The Race Face Trigger shorts received praise for their very soft, stretchy, and comfortable material which made for unrestricted freedom of movement and excellent pedal friendliness. This material, while great for comfort and mobility, proved to be a detriment to these shorts' durability, which suffered small tears and runs as well as light staining in the seat from some muddy riding during our testing. The Trigger shorts have a longer and loose fit and are well suited for a variety of riding disciplines. The light material breathes well and pedals even better, but these shorts just don't seem as durable or well designed as some of the competition.
Race Face Trigger Review
Cons: Less durable, material prone to staining
Manufacturer: Race Face
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The Canadian company Race Face is probably better known for its excellent bike parts than their apparel, but they've been producing bike clothes for some years. The Trigger shorts are one of several pairs of shorts in their men's apparel line which consists of primarily all-mountain/trail and gravity oriented products. Race Face recommends the Tripper shorts for everything from epic days in the saddle to multi-discipline Enduro racing. We tested the Trigger shorts for a couple of months this spring on a range of trail types and a broad spectrum of weather conditions to see how they performed and held up to our abuse. Read on find out how they compare to the competition.
The Trigger shorts have relatively clean lines and subtle styling. They don't even look all that much like mountain bike shorts until you compare them to other shorts that have an even more casual look, like the Dakine Syncline or the Club Ride Crush. They have a 13-inch inseam, but strangely it feels and looks slightly longer than that, with a hem that hangs down right below the kneecap. The shorts are moderately baggy, but they feel baggier than they are due to the especially soft and flowy material from which they are constructed. They are a solid color with offset colored zippers and a small Race Face logo printed on the cargo pocket. They come in three color options, Black, Dune (tan), and Turquoise (tested).
The Trigger shorts have three zippered pockets, two hand pockets and one cargo pocket located on the right thigh. The hand pockets have large hanging mesh pockets inside, and the cargo pocket is just big enough to fit an iPhone 6. All of the pockets are useful to stash things securely while riding, but the soft and stretchy material, as well as the hanging mesh of the pockets, make it so that things have plenty of ability to move around while riding. It was actually kind of frustrating to ride with anything in the pockets of these shorts; they were much more useful when not on the bike. The zipper pulls were also a little big and clunky, not our favorite design.
The Trigger shorts have belt loops and also feature waist adjustment in the form of adjustable velcro straps located on the inside of the waistband. These straps offer a good range of adjustability but lack the on the fly convenience of shorts that have their waist adjustment straps on the outside of the waistband, like the 100% Airmatic. The waist is secured with a zipper fly, and two velcro backed metal snaps. The Trigger shorts also have some silicone grip applied to the back of the waistband to help keep your shorts in place.
These shorts don't have any vents, but the soft and lightweight material allows for decent airflow and is quick drying.
One of our biggest concerns with the Trigger is their durability. The incredibly soft, stretchy, and lightweight material that they're made from isn't as good at brushing off contact with trailside encounters as shorts made from tougher materials, and our test pair sustained some damage during our testing period. After brushing up against a sharp trailside hazard, we noticed that our shorts had a small hole in them accompanied by a couple of runs in the fabric. This damage is notable because we didn't expect there to be any damage, but the soft, stretchy fabric seems to be more easily snagged than that of the competition. In fact, we would recommend that people who ride in areas with lots of sharp trailside hazards like bushes and cactus look into shorts made from tougher more durable fabrics like the Specialized Enduro Pro or the Club Ride Crush.
We also noticed that the material is somewhat prone to staining, at least in the light turquoise color we tested. We took these shorts for some especially muddy spring rides, and of course, it got ground into the seat of the shorts. Even after washing them the mud had lightly stained the shorts in the area where the seat makes contact with the shorts. It isn't too bad yet, but we imagine it will get worse over time. Beyond that, the construction and stitching of the shorts seem to be top notch.
The Trigger shorts have a relatively long inseam and consequently offer a good amount of leg coverage. That said, the light and soft material offers little in the way of impact or hazard protection. These shorts do pair well with knee pads of all kinds due to the large leg openings. If you're interested in a heavier duty pair of shorts with a similar fit to the Trigger, then we'd suggest looking at the Pearl Izumi Elevate or the Troy Lee Ruckus, both of which are made from a much thicker material.
Fit and Pedal Friendliness
The Trigger shorts are made from a very soft to the touch and extremely stretchy 4-way stretch fabric. It's safe to say these are the stretchiest shorts in our test selection, followed closely by the 100% Airmatic shorts. This material allows for absolutely uninhibited freedom of movement, and when seated for pedaling the hem hangs right at the top of the knee, a combination that makes these shorts especially pedal friendly. The Triggers are available in sizes Small through XXL, fitting true to size.
Testers found the Trigger shorts to be especially comfortable. The material is very soft to the touch and ultra stretchy. This provides the rider with great freedom of movement, and the shorts are very pedal friendly. The only thing testers found to be uncomfortable about them was trying to ride with anything in the pockets as the soft and stretchy material, and the design of the pockets allows things to move around - a lot.
Overall our testers thought the Trigger shorts are versatile and are well suited to most types of riding, with a longer and looser fit, but with cross country pedal friendliness. That said, gravity-oriented riders or people who frequent trails with lots of sharper trailside hazards may want to look at contenders with tougher and more durable material.
At a retail price of $88, we feel that the Trigger shorts are a decent value. The shorts are comfortable and versatile, but they may not offer the durability of some of the competition.
With the Trigger, Race Face has made a very comfortable and pedal-friendly pair of shorts. They offer a fit and performance that many riders will appreciate. The soft and supple material used in their construction is a benefit to their comfort and mobility but may be a detriment when it comes to durability. But if soft and stretchy is what you're looking for, then the Race Face Trigger has got you covered.
— Jeremy Benson