DirtBaggies was launched with the notion that mountain bike shell shorts work better when they’re over bibs. And not just any bibs, but bibs designed both for mountain biking’s more upright riding position and specifically for use under a shell. They’re also designed more for XC type riding (though they work equally well for more aggressive stuff), so they’re ultra lightweight and breezy.
Looking for a little modesty on the trail but don’t want thick gravity-oriented shorts? Read on for all the nifty features that make DirtBaggies worth shelling out for…
Rather than elastic waistbands or adjustable straps, the shorts have snap loops that hook around loops sewn into the bibs. It keeps them comfortably loose around your tummy while preventing them from drooping or twisting around your waist. Slash pockets sit on the sides of the hip bones and keep lightweight, flat stuff like a trail map handy, gel packets from ending up on the trail or throwing your wallet and keys if you’re just running into the store. They’re not really positioned well for resting your hands in them, though, and I wouldn’t put important bits in them while riding.
The shell uses four-way stretch mesh and ripstop material, both super thin yet durable (they haven’t snagged or ripped after a few wipeouts). The Bibs also have huge mesh panels that perhaps make them innappropriate for wearing on their own (see below), but keep them very cool and breathable. The pic above shows how see-through both pieces are – click to enlarge.
The front of the bibs sit high on the stomach, which eliminates any pressure points directly on your tummy and supports your midsection. If you’re used to “low rise” bibs, it feels quite a bit different. With a lightweight jersey, it was fine, but under something a bit more substantial like the Club Ride Go West jersey the extra layer can be a bit warm on hot, humid summer days. Founder Tim Lane says the reviews he’s received from folks in higher, dryer climes haven’t mentioned this, so just take into account your local environment and the type of jersey you’ll wear.
Perhaps the best feature of the bibs is the WeinerGate fly on the front. This makes bathroom breaks quick, easy and contortion free. There are also small “radio” pockets on the inside front bib straps. I haven’t used them, but they’re there if you want and sized for an iPhone, bar, gel pack, etc.
Three other nice features of the bibs:
- They’re purchased separately from the shell, so you can incorporate these into any shell short you already own, many of which have loops that can hook around the bib’s loops, too. This also lets you size up or down on the bibs compared to the shell if you’re particularly tall, short or have oversized (or undersized) thighs compared to your waist.
- Lane modeled the cut after some very high end road bibs but angled the hip hinge a little less to better fit mountain biking positions.
- The chamois pad has a soft, micro-fiber feeling cover that feels great and dries fast. Even on those hot, humid days, it never felt clammy.
Lane has made a few updates since I received this test pair. The pad is the same inside but is now gray, and the loops on the side are red to make them easier to see. They retail for $179.99 and come with a mesh laundering bag. There’s also a Lite version without the WeinerGate and pockets for $149.99.
The rip-stop fabric is water repellant, breathable and very quiet. They retail for $69.99, and all garments are sewn in Southern California.
The combination is very comfortable, providing mixing the seemingly incongruous benefits of protection and lightweight breathability. The shell moves freely but isn’t so baggie it gets hung up on your saddle. For weight weenies, you’d be hard pressed to find a lighter weight pairing. Check ’em out at DirtBaggies.com.
Coming Soon: They also have a new Vent Shell Short that’s just been added to their website for preorder at the same price as the Classics reviewed here. They look basically the same but get a new wider, stretchier waist band that Lane says will stay put better when worn post-ride without the bibs. The loops upgrade to a metal snap and also get the easier-to-see red fabric, too. And they’ll come in more color options. Retail will be $89 after the pre-order special ends, likely later this month.