I clearly remember the first pair of cycling shorts I bought at MEC: it was around the time I started working at the co-op. I had grand ideas of commuting to work on a regular basis. Well, that didn’t happen, but I digress. The shorts in question were called Cyclo and, although highly functional, they weren’t exactly nice looking. They were eventually replaced with the Journey shorts that incorporated a new fabric and a new chamois for increased comfort. Closely resembling my old shorts, the Journey also offer great value and are popular with our members who gave them an average rating of 4.75 stars. Regardless, this princess likes to look good even when she’s sweating in spin class, so I went for something more stylish.
Above and beyond aesthetics, I did have some functional issues with the Cyclo shorts:
- I found them too long, stopping just above the knee;
- They tended to ride up;
- The fabric bunched up around the chamois seam (not very attractive);
- The drawstring at the waist sliced into my muffin top;
- The rather thin chamois compressed pretty quick offering little protection to my sit bones.
Some time ago, I handed down my old Cyclo shorts to my mom (who still rides her bike to go play tennis at 80 years of age). I initially replaced them with a pair of Sugoi liners, and then with a pair of Hincapie shorts I was given to comment on. Having worn through both of these, I needed some new cycling shorts that I could use for spin class, for commuting and for mountain biking. That’s how I ended up with a pair of MEC Randonneur shorts.
I love them! Everything I disliked about the Cyclo shorts was fixed:
- The curved panels give them a flattering cut that follows the body’s curve;
- The mid-thigh length and silicone dots on the inside ensure they stay in place;
- The thick waistband is quite comfortable, especially for us gals with a little muffin top who prefer to have it flattened rather than sliced by a drawstring;
- The multiple-density chamois is thick and cushy, and was thinned out along the inner thigh which prevents bunching and increases comfort.
They are extremely comfortable to ride in, whether it be my 20-minute commute to work or a sweet 4-hour XC ride in Squamish. I don’t overheat in them when I wear them under my mountain bike gear and their length is perfect to avoid them getting wrecked by the Velcro from my knee pads. I can also see myself going for an improvised swim in these on a hot summer ride.
My only complaint is that the lovely wide waistband lost its resilience after about a dozen washes and started rolling over and giving way to my belly (guess I’ll have to work on developing abs of steel to remedy that). I did suggest to the product manager and the designer that the front of the waistband be reinforced the same way it is at the back.
I am fully cognizant that $27 is a big price jump from the $42 Journey shorts to the $69 Randonneur shorts, but if you ride a lot, the extra comforts (and good looks) are well worth the investment.
P.-S. I feel the need to point out that I actually bought these shorts. Considering I often enough get cycling clothes to test and review (which means i get them for free), the fact that I willingly parted with my hard-earned cash gives my review some extra cred.