includes use with 4-5 different knee pads and with a simple jersey or t-shirt or an undershirt, jersey and jacket. The other reason I love them is that the pockets do a great job of being useful when I need them without adding bulk that gets in the way when riding. I prefer a little more in the way of pockets than some, since I often spend long days in riding shorts that includes running errands before or after a ride, so I need somewhere to stash keys and a wallet. Combined with the durable and comfortable fabric, the Abits have found their way into my bag on camping weekends, and I've worn them while working around the house or hiking. The basic black colourway with grey zippers is understated and doesn't scream 'biker'.

Cam's opinion and mine are the same on the Abit shorts. We both found ourselves repeatedly grabbing them (when they're clean) and never finding a limitation, whether with fit, function, or durability. They have what you need in terms of features, but don't go overboard and burden themselves with bulk or weight. There are other shorts out there I like equally as much, but the list is short - and none I like better. For those reasons, we wholeheartedly recommend Abit MTB shorts for 3-season riding (in all but the wettest and coldest weather), especially if you don't currently have a pair of black do-it-all riding shorts, because they go with everything, on the bike or off. On top of that endorsement, buying Abit shorts supports a small Seattle-based brand run by a genuinely good goat named Justin who gives part proceeds back to trail advocacy.

You can order Abit MTB shorts directly from Abit. They're available in waist sizes 28-40 (in increments of 2 inches), Slim or Athletic fit, and inseam lengths of Medium (12") or Longer (13.5"). 142 CAD / 109 USD / 99 EUR / 82 GBP

Abit Gear MTB Shorts10.jpg

Cam putting his Abits to work on the rowdy trails of Cypress Mountain in West Vancouver.

Tags: Shorts, Abit
Posted in: Apparel - Shorts, Features, Gear

Related Stories

Trending on NSMB

Comments

Vikb
Vik Banerjee
9 months, 3 weeks ago
+6 Andrew Major OldSchooler Pete Roggeman psyguy Nologo Niels van Kampenhout

They look great. If I can make two suggestions:

  1. Offer an even longer inseam option. That's exceptionally hard to find, but there are a bunch of folks like me who would snap 'em up. Even as a limited volume run as long as there was some reliable way to pre-order. 
  2. Offer belt loops. I'll take a belt every time over waist adjusters. At least for me it's the difference between pulling up my shorts 10 times on a ride or not doing it at all.

More quality bike clothes options is more better so I salute Abit!

Reply

4Runner1
4Runner1
9 months, 3 weeks ago
+5 JVP Y S Pete Roggeman Dan mrbrett

Decent price, especially considering the ability to pick inseam and fit. I’m 178 cm but have short legs and plenty shorts are just too long for me.  Have been looking for another pair for the upcoming season. Might just give these a go.

Reply

pete@nsmb.com
Pete Roggeman
9 months, 3 weeks ago
0

I would start with Abit for sure. Some companies list the inseam lengths of their shorts, but most don't, making it tough to find the right fit if you're not 'average' for M or L or whatever.

Reply

dan
Dan
9 months, 2 weeks ago
0

Check out the shipping and returns page on Justin’s site: free returns and exchanges (for US customers) and what I think is a pretty generous price structure for shipping to Canada. https://abitgear.com/pages/shipping-and-returns

Reply

ridestuff
Derek Baker
9 months, 3 weeks ago
+4 JVP Pete Roggeman Dan mrbrett

That's a good price for a solid sounding product.

I just happen to be looking to replace the decade old pair of everyday black riding shorts, I've currently run into the ground!

Reply

troy
Troy
9 months, 3 weeks ago
+4 Y S Pete Roggeman Dan JVP

These are hands down my favorite riding shorts. I have three pair so I always have a clean one to grab. The little internal pouch in the thigh pockets is great and allows you to keep small things there while leaving the zippers down a bit for ventilation. Really comfortable, durable and no swishing when pedaling. And Justin is an OG trail builder, advocate and all around great guy. Support a small business, you won't be disappointed.

Reply

morgan-heater
Morgan Heater
9 months, 3 weeks ago
+4 Pete Roggeman Dan Peter Leeman JVP

I have a bubble butt and they fit me better than most shorts. They're also very very stretchy, which is important to folks with "athletic" behinds for not binding up.

Reply

WalrusRider
WalrusRider
9 months, 3 weeks ago
+3 Pete Roggeman Dan JVP

These are the best shorts I've ever used by far!

