This is a very burly pair of shorts sitting firmly in Endura‘s MT500 range of gear – which (as they imply on their website) caters to those of us who have a habit of falling off our bikes occasionally. Or, in my case, quite a lot.
So they’re made from oxford canvas – which, according to Wikipedia, means a canvas which “has a basketweave structure and a lustrous aspect”. Crikey. But, true to its dress-shirt origins, the Burners do look slightly lustrous. There’s a natty yellow print design, which thankfully lingers around the legs of the shorts without getting ahead of itself and venturing too far upwards, there are a couple of pockets, a zip fly and the ratchet for which the shorts are named.
There’s a mesh lining, so if you’re less inclined to line your nethers with Lycra before slipping these bad boys on, they’ll be a little more comfy. Not to mention that the mesh will slide against that canvas in the event of a crash, so friction burns will likely be minimised. There’s a stretch-vented crotch section, too – and the shorts are helped aloft with some silicone gripper on the waist band. And that’s pretty much it. Keep it simple – for one thing, there’s less to go wrong that way – and when you do fall, there’s arguably less stuff to break.
Upon taking the plunge and sticking my pins into them, I was pleasantly surprised. I’m tall – 195cm or thereabouts, but the generously proportioned legs of these things came down to below my knees. This doesn’t happen often, and was a pleasant surprise. Usually shorts leave me looking somewhat.. uh.. continental unless I’m very careful. And I shudder to think of the appalling stripe of bare skin between the bottom of my shorts and the top of my knee pads. As do most other right thinking people, if I’m honest.
But no, the Burner Ratchets are a fine length. They’re baggy enough to move around (and will happily accommodate the burliest of armour) but not so baggy that you could rent them out to campers.
The pockets are zippered, but small. Fair enough, you don’t want to be sticking too many things in there, but there’s room for a credit card and some keys perhaps. But they’re small enough that I couldn’t stick my hands in them for some nonchalant trail-side mooching (the mother of my 6-year old self would be pleased), and hanging my hands off my Camelbak straps isn’t a look I’m prepared to accommodate.
The zip is a full-length affair, secured by the eponymous ratchet which runs across the top of the waist. The ratchet tongue is secured to the shorts with the same sort of vented stretchy material the crotch is made from, which perhaps was the one fly in the otherwise gloriously translucent lustre of the Burner’s ointment, in that I couldn’t get it tight enough. I’m usually an XL in most things, and indeed the leg-length and arse-volume of these seemed to agree – but I couldn’t get them quite tight enough, even when the ratchet was at the skinniest waist setting. I can’t help but feel that replacing the material at this key juncture with something perhaps less stretchy might have helped. Or maybe I should’ve asked for some smaller ones.
However, in use, the shorts stayed up pretty well. I’d have to pause every once in a while to hoik them up, but it wasn’t much of a problem – we’d normally stopped anyway (or I’d fallen off). They’re predictably warm, but not unpleasantly so; the vented crotch serves to prevent Lobster Groin, and throughout the wet and warm (ish) February of the testing period they’ve performed admirably for the most part. I do think they’d get a little hot in the middle of summer, but that’s really like complaining that tanks aren’t convertibles. And when you do spill, these things are so ridiculously rugged that they’ll arguably take much more punishment than you can.
Overall – really rugged, well cut, diminutively pocketed, reasonably priced, stylish shorts. But check the sizing.
BEST DEALS ON ENDURA BURNER RATCHET SHORTS
|Product:||MT500 Burner Ratchet|
|Tested:||by Barney for 1 month|