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TOUGH baggies


Baggies are arguably the defining characteristic of The Mountain Biker, as opposed to the generic cyclist. They are one of the things (along with the humble helmet peak) that help people identify which subgroup of cyclists you belong to. There are plenty of people who will wear skimpy cycling tops, fingerless gloves, and even roadie helmets – but the easiest way to mark yourself out as a member of the mountain biker tribe is to slip on a pair of baggy shorts before you go out for a ride.

But what makes a good baggy short? Of course, you could wander into your local supermarket (of sufficient size, naturally) and wander out again with a pair of something that might look the part, but really don’t cut the mustard. Your bike shop is a better bet – but even so, there can be a range of baggies which, while all designed for biking, might have different criteria. The lightweight ones may be comfy in August, and might show of your lissom thighs to perfection, but in reality they’re only ideal for about one or two months a year – the rest of the time they’re a compromise. Plus, if you’re properly going for it they’re not much use in a spill. Or at least, they won’t take many spills before needing replacement. And replacement shorts don’t come cheap.

So the ideal tough baggy then. Downhill shorts? Well, they might qualify, but they’re not the be-all and end-all; they can be less comfortable for all-day pedalling, for example. And the ‘perfect’ short should be comfy, reasonably ventilated and rugged enough to shrug off the mud, the clag and the occasional spill. We’re not looking for waterproof shorts here, though – but some sort of repellancy might be nice. And they’ve got to be comfy enough to pedal in all day. Yes folks, I guess we’re going to drag the dreaded ‘Enduro’ word into proceedings here...

Gathered here today is a selection of shorts for men and women we think might fit the bill. They all take slightly different approaches – some are more rugged at the expense of breathability; some vice versa, but they all purport to be all-day pedalling shorts that are still gnarly enough to take a pounding. What have we got?


Price: £94.99 // From: iRide,

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About Singletrack

Here at Singletrack Towers, Wordsworth's words on the death of his son perhaps capture some of our feelings on Jenn's death: ...he is taken from me—yet in the agony of my spirit in surrendering such a treasure I feel a thousand times richer than if I had never possessed it. We've tried to do as Jenn would have wanted, and got on with doing what we do in every issue: bring you an array of adventures, features and product reviews to inspire you to ride your way through the winter. However in this issue we also pay tribute to Jenn and hope that it gives you that extra bit of oomph to get out there and get doing. We bring you: Singletrack Heroes - it could only be our own Jenn. Written by her husband Tom Hill. The Great Divide - one of Jenn's most popular articles, and one of her many amazing riding feats. We reprint this article in full. Mark's Mountain - Mark says 'no more maybe tomorrow' and heads of to the Alps to go up, up and up... The Matterhorn - Swiss cheese and chocolate pale into insignificance as Daniel Klawczyński finds himself face to face with the mighty Matterhorn. We join him as he explores the epic trails on all sides of this classic mountain. We Work Here - Hope​ Technology​ - Go green with envy as Hopetech invites Sam Needham to tour ​its factory. 24HR Pedal People - Chipps takes a look at the sleep deprived world of 24​hr​ racing​ and how it has evolved over the years​. He gets advice from the experts, including Guy Martin and Jason Miles, and puts their knowledge into practice​ by pitting for a soloist rather than riding for a change. ​ Classic Ride - Rachel Sokal and Olly Townsend head to Nottinghamshire to bring us a classic ride full of ​a​utumn ​c​olour. Bike Test: The Middle Ground - Bikes with 130-150mm rear shock travel. Where do they fit? Are they neither here nor there, or is this a happy medium? Low Carbon Adventure - Chipps and Beate go on holiday without costing the earth.