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Hands-on Gear Review

Dakine Boundary Review

Dakine Boundary in Black.
Price:   $90 List | $89.95 at Competitive Cyclist
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Four-way stretch fabric, waist adjustment is hidden and stays put, lightest short in our test
Cons:  Only one poorly placed pocket, no liner short
Bottom line:  These shorts are light weight and ideal for cross country use.
Editors' Rating:     
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Manufacturer:   Dakine

Our Verdict

The Dakine Boundary shorts are a minimalist pair of shorts that excel at pedaling. With only one pocket, they are not likely to be on the short list of riders who prefer to ride without a pack. Thin, ultra stretchy fabric makes for a great pedaling short, but the lack of protection and storage limit the versatility of the shorts. A great choice for the XC racer who does not like the lycra look.


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Score Product Price Our Take
80
$220
Editors' Choice Award
The Kitsbow A/M Ventilated shorts are the best pedaling baggy shorts on the market.
80
$129
Editors' Choice Award
The Airmatic sets the standard for trail and enduro shorts. You will not be disappointed.
71
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Best Buy Award
This model is an excellent choice for the rider who demands a quality product at reasonable price.
71
$100
This competitor is great for gravity oriented pursuits, but they are not a great pair of shorts for long pedaling missions.
70
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Top Pick Award
Our Top Pick for the bike park and shuttle runs, the Ruckus is a true workhorse.
65
$90
The Boundary is a minimalist mountain bike short that is ideal for the cross country rider.
64
$90
This model is tough and offers decent rider protection, but they leave much to be desired in other areas.
61
$149
Mountain bike shorts with a dual personality, for the rider who sees more value in versatility than specificity.
59
$100
Mountain bike shorts with a casual look, and old school cotton fabric construction that just cant compete with synthetic fabrics.
55
$80
An inadaqute waist adjustment system and lack of pockets bring down an otherwise decent pair of shorts.

Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results

Review by:
Curtis Smith
Senior Review Editor
OutdoorGearLab

Last Updated:
Friday
June 16, 2017

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At just under 5oz, the Boundary short is the lightest short in our review. Super thin ultra stretchy fabric and welded seams make for a competitor that pedals nearly as good as lycra. These are great shorts for aerobic efforts, but the lack of features and poor durability drive the overall score and versatility down.

Performance Comparison



The Dakine Boundry may be best suited to XC use  but XC riders like to get air too.
The Dakine Boundry may be best suited to XC use, but XC riders like to get air too.

Style


These shorts have a snug fitted cut similar to the Kitsbow A/M. They are a technical piece of kit, with welded rather than sewn seams. The look of the Boundary is very reminiscent of higher end board shorts. This model is not a flashy short, by any means. The dark navy color of our test version has black mesh vents on the legs and a very subtle Dakine logo on the right leg.

The dark fabric of the main body, make the black vents and logo almost invisible unless you are looking. These are great shorts if you are not looking to scream "I'm a mountain biker" everywhere you go. We like the sleek, simple style and it stands in stark contrast to some of the more moto-inspired designs such as the 100% Airmatic.

The Dakine Boundary shorts have a technical look similar to high-end board shorts.
The Dakine Boundary shorts have a technical look similar to high-end board shorts.

Features


The Boundary is a minimalistic short that is not heavy on features. One feature it does have is a built-in waist adjustment that takes the place of a separate belt. The waist is adjusted with dual velcro tabs connected to elastic at the rear, which is hidden inside the waistband. We've come to prefer exterior waist adjustments over internal adjustments because internal adjusters are harder to access and make mid-ride adjustments a pain. The waist adjustment is not nearly as user-friendly or comfortable as the adjustment system on the 100% Airmatic. Our testers found that the Velcro tabs on the inside of the waist created pressure points particular when used with a hip pack.

The internal waist adjustment on the Dakine Boundary.
The internal waist adjustment on the Dakine Boundary.

A pair of mountain bike shorts does not necessarily need six pockets like the Zoic Ether, but the single zippered pocket on the right leg of these shorts is a bit too minimal. The pocket is decent in size, but because of the light weight of the material, we found that anything placed in the pocket flaps around horribly when riding. The only thing this pocket would be useful for is a bike park pass, a credit card, or a few dollars for a Red Bull. You will have to place your cell phone and bike tool in a hydration pack or jersey pocket when riding in the Boundary.

The one and only pocket on the Dakine Boundary shorts.
The one and only pocket on the Dakine Boundary shorts.

