The newest version of the Troy Lee Skyline has a longer inseam for better overall protection and new fabric that make it a super comfortable pair of shorts. It still has some work to do in the style department, but for technical riding on hot days, these are a great option.
Hands-On Review of the Skyline
Breathable and comfortable, the Skyline got us to the skyline!
Fit and Comfort
The latest version of the Skyline is made with super stretchy and soft material that accommodates most body types. We could not locate a useful fit guide for their women's shorts on Troy Lee's website, so we ordered a size small and it fit pretty well.
Our major gripe with the Skyline
is the super bulky external Velcro waistband adjusters. They are easy to adjust on the fly, but the rubber tabs have sharp points that snagged on shirts and bushes. And the extra fabric that gathered in the back didn't really do much for our style. Both the Patagonia Dirt Roamer
and the Yeti Norrie 2.0
, our Editors' Choice winner, scored at the top of the bunch for their excellent fit and comfort while riding.
Four-way stretch in the Skyline was much appreciated for pedaling, crouching, and bending. It flexed in every direction that we moved on the bike and never held us back. The silicone grippers on the waistline ensure that the shorts do not slip down while riding.
The Skyline uses Coolmax fabric throughout the shorts, and we definitely noticed good breathability on hot days. Additionally, there is a breathable mesh back panel for those extra sweaty rides.
The 12-inch inseam works well with kneepads and offers great protection from branches.
Protection in mountain bike shorts can mean weather protection, a barrier from pokey bushes and brush, and also from the occasional spill off the bike. Fortunately, we didn't have any crashing mishaps during our testing period, but we rode through some pretty tight, brushy trails and the Skyline did a solid job of protecting us from scratches. It has a 12-inch inseam that pairs well with kneepads for additional coverage. We did notice some micro-snags in the fabric which did not affect performance but might indicate a lack of durability over time. The 100% Airmatic has a longer inseam and burlier fabric for stepped up protection.
While it didn't interfere with riding, it just felt weird having a phone on the back of our thigh...
Unique among the shorts we tested, the Skyline has a phone-sized zippered pocket on the *back of the thigh*. It's breathable and functional but felt a little bizarre. Still, we are fans of having access to our stuff, and while the placement was strange, at least it didn't inhibit pedaling. We couldn't find a good use for the zippered waistline pocket on the Skyline. It's mesh-lined and deep, but the placement makes it awkward for use.
The look of the new Skyline is heaps better than the old version, but this short strikes us as more functional than stylish. If the waist fits perfectly with no need to adjust, it has a nice clean look with minimal flair. However, the bubbling waistline fabric when we cinched in the waist just didn't seem to have anywhere to go. It bunched up in back and it didn't look good.
If style matters, take a look at the Yeti Norrie 2.0
, which has colorful details, casual hand pockets, and a great fit.
If trending downhill is your thing, these shorts paired with some kneepads will offer seamless protection through the rocks and rollers. Even without kneepads, the Skyline offers great stretch and breathability.
At $79, these shorts will more than get the job done. We have some concern about durability, as we found minor snags after riding through some tight bushes, but they are breathable and comfortable and work well with kneepads.
The Skyline is a great example of function over form. While not the most exciting looking pair of shorts in the test, we were impressed by its stretchy panels, breathable fabric, and good length.