New for this year, Madison’s DTE waterproof shorts are, more than likely, the shorts I’ll wear most of winter. The DTEs come in men’s and women’s versions, with the colour range and sizing the only obvious differences. They have proved themselves invaluable on recent rides – in particular, a cold, rainy and windy epic in the Brecon Beacons, where they lived up to their description of being waterproof, windproof and breathable.
They’re also comfy to pedal in, well made and durable, have good leg length and don’t make you overheat, plus they look pretty good compared to a lot of waterproof shorts, which all helps justify the £85 price tag – which is actually not far off what you’ll pay for similar shorts anyway.
The DTEs are constructed from Madison’s proprietary M:TEC fabric. The coloured panels are 2.5-layer with a ripstop finish, while the black panels are a more hardwearing 3-layer material, with 2% spandex for a little bit of stretch. All the seams are double or triple stitched and internally taped to seal them. Rain and splashes initially bead on the surface then on prolonged wet rides soak into the outer layer, but it dries out fairly quickly. When I’ve come back plastered in mud I hose the worst off then chuck them in the washing machine for a rinse, hang them out near a radiator and they’re dry the following morning. Madison recommends Fibertec Pro Wash Eco and Fibre Wash Eco to care for their garments if they need reproofing along with a 15-minute low heat tumble dry.
These are shorts to wear from the outset of a ride, rather than an overshort to carry in case of a shower, because they don’t scrunch up small despite being fairly lightweight. And when they feel this comfortable and look more like baggies than waterproof shorts, there’s no reason not to. I’ve ridden in them all day and found they have a secure fit and don’t slide around, thanks to their good design and cut plus the silicone gripper inside the rear waist. I really like the long legs that reach over the knees and the roomy cut means there’s plenty of room for even chunky knee pads. The knee panels are also articulated for a good fit when you’re pedalling.
You can neatly fine-tune the fit at the waist with the Velcro adjusters, although the rubber tabs on the ends kept snagging on my jersey whenever I took the shorts on or off, which was really annoying. There’s no need for them – plenty other shorts just use material tabs that work perfectly well – and they add unnecessary bulk and weight, plus how often do you need to adjust your waist mid-ride? My only other issue is the Velcro fly – again it adds bulk, because there’s a double layer of material, and is more fiddly than a simple zip. The chunky poppers are good though, and the hanging loop on the waistband is very handy.
The two hand pockets are big enough to fit a biggish smartphone (Samsung Galaxy S5 in a case) and you can open them for a bit of ventilation as the pockets are mesh lined. They also have a ‘hood’ at the top and bottom of the zip to prevent water ingress, illustrating the attention to detail that has gone into the DTEs.
Overall, these are great shorts that I wouldn’t want to be without. They might sound expensive, but when you compare them to other waterproof shorts the DTE's are decent value considering what you get. They are the same price as Cube’s Blackline Rain Shorts, and also some more basic over short styles such as the Scott MTN Dryo 50 Waterproof Shorts. It’s nice to have a choice of colours too – grey and purple as well as this China blue. Like all Madison clothing, they have a limited lifetime warranty.
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