Hands-on Gear Review

Club Ride Apparel Ventura Review

A lightweight and comfortable short, perfect for everyday trail rides.
By: Cat Keenan ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Feb 28, 2017
Price:  $80 List  |  $58.99 at MooseJaw - 26% Off
Pros:  Easily adjustable waist tabs, NoCrack Back, straight leg, trendy prints, breathable
Cons:  A little short to wear with kneepads
Manufacturer:   Club Ride
71
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#4 of 8
  • Fit and Comfort - 30% 9
  • Pedal Friendliness - 30% 7
  • Protection - 20% 5
  • Pockets - 10% 5
  • Style - 10% 8
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Best Buy Award

Our Verdict

The word ventura loosely translates into luck or fortune, and we think Club Ride Apparel had that in mind when they designed the Ventura short. They've come up with an affordable and practical short that is perfect for an everyday trail ride. Lucky you! Their stretchy and breathable construction won't weigh you down, and the pockets are deep and secure, perfect for a smartphone or energy bar. Retailing for $80, we voted the Ventura the winner of the Best Buy Award because this short isn't sacrificing any critical features for the competitively low price.

The Venture gets a subdued hue update for 2018. See one of the options in the main photo above and all the options below.


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Our Analysis and Test Results

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New 2018 Colors


Get not-so-crazy with the Ventura Plaid in asphalt or navy, pictured below. The Ventura is also available in solid colors like Glacier Blue, Olive, and Raven.



Performance Comparison


You could describe the Ventura in two words: great deal. These shorts took home the Best Buy Award because they come packed full of features for only $80. They're lightweight and breathable, with two deep zippered pockets perfect for stashing your stuff. They're also pretty cute: you could roll from the trail straight to trivia night at the local pub, and no one would bat an eye.


Fit and Comfort


During the testing process, we wrestled with Velcro, pulled on cinches and even maxed out a ratchet. It wasn't always easy — the Velcro collected fuzz, sometimes the cinches were a little tough to negotiate in gloves, and the ratchet closure wasn't enough for one rider. And while we made it work every time, testers all agreed that the Ventura's waist tab adjusters were the best. The Ventura took home the prize for fit and comfort, scoring a 9 out of a possible 10. The Ventura used internal buttons to secure the adjustable waist tabs, which kept the waistband free of bulky Velcro straps.


The buttons took the guessing game out of pulling the tabs equally on either side of the waist. The stretchy band provided a pleasantly snug fit. Yes, the internal waistband meant that you couldn't adjust it on the fly, but it did provide a secure low profile that our riders appreciated. The Yeti Norrie's waist adjustments ranked high behind the Ventura, for access and ease of use.

Button waist tabs are low profile and easy to adjust.
Button waist tabs are low profile and easy to adjust.

In addition to the button tabs, we also found Club Ride Apparel's featured NoCrackBack to hold up to its name. The slightly higher waist in the back prevented any sort of gap or sag in the waistband. Throw in the little internal loops fashioned to pair with your inner liner short, and you've got a system that fits well and stays in place. The Ventura did not come with a liner short, but Club Ride Apparel does offer a series of inner shorts separately.

Pedal Friendliness


You could put some serious miles on the Ventura. Club Ride Apparel's Powerweave material is lightweight, breathable, and wicking, making it a great short choice for long rides in warm weather. The Powerweave is a two-way stretch fabric, which allowed the short to move well with the rider. Combine those ingredients with a gusseted crotch, and you've got lightweight comfort, perfect for an everyday trail ride. Overall, our testers did prefer the four-way stretch of the Pearl Izumi Elevate Women's and Troy Lee Skyline for more aggressive riding, so we did have to dock the Ventura a few points. Otherwise, pedaling in these shorts was a breeze, which is why we scored it a 7 out of 10.


The lightweight  breathable construction of the Club Ride Apparel Ventura is best suited for cross country rides.
The lightweight, breathable construction of the Club Ride Apparel Ventura is best suited for cross country rides.

Protection


Ultimately, the Club Ride Ventura, which scored a 5 out of 10, did not take home the prize for most protective. We didn't feel that the 11-inch inseam inspired us to send it into a rock garden or push the pedals just a little faster in the flats. Because of the inseam length, the shorts weren't compatible with kneepads. In the Ventura's defense, Club Ride Apparel makes several pairs of shorts specifically for women, and their catalog does offer shorts with a longer inseam. We simply embraced all that the Ventura does offer, and when it came time to feed the downhill need, we reached for the Norrona Fjora which came out on top in the protection department.


The Apparel Ventura has two reflective accents to help keep you visible in the evening. There are those times when your ride turns into an unexpected epic. In that case — the Ventura offers a different type of protection, one that sees you home after dark.

Reflective details keep you visible when your trail ride hits the streets.
Reflective details keep you visible when your trail ride hits the streets.

Pockets


The Apparel Ventura kept it simple with two zippered pockets at the waist. Both pockets have a side entrance, making them more accessible than the Troy Lee Skyline, and are quite roomy. There's plenty of room to stash your phone or ID, but as a general rule, we wouldn't recommend anything too bulky in the front pockets. Limited pocket options scored the Ventura a 5 out of 10. If you prefer a pair of shorts with more pocket options, we would suggest the Zoic Navaeh.


Side entry pockets are zippered and roomy enough for a snack or smartphone.
Side entry pockets are zippered and roomy enough for a snack or smartphone.

Style


Who doesn't love a good plaid? We think that Club Ride Apparel picked a winner with their plaid printed Ventura, which offers a knee-length short that is fitted in the waist and hips but relaxed in the legs. They're almost like your dad's Bermuda shorts, but way cuter. If preppy powder Blue Groove isn't your preferred color, they also come in Cosmic Raven, whose red on black design lends more of a modern geometric print. What we love most about these shorts is how seamlessly they transitioned from the singletrack to the disc golf course, and everywhere in-between. They've got an easy wearable feel, earning them an 8 out of 10 for style, much like the Dakine Cadence or the Yeti Norrie, both of which scored high in the style department.


Best Applications


We think that the Ventura is best suited for any not too technical trail ride. The breathable, lightweight short would keep you cool in the heat of summer, even if you're spending all of your time climbing. Even with kneepads, the 11-inch inseam doesn't offer ample protection, so if you plan on doing some downhill or charging through technical terrain, try the Pearl Izumi Elevate Women's which breathes well and provides a longer inseam.

Value


We voted the Apparel Ventura as our Best Buy because, for $80, you've got a lightweight, wicking and comfortable bike short perfect for an all-day trail ride. They're a well-rounded pair of shorts. Compared to the Fox Ripley, which also retails for $80, the Ventura offers more secure pocket options, stretchier fabric, and a snazzier fit.

Conclusion


Just the name Club Ride Apparel evokes the purpose of the Ventura short. Picture meeting at the trailhead with a cup of coffee, and then pedaling off into the unknown with your buddies. It's not about Strava times but the views and vistas. Finally, you roll up to the beach for sunset afterward, or maybe to a BBQ at a friend's house. The Ventura will keep you cool and comfortable so that you can focus on the fun.

Cat Keenan

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Most recent review: February 28, 2017
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:  
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 (4.0)
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