Over the course of our testing, the Specialized Enduro Pro shorts quickly became a tester favorite. Form follows function for these thoughtfully designed shorts that have a slim performance fit and user-friendly features. On the bike, these shorts were comfortable and pedal friendly and proved to offer great versatility despite their "enduro" focus. We feel the Enduro Pro shorts are also a great value, as they come with the super comfortable and functional SWAT bib liners. We were impressed with the performance and functionality of these shorts, and we think you will be too. Read on to find out why we liked the Specialized Enduro Pro shorts so much.
Specialized Enduro Pro Review
Cons: Not the best quality control
Compare to Similar Products
Our Analysis and Test Results
Specialized is one of the biggest brands in the cycling industry, making everything from road and mountain bikes to shoes and apparel. Specialized has latched onto the Enduro moniker for a variety of their products, most notably their mountain bikes, to denote their versatile and enduro race capable gear. The Enduro Pro shorts are undoubtedly good for enduro-ing, but over the course of our testing, they proved to be a tester favorite, offering a fully featured design with a functional performance fit and versatility that the competition simply couldn't touch.
With a 13.5 inch inseam, the Enduro Pro shorts hang right at the knee and have a slimmer more functional and performance-oriented fit.
They aren't tight by any means, but they fit on the slimmer side of the spectrum. When seated and pedaling, the shorts sit just above the knee. Off the bike, these solid colored shorts have a very comfortable fit and a casual look, you wouldn't know they are mountain bike shorts just by looking at them. They come in three colors, Red, Deep Indigo (purple), and Black (tested). If you're into a baggier fit, check out the Pearl Izumi Elevate or the Troy Lee Ruckus, and if you like a flashier style then maybe the 100% Airmatic could be a good fit for you.
The Enduro Pro shorts are fully featured, and it seems Specialized has thought of just about everything. The highlight of the features is that they come with Specialized SWAT bib liner shorts. This comfortable stretch mesh liner has a Specialized Body Geometry chamois pad and SWAT pockets integrated into the lower back panel. SWAT is an acronym for Storage, Water, Air, Tools, and in this case, it refers to three pockets, think road bike jersey pockets, sewn onto the back of the bib liner.
These pockets are big enough to hold virtually everything you need for a shorter ride, including water bottles, tubes, tools, food, you name it. The SWAT pockets hold their contents tight against your back, so there is almost no noticeable movement of whatever you put in them. Depending what you like to bring with you on a ride, the SWAT bibs can eliminate the need for a fanny pack or hydration pack. The bib liners also have two small pockets on the outside of the lower thigh to stash small items like a packet of energy gel.
The Enduro Pro shorts have two zippered pockets, one on the top of each thigh, which are well designed to hold items while riding. Flat items, like a cell phone, are ideal and are held securely against the thigh, so they don't move around. They have also incorporated a vertical zipper on the side of the right thigh that opens to access the SWAT pocket on the leg of the bibs or can be used as a vent.
External velcro waist adjustments are another thoughtful design feature on the Enduro Pro shorts. They are very easy to access on the fly during a ride and offer several inches of waist adjustment and a very secure velcro attachment. The shorts have a zipper fly, and two velcro backed metal buttons as a closure. The SWAT bibs also have fabric loops that snap onto the waistband of the shorts that also help to keep them in the right spot.
There isn't much in the way of ventilation on the Enduro Pro shorts, but there are some small laser-cut holes on the inner thigh in the crotch area. It isn't much, but it works better than nothing at all.
When these shorts arrived for testing, we were a little unimpressed with the quality. There were a lot of loose thread ends on both the outer shorts and the bib liners.
It was a bad first impression, to say the least, but we simply trimmed off all the loose thread ends, and we've monitored the stitching ever since. Over the past couple months of testing, the stitching has held up well, and there hasn't been any additional loosening or pulling of threads.
The 4-way stretch "water repellant Vaporize woven fabric" that Specialized uses for the main body of the shorts feels sturdy and durable. It offers a decent amount of stretch and so far has held up to all the abuse we can dish out, including a crash or two, with no tears or noticeable abrasion to the fabric. That said, if you're looking for the most durable shorts out there, the Troy Lee Ruckus and the Pearl Izumi Elevate are both constructed of even beefier fabric.
The Enduro Pro shorts offer pretty good protection with the durable and tough material that shrugs off contact with trailside hazards like branches and bushes.
The shorter inseam of the shorts offers good coverage down to the knee, but not below it, so your knees are exposed. People looking for more leg coverage can find it with longer shorts like the Pearl Izumi Elevate. The Enduro Pro shorts work with knee pads, but the smaller leg openings work best with thinner less bulky styles.
Fit and Pedal Friendliness
The Enduro Pro shorts have a slimmer fit that seems oriented towards function and performance as opposed to the way they look off the bike. The size 34 waist test pair fit true to size, and the waist adjustments offer several inches of adjustment to play with. We found the articulation of the waist to be spot on with a very comfortable fit when seated and pedaling, a stretch panel on the back below the waistband also provides some additional give in that area. The shorts sit just above the knee when pedaling and don't add any resistance to the pedal stroke.
The fabric isn't the softest or the stretchiest in our test, but it was very well suited to any length of pedaling mission you could throw at them. The slimmer fit gives the shorts a lower profile reducing wind resistance and preventing any material from flapping around at speed. The shorts also have a high cut crotch that never hangs up on your seat which is nice when descending. The Enduro Pro shorts are available in even waist sizes 30 through 40 inches.
Testers found the Enduro Pro shorts to be incredibly comfortable both on and off the bike. The fit is designed to work with the SWAT bibs when worn together. The outer shorts are made from a slightly thicker and tougher material than the super soft fabrics used on the 100% Airmatic and the Race Face Trigger, but it still feels good against the skin. The shorts offer a good amount of stretch and allow for plenty of freedom of movement.
The SWAT bibs are also extremely comfortable, with a very nice Body Geometry chamois liner and stretch mesh body that breathes quite well. The bib liners are also nice because they don't have a waistline, so there is no additional pressure in that area. Testers thought the ventilation of these shorts was a little lacking and could be improved, but the Vaporize material dries quickly.
The Enduro Pro shorts are incredibly versatile and well suited for all types of riding, from all day backcountry epics to enduro racing and anything in between. Whether you're riding in the backyard, heading out for a 40-mile vision quest, or racing in the local enduro series, the Enduro Pro has got you covered with a functional performance fit and user-friendly features.
At a retail price of $130, the Enduro Pro shorts are a great value. Not only do they come with SWAT bib liners, which are awesome, but they have a great design, performance fit, and excellent features. These shorts are great for a wide range of riding disciplines and styles, and they will enhance your riding experience. The other great thing about them is that the liners and shorts can be worn together or separately, giving you even more options.
Don't be turned off by the name of the Enduro Pro shorts; these are an incredibly versatile and well-designed pair of mountain bike shorts that are great for almost all types of riding. Testers loved the functional performance fit and features, pedal friendliness, and value of these shorts so much they are the winner of our Top Pick Award. We love them, and we think you will too.
— Jeremy Benson