By ADRIENNE SCHOFHAUSER
Flattering mountain-biking shorts made for women are hard to come by. Typically, you’ve either got diaper butt or weird pointy side pockets. Race Face’s all-mountain DIY short is the opposite of all that. So simple and slimming (its black color helps), the short is not only high-performing and comfortable, but you can stop telling yourself that depressing line, “it doesn’t matter what you look like, we’re just here to have fun. . .”.
I’ve spent a month of rigorous riding in these shorts through rain and shine, on technical singletrack and muddy downhill trails. I’ve fallen hard in them and risen without any fabric tears. The Retract-Lite material (97% nylon) keeps the shorts lightweight and breathable. Add to that the 3% spandex and two-way stretch weave, and your movements are never restricted while hauling down the trail.
The shorts’ stretchiness accommodates all figures. If you’re curvy, its low profile keeps from adding bulkiness. If you’re slim, the shorts hang smoothly without weird bunching. There’s still plenty of room for the tops of knee pads to fit underneath. (Note: For fit, I am a size two and wear an X-small in the DIY shorts.)
Unfortunately, the waistband on the 2010 DIY short is not adjustable. That’s something I’ve come to appreciate and expect on mtb shorts. But that minimalist approach may have helped Race Face keep the price down. The DIY short costs $64.99, which is at the low end for similar bike-shorts models.
Race Face launched its “For Her” line two years ago, all designed specifically for a women’s figure. The company went a step further and incorporated a fashion-forward mantra. That’s apparent in the DIY short. Looking almost like street apparel, the front pockets are small, and the short lacks the bells and whistles of typical cycling apparel.
Between the DIY’s minimal weight, all-around comfort and light fabric, the shorts have been great for me on long days on the trail. Race Face decaling is stitched in a graceful cursive font (as opposed to their original all-caps logo). A subtle ribbon of purple and silver detailing wraps around the inner cuffs, adding a feminine touch to these tough mtb shorts.
—Adrienne Schofhauser is a freelance writer and editor based in Seattle.