Mountain bike shorts come in a wide variety of configurations designed to excel at different types of riding. The Yeti Teller shorts are by far the most minimalist (from a features standpoint) of any shorts we tested. The design is closer to a board short than the other technical mountain biking shorts included in our review. A poorly designed waist adjustment system and a lone, virtually unuseable pocket drug the overall score of these shorts down.
Yeti Teller Review
Cons: Poorly designed waist adjustment system, hot, no chamois liner
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Our Analysis and Test Results
Without the zippered fly and dual button closure, the Teller shorts would look exactly like a pair of board shorts. The cut is baggy with no articulation, and most everyone who saw us in these shorts during testing assumed that they were board shorts. We don't think that they look particularly bad, but they do not look like a mountain bike short, which if you want them to serve dual roles might not be such a bad thing. The only branding on the short is a small Yeti logo on the lower portion of the left leg.
The Teller shorts are nearly devoid of features. A single pocket is located at the rear of the shorts on the waistband. The location is similar to the waistband pocket on the Troy Lee Ruckus, but rather than being integrated into the waistband, a mesh pouch sits on the inside of the shorts below the waistband on the interior. The pocket is too small to hold anything substantial and the location is uncomfortable. To top it all off, whatever you put in the pocket will almost certainly get soaked in sweat.
The Teller shorts do have an adjustable waist, but rather than the Velcro or hook and loop designs of other shorts we tested, Yeti uses a drawstring with a cord lock integrated into the waistband. Not only does the design lack security, (the shorts kept loosening up while riding). The plastic cord locks dug into our waist and were very uncomfortable. The waist closure is a dual snap zipper combo affair which worked ok during testing.
The fabric of the Teller is very thin two-way stretch nylon and spandex blend. We found the shorts to be prone to abrasion during testing. In addition, all of the seams are exposed, and of particular importance, the seams on the seat are exposed. We also had issues with the springs in the waist adjustment cable locks slipping and allowing the shorts to loosen up, this got worse with continued wear. These problems earned the Teller a low score in our durability test.
The Teller shorts have a relatively long 14" inseam, so leg coverage is good. We also found them to work quite well with knee pads. The inside of the front portion of the leg opening has a slick fabric sewn into the shorts to prevent the shorts from hanging up on knee pads. We like this feature, and it proved to work well during testing with multiple different types of knee pads. While coverage is good, the thin fabric will likely not do much to prevent abrasion in the event of a crash.
Fit and Pedal Friendliness
The Teller shorts have a very baggy loose fit, and the lightweight fabric does not create any noticeable restriction to pedaling. The 2-way stretch fabric is a bit more restrictive to motion than the awesome 4-way stretch fabric of the 100% Airmatic but the difference is minimal and the Teller is still a good pedaling short. We did notice that there is more fabric flapping about in the wind compared to the Kitsbow A/M, but overall the cut and design of the Teller is well suited to aerobic pedaling efforts.
The fabric of this model has an excellent feel on the skin, but the seams are a bit rough and were a source of chafing for some of our testers. The main detriment and reason for the relatively low score of the Teller is poor ventilation. The Teller has no ventilation openings and air circulation is minimal.
The fabric does not do a good job of wicking sweat either. With a few ventilation openings these shorts would score much higher. We also dislike that the cord locks are embedded in the waistband. When the waist is adequately tight, the cord locks dug into our hips. Waist straps from hydration packs and hip packs compound this problem. The fabric is lovely, but the other aspects affecting comfort on these shorts need some work.
The Teller shorts are best suited to casual riding and hanging out around town. The lack of functional pockets and a poorly designed waist adjustment system prevent us from recommending them for serious riding.
Despite the relatively affordable price of $80, we do not feel that the Teller is a good value. The Zoic Ether Shorts + Liner is a much better pair of shorts for the money and they come with a chamois liner.
Yeti did not hit this one out of the park. The Teller short is constructed of good quality fabric and the cut is appropriate. Beyond that, the rest of the short is poorly executed with critical design flaws that leave us unable to recommend these shorts.
— Curtis Smith