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Hands-on Gear Review
Fox Racing Ripley Review
Cons: One very small back pocket, ill fitting in the leg, no stretch in the waist, short inseam
Bottom line: Entry level short for the casual XC rider.
The Fox Ripley is a lightweight mountain biking short with a short inseam and very few frills. A single pocket offers the rider minimal amount of storage and internal tabs allow for waistband adjustment. We think this short would be best for the casual, beginner mountain biker with a slim build.
RELATED REVIEW: Best Mountain Bike Shorts for Women of 2017
Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results
If biking is one of the many activities on the docket for the weekend and it's going to be a pretty casual ride, the Fox Ripley will do the trick. If CrossFit is also on the list of things to do, this contender may be a little snug in the thighs. The legs did not have adequate room for our testers and we believe they would be a better fit for a slender frame.
Fit and Comfort
The Ripley scored a 4 out of 10 in fit and comfort because the internal waist tabs were easy to adjust and low-profile against the waistband. However, there was no stretch to the band itself, causing testers to feel pinched at the waist while pedaling. Want more stretch at the waist? Try the Pearl Izumi Elevate Women's or Dakine Cadence. What we did love was that this short came with a removable, low-profile chamois liner short. Only two shorts came with liners, so we didn't focus our energy there, but it was comfortable and worth mentioning. We recommend purchasing a high-quality liner for under your shorts.
In our opinion, the Ripley wasn't the nicest short to pedal in, if you know what we mean. We scored the Ripley a 3 out of 10 because the lack of gusseted crotch and narrowing leg prevented testers from pedaling unrestrictedly. If you're into freedom of movement, try the Editors' Choice, Pearl Izumi Elevate Women's, which had four-way stretch.
They're short shorts. The Ripley were the shortest shorts in the test, with a 10-inch inseam. Even with knee pads on, we experienced severe gorbie gap and felt insecure about charging through white thorn and coming out unscathed. The ripstop texture of the two-way stretch material would hold up against abrasion, there just wasn't enough of it, which is why we scored the Ripley a 4 out of 10 in protection.
The Ripley had the fewest pockets of all the shorts in the test, scoring it a 2 out of 10. They had only a small zippered pocket at the rear waistband, making it necessary to carry a backpack for your gear if you're going further than around the block. If you want to roll with what you need and not feel encumbered, try out the Zoic Navaeh, which had the most useful pockets in the test.
We've got to hand it to Fox and their color palette. These shorts really pop in Cyan Blue and are also available in Flo Yellow and Plum. That's kinda where our buck stops. Our testers didn't find this short super flattering; they felt the shorts were too blousy in the waist and narrow in the leg, which is why we scored them a 4 out of 10. Our ladies really dug the Yeti Norrie for her fit and flair.
We think these are the shorts for you if you're a casual rider with a slim build who keeps to the bike path or mellow singletrack.
The Ripley falls in the middle of the price range for the shorts tested. $80 doesn't give you too many bells and whistles, but if you prefer short and minimal this is your short. We would recommend our Best Buy pick Club Ride Ventura, which at the same price gives you more pockets and more short. Literally.
If you're new to mountain biking, or a casual rider who sticks to the main streets and not the back roads, the Fox Ripley will do you just fine. More advanced riders or those seeking the path less taken will want to upgrade to a short with more pockets, a bit more stretch, and a little bit more short.
— Cat Keenan
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