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Hands-on Gear Review
Yeti Cycles Norrie Review
Cons: Not many functional pockets, runs small
Bottom line: A slim-fitting girly but burly short built with an emphasis on downhill fun.
Who loves bright colors and attention to detail? We do! Testers were attracted to the Norrie like raccoons to shiny pennies. We thought the Yeti blue was bright but not over-the-top, and the side leg ruching to be flattering and functional, which is why we awarded the Yeti Norrie a Top Pick for Style. Pair a good-looking short with durable ripstop material and a 12-inch inseam, and you've got a recipe for a good time.
RELATED REVIEW: Best Mountain Bike Shorts for Women of 2017
Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results
Yeti's feminine offering of the Norrie took home Top Pick for style, but it also won us over with its industrial strength construction. Her low profile waist cinches were a welcomed break from the typical Velcro, and we also appreciated the attention paid to a balanced silhouette.
Fit and Comfort
The Yeti Norrie came with nifty little external webbing straps and cinches to customize the waistband, scoring an 8 in fit and comfort. First and foremost, we appreciated a design different than the standard Velcro closures we'd seen through most of the test. We loved that they were minimal, able to be adjusted on the fly and and blended in with the rest of the short. Similar to how you would tighten a backpack strap, simply pull the Yeti blue nylon webbing strap forward to tighten the waist, and push back the cinch to loosen the webbing. They were a little tough to manipulate with gloved fingers, but we noticed the straps were secure enough that the adjustment could be done just once before the ride, and then not need to be touched again. Another low profile waistband we loved was the Club Ride Apparel Ventura.
In addition, the Norrie, like the Norrona Fjora, had silicon grippers all along the waistband which provided a no-slip grip at the waist. Finally, and pretty importantly, the Yeti Norrie runs small. Very small. Overall, it has a tighter silhouette. Somehow, Yeti has managed to craft the short with a rear stretch panel and glide patches for the thighs to still create a functional but slim fitting short. Generally speaking, if you prefer a roomier fit, we would recommend sizing up from what Yeti says is your size. Our head tester was 5'7" and 135 lbs. She sized and fit into a medium, but would have preferred a large for a looser fit.
We've got to hand it to Yeti for putting out a women's short that can take the hits as well as their male counterpart. Designed with the durability for downhill in mind, the Norrie is constructed of a burly, ripstop polyester that held up against granite slides and tree branch grabs, earning it an 8 in protection. The 12-inch inseam kept us feeling comfortable on familiar technical terrain, but we were not quite ready to charge into the unknown without kneepads. Thankfully, the flared hemline created a seamless overlap between the tops of the kneepads. Pad up and you're ready to go anywhere. The DWR finish doesn't hurt the Norrie, either. It'll help keep that blue bright, and keep you dry on the muddy downhills.
If you're interested in more stretch but almost as much protection, the Troy Lee Skyline will do the trick.
For having such a tough construction, the Yeti Norrie manages to pedal pretty well! The addition of the rear stretch panel helped our riders feel a little more comfortable in the saddle. The 100 percent polyester fabric boasted a two-way stretch component, but our girls felt that the short didn't give too much. Instead, Yeti installed that back panel for stretch across the hips and the waist.
Basically, the Norrie gave and stretched in certain places, but not all, which is why we scored it a 7 out of 10. The Pearl Izumi Elevate Women's short had a great four-way stretch across the entire construction, which offered greater range of motion if you'd like more mobility for a cross-country ride.
They also included internal silky "glide patches" which helped the short stay put while the rider pedaled. Overall, the glide patches were a great addition, and no one mentioned the Norrie riding up the thigh or fabric gathering in the crotch area. The patches didn't add bulk to the shorts, but they did limit the breathability. A more breathable option which pedals just as well would be the Dakine Cadence.
Due in part to the slim fit of the Norrie and the placement of its pockets, we didn't score this short too high in the pocket department. The Yeti Norrie ended up with a 5 out of 10. There are four pockets total: two open from the waist, a third zippered layered on top of a waist pocket and a fourth Velcro patch rear pocket. As a general rule, we're not big fans of placing anything valuable inside of pockets without zippers. You never know when you're going to fly over the handlebars, or bounce through a rock garden. The zippered pocket on the front of the thigh is pretty small. An iPhone 5 was too big to fit in the pocket, but an ID or credit card could slide in there nicely. Finally, the rear patch pocket was pretty deep. We wouldn't advise putting anything in a rear pocket for seated, pedaling comfort reasons.
If you're looking for a short with lots of pocket options, check out the Zoic Navaeh, which had a bonus internal smart phone pocket. Should you decide to wear these shorts casually because they're so styled out, you could slide your keys or ID into any of the pockets no problem.
The Yeti Norrie took home first place for style, scoring a 10 out of 10. Yeti has taken their token blue from bike frames to bike shorts with the addition of the ladies' Norrie short. The bright, saturated blue adds a nice splash of color to your kit, and is complimented with contrasting white YETI stitching and zippers. Another detail testers appreciated was the ruching on the outside leg. The ruching added a touch of femininity to the outer seams of the short, as well as flared out the hemline of the short, which ended just at the top of the knee. The flare really balanced out the overall fit, as the Norrie is more slim fitting. Fitted through the hip and the thigh, the lower ruched flare gave the short more of a straight legged look, as opposed to appearing pegged to the knee, like the Zoic Navaeh's silhouette.
Rider after rider reached for the Yeti Norrie — we couldn't pull them off of our testers. We loved the color, smooth lines and balanced fit of the Norrie, which is why we awarded it Top Pick for Style.
If you feel like charging hard and looking good, the Yeti Norrie is the short for you. The DWR-coated ripstop material is durable enough to handle a downhill, and they'll look great hanging out at the trailhead afterward. They might not be the best short in the review for a long pedal on a hot day. Though cute, the Norrie wasn't the stretchiest or most breathable.
The $95 price tag falls just on the average of the all the tested shorts. The Norrie has style, durability, and super low-profile waist cinchers. It doesn't have great pockets, but if this is your short of choice for the gravity fed epic adventure, you're probably wearing a pack. We'd say they're worth it.
They're girly and they're burly. Pretty sure every girl secretly wants to own a pair of the Yeti Norrie after reading this, and why not? Who doesn't want a bike short with ruching and ripstop?!
— Cat Keenan
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