Reply

SlowAnimalsWin
William Swanson
9 months, 3 weeks ago
+3 Pete Roggeman Dan JVP

I'm not shaped anything like the reviewers and I too was able to find a perfect fitting pair of shorts from Abit. Great gear from a Cascadia company and often you can find a discount code clicking around the site.

Reply

RideAllTheThings
Y S
9 months, 3 weeks ago
+2 Pete Roggeman JVP

I love my pair of Abit shorts! I have the Slim/Longer and it covers the knee enough (I'm 5'7" with shorter than average inseam). The placement of the rear quarter thigh pocket is great for keeping my phone. I forget I have my phone in there when riding. I've ridden everything from pump track to dirt jump to double black tech trails and these shorts are absolutely well designed! It's totally worth the price!

Durability wise, I've buzzed my rear a couple of times (Maxxis DHR II) and the fabric didn't even flinch. After a wash, you can't even tell it was buzzed by a knobby tire. Highly, highly, recommended!

Reply

pete@nsmb.com
Pete Roggeman
9 months, 3 weeks ago
+2 Y S Dan

I've crashed in them several times and the fabric was unfazed. For material that also isn't noisy or feel plastic-y against the skin, it's durable and has looked good after a lot of washes.

Reply

neilBar
neilBar
9 months, 3 weeks ago
+1 Vik Banerjee

Standing in a photo is one thing but once the knees are bent a fair bit more length is needed. 

For me (I have a 36” inseam right to the floor, 34 jeans are oK) shorts like the old RaceFace DH 3/4 (stuff fabric) were a gift for wearing with pads at 21”/535mm. So, I too would like a longer option. 

Even Abit’s “long” 15" /380 mm would be a little short for lanky me.

If a fabric is at all stiff, shorts easily catch then sit above pads on bike  - 14.5” is  ok if the fabric is floppy I guess.  

My E arly Fox “demo freeride” are 360mm (14.2”) and sit great as they are so soft (floppy fabric).

410mm is close to ideal even with a stiff “DH”fabric (I have some robust fabric green Raceface Ambush that work at that length, those are 410, with the hem unpicked)

Mavic’s “H20”, a quite flimsy (roadie over short I guess) in large fits my 34 ish waist, needs just a bit of gathering with the tabs 465mm inseam, 500+ at front with the knee drop. 

Madison’s DTE waterproof large is OK and really keep the wet out, although the “cupped cut” knees sit a little high for me so catch on pads like ION K-Pact and stay caught up. . They are better with the Dakine Slayer pad with less bulk to hook up on  

Just a few thoughts for the lanky reader ‘;~}

Reply

pete@nsmb.com
Pete Roggeman
9 months, 2 weeks ago
0

Good insights for the lanky ones.

I have a pair of those Mavic H2Os (albeit from about 2014) and I love them. Perhaps slightly long on me compared to other shorts but that made them even better in wet and wintery weather.

Reply

neilBar
neilBar
9 months, 2 weeks ago
0

Thx Pete, yeah long legs, great for reaching up, rubbish in cattle class on a plane! [or for buying bike 'shorts'. The old Sombrio Freeride were great long long ago now.  Made some good stuff back in the day, as did Raceface. Must have had tall designers. 

(2009 “Pinner freeride”), my favourite casuals, baggy, 440mm inseam

Raceface DH 3/4 (discontinued) 535 inseam (best length by far, love em)

Reply

dan
Dan
9 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 JVP

Great to finally see some press for my favorite riding shorts! I’ve had mine about a year and my only regret is not buying them sooner. They’re my go-to’s. With four zipped pockets, I seldom have to ride with a pack, which is pretty sweet.

Reply

mrbrett
mrbrett
9 months, 2 weeks ago
0

Are the waist sizes generally true to fit in a "standard"? Like vs. Levis or some other ubiquitous clothing item?

Reply

JVP
JVP
9 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 mrbrett

Hey mrbrett - Justin from Abit Gear  here. We designed them to be standard sizing for the typical outdoor sports brand. So a 32 should fit like a "normal" 32 from another quality brand.

Now I realize that's a wobbly target, with "vanity sizing" being all over the board. Our shorts don't fit big like Walmart, or small like some Euro-specific brands. I hope that helps, and I've sent you a DM if you want more specific sizing info like garment measurements.

Reply

Please log in to leave a comment.