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Review: Zimtstern Loft women’s 2014 MTB shorts

Like the whole outfit? Check out our review of the matching Zimtstern Tora Jersey

Looking for some bright shorts? You won’t get missed on the mountain in the Loft women’s MTB shorts from Zimtstern.

Zimtstern are a Swiss brand, well known for their snowboard and ski wear. Although they aren’t distributed through shops in the UK yet, you can get some of their kit directly from Zimtstern themselves, or via a few other online retailers. They have a good array of women’s kit in some distinctive colours and patterns, mostly featuring their ubiquitous star motif (In Switzerland, a zimtstern is a star shaped biscuit.)

The Loft shorts are part of Zimtstern’s downhill and free-ride range, and come in a robust and non-stretch polyester cordura fabric. This material is tough! The shorts I tried have survived a a number of scratches and knocks on rocky terrain without a rip, tear or loose thread. It’s DWR treated, so is water repellent and worked pretty well in a light shower, but wouldn’t hold out in a downpour.

To allow for freedom of movement when riding there is a black stretch-fabric panel at the back of the shorts. The one downside of this is its location; it sits further down over the bum than similar panels I’ve had on other shorts, which meant that on occasion I caught the nose of my saddle on it when moving around on the bike. This is not ideal, and could be solved by having the panel slightly higher up.

There is also a stretch fabric panel running on the inside of each leg, which again helps provide flexibility in the shorts. Combined with the loose cut, I found the Loft shorts comfortable for everything from a long all-mountain day to bike park play day.

The robust cordura fabric isn’t the most breathable, so to help regulate temperature, Zimtstern have included ventilation panels on the thighs. These are mesh lined and have a zip closure, so you can open them when things start to heat up. I found them very effective in keeping things cool on a warm all-mountain excursion, and the zips are quite easy to open one-handed while riding due to the pull toggles on them.

I initially tried the size medium, because as a UK size 12 it’s what I would normally go for. Not in this case; Zimtstern shorts size up small and are cut for women with fewer curves than me, so the medium didn’t fit over my hips. I tried the large, and am pleased to say this fitted fine over both hips and thighs.

The Loft shorts are pleasingly long, coming down to my knees and staying there even while riding, with plenty of room to fit my kneepads on underneath. They are lined with a polyester mesh, but don’t come with a padded chamois liner so you’ll need to buy one separately if you like a little cushioning.

[I’ve also reviewed the Zimtstern Missa liner short; take a look.]

The shorts even come with a cyclists prayer on the liner. Unusual.

The waistband is adjustable with Velcro pull-tabs with a rubber gripper on the end, and there are also belt hoops if you like to wear a belt with your shorts. The shorts do up with a zip fly and a double popper fastening with Velcro for added security, and I had no worries about them opening unexpectedly mid-ride.

If you like a lot of pockets on your shorts, you’re in luck because there are five on these ones. A hip pocket each side, an additional zipped hip pocket on the right, and two cargo pockets on the left. One of these has an elastic loop inside for securing keys or lift passes, and both were secure enough to keep a phone or camera in when riding.

I love bright clothes for riding in, and bright lime yellow colour of these shorts is hard to miss! It stands out from a lot of the women’s MTB shorts available on the market. They also come in a more subdued black, grey and a vibrant purple if you don’t like the flouro look.

The yellow colour does of course show up the mud and dirt, but happily it also washes out easily, following the recommended washing machine settings.

Finally, the attention to detail on these shorts is amazing; little stitched and printed logo details, the Zimtstern zip pull tabs, rubber tabs on the pockets and even a prayer to Santa Stella (apparently the patron saint of mountain bikers) on the inside of one of the legs. All of these details go towards making these shorts a quality garment that looks distinctive, is comfortable to wear, performs well and has all the essential features covered.

Like the whole outfit? We’ve also reviewed the Zimtstern Tora Jersey in Purple, pictured at the top.

The top image is from a trip to Torridon in Scotland; find out about what it’s like in our Mountaintop Epiphany Article.

PROS
– Lots of pockets and features.
– Good leg length.
– Bright colours.

CONS
– Sizes up about a size too small.
– Stretch back panel can catch on the nose of the saddle.

Price: €109.95 or approx. £98.96
Sizes: XS, S, M, L, XL
Colours: Black, Purple, Light Grey, Lime Punch (pictured)
More info: Zimtstern

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