It’s not often that you find apparel that covers all of the bases and quickly becomes a go to staple in your gear bag. We’ve spent quite a few months in the Troy Lee Designs Ruckus shorts, and have found that they nestle into that category nicely.
Aimed at the all mountain/enduro category, the Ruckus are a utilitarian pair of shorts that isn’t shy of places to stash things. Now that we’ve given them a thorough trashing in all different scenarios we decided it was time to put our thoughts out there.
At $135 US, the Ruckus comes in at a reasonable price point. There are cheaper offerings out there, and outrageously priced bits as well. They arrive with a breathable, removable, padded lining. The tough, grabby, rubber coated velcro adjustments fit nicely into the waistband on each side to fine tune the fit. The Ruckus are relatively long, and are ideal if you’re wearing kneepads. When worn without, they weren’t a hindrance though – the length is just right. The lightly padded waistband closes with a tough plastic zipper and a button for added security. The shorts themselves are made from a 2-way stretch material. An extra flexible panel out back sitting just below the waist helps them move freely and prevents the shorts from riding up on your waist. In between the thighs, a set of discreet zippers open to expose mesh vents for the hot days. With our size 32, we found the cut and sew to be top notch, and the fit was spot on and accurate – no need to size up or down. After we rattle off the details below, let’s see how they were on the bike.
• 2-way stretch lightweight breathable 92% polyester / 8% spandex mix main material.
• Ergonomic MTB specific cut and fit.
• Full waist and hip height adjustment via micro fiber waist adjusters.
• Inner thigh ventilation via hidden inseam zippers.
• High quality ribbed spandex stretch panel.
• Unique leg length adjustment feature ensures personalized fit.
• Includes premium removable chamois inner short.
• Zipped pedal friendly cell phone pocket.
• Rear pocket with air mesh padding.
• Open access pocket with content security panel.
• YKK brand zippers.
One super important feature of shorts is always going to be pockets. Starting out with the most important is the right front pocket(sorry lefties) It’s an open slash pocket with no zipper – this is where most riders will be keeping their cell phones. While some might want the added security of a zipper to prevent their phones from falling out, others may prefer quick access. A key feature of this pocket is the way that it’s angled and laid out to encourage your phone to sit still and not pop out. Whether pedaling uphill or pointed downhill we never once had an issue with our phone so much as even moving a bit. For those that aren’t convinced, the left pocket has a normal zipper closure that most phones will fit into just fine. Out back, there is a wide – but not so deep pocket right on the waistband. We found that to be a nice place to stash our keys as they didn’t make a racket, and the padding made them unnoticeable.
Starting with the liners, we really love these shorts. From the ground up Troy Lee knew they weren’t trying to design a liner that would be worn by itself, so they made great efforts to ensure it added to the comfort. The textured material is super breathable, yet nearly see through – please don’t walk around in the parking lot wearing only the liners! The chamois was nicely cut and just thick enough. One feature we really liked was how TLD designed the part of the liner that grabs the thigh. No rubberized bits, so non leg shavers can rejoice as nothing will be ripping their hair out. Instead, the shorts featured a wide, doubled over cuff that was just a little more grabby and less stretchy than the rest of the liner. They never inched up our thighs, but it was refreshing that they didn’t chafe or pinch either.
The shorts themselves were super comfortable as well. We love how stretchy they are and that they articulated nicely. The Ruckus were roomy enough to move well, but not so bulky that they would get us caught up and snag on the saddle when trying to get off the back in steep sections. We found that this is the type of short that you can wear for light duty trail, heavy duty enduro style riding, or even flat out downhill in the bike park. A great deal of DH specific shorts can be nice for racing, but impractical for park laps and long days leaving very little places to stash things. We definitely spent some long days at Snow Summit Bike Parkin the Ruckus and never found that they came up short(no pun intended). It was a great sign that after any type of riding, we weren’t dying to take these off. Quite often in fact, we found ourselves surprised to be driving home in them. If you wanted to just own one pair of do it all shorts for a variety of riding, these are definitely the best we’ve found. If you don’t take our word for it, have a look at the TLD sponsored riders. You’ll find them wearing these things in just about every riding scenario. Considering how many different shorts Troy Lee offer their athletes(as well as consumers), this speaks volumes about their versatility.
We must say, considering how soft, flexible and lightweight the Ruckus are, we were skeptical about how well they would hold up. After a good 5 months of always reaching for them in our gear bag we’re happy to report that they’ve exceeded expectations. Another nice feature was – despite how light in color the shorts are, it was easy to get stains out. Mud spray and tire streaks from failed attempts at getting sideways all went away with a bit of stain remover. Not a huge deal, but we’ve had plenty of gear in the past where the material they were made from was not cooperative in terms of clean up. While we didn’t have any catastrophic crashes, but did have a few small get offs, the shorts held up well. No split seams, blown zippers or frayed bits. Our only small complaint was that the button popped open once in a while, but that could also be attributed to our tester’s beer intake and tendency to wear the velcro adjustments really tight.
Bottom line, these shorts rule, and for 90% of our riding we consistently find them to be the most logical and comfortable choice. They aren’t mega cheap, but nor are they crazy expensive. They pack in a great amount of value, are well made and in it for the long haul. Hat’s off to Troy Lee Designs for making that “favorite” pair of riding shorts.