Madison Zenith

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Previously a seemingly half-hearted commuter jacket brand, Madison’s own-brand clothing has really impressed us in the last couple of years. There’s a wide range of clothing for all riders, designed to work well in the real world, and the Zenith shorts are no exception. These blue (or black) beauties are bright and bold, with simple, uncomplicated features. The fabric is a splash-proof, mid-weight shell that feels bombproof to the touch. Although claimed as four-way stretch, it only really stretches in length, which makes it comfy around the seat and legs, but which gives it a slightly restrictive 1970s ‘slacks’ feel across the front of the hips, even when the rest of the fit is fine. There are elastic and velcro side cinches to trim the fit further and a rubberised waist to grip your inner shorts. Two poppers and a zip keep them staying up.

There are five pockets, all zipped: two vertical slash pockets and two thigh-top pockets, along with a ‘waterproof’ phone pocket. The ‘top of the rear of the thigh’ phone pocket has a waterproof zip, but the phone still sits in a mesh pocket, so don’t get too carefree. The other pockets have chunky, plastic zips which can be a bit harsh on hands, but which will never jam in the mud.

There’s a nice rugged feel about the Zeniths. The shell material makes them a little warm, despite some subtle thigh vents, but they’ll appeal to the ‘shorts all year’ crew for that. So far they appear impervious to wear and look like they’ll outlast the rider.

Overall: Definitely a ‘try before you buy’ fit, but a great hardwearing short for the hard riding, the careless and the accident-prone.

Review Info

Price:£49.99, liner not included
Tested:by Chipps for

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