Hands-on Gear Review

Dakine Cadence Review

A lightweight short with a longer inseam that can double as board shorts for the post-ride dip.
By: Cat Keenan ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Feb 28, 2017
Price:  $60 List  |  $29.83 at REI - 50% Off
Pros:  Stylish, lightweight, breathable
Cons:  Two non-secure pockets, inseam may be a deal breaker for XC riders
Manufacturer:   Dakine
65
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#6 of 8
  • Fit and Comfort - 30% 6
  • Pedal Friendliness - 30% 8
  • Protection - 20% 6
  • Pockets - 10% 3
  • Style - 10% 8
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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. If you're looking for breathable but a little shorter, the Club Ride Apparel Ventura would be a great option.

2018 Updates — The Cadence gets 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.


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Our Analysis and Test Results

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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!



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 crazy 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 snag.

Four-way stretch made pedaling in the Dakine Cadence a breeze.
Four-way stretch made pedaling in the Dakine Cadence a breeze.

Fit and Comfort


The only short in the review to feature belt loops. Yes! Of course, there were also the internal waist tab adjustments, similar to the Pearl Izumi Elevate - Women's, that worked well and didn't add too much bulk to the waistband of the short, which is why the Cadence scored about average in fit and comfort. We preferred the Club Ride Apparel Ventura button waist adjusters most of all. There was 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. Although not as slim fitting as the Yeti Norrie or the Troy Lee Design Skyline, the looser fit of the Cadence did not cause any hangups on the saddle, and we scored it an 8 out of 10 for that reason. If you're more petite, you might find the Cadence too long for everyday trail rides. It's got a 13-inch inseam, the third longest in the review, which paired perfectly with all types of knee pads for a downhill adventure. If you're looking for an equally lightweight short but with a little less length, the best buy pick Club Ride Ventura might do the trick.

Protection


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, so we scored them a 6 out of 10 for protection. With a long 13-inch inseam, most testers felt well protected even without knee pads.

Pockets


The Cadence featured 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, giving them only a 3. Both the Zoic Navaeh and Pearl Izumi Elevate Women's have multiple secure pockets for your map, phone, energy bar, etc. However, we did find that the Cadence's pockets worked just fine in a casual setting. Unless, of course, you're doing cartwheels.

Style


We loved the easy style of the Cadence. Not too form-fitting, not too baggy. These reminded us of the shorts the girls in high school who skateboarded would wear with baby-doll tees and chokers. A 90s skater style that rides right above the hip, and falls straight legged to the knee. We all agreed that we would wear these shorts for any activity, which is why we gave them an 8 for style — that they work for biking was a bonus!

Best Applications


Picture this. It's late July in Lake Tahoe. You're not sure of what your buddies have planned, but you know it's going to get pretty warm, there's going to be some pedaling and some downhill. These shorts are going to offer you the breathability you need to stay cool in the high alpine sun and keep your knees clean should you tumble because of the long 13-inch protective inseam. The best part? These shorts are fast drying and would double as fantastic board shorts for that celebratory dip in the lake.

Value


At $60, these are the most affordable in the review. They scored higher than half of the 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.

Conclusion


If you're looking for a breathable, lightweight protective 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.

Cat Keenan

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

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:  
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 (3.0)
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