Durability


When we first got the new Boundary, we were skeptical that the welded seams would hold up to the abuse of mountain biking, but we were pleasantly surprised with the durability. Since this short is good for cross-country epics, we put more miles in this pair than any of the others in our test, and the seams held up without fail. With that said, we never crashed when testing this short, and we would not expect it to survive if we had. The fabric, while ideal for pedaling, is ultra thin. These shorts function well for cross country riding, but we would recommend you steer clear of the bike park.

The Dakine Boundary proved durable for XC riding but we would steer clear of the bike park in these shorts.
The Dakine Boundary proved durable for XC riding but we would steer clear of the bike park in these shorts.

Another area where we were concerned about the long-term durability was the inner leg mesh vents, which also use welded seams. We've owned other garments which used welding and mesh together and found that they failed prematurely but both the seams and mesh held up as well as any other part of the short.

Protection


Despite having one of the longer inseams in our test, the material this short is constructed from is very lightweight and would not provide much protection in a gravelly dirt nap. The long inseam measurement is a bit deceiving, as the Boundary sits higher on the leg than other shorts in the test with a shorter inseam. Less room in the seat of the shorts makes for great pedaling characteristics and the effective coverage is similar to the Kitsbow A/M. Though we didn't purposely take any diggers while wearing them, our testers agreed that this is not the short they'd want to be wearing if they went down on a hip at speed.

The leg openings are a bit narrower than other shorts we tested and don't fit over full-size kneepads as well. You can wear kneepads with the Boundary, but this short won't drape over the pads the same way as some of the more downhill oriented shorts in our test. If your riding is more towards the Downhill end of the mountain bike spectrum and you always wear full-size kneepads, we recommend that you check out either the Troy Lee Ruckus or the Pearl Izumi Elevate.

The snug fit of the Dakine Boundary makes them ideal for XC use  but as you can see the leg coverage does not offer much protection.
The snug fit of the Dakine Boundary makes them ideal for XC use, but as you can see the leg coverage does not offer much protection.

Fit and Pedal Friendliness


The Boundary is one of the highest scoring shorts we tested, and a favorite amongst our testers for cross country rides. The fit is tailored, similar to the Kitsbow A/M and designed for the riding position. The super light 4-way stretch fabric creates almost no resistance to the pedal stroke, and the fabric glides over the skin. If pure pedaling performance is what you are after, this short has it.

The Dakine Boundary shorts are great for pedaling but lack protection.
The Dakine Boundary shorts are great for pedaling but lack protection.

Comfort


The Boundary is a very comfortable short. The lightweight fabric combined with mesh vents makes for a fresh and well-ventilated ride. The articulated cut is similar to the Kitsbow A/M and does a good job of preventing excess fabric from bunching at the waist. Our only complaint is the internal waistband adjustment which can create pressure points at the waist where the Velcro layers overlap. This was more of an issue when wearing a hydration pack or hip pack, but with the limited storage of these shorts, a pack is almost a necessity if you plan to carry tools. This model does not come with a liner short.

The Dakine Boundary have mesh vents on the inside of the leg which aid in ventilation.
The Dakine Boundary have mesh vents on the inside of the leg which aid in ventilation.

Best Applications


This short is best for cross-country and trail marathons. It is the best short we've tested for cross-country racers and riders who won't wear lycra. This pair makes a great hiking short or makeshift swim trunk for a dunk in the lake as well, so you can get a little more bang for your buck with the ability to use this short for multiple activities.

Value


The Boundary is a great short for cross country riding, but the list price is $90 and it does not come with a chamois liner. Compared to the Ether short which is $10 cheaper, more versatile and it comes with a liner, it is hard to make a solid argument for the value of the Boundary. We consider the Boundary to be a good pair of shorts, but they are not a good value.

Conclusion


This short is best suited for XC missions because of its lightweight and unrestrictive fit. It should be combined with a well-padded chamois liner to cushion the blow from miles in the saddle. We wish that it came with a nice liner short to round out the overall package and increase the value of the short.

The Dakine Boundary shorts are very comfortable for long XC rides.
The Dakine Boundary shorts are very comfortable for long XC rides.
Curtis Smith

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OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews


Most recent review: June 16, 2017
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:   
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  • 5
 (3.0)
Average Customer Rating:     (0.0)
Rating Distribution
1 Total Ratings
5 star: 0%  (0)
4 star: 0%  (0)
3 star: 100%  (1)
2 star: 0%  (0)
1 star: 0%  (0)


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