The world's most in-depth and scientific reviews of outdoor gear

Race Face Trigger Review

The Trigger is extremely comfortable and excellent for pedaling, but lacks the durability of the competition.
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Price:  $88 List | $83.99 at Amazon
Pros:  Soft material, great for pedaling, comfortable
Cons:  Less durable, material prone to staining
Manufacturer:   Race Face
By Jeremy Benson ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  May 9, 2018
  • Share this article:
Our Editors independently research, test, and rate the best products. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Learn more
69
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#10 of 16
  • Comfort - 20% 9
  • Fit and Pedal Friendliness - 20% 9
  • Features - 20% 6
  • Durability - 20% 5
  • Style - 10% 6
  • Protection - 10% 5

Our Verdict

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 don't seem as durable or well designed as some of the competition.

Color Update
The Turquoise color we tested is no longer shown on Race Face's website. For 2019 the Trigger short is now offered in Red, Rust, and Loam, although you may still be able to find the 2018 colors for sale online. July 2019


Compare to Similar Products

 
This Product
Race Face Trigger
Awards  Top Pick Award Editors' Choice Award  Top Pick Award 
Price $83.99 at Amazon$130 List$155 List$84.00 at Amazon
Compare at 2 sellers
$48.83 at REI
Compare at 3 sellers
Overall Score Sort Icon
100
0
69
100
0
80
100
0
80
100
0
76
100
0
76
Star Rating
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Pros Soft material, great for pedaling, comfortableFunctional slim fit, great features, SWAT bibs included, good valueLightweight, ventilated, articulated fit, quality construction, thoughtful designStylish, functions well with knee pads, high-quality and reasonable priceLightweight, comfortable, tailored fit, adjustable waist closure, quick drying
Cons Less durable, material prone to stainingNot the best quality controlExpensive, short inseamMinimal waistband adjustment, over-complicated closure systemTailored fit may be too slim for some
Bottom Line The Trigger is extremely comfortable and excellent for pedaling, but lacks the durability of the competition.The Specialized Enduro Pro shorts are fully featured with a functional high performance design and come with SWAT bibs.They are expensive, but Kitsbow's quality construction, attention to detail, and high performance design can't be beat.A dialed all-mountain/enduro short that ticks most of the boxes but has some major waistband issuesPatagonia's Dirt Roamer shorts are comfortable and lightweight with a minimalist design and performance oriented tailored fit.
Rating Categories Race Face Trigger Specialized Enduro Pro Kitsbow Mescal Ventilated 100% Airmatic Patagonia Dirt Roamer
Comfort (20%)
10
0
9
10
0
9
10
0
9
10
0
9
10
0
9
Fit And Pedal Friendliness (20%)
10
0
9
10
0
9
10
0
9
10
0
6
10
0
9
Features (20%)
10
0
6
10
0
8
10
0
7
10
0
7
10
0
6
Durability (20%)
10
0
5
10
0
7
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
7
Style (10%)
10
0
6
10
0
7
10
0
7
10
0
8
10
0
8
Protection (10%)
10
0
5
10
0
7
10
0
7
10
0
8
10
0
6
Specs Race Face Trigger Specialized Enduro... Kitsbow Mescal... 100% Airmatic Patagonia Dirt...
Shell Fabric 89% Polyester, 11% Spandex Water-repellent VaporRize woven fabric 4-way stretch softshell, mesh vent panels Polyester elastane stretch blend 4-way stretch 90 denier 87% recycled polyester/13% spandex with a DWR
Lining Main Fabric None Removeable SWAT liner chamois None CyTech Premium None
Chamois None Body Geometry Mountain None Foam pad None, but compatible with Endless Ride Chamois(sold separately)
Inseam Measurement (inches) 13 in 13.5 in 12.5 in 12 in 11.5 in
Number of pockets 3 2 2 2 1
Removable Inner Short? No Yes No No No
Weight (ounces) 8.81 oz 9.73 oz 9.24 oz 8.76 oz 5.22 oz
Weight Liner N/a 7.51 oz N/a N/a N/a

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Canadian company Race Face is probably better known for its 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 Trigger 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.

Performance Comparison


The Trigger shorts are super comfortable and pedal friendly.
The Trigger shorts are super comfortable and pedal friendly.

Comfort


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.

The soft and especially stretchy fabric used in the construction of the Trigger shorts is quite comfortable.
The soft and especially stretchy fabric used in the construction of the Trigger shorts is quite comfortable.

Fit and Pedal Friendliness


The Trigger shorts are made from a 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. 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.

Soft material and an inseam that sits just above the knee when seated make these shorts very pedal friendly.
Soft material and an inseam that sits just above the knee when seated make these shorts very pedal friendly.

Features


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 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 cargo pocket on the Trigger shorts is big enough for an iPhone 6 or similar sized phone.
The cargo pocket on the Trigger shorts is big enough for an iPhone 6 or similar sized phone.

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 Specialized Enduro Pro. 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.

The internal waist adjustment and closures of the Trigger shorts.
The internal waist adjustment and closures of the Trigger shorts.

These shorts don't have any vents, but the soft and lightweight material allows for decent airflow and is quick drying.

Durability


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 snag more easily 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 100% Airmatic.

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 soft material is super comfortable  but is prone to snagging and ripping on sharp trailside hazards.
The soft material is super comfortable, but is prone to snagging and ripping on sharp trailside hazards.

Style


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 Specialized Atlas or the Patagonia Dirt Roamer. 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 used in their construction. They are a solid color with offset colored zippers and a small Race Face logo printed on the cargo pocket. They currently come in three color options, Red, Rust, and Loam, the Turquoise color we tested is no longer on their website though you may still be able to find it online.

The Trigger shorts have a pretty clean casual look with a longer inseam that drops down over the knee  pictured here in Turquoise.
The Trigger shorts have a pretty clean casual look with a longer inseam that drops down over the knee, pictured here in Turquoise.

Protection


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.

The Trigger shorts offer pretty good coverage and are compatible with knee pads  but the lightweight fabric doesn't offer much in the way of protection.
The Trigger shorts offer pretty good coverage and are compatible with knee pads, but the lightweight fabric doesn't offer much in the way of protection.

Best Applications


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.

Value


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.

The Race Face Trigger shorts are comfortable  versatile  and they look pretty good  but they didn't really knock our socks off.
The Race Face Trigger shorts are comfortable, versatile, and they look pretty good, but they didn't really knock our socks off.

Conclusion


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