The Assos Trail Women’s Liner Shorts are lightweight, but not the lightest, undershorts, designed to be worn with a baggier outer layer. They deliver comfort but the thick chamois can be ill-fitting for some.
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Assos Trail Women's Liner shorts - technical details
Assos says it designed the Trail Liner Shorts to keep you comfortably supported off-road. Using the Assos Rally Boxer as a template, the liner shorts employ a new front panel and waist design and an extended inseam for a cleaner wrap on the thighs. The shorts are made of ultrasoft warp-knit Aerofit fabric that has high elasticity and built-in odorControl. Assos says that this will help the rider to stay cool and dry when things heat up.
The waist of these shorts features a V-shaped panel that is designed to mould comfortably around the tummy area without any discomfort. These liners are designed to complement the Assos Trail Women’s Cargo Shorts and the waistband comes to the same height on both.
To protect from crashes, Assos has placed 8mm thick, flexible 'impactPads' made of viscoelastic polyurethane. These pads have a perforated surface for increased breathability. The shorts are finished with reversed primary stitches to eliminate any chafing or friction.
The chamois of the Assos Trail Women’s Liner shorts - dubbed “Off-Road Insert”- is constructed from 8mm thick memory foam and features a female-specific cut and patented elastic insert interface. The chamois has targeted thickness at the back of the padding, as it is designed specifically for a more upright mountain bike position. The chamois also takes advantage of Assos’ goldenGate feature, which means that the stitching on both sides of the chamois is interrupted (similar to Assos’ floating pad), allowing a more three-dimensional movement.
Assos Trail Women's Liner shorts - on test
The Assos Trail Women's Liner shorts feel very comfortable and the reversed stitching really makes sure there is nothing rubbing against your skin. The material is not too see-through and provides a nice supporting feeling - that said, they're not the most summery liners around.
The shorts have laser-cut legs and silicone grippers inside, meaning they don't run up or snag at all, making them perfect underneath a baggier layer. But moving up to the waist area, I am afraid these shorts do stay loyal to Assos’ sizing and the waistband is tight.
The fit of these liners is great elsewhere but the waistband feels a bit snug when in a more aggressive riding position. I would much prefer a bib-liner because of this, but Assos doesn't offer one for women.
In the core of liner shorts is obviously the chamois which is very well made and comfy. However, for me, the pad feels excessively thick and adds bulk to the otherwise very light shorts. Assos says it has 8mm thick memory foam, which is not much, but overall the pad feels bulky and "back heavy".
For me, the thicker padding at the back made me feel like the chamois was not sitting at the right spot, with most of the padding at the rear never even touching the saddle. This thickness is there because of the more upright mountain bike position but I would argue that, in many cases, mountain bikers are also riding relatively low. That said, on a different body shape the pad might provide a completely different fit.
And a short mention about the impactPads. I was fortunate enough to not crash test them but their flexibility doesn't really impact the performance of the shorts in any negative way. Rather, they add a layer of protection to the hip which usually takes the biggest impact in the event of a crash. The pads are very simple to slide on and out so they can easily be worn only on those more extreme rides - whether they are necessary or just a gimmick adding weight is down to personal opinion.
Assos Trail Women's Liner shorts - the verdict
The Assos Trail Women's Liner shorts are a quality pair of liners that offer support and extra protection from crashes. The materials used are good quality, and the chamois is very comfortable, albeit a bit bulky at the back. The sizing is on the smaller side of the spectrum, and the waistband can be uncomfortable if you ride in a more aggressive position. When it comes to high-end brand liners, these are not extortionately priced at £95 but sit in line with, for example, Rapha's Liner shorts (£90) and the 7mesh women's Foundation shorts (£95) - but there are also plenty of more affordable liners out there, such as the Endura Women's Singletrack Liner Short (£55).