Showers Pass' claim that their IMBA DWR is the ‘best fitting mountain bike short the world has ever seen’ is bold to say the least, but whilst these water repellent shorts are a decent fit, they're not exceptional, with shortish legs, slightly awkward pockets and splashproofing that inevitably degrades with washing.
To clear up that alphabet crash of a name, IMBA stands for International Mountain Biking Association (they get five percent of proceeds), and DWR stands for Durable Water Repellent coating. So they're kind of worthy and kind of waterproof.
The unassuming looks hide a very good, 4-way stretch fabric that allows a close cut that's never restrictive. The poppers and a clasp are secure, while the waist adjusters work well (there are no belt loops). The silicone pattern across the stretchy rear panel works well, and is comfy against skin.
Construction is neat and well finished, though the standard four-panel build has a central seam – luckily it's not too thick, but I’d still like to see a triangle or more considered panel design to reduce the chance of wear.
The mesh lining helps with both cooling in hot weather and drainage in heavy rain. There is a rear zipped pocket, which is handy but not ideally placed for keys, or a tool. The opening could be a little wider, too, while the two jeans-style front pockets would ideally be deeper... none of these things are deal-breakers, but there are a lot of niggles.
On a more positive note, the reflective detailing is effective, and a handy hook makes hanging them to dry in random places much easier.
The water repellent finish is useful for a lot of UK riding - damp and mild - though the fabric still goes soggy quickly in even mild rain. It shrugs off a few puddle splashes, but these are by no means a waterproof short.
The DWR is still working after several washes and muddy, gritty rides, but its efficiency is already starting to fade. I also managed to snag the fabric on a bramble, and while the hole hasn’t crept open much so far, the nylon-spandex material isn't rip-stop.
The IMBA DWRs are comfy, but I wouldn't say they're the best fitting shorts – personally I've worn better. The slim cut comes up just a little snug, plus it sits just above the knee and leaves a gap to knee armour when riding. It would be worth trying a size up if you're considering them.
The IMBA DWRs are adequate, but nothing particularly stunning: the DWR isn't especially effective, fit is merely OK, and everything from the pockets to the overall shaping could benefit from a little refining. It's certainly not a bad short and does the job, but to be fair, 'The most OK-ish mountain bike short the world has ever seen' doesn't quite sound so impressive...
You may also like: