Although I have stacks of mountain bike shorts accumulated amongst my bins of riding gear, I find myself rotating between a select few. The new Kitsbow Origin A/M short joined the ranks of favorites, thanks to a well thought out approach to the category, with a trim, fitted profile that shows a lot of attention was paid to the little things. But also importantly: pockets.
For some reason, many shorts that would otherwise be usable flub when it comes to pockets. Riding with shallow, unsecured pockets can be cause for concern, making me wary of placing keys and phone in and skip the rear pockets altogether. The Origin crushes those shorts, featuring two front pockets secured with zippers, but also adding two zippered rear pockets – a feature seen less and less in riding shorts.
The rear pockets are well placed with cargo sitting just to the rear of the hips. Part of my every day carry is a folding knife which the Origin handles easily, but more importantly, it carries the weight so well I forget it’s there. The size is also ideal for carrying small items; a gel, small bar, multi-tool or phone fits just right.
Waist adjusters are covertly hidden and integrated into the shorts. Although getting to get them to adjust the fit can be a bit of a challenge trail side, (with gloves at least) the good thing is it’s set and forget as they hold their adjustment securely. (I keep them fairly relaxed for daily riding, but will cinch them when paired with a fully loaded waist pack)
Kitsbow nailed it on the length of the inseam, and I’m a bit fan of the tailored cut. I don’t have monster thighs, and they fit me well without feeling restrictive. They pair well with the collared Henley included with the test package I received and I’m a huge fan of the casual look. Other than the blue accents on the zipper pulls, the shorts can easily go incognito in day to day life. While I enjoy trail riding in the kit, I have also taken to wearing them on my commute to the office. We have a casual environment, so I frequently wear them throughout the day.
On the Trail
In order to prove useful as trail shorts, they need to play well with knee pads, as our favorite riding destinations feature rugged terrain. Fortunately the Origin pairs extremely well with my current go-to trail knee pads by Leatt. It’s a solid combination as the Leatt is long at the top and tucks in neatly under the shorts without any skin gaps, and the trim fit keeps the shorts from snagging on the saddle on technical steeps. Most importantly, during the ride they’re just there, and other than being secure in the knowledge my phone and other gear is safe, I forget they’re on.
The material utilized is a nice all around weight that feels durable without being heavy or getting too warm during summer days and pairs well with the collared henley (pictured) as well as the matching short sleeve Origin Jersey. (additional review en route)
According to the sizing chart I’m to wear a size large. I’m generally a medium, but the large that fits me quite well. Out of the box they sit on my hips, which is comfortable for every day and commuting use. Riding with a loaded waist pack tend to make a short slide down, but it’s easily remedied with the waist adjusters snugging them up, and once they’re adjusted hold well. They do look a bit bunched up but once the ride is over, I’ll let the slack back out to switch back to casual mode.
I’ve grown extremely fond of the shorts as they suit my lifestyle well, and the secure pockets and quick drying make them great for travel and the #vanlife. I’m also a big fan of the slider snap, which is a big upgrade from the usual fasteners on riding shorts.
There are a few things I wouldn’t mind seeing changed; the mesh in pockets features holes that are just the right size that my keys poke through. I’m a bit concerned my keys will eventually make those hole a bit larger. I also wish the front pocket bags were slightly deeper – my keys fell out while riding to work, so I now make sure to keep them zipped and secured at all times.
I like light gray color and it looks good covered in riding dust. It also doesn’t get hot in the sun. If they get wet though, the light color makes it obvious.
Highlights (via Kitsbow)
- Breathable, durable woven nylon
- 4 secure pockets with sgnature rear placement for optimal carry positioning
- Mesh lined waist band for optimal sweat dispersion
- Gusset construction, RiRi slider snap, mesh pockets, adjustable waistband, 11.5″ inseam
The Origin A/M Short lists for $155. Check it out at Kitsbow.com
Kitsbow Collared Henley
Henley shirts and merino wool are two of my favorite things when it comes to tops, especially when the merino is woven with other fibers for longevity. The fabric sourced for the Kitsbow model is spot on. It feels light and soft against the skin, but not so light to be flimsy or cause concern with durability.
You can wear this top every day and thanks to the anti-odor properties of the merino, you may be able to get away with it for a while. It makes them especially great for #vanlife weekends, hikes, traveling and trips where you find yourself packing minimally and looking for pieces that can perform dual duty.
On the trail
The henley is a great top whether you’re riding trails or kicking it around town. The versatility means I find myself wearing it quite often, pairing it with other shorts or jeans. The rear has a dropped hem to keep your backside covered in an aggressive riding position, and a small stash pocket is hidden in the rear should you desire a bit of additional storage. The best aspect of henleys is being able to unbutton them when things get warm; snaps on the placket make it easy to open it up on the trail for quick ventilation.
As seen in our photos, the light color does show off sweat, but on the upside, the light material dries quickly. Just give yourself a few minutes to cool down if you’re racing to beat last call for happy hour at your local watering hole.
The collared henley is a tailored fit and I’m wearing a size medium. For comparison, with boxy American fit tops I generally wear a size small (I’m a size 38 jacket) The medium fits comfortably without being baggy, but also doesn’t feel confined.
The Kitsbow Collared Henley is a great top, but we’ll admit, at $120 won’t be for everyone. (It also means you won’t see three of them on a busy day at the trails) We’ve found that if you sign up for the Kitsbow mailing list, they occasionally offer exclusive discounts to newsletter subscribers.
Check it out at Kitsbow.com