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Hands-on Gear Review
Troy Lee Design Skyline Review
Cons: Runs very small, not the most flattering
Bottom line: The Skyline is an affordable choice for riders who are looking for a burly but not girly pair of shorts.
With the Skyline short, Troy Lee Designs designed a ladies' short with a man's attitude. Burly construction, functioning pockets and four-way stretchy panels caught our attention as we pedaled up and down the trails of Lake Tahoe. At $70, they were more affordable than most shorts in the review and had tons of great features.
RELATED REVIEW: Best Mountain Bike Shorts for Women of 2017
Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results
We focused our praise on how well the Troy Lee Skyline held up through the rough and tumble. The construction is legit, the fabric is tough, and the four-way stretch made pedaling a breeze. If they could add a few inches to the inseam and maybe revisit the style department, we would fall in love with the Skyline.
Fit and Comfort
We keep revisiting the Skyline's black meshy, stretchy panels — and for good reason. They allow the shorts to move with you and hug whatever curves you have as you ride. That's a huge plus if you like a short that has a closer, more streamlined fit. Keep in mind that they're a heavier material, and in our tester's opinion, really canceled out the mesh cutouts behind the thigh.
The waist tab adjusters are Velcro and external: easy to adjust on the fly, but easy to clutter with twigs and debris, or in one tester's case, Malamute fur. The Velcro fly closure seemed short lived in our opinion. It was the only zipper alternative fly closure in the test and immediately snagged on the mesh panel next to it, pulling at the mesh and clogging the Velcro. For these reasons, we voted the Skyline a 6 out of 10 in fit and comfort.
Sizing was an issue with the Skyline. Testers had to size up from the Troy Lee sizing chart in order to squeeze into a pair. They're aware of the sizing discrepancy, and it is actually listed on their website to size up for the best fit. We scored the Club Ride Apparel Ventura a near perfect 9 out of 10 in this category due to their excellent comfort and fit. The Pearl Izumi Elevate - Women's, our Editors' Choice winner, also scored at the top of the fleet during our testing, earning its spot as being one of the top comfortable contenders.
Four-way stretch rocketed the Skyline into second place in the pedaling game. Throw in an additional rear stretch panel and the X-patterned gusset and you've got yourself a pair of shorts that moved with the rider when pedaling through the paces, which is why we gave the Skyline an 8 out of 10. It didn't matter if we were dragging our rear over the rear tire in a big descent, or punching a climb out of the saddle; these shorts didn't sag or hang up. However, the Pearl Izumi Elevate - Women's took the cake for this metric.
We've been known to take a spill or two while out on the trail and the Troy Lee Skyline held its own against the dirt and rock of Tahoe. We're not sure what Troy Lee did, but they managed to construct a short that was stretchy and bombproof. The reason this short isn't walking away with the protection award and instead scored a 7 out of 10, is the 11-inch inseam. The shorts were seamless with kneepads during the downhill, but bunched at the top of the pad while pedaling through rolling terrain, and straight up gapped at the thigh while climbing in the seat. For a pair of shorts that stretches, protects AND fits with kneepads, check out our Editors' Choice Pearl Izumi Elevate Women's.
The Troy Lee Skyline scored the second highest for pockets with a 7, bested only by the Zoic Navaeh. We couldn't find a really good use for the zippered waistline pocket except to shred our knuckles, but we did fall in the love with the taped seam zippered leg pocket big enough to hold any smartphone. The small zippered pocket on the rear waistband was a bonus for a key or goo.
In a world where we ladies seek fun colors and prints to discern ourselves from our male counterparts, our testers wanted these shorts to come in black. We rated this short a 5 because the stretchy X panel that helps gusset the shorts and gives great mobility during pedaling is placed right smack dab in the middle of the short. X marks the spot, you might say. They do come in fun colors, and even rainbow cheetah print if you're feeling frisky. As mentioned by Troy Lee Designs, these shorts do run small, as do the Yeti Norrie. We sized up as recommended and the short still had a snug waist fit with a just slightly looser leg.
If trending downhill is your thing, these shorts paired with some kneepads will offer seamless protection through the rough and tumble. If you're the kind of girl who isn't into padding up, the Skyline will move and shake with you no matter what terrain lies ahead. Those living in a warmer climate might prefer the Dakine Cadence for better breathability.
At $70, these shorts will more than get the job done. We might suggest packing a second pair of shorts for the apres ride beer.
The Skyline is a great example of function over form. While not the most popular looking short in the test, the Skyline continued to impress our testers with its stretchy panels, conveniently located pockets and durable construction.
— Cat Keenan
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