Baggy cycling shorts have made a long journey as a way to be comfortable in the saddle without looking too serious. Lots of options out there, so if you’re looking for a pair of knickers/pants and want to get away from the look of tights, where do you start? If you’re like me, you basically look in three different places: at your LBS, catalogs and online reviews. Checking out your LBS is ideal but more often than not mine doesn’t have what I’m looking for and their distributor can’t get it. Catalogs? I get a boat-load of catalogs every month and it’s all the same stuff; expensive gear that only fits into two genres: elitist roadies and extreme mountain bikers. I don’t want to be decked out in a team kit that I’m not on and I won’t spend over $200 on a pair of Assos tights unless I can try them on first.

So where does that leave me? Online reviews and descriptions on manufacturer websites (I prefer reviews). The problem is most reviews are just product praise ala Bicycling magazine. The best source that I’ve found for product feedback is through bicycling forums and www.roadbikereview.com. Searching through online forums is tiring and often fruitless. Even searching the FGG forum is a pain (however I’d like to note that I enjoy the FGG forum and it’s the only forum that I look at regularly). The Road Bike Review site is ok but never gives me the amount of product information and feedback that I am looking for or they often don’t have any reviews of the product I am looking for.

So my purpose in reviewing stuff with The Fixed Gear Gallery is to try and provide other riders with the information that I personally would like to have available to me as a consumer. I try to be objective but I realize that it’s difficult for me to be truly without bias. OK, my rant is over so let’s move on to the review!


click on any image for enlargement

 

Endura HummVee 3/4 Knicker Shorts
by Nils Sandin

ToeClip (www.toeclip.com) sent a pair of size medium khaki Endura Humvee knickers to be reviewed on the website. OK, no problem, they’re a valued FGG sponsor and it sounds like an interesting review. (But have no fear, that doesn’t mean I’m going to fluff this review!) ToeClip is run by the Mellow Velo bike shop in Santa Fe, NM. Personally if I’m going to buy something online, I’d rather spend my money at a small business instead of a large catalog distributor. Plus, they’re really into cycling and would be just as happy to talk bikes as they would be to sell you something. They’re worth checking out.

Taken from the Endura USA 2006 Catalog:
Since 1994 Endura has been committed to improving performance through technical innovation in the design of our cycle clothing. We pride ourselves on combining leading design with high quality materials and workmanship to deliver cycle clothing that really works. Endura is a company dominated by cycle enthusiasts (in both our Scottish headquarters and our USA office in Ohio) who bring a passion to our product line. Further testing and input is provided by many top-flight cyclists from a broad range of disciplines across a number of countries.
The new products in the range reflects our design philosophy of combining high performance materials using the latest construction techniques with a fresh aesthetic. On-road or off, racing, commuting or just messing about, you can rely on Endura products to deliver.

The Humvee knickers are made of nylon and come in khaki or black (Incidentally, if you like the khaki color, it is only available in the U.S. through ToeClip.com!). They come with a removable pair of padded liner shorts and have a plethora of pockets.

Details:
- Detachable, interchangeable short and chamois insert
- Made from durable nylon fabric
- Two rear tabbed large map pockets
- Two front zipped pockets
- Two side zipped vents
- Cargo pocket
- Zipped mobile phone pocket
- Adjustable belted waist
- Stretch lower back panel
- Seamless stretch inner leg panel
- Leg adjustment via velcro strapping
- Articulated knees & back calf
- Key ring clip

CONSTRUCTION and DESIGN

These knickers are well built and look to be quite durable. Double and triple stitching everywhere. First impression: that’s a lot of pockets, how many are there?

Six of them: two large rear pockets with velcro tabs, two zippered front waist pockets, one velcro-tabbed cargo pocket and a zippered mobile phone pocket. Plus two zipped ventilation side openings!

I really like the large rear “map” pockets. A u-lock will fit in them and they are deep enough that I can stick my wallet in them without it rubbing against the side of the saddle. Also, these rear pockets are on the outside of the pants so pocket contents don’t rub against your leg while riding. The front side waist pockets give the knickers a normal clothing feel. I liked the side cargo pocket as an alternative place to stick my wallet. I could do without the mobile phone pocket and side vents though. The mobile phone pocket is located right above the right knee and when I put my phone in the pocket; it is irritating when riding because my phone pokes and chafes against the top of my knee. A better location for this pocket would be higher up on the outside of the thigh where the side vents are. As far as the side vents are concerned, I wouldn’t use them and I’d rather not have all these zippers. The reason I wouldn’t use the side vents is that I figure if it’s that warm out I would be wearing shorts. I would only wear knickers in the fall and spring when it is cooler.

Beyond pockets: The knees are articulated and have a thin mesh material in the back of them which helped prevent material from getting bunched up behind my knee. The back panel located at the top of the seat is made of a stretchy nylon material which kept the waist from shifting during riding. The absence of seams inside the thighs helps eliminate chafing. Inside, the waist material is soft and all the pockets are tacked down and stay out of the way (when empty). Adjustable belt is removable so you can use your own belt in the loops if you want. The removable padded CoolMax liner secures into waist with ClickFast snaps and could be worn on their own. The leg openings have a velcro adjustment for a fine-tuned fit.

