The PNW Shuttle Women's Shorts are comfortable and slim fitting but with some flexibility, weather protection and plenty of pocket choice. For a fair price, they pack a punch when it comes to quality and win points thanks to the unusual-but-versatile features, but with the unique pocket design, new muscle memory habits will have to be formed. Read on to learn how they compete against the best MTB shorts for women.
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PNW Components Shuttle W Shorts - Technical details
I have been testing a size Medium, which is usually a UK12. A tad smaller than the fox shorts I wear of the same size, but maybe this is because the PNW are women’s specific, and they are more tailored for a female shape. They feel right for that size compared to my usual trousers or shorts.
They are shaped nicely to fit my curves, and I like the flex the material provides, too. With the cut being close-fitting to my thighs, the added stretch allows unrestricted movement while in a typical crouched biking position. The only downside is that they are super snug, which meant I ditch my chamois shorts as they limit moveability. If I wanted to use them for long rides regularly, I would have to get the next size up to allow extra room for padded inners.
The front closure is a simple zip and button. It is easy to do up and undo again. The adjustment around the waist is a small strap on either side that winches it in. With this in mind they make me reconsider that cake with my flat white during a cafe stop.
The knee hem is shaped specifically to work well with knee pads and because of that, there isn't any interference when wearing knee pads as the shorts easily fit over them without snagging. Being relatively short at 5’3” (taller with MTB shoes on!) I never have the issue of the ugly leg gap between the hem and the pads, but if my legs were longer, this is sometimes a ’thing’, and the Shuttle Shorts eliminate any chance of this happening. The length is spot on. They reach my knees and offer plenty of coverage and weather protection.
PNW Components Shuttle W Shorts - Performance
While riding, they didn’t restrict movement at all and with the flexible material, they offer enough freedom of movement without any excess flapping fabric.
A feature that stands out is the pockets. This unusual pocket design is what sets these shorts apart from the others. They have zips, nothing uncommon here, a typical inner sack to hold items, and all standard stuff, except these, made me wonder where the pockets were leading my hand and when they would end. On my first attempt, I even felt a slight pause with confusion when reaching down and realised my hand slides around towards my bum. Very cool, I think. I was curious how these would perform when stuffed with the items I usually carry and sitting on the saddle.
With keys, phone and some loose change loaded into these hugely deep pockets, I was surprised how little I noticed them while riding and sitting down, especially as they were positioned on my glutes, though not enough to interfere with riding performance and comfort. If anything, my pocket storage was out of the way more than when using the ‘normal’ front pockets, where sometimes I’m aware of my phone or sharp keys digging into my thigh. When wanting to access the pockets quickly, I found them a little awkward to delve deep without moving my shoulder forward to get the right angle. There is still an option to use the two front-facing open pockets for additional items allowing quicker access.
PNW Components Shuttle W Shorts - Verdict
The colour options are limited to ‘Eclipse’, so it’s a safe block colour that looks great with any kit choice. Sizes go from XS to an XXL, and the price is a reasonable £75. Looking at the quality, design and performance, I think they are worth every penny. You can quickly grab a pair of shorts with zip pockets and DWR finish for much less, such as the 100% Ridecamp Women's Shorts, but they will not have the funky side/back pockets that the Shuttle Shorts so boldly feature. IXS’s Womens Carve Evo Shorts offer a similar comparison in terms of style, features, and four-way construction and they are sustainably made too for an extra £10.
All in all, the PNW Shuttle Shorts are a great lower garment for any type of off-road riding. They are knee -ad friendly and, with the longer length, they offer more than enough coverage and protection from all of the elements, ok, not torrential rain or -21-degrees, but who would brave shorts for conditions like those? Yes, the pockets may take some getting used to, but the fit, feel and performance, along with the finer details such as a large zip pull for ease of use with gloves and a stretchy reflective brand logo, all outweigh any negatives.