Time tested: 3 months
Shorts…are amazing. Whether it’s a pair of boardies for chilling out in on the beach, some tough as feck cargo shorts for keeping all sorts of crap you need (and don’t need) in, or a pair of ‘Daisy Dukes’ to show off yo’ sexeh ass (male as well as female – that Money Supermarket ad slightly disturbs me), shorts are pretty damn good. And when you’re riding bikes, some decent shorts are an essential bit of kit…in fact, unless you’re a downhiller, mountain biking in trousers (and I would argue, ¾ lengths included) is generally a no-go unless it’s freaking cold out there, like in the minuses.
So, looking for some new autumn/winter shorts worthy of some good ol’ wet & mild Cornish winters, I picked up a pair of Madison Addict DWR shorts (re-branded in 2017 as the Zenith 4 Season) back in October. My main requirements were a tougher pair of shorts capable of fending off winter grit and mud and a waterproof rear…for keeping my sexy ass dry on those wet but not raining rides….so most of the year winter then :-\
Being a fan of Endura kit, the MT500 Spray shorts were at top of the list, but I was also aware of how good the Madison kit tends to be and the Addicts popped up on the radar, so I took a punt.
First impressions when they arrived were good. A heavier weight than my existing shorts, they looked like they could last a while and the waterproof rear looked extensive enough to give some good protection from trail splashes, extending down the inner leg and crotch area. A waterproof pocket on the rear quarter has a little logo stitched inside inferring this is where you can put your phone, although if you’ve got a 5.5”+ smart phone it won’t really fit. Two non-waterproof mesh pockets are in the usual places on the front and there’s a chunky fly zip and poppers to stop you from flashing your goods unexpectedly.
Size wise, I’m a 32” waist and initially ordered a Medium which is labelled as 32-34” waist, but it was way too big and way too long, so swapped them for a small. Even with the small size (30-32”) I still need to cinch up the Velcro waist adjusters a fair bit to stop from ‘dropping trow’. Likewise, the leg length is still quite long even on the small size so good for stopping ‘twat gap’. They also cover my knee pads well so help keep me warmer on colder rides. However, as my left knee pad almost always starts to rub after an hour or so of pedalling, because the shorts legs cover the pads quite snuggly and press my pads against my knee even more, I am finding kneepad rub starts earlier. Obviously, that’s an issue I have with my knee pad rather than the shorts, but worth bearing in mind if you also suffer from a similar thing.
Autumn was a pretty mild affair and the shorts verged on on the toasty side at times but they do have zip-up ventilation mesh panels half way up the outside of each leg to help with the airflow so you can get some breeze circulating if needed. The stitching is good quality all around and they’ve been comfy to wear for several hours of pedalling and descending.
As for the main feature, the waterproof rear, does it work? It sure does. And after many washes, it still is. A recent ride around Grogley Woods was the wettest and muddiest ride all winter so far, and not once did I have that awkward wet arse feeling.
So after a three months of use I’m very happy with them. The waterproof panel is doing it’s job superbly as is the DWR coating and these are my go-to shorts for this winter’s riding. Good work Madison!