My wife: “What are you wearing?”
Me: “They’re knickers that I’m reviewing”
My wife: “They look kind of girly”
Me: “Whatever, you hate all my cycling clothes”
My wife: “You better not shave your legs again”

Well, I don’t think they look bad anyway, but they do look like cycling clothes to me. It’s all the black material contrasting with the khaki material making it look more like technical mountain bike clothes than normal everyday clothing. If nothing else, all the zippers in the front (there are five not including the fly of the pants) give the knickers a technical look.

<<< Check out the photo with the black stain on the seat of the pants. I rode these knickers in rainy weather and they became stained from my black Selle Italia saddle. I tried a stain remover along with regular laundering but the stain didn’t come out. You wouldn’t have to worry about this problem with the black colored Humvee knickers. To be honest, I like the black Humvee pants better than the khaki color because of the plainer look. I would think a black Brooks saddle would really leave a stain on the seat of the khaki knickers.

All in all, I’ve probably rode about 500 miles with these knickers and I’ve been impressed with the durability. I was expecting the inner leg material to start pilling by now but it looks good (besides the stain).

Rating: 4 out of 5. Well thought out and durable design. A lot of thought went into this design beyond pockets and it’s these details that make these knickers a winner. How many pockets do you need?
Negative - Can’t get saddle stains out of the khaki material.

FIT

Why am I even writing about fit? Like women’s clothes, sizes are not universal with different bike clothing brands.

I have a 32 inch waist and usually wear a size medium but depending on the brand, could go up or down a size. ToeClip lists the medium Humvee for a 32 inch waist so that I was I had them send me. The knickers fit great and should fit someone with a 31-33 inch waist. Baggy design translates to a comfortable fit for 99% of all cyclist’s thighs.

Note that if you are an XXL size then only the black color is available at this time.

Rating: 5 of 5. They fit great.

RIDE

For a pair of baggy pants, the Humvee knickers do a good job of not chafing and bunching up while riding. This is of course by design: the inner thigh panels are seamless to help reduce chafing along the saddle and the knees and legs are articulated. The thinner mesh material behind the knees eliminated fabric bunching as well. Ever ride in a pair of pants and have them want to keep creeping down in the back? The top seat panel is made of a stretchy nylon that stretches with your butt as you are pedaling, keeping the waist of the pants where you want them. No plumber’s crack here!

High RPMs cause the leg openings to creep up above the knee. Tightening the Velcro strap on the bottom of the leg opening solved this but it made it feel too tight around my calves and as my legs went through a pedal revolution the pants were stretched tight and the pants felt like they were wanting to pull down. Maybe some stretch material in the knees, similar to the top seat material at the waist, would help?

Dennis has these listed as for a temperature range of 20-60° F but I think that these are more appropriate for a range of 40-80° F. I used these knickers on a morning in the last week of October when the temperature was 20° F and I was pretty cold. The solution I found for when the temperature drops below 40° F is to wear leg warmers underneath the knickers. This worked great for Fall riding in northern Michigan when the morning temperatures are in the 20s but it warms up to the 50s in the afternoon. While I don’t really need the side vent feature, the ventilation on the back of the knees was great! These knickers are light enough to wear in warm weather but will keep your knees warm in cooler temperatures.

The Humvee knickers come with a liner short that has a CoolMax chamois pad. 6 panel shorts made up of a slightly thinner material than regular cycling shorts. This characteristic was nice for use as a liner but you could use these shorts on their own in a pinch. The chamois pad kept longer rides comfortable but it’s not up to snuff for rides over about 40-50 miles. Perfect for in town and 60 minute training rides. A nice feature of the liner shorts is the waist snaps that click into the knickers. This keeps the liner and knickers aligned and prevents the knickers from bunching up. The leg grippers on the liner short grip nicely. I used some of my regular cycling shorts under the knickers as well and except for the inability to snap into the waist band, they worked fine too.

These knickers really shine for spring or fall mountain biking. Perfect comfort level on cold trail rides, even in the muck. I had a blast testing these knickers on the VASA trail system.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5. Very comfortable unless you load up the pockets. Bunching and chafing was minimal. Leg openings creep up at high RPMs. Great for mountain biking!

PRICE/VALUE

Compared to other knickers out there, $90 seems reasonable especially since it comes with liner shorts. If you’re looking for a pair of technical knickers for all kinds of riding then these are a great value. If you’re looking for a pair of knickers for fashion then you might want to consider some of the other brands being reviewed (reviews coming soon!).

Rating: 4 out of 5. If you’re looking for function over fashion at a price that won’t break the bank (compared to other knickers), then check these out!

Questions, comments?
Send them to Nils: vuggy13 at hotmail dot com