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100% Celium Shorts Review

A quality pair of wind and water-resistant all-mountain shorts with some interesting design elements
100% celium shorts mountain bike short review
Price:  $129 List
Manufacturer:   100%
By Pat Donahue ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Oct 25, 2021
74
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#11 of 15
  • Comfort - 20% 7.0
  • Fit and Pedal Friendliness - 20% 7.0
  • Features - 20% 7.0
  • Durability - 20% 8.0
  • Style - 10% 8.0
  • Protection - 10% 8.0

Our Verdict

The 100% Celium Shorts are solid and functional all-mountain shorts. Our favorite aspects of these shorts are the middle-of-the-road cut that is neither too baggy nor too trim. They work well with knee pads, are water and wind-resistant, and breathe reasonably well. The most interesting design feature is the BOA closure system on the waistband. The BOA system works well but it definitely has a somewhat limited range of adjustment. As a result, it is important to purchase the correct size, and we found our size 32 shorts to fit a little big. Regardless, we feel these are a quality pair of trail and all-mountain shorts made with quality materials and craftsmanship.
REASONS TO BUY
Wide range of use
Wind/water-resistant
Comfortable
REASONS TO AVOID
Boa system limits range of adjustment
Busy design
Editor's note: We added product comparisons and purchase recommendations to this review on January 3, 2023.

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Pros Wide range of use, wind/water-resistant, comfortableTrim and clean fit, quality chamois, pedal-friendlyGreat ventilation, low-pro waist adjustment, welded leg openingsLightweight, comfortable, great fit, quick-dryingClean style, reasonable price, pedal-friendly
Cons Boa system limits range of adjustment, busy designA little heavy, below average ventilationSmall pockets, lightweight material may not be the most durable, asymmetrical waist adjustmentSlightly longer and roomier than previous versionDeep pockets allow contents to flop around while riding
Bottom Line A quality pair of wind and water-resistant all-mountain shorts with some interesting design elementsA trim pair of trail riding shorts that deliver exceptional comfort and pedal-friendliness but don't breathe particularly wellThis lightweight, highly breathable trail short is a great choice for cranking out the miles on hot daysComfortable, lightweight, minimalist shorts for big days in the saddleHighly functional trail-riding shorts that offer clean styling and a great in-saddle feel
Rating Categories 100% Celium Shorts Troy Lee Designs Sk... Pearl Izumi Summit... Patagonia Dirt Roamer Specialized Trail S...
Comfort (20%)
7.0
8.5
8.5
9.0
8.0
Fit and Pedal Friendliness (20%)
7.0
8.5
9.0
9.0
8.0
Features (20%)
7.0
7.0
7.0
6.0
8.0
Durability (20%)
8.0
8.0
7.0
8.0
7.0
Style (10%)
8.0
8.0
8.0
8.0
8.0
Protection (10%)
8.0
7.0
7.0
6.0
7.0
Specs 100% Celium Shorts Troy Lee Designs Sk... Pearl Izumi Summit... Patagonia Dirt Roamer Specialized Trail S...
Shell Fabric Nylon/spandex 4-way stretch woven fabric with DWR 95% Coolmax polyester, 5% Lycra 87% recycled polyester, 13% spandex 4-way stretch 90 denier 86% recycled polyester/14% spandex with a DWR VaporRize woven fabric
Removable Inner Short? No Yes No (can be purchased with liner) Sold separately No (can purchase with liner)
Lining Main Fabric None AIR COMP None None None
Chamois None TMF 4-hour None None, but compatible with Patagonia bibs and liners(sold separately) None
Inseam Measurement (inches) 15 12.5 12.5 12.5 13.5
Number of pockets 2 2 2 2 2
Weight (grams) 196 grams 244 grams 165 grams 164 grams 224 grams
Weight (ounces) 6.9 oz 8.6 oz 5.85 oz 5.8 oz 7.9 oz
Weight Liner N/a 4.3 oz N/a N/a N/a

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Celium Shorts work very well on the trail. They have a handful of interesting and useful features, provide good coverage, and appear to be very well-made. We found them to run a little large in the waist, but beyond that, they proved to be comfortable and functional shorts for trail and all-mountain riding.

Performance Comparison


100% celium shorts mountain bike short review - despite the long cut and gravity-oriented appearance, these shorts...
Despite the long cut and gravity-oriented appearance, these shorts work well in the saddle.
Credit: Pat Donahue

Comfort


The Celium shorts are comfortable in most situations. On cool or damp rides, the DWR-coated fabric does a good job of keeping the wind and rain from penetrating the fabric. On warmer rides, the perforations in the leg allow a little air to pass through and cool things down. The nylon/spandex fabric is a 4-way stretch and it feels good against the skin. All of the seams are sewn and taped, so they lay super flat and don't cause any irritation. Riders who use a hip pack may need to be careful of the hip pack's waistband interfering with the BOA dial. This doesn't cause any real discomfort, but it can be annoying.

100% celium shorts mountain bike short review - we found these shorts to run a little large in the waist, even with...
We found these shorts to run a little large in the waist, even with the Boa tightened all the way down. If you are between sizes, we'd suggest trying them on and possibly sizing down.
Credit: Pat Donahue

Fit and Pedal Friendliness


Overall, we found the Celium shorts to fit pretty well. They have a relatively trim fit that avoids being too baggy or too constrictive in the legs, crotch, or seat. Our primary tester has a 32 waist, so we ordered size 32 shorts, expecting them to be a perfect fit. We found, however, that the waist size runs a little big. Even with the BOA dial cinched down to the tightest position, the waist was just a touch too spacious. While it does allow for some adjustment, the BOA design limits how much you can tighten these shorts. If you are in-between sizes, you may want to consider sizing down. They come in even waist sizes between 28 and 38 inches.

