At A Glance
Dakine's Derail shorts aim to offer a robust, casual set of shorts for shuttling, downhill or riding the park. Now, I'm not sure exactly what makes them specific to these tasks, but the fabric is a far stronger material than usually felt on riding kit. The design also suggests a more casual approach to riding bikes, with a flat fronted fabric in muted colours and belt loops, all with minimal branding.Buy Shorts on
Fancy features are limited, but they have two main pockets and one zipped thigh pocket for bits and bobs. The waist has two internal velcro adjusters to cinch up to the desired size, which suggests that the belt loops are purely for show. Two poppers close up the front combined with a standard zip.
The message from these shorts is one of sturdy construction and simple styling, ready to be worn day in, day out, and if you fall on your backside they probably won't get shredded.
On The Trail
As mentioned, there are few features to get excited about, so this pair of shorts trades firmly on it's fit and construction, which are really the crucial factors. With a heavy-weight but slightly stretchy fabric, the shorts lived up to my initial expectations of comfortable, smart-casual style clothing.
The Velcro fasteners in the waist give plenty of adjustment for those who are between sizes, and they are hidden away which adds to the look of a non-technical piece of clothing. This more simple look is great, as I don't always want to dress like a fluoro-enduro robot sent from the future, and transferring from bike to pub is seamless.
The length of the inseam is again my downfall, but being well over six foot in height it is my cross to bear when it comes to shorts, best solved by wearing long knee pads that come way up my thigh to avoid 'the gap'. Those of normal proportions will no doubt be fine with knee pads and the slight articulation on the hem is a nice touch.
The two main pockets lack zips, which make them somewhat redundant for storing anything crucial such as keys and phones as I found it too risky without a proper closure. The thigh pocket is zipped, but putting weight in these type of pockets feels odd as the contents jump about as you pedal.
The overall construction is impressive, and although the backside has started to show some wear on the fabric, this is purely cosmetic and the triple stitching is well and truly intact.
For casual riding, where simple style and hardwearing fabrics are important, the Derail short is an absolute winner. Equally at home in the pub, cafe or trail, they are refreshingly normal, and do their job simply and effectively. They are certainly not limited to gravity riding, and could turn their hand to any trail.
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By Ewen TurnerEwen Turner is a self-confessed bike geek from Kendal in the Lake District of England. He runs a coaching and guiding business up there and has a plethora of knowledge about bikes with an analytical approach to testing. His passion for bicycles is infectious, and he’s a ripper on the trails who prefers to fit his working life around his time on the bike.