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Product Review: Cannondale Doubletrack shorts

by Noah

I bought a pair of Cannondale Doubletrack mountain bike shorts on March 24, 2007. The Cannondale Doubletrack mountain bike shorts consist of a mesh inner short with a padded chamois and a separate durable outer short. Last Monday (exactly a year after I bought them), the fabric finally wore through in the crotchal area. I know, too much information.

The inner liner is still fine although a little worn. Aside from my Shimano SH-MT20 shoes, this is the only piece of cycling-specific clothing I own. The liner and outer shorts withstood daily use during peak riding season, and the liner was used inside longer pants during cold weather, although I don’t wear anything special if I’ll be riding less than 10 miles (round trip) or so, usually.

When I started riding longer distances, even though my sit bones had gotten accustomed to being in the saddle, I found that I was still getting sore and chaffed. I purchased them for about $50 and for a year’s worth of riding, I’d say they were a great investment.

I opted for baggy mountain bike shorts primarily because the inner liner was versatile and could be used under pretty much anything, while the baggy outer short wouldn’t look terribly out-of-place off of the bike. Again, I’m thinking of the odd looks I might get as I walk into the office or grocery store. While I must admit that this was mostly a move taken out of being self-conscious about my legs, this combo of liner and baggy short is great for commuters who demand on-road performance with inconspicuous appearance.

On the singletrack adventures, these shorts worked really well, too. The inner thigh of the outer shorts are made of a thick, stretchy slick spandex type material to reduce the amount of rubbing and chafing you’ll get from the seat. It also keeps the shorts from looping and catching on the saddle. The rest of the short is made from a durable nylon material that resists snags from branches and thorns.

From an appearance standpoint, this setup isn’t much different than wearing some athletic shorts over lycra cycling shorts. Given the competitive price and the attention to detail and functionality that went into the outer short, I consider the Cannondale Doubletrack cyling shorts to be a worthwhile investment for commuters and mountain bikers alike. The outer shorts themselves held up to about 2,000 miles of mostly commuting with a bit of recreational road and singletrack use. The inner liner has about 3,000 miles on it so far, but it’s on the way out as well. I’ll continue to use the inner liner until it wears out, and I plan on buying a replacement pair of Doubletracks as soon as the Chief Financial Officer (that is, my wife) approves of the procurement.

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12 Responses to “Product Review: Cannondale Doubletrack shorts”

  1. Rick says:

    I cannot ride much farther than five miles without cycling shorts. I know some people can tough it out, but that is not for me. I have tried many different brands and have found that C-dale offers a very good short.

    I have also found that you really do get what you pay for in this department. I won a $125 pair of shorts and they were wonderful. I think I wore them out in a single season.

  2. AC Wang says:

    I enjoy reading your site, but funny how you describe buying cycling shorts as “investments”. I thought investment (like stocks or real estate) is something you buy in-hopes of getting future returns.

    If you want to sell something through your blog, it would be nice if you just got to the point and stop using terms like “investment”.

  3. Noah says:

    I’m personally selling nothing. Commute By Bike, nor I will see a dime from voicing my opinion about this product.

    Looking back, I did actually use the word “investment” twice. While I certainly wasn’t expecting a year-old chamois and some torn-up shorts to command more than I paid for them, I certainly would not want to commute 140 miles per week without some padded shorts. You can take is as read that they’re paying for themselves, as would nearly any cycling short for that matter, given my current situation.

  4. Lowrydr says:

    Hey Wang, it really is an investment, an investment in comfort for your backside. There in lies the return on your money. That’s my take on it but what do I know I’ve only ridden for 20+ years. The really young years don’t much count because as kid you really don’t notice your backside. Unless you blow that wheelie or jump and become one with the bike so to speak. So lighten up and ride your bike.

  5. Slippery Pete says:

    Noah’s use of the term “investment” is acceptable. Yes, the primary definition of investment found in most dictionaries is as you have it, AC Wang. However, a secondary definition is something you buy that has a premium price with the hopes of obtaining premium performance (in this case longevity and comfort).

  6. Apertome says:

    I have some Cannondale lycra shorts and they’re fantastic. I don’t use them for commuting, though, and I wouldn’t unless I was just wearing them as a layer under a pair of “normal” shorts. Mine were a good investment, as well.

  7. Antoine says:

    They look like nice shorts but I would have expected them to last more than 12 months

  8. Redcliffs says:

    Investment or not, I can’t say I’m blown away by the prospect of a pair of shorts that lasted 1 yr./2000 miles. Though I don’t own any mt. shorts like these, all my shorts have at least this mileage on them, none are showing any signs of wearing out, and I don’t think I paid more than $40 for any of them (I tend to buy on sale or even, gasp, used team gear). While it’s great that they were comfortable, and I really like the idea of a separate inner liner for just the reasons you describe, it sounds as though they fit with other Cannondale gear I’ve seen — reasonably nice-looking, cheaply made re-branded product that really has nothing to do with Cannondale besides being sourced by them and carrying their name.

  9. wtf says:

    Wearing someone else’s old chamois is simply cheap and gross.

  10. Redcliffs says:

    Say what you want — my washer gets plenty hot on a sanitize cycle to clean things for my level of concern, and I’m currently using two pairs of $200 Sugoi bib shorts that I paid $20/each for after they’d each been worn no more than 15 times by the previous owner. Team kit is often changed every year, so most stuff you’d buy is no more than a season old and part of a large stock of clothing the racer rotates through. These shorts are by far the nicest I’ve ever worn, I’m very, very confident they’re plenty clean, and even if I wasn’t a student, I would never pay $200 for a pair of shorts. Given that I’ll ride 5K+ in 2008 with +/- 15 centuries or doubles and regular 25 m. RT commutes, getting nice chamois however I can makes sense to me — and I can tell a difference in quality, even between these and my Pearl Microsensor shorts. IMO, there are two types of people who wear team kit — posers and wannabes who by it new and people smart enough not to let a good thing go to waste. Would I love to be able to buy new, nice, non-team clothes? Sure, but I can’t, so I think I do the next best thing.

  11. Merse says:

    I don’t know about the author, but I bought a pair of Cannondale Doubletracks not quite two years ago and they still have virtually no wear except where I fell off my bike onto a rock and cut through the outer short :( , but other then that, the fabric is showing no signs of wear. I was actually surprised, since I originally thought that they were like what Redcliffs said, a cheaply made product. Well over 3,000 miles later, I am surprised. it seems like a really nice product, and works really well.

  12. Biking says:

    THese are great shorts. A little pricey, but worth it if you ride a lot.

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