What is it
As the name implies, Endura’s SingleTrack III represents its third-generation XC/trail shorts, updated to keep abreast of changing riding habits.
Armor-friendly and tough, but lightweight enough for day-long forays into high country, SingleTrack IIIs are as happy at a bike park as on a bikepacking adventure. Endura’s Clickfast snap-on chamois liner, great for long rides, can be detached in favor of padded under armor when things get rambunctious.
Stretch panels offer comfort and breathability while accommodating knee pads. Zippered vents and perforated side panels offer cooling. A velcro-adjustable waist band supplies cinching. The shorts come in basic black, navy, khaki and green in sizes XS through XXL.
Two zippered pockets offer security up front, while twin rear pockets with velcro closures provide extra storage.
- Light but rugged
- Detachable chamois
- Non-catching, non-binding
- Roomy pockets
- Limited waist adjustability
- Thick chamois gives diaper feel off bike
We’ve been a fan of Endura’s trend-setting outerwear since their groundbreaking Humvee shorts first appeared on the scene nearly two decades ago.
Three-quarter length, with more side pockets than a billiards tournament, the Humvees mirrored mountain biking’s move from XC to rowdier freeride, bike park and downhill realms. They immediately became our staple for summer trips to Whistler.
But for all-around riding, we packed away the Humvees in favor of Endura’s SingleTrack shorts. (Today the SingleTrack series encompasses everything from jerseys and armor to a backpack and glasses.)
So we were intrigued to try Endura’s latest iteration, the SingleTrack III. Putting it alongside its ancestors provides a snapshot of where mountain biking has been and is going.
The most obvious changes are in fabric and design. Early SingleTracks were feather light and cut mid-knee. Venting was built into the side panels via a lighter single-ply material. The chamois was not detachable. The only zipper was for nature’s call. The entire waistband was elastic, with a simple surround string for cinching.
Next-gen SingleTrack II shorts offered a longer cut and heavier fabric, with zippered vents. The waistband was only partially elastic, and cinching was done via heavy-duty velcro straps. The chamois was detachable. And in a distinctly Endura wrinkle, the side pockets contained embedded magnets for secure closure (twin seat pockets used velcro).
Now comes the III. Elastic is gone from the waistband and moved to velcro-secured straps on either side, which provide cinching. Side pockets have zippered closures. Venting also is zippered, but rear pockets remain velcro-secured. Additional venting is provided by side-panel perforations. The cut is still below the knee but roomier, while offering elastic paneling for comfort and fit.
Gone are the magnets, and rightly so. While clever, their magnetic fields didn’t play well with some things, like hotel key cards.
The biggest change for us came in sizing. For previous Endura shorts we’ve been squarely XL. But for the IIIs we had to downsize to L, and even they were less snug at the waist than our old XLs. Sizing is a black art, but our advice would be to err on the smaller size, especially for tweeners.
In the saddle, the IIIs met our primary criterion of disappearing under us. We didn’t have to fuss over slippage in back or binding up front. The slight looseness around the waist, which we initially anticipated would cause the seat to slide down on climbs, proved not a factor — a particular surprise in that we ride with an Osprey waist pack much of the time, which can help drive down shorts when the trail turns up.
The chamois is thick and generously cut, which we anticipated would give a mushy feel in the saddle. That didn’t really materialize, but the diaper effect was present off the bike.
Our main concern is with velcro waist cinching. We haven’t had the best of luck mixing velcro with elastic, finding that over time, both can lose their bite. Also, in the IIIs implementation, the tabs offer limited range in adjustability.
That said, our velcro’d SingleTrack II shorts have held up well. And overall, we’ve obviously got no complaints with Endura’s longevity.
One final note: Care instructions advise to air dry and avoid fabric conditioners to protect DWR (Durable Water Repellency) coating. Also, both Humvee IIs and SingleTrack IIIs come in “lite” as well as standard versions for summer riding.
It’s a testament to the quality of the brand that we have all three generations of SingleTracks in our duffle. We feel Endura puts the “dura” in durable.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Price: $109.99 with liner
More Info: www.endurasport.com
Update: Although SingleTrack II and III shorts can still be found online, a new fourth edition is called simply the SingleTrack short and is available here. It comes in black, khaki and a limited edition “petrol” for $89.99, or $129.99 with liner.