Norrona Fjora Review
Cons: Not very breathable, scratchy material
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Noronna Fjora's dream day would be shuttle laps filled with muddy technical descents. The DWR finish kept the riders dry and the borderline aggressive softshell construction was plenty of protection against crashes and tree limbs.
Fit and Comfort
The slightly higher rise in the waist didn't bother our testers. In fact, paired with the silicon grippers on the rear waistband, the Fjora kept a no-slip grip on our waistlines as we pedaled the paces. The external Velcro waist tab adjusters were easy to use on the fly, but the material didn't offer any additional stretch. Some riders may find the waist of the Norrona to be a tad restrictive, which is why it only scored a 5 out of 10 in Fit and Comfort. The Pearl Izumi Elevate Women's has stretch all throughout the waistband. If you like a little give, it might be the short for you.
We placed the Fjora at a 5, just below average in the pedal friendly category. We found that while it provided bombproof protection in the downhill, the combination softshell/stretch panel configuration really did not allow for adequate mobility for pedaling. Testers felt the inside seams of the pieced together fabric while pedaling, making for a scratchy ride. Other shorts in the test, like the the Yeti Norrie, have silky-feeling glide patches on the inside of the short to help ease pedaling.
The Fjora has some pretty legit zippered vents on the outside of each leg, allowing the rider to optimize the short's breathing capabilities in those hot downhilling days. Opening up the vent from the bottom also offers the rider a wider leg, which may help to accommodate bulkier knee protection and provide more leg room. Otherwise, the Fjora is a pretty slim fit. Overall, the Fjora's softshell construction is not super breathable. These vents are what will help bring relief in warmer climates.
Been working on a cleaning a rock garden or sending a technical drop? The Fjora, scoring a perfect 10 in protection, has got your back, or rather… your legs. The softshell material combined with the articulated knees will keep you protected, hit after hit. The durable, abrasion resistant fabric has a DWR finish, perfect for hitting puddles at high speeds.
The Fjora features three zippered pockets, two shallow ones at the waist and a third deeper pocket on the thigh. Though not as handy as the pockets on the Zoic Navaeh or the Pearl Izumi Elevate Women's, the third zippered pocket on the thigh is big enough to fit a trail map and an energy bar. The tight squeezing fit of the Norrona's pockets scored it a 5 in the pocket department.
Industrial colors and bright contrasting zippers give the Fjora an understated but techy look, which we scored as a 6 in style. From first glance, you wouldn't peg the Fjora as a "bike short" per se. They've got a "Euro" sort of vibe going on: they're almost capri length, with articulated knees and a slim silhouette. If you're interested in something a little more feminine, we suggest the Yeti Norrie.
We would suggest the Fjora for cooler weather pursuits and straight up downhilling. The softshell construction will keep you warm and protected against whatever rock or root may jump out in front of you.
If downhilling is your jam and you live deep in the PNW, you might be willing to fork over the $145 for the Fjora. For $55 less, we would recommend the Editors' Choice Pearl Izumi Elevate Women's. More mobility, almost as much protection, and enough money left over for a post-ride pizza party.
The Norwegian Norrona Fjora is designed with a Viking attitude: tough, durable and ready for an epic in cooler climates.
— Cat Keenan