In the saddle, the shorts work well and are comfortable for any length of ride. The 4-way stretch material has plenty of give and doesn't restrict pedaling or movement of any kind. The trim fit of the legs means there isn't any excess material bouncing around on every pedal stroke despite their 15-inch inseam length. The shallower pockets keep your cargo in a more secure, higher position. The taped seams are also nice and smooth and don't irritate or chafe the legs no matter how long you ride.

100% celium shorts mountain bike short review - the boa waist closure is a unique feature of the celium shorts...
The Boa waist closure is a unique feature of the Celium shorts. While it works and is easy to use, we found that it didn't provide a huge range of adjustment.
Credit: Pat Donahue

Features


As we mentioned, the most notable feature of the Celium shorts is the BOA used as the closure system. BOA dials are common in cycling equipment, most notably shoes, but are rarely found on shorts. Generally speaking, we found the BOA dial and cable worked great. It is easy to use and gives the shorts a clean look. That said, we found it to have a limited range of adjustability.

100% celium shorts mountain bike short review - the pockets are a good size with robust zippers.
The pockets are a good size with robust zippers.
Credit: Pat Donahue

The two hand pockets are dialed and have a nice depth. The opening of the pockets is large enough for any size cell phone or a fat wallet. The zippers felt substantial and sturdy enough to survive years of abuse. The fabric is treated with a DWR to shrug off splashes of water and is quick-drying. This material delivers a nice balance of wind and water resistance without feeling too hot, restrictive, or plastic-y. The taped seams were a nice touch and really give the Celium shorts an all-weather feel. The laser-cut perforations on the leg promote some airflow which is always appreciated on warm days.

100% celium shorts mountain bike short review - these shorts have a quality look and feel with heavy-duty zippers...
These shorts have a quality look and feel with heavy-duty zippers and taped seams.
Credit: Pat Donahue

Durability


The Celium shorts are relatively meaty shorts. The sturdy materials feel substantial and robust. We didn't crash in these shorts but have a reasonable amount of confidence that they could hit the deck and come out the other side looking okay. Throughout testing, we did not observe any areas of premature wear or breakdown.

Details matter and 100% seemed to pay attention to the little stuff. The taped seams and larger-than-average zippers are important details. These are areas that can fail on mountain bike shorts and the fact that they reinforced these areas is notable.

100% celium shorts mountain bike short review - the celium shorts have a relatively long inseam, work great with...
The Celium shorts have a relatively long inseam, work great with knee pads, and are constructed from a wind and water resistant material.
Credit: Pat Donahue

Style


The Celium shorts have a relatively subtle style when compared to some of 100%'s bolder and more moto-inspired options. That said, the text/logos, a BOA dial, and taped seams around the zipper don't really hide the fact that these are technical riding shorts. They strike a nice balance between a baggy gravity look and a more trim trail/cross-country appearance.

Examining the shorts, the waistband is quite broad. On the waistband near the left hip, the word Celium is printed in gray, quasi-reflective, text. In the center of the waistband is a BOA dial that is approximately 1 inch in diameter. The BOA is attached to a white cable that tightens the shorts. There are two zipped pockets, one on each hip. The pocket openings are lined with semi-reflective tape. Just south of the pockets is a gray 100% logo. Moving down the leg, there are perforations on the inside of the mid/lower leg. On the outside of the bottom of the right leg is the text One Hundred Percent.

100% celium shorts mountain bike short review - the length of the celium shorts ensures that they work well with...
The length of the Celium shorts ensures that they work well with most knee pads.
Credit: Pat Donahue

Protection


The Celium shorts don't have any armored or reinforced areas in the name of protection. The overall length of the shorts is slightly longer than average providing additional coverage from the sun and trailside hazards. The material also has a relatively robust feel that should protect well from scrapes with bushes and small branches.

The 100% shorts work well with most knee pads. The leg length is long enough to prevent the dreaded knee pad gap, the unfortunate situation when there is a gap between the bottom of your short leg and the top of your knee pad sleeve. The leg opening is wide enough to work with any trail or enduro-style knee pad. Ultra-beefy downhill knee pads might be a little too bulky.

100% celium shorts mountain bike short review - the material is resistant to wind and moisture, although the texture...
The material is resistant to wind and moisture, although the texture makes them have a "swoosh" sound when walking and pedaling.
Credit: Pat Donahue

Should You Buy The 100% Celium Shorts?


The 100% Celium Shorts are a high-quality piece of apparel. They work quite well on the trail and appear to be built to last. They look good, offer a nice and clean shape, play well with knee pads, and work great in damp conditions. The BOA waistband adjustment system is pretty slick, although it does have a limited range of adjustment so ordering the right waist size is important. That said, we were impressed by the comfort and quality of these trail and all-mountain riding shorts.

What Other Mountain Bike Shorts Should You Consider?


If you're trying to save a little money for post-ride refreshments or replacement parts, the Specialized Trail Shorts are the best value we tested. They retail for a fair bit less but still provide a solid all-around performance on the trail. On the other end of the price spectrum, the Rapha Trail Shorts cost a little more than the Celium, but they are made from high-quality materials with excellent craftsmanship. They fit and perform similarly, although they have more pockets, are backed with a free repair service, and come with color-matched patches should you damage them.

100% celium shorts mountain bike short review - the cleium shorts can get down with any style of riding from long...
The Cleium shorts can get down with any style of riding from long trail rides to shuttle laps and everything in between.
Credit: Pat Donahue

Pat Donahue
 
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