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Dakine Cadence Review

A lightweight short with a longer inseam that can double as board shorts for the post-ride dip
Dakine Cadence
Photo: Dakine
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Price:  $60 List | Check Price at Amazon
Pros:  Stylish, lightweight, breathable
Cons:  Two non-secure pockets, inseam may be a deal breaker for XC riders
Manufacturer:   Dakine
By Clark Tate ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Feb 28, 2017
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  • Fit and Comfort - 30% 6
  • Pedal Friendliness - 30% 8
  • Protection - 20% 6
  • Pockets - 10% 3
  • Style - 10% 8

Our Verdict

Casual street style meets four-way stretch fabric in the Dakine Cadence, a longer length bike short that offers light protection and high breathability. This is your epic hot summer day short, which will take you from the saddle to the shore without a hitch.

2018 Updates — The Cadence got new colors, pocket details and sizing in 2018. They also come with a liner (chamois) option. The updated short is pictured above and described below.

Our Analysis and Test Results

2018 Update

The Cadence got a slight shift in the burnt rose hue of the short, which also comes in a balsam green, and black (not pictured). While the inseam and style remain the same, there is new pocket detailing. You can also purchase the short with a padded liner these days. We never recommend doing so, however, as we've yet to buy a stock liner that is remotely comfortable. Find the chamois brand for you and stick with it!

Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge

Sizing has also shifted. Previously it was numerical (26,28, 30, etc.). Now all you've got to work with is small, medium and large. Their Fit Guide has always helped us find the right size in the past, so we suggest using it.

Performance Comparison

The Cadence has minimal frills — no pocket options or fancy panels to help customize fit. The testers loved the Cadence for the stretchy, slinky feel of the fabric and the casual urban look of the short. More petite ladies may not love the shorts, the straight leg and the longer inseam may catch on the bike seat.

Four-way stretch made pedaling in these shorts a breeze.
Four-way stretch made pedaling in these shorts a breeze.

Fit and Comfort

The Cadence features belt loops — yes! Though belts really don't work for mountain biking, it adds a distinctive street style. Fortunately, there are also internal waist tab adjustments, that work well and don't add too much bulk to the waistband of the short, which is why it scored about average in fit and comfort. There is a slight rise in the rear waistband, which minimized any sort of unsightly gap. We simply followed Dakine's measurement chart and the Cadence fit true to size.

Belt loops for an additional waist adjustment option
Belt loops for an additional waist adjustment option

Pedal Friendliness

Combine a super lightweight, four-way stretch fabric with a gusseted panel, and you've got the Cadence. It's a breathable short that moves with you as you rush the singletrack. If you're more petite, you might find the Cadence too long for everyday trail rides. It's got a 13-inch inseam, which pairs well with all types of knee pads for a downhill adventure.


We can say with confidence that the lightweight, polyester/spandex blend is pretty snag proof; they held up fine charging through the white thorn of Tahoe Mountain. We'd be hesitant to take these shorts to the top of the Mammoth gondola and slay the pumice, however. With a long 13-inch inseam, most testers felt well protected even without knee pads, but the fabric is a little light for the burliest riding.


The Cadence features two open pockets on the waist. Generally speaking, we're not huge fans of pockets without zippers; we like knowing that our keys and phone are going to stay put even if we fly off the bike, so we didn't rank the Cadence too high on the pocket metric. Unless you carry everything you need in your pack, there are other shorts in the test with more functional pockets for riding. We did find that the Cadence's pockets work just fine in a casual setting. Unless, of course, you're doing cartwheels.


We like the easy style of the Cadence. Not too form-fitting, not too baggy. These remind us of the 90s skater style that rides right above the hip and falls straight legged to the knee. These shorts are fast drying and would double as fantastic board shorts for that celebratory dip in the lake.


These are very affordable. They scored higher than many other pairs of shorts and at almost half the price! The Cadence offers plenty of lightweight protection for the rider who is looking for a stylish multi-sport short.


If you're looking for a breathable, lightweight short with a bit of urban skate style, the Cadence is for you. These shorts will take you from the trail to the beach without a hitch.

Clark Tate