These casual styled, non-chamois Farside shorts from 7mesh offer on and off the bike comfort, with a firm bias towards more relaxed, exploring type riding. They've got excellent cut and fit with superb attention detail and my only complaint was the light coloured option that stains.
The cut is very much a traditional non-bike shorts look rather than longer over knees/armour type trail shorts as they are biased to gravel/bikepacking riding. One zipped pocket and deep front pocket mean you can stash and stow plenty of lighter items on you, like a phone, GPS or food etc. There is no rear pocket, but the zipped pocket offers plenty of stowage, and is side positioned, so you don’t sit on anything, but is easily accessible.
Built from a lighter weight fabric, which is perfect for warmer and milder weather - the fabric has a good stretch to it and a degree of windproofing. It also breathes well and they always felt cool. There is a durable water repellent coating that holds of misty rain and puddle sprays but isn't waterproof beyond that - plenty enough to be worth it.
Construction is top notch - everything is superbly well finished and double or triple stitched. Any seams inside are flat locked stitched, and there is a soft fabric on the rear of the waist where it sits on the small of your back. The crotch is reinforced and built plenty tough for most regular riding.
There are belt loops all round, and also side cinch straps to pull the shorts on the hip - There is plenty of adjustment and I never needed to use a belt - but its handy to have that option, they may cause some discomfort with the side cinch plastic cams. There is a small logo on the right leg that is reflective, and a solidly made popper to secure the waist - the fly zipper is good quality as well.
The length is not quite short-short, but not long over knee trail length. When riding they didn't move up and down the leg a huge amount, and the cut is cycling position friendly, but also comfy off the bike. They're great for a day's riding and then into a pub after; they don't scream cyclist at all. The hems are finished with a very neat laminated method, which leaves no edge and is super comfortable.
My only criticism is the colour I tested - mud leaves a mark in the fabric and hasn’t washed out. It's no huge issue; just the downside of very light colours and off-road riding.
Out on the trail, they are barely noticeable, and remain cool and are cut to be close, and not cause unwanted tent like issues. I definitely preferred them on gravel type rides, as I like more coverage on my knees on the mountain bike. They were fairly snag-resistant but I doubt they survive any heavy crashes or a branch.
It's just a case of riding for what they are intended. Having said that, the fabric hasn't shown any signs of wear and for the weight, the fabric seems really reliable for regular riding. All in, a perfect short for longer trips and gravel or bikepacking trips when the riding kit has to double as the casual kit.
They aren’t very economical, but as with most things, you get what you pay for, and they are a very well made, designed and considered pair of riding shorts. The Farside is available in ‘Eclipse’- dark grey and ‘Alloy’- light grey. I tested them in size medium and they ran true to size in comparison to other shorts.
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