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The Dakine Syncline features an “all-mountain fit” with a 14.5″ inseam. It has a conveniently removable Italian-made Comp chamois, ventilated mesh lining, zippered hand pockets and leg vents, a heavyweight rib knit back stretch panel, side waist tab adjustments, polyester birdseye waistband, and a crotch gusset for an increased range of motion.

But what does all of that even mean? Nothing if it doesn’t translate into a comfortable ride out on the trail.

Out on the Trail in the Syncline

I first tested the Syncline shorts during a long day of shredding the Evolution Bike Park at Crested Butte Mountain Resort. The baggy fit easily accommodated some beefy knee pads without any catching or binding. Thanks to the removable chamois, I think you could easily wear a hip and tail bone protector under these shorts and still feel very comfortable (although I haven’t tried them with one yet). The exterior of the Syncline short is much heavier and tougher than a cross-country short (as you’d expect) since it’s built to survive a few tumbles off the bike now and again without getting shredded to pieces. I’ll admit I took a couple of spills, and the Syncline shorts thought nothing of them.

When is a pair of downhill shorts just another pair of shorts… and when is it something more?

Obviously, the Syncline is designed for the downhill aficionado, and with all of these DH-specific features and its durable build, it excels in this category.

I was surprised to discover that the Syncline performs well in a number of other applications, too.

Cross-country

Despite the fact that these shorts hit below the knee, they ride very well even on cross country rides. I guess the “all-mountain fit” lives up to its name, by keeping them from catching on the knee or saddle. There were several chilly, early-morning rides in Crested Butte when I threw the Syncline on for a little extra warmth, and they were both comfortable and toasty! Obviously, because of the heavy, durable exterior they wouldn’t be ideal for hot summertime rides, but as the temps continue to cool here in North Georgia I am looking forward to many fall rides in the Synclines,

Commuting

The cooler fall temperatures have also convinced me to start commuting to school again. As a result, my Syncline shorts have been seeing significant use as a pair of commuter shorts. They’re the perfect mix between bicycle comfort and classroom style. I don’t have to destroy my taint on the uphill slog to campus, and I don’t have to pack an extra pair of shorts to change into before class. Dakine’s Phantom pattern (tested) is low-key enough to not draw any weird stares from my fellow English students. Want to sport a different style? The Synclines are available in 5 different colors.

Bottom Line

From the big hit bike to the carbon hardtail to the commuter, the Syncline shorts provide stellar performance and classy style!

MSRP: $135.

Many thanks to Dakine for providing the Syncline shorts for review.

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# Comments

  • steve32300

    What sizes do these shorts come in Greg??They sound like a great riding short which I have been looking for…

  • mtbgreg1

    Looks like they are available in S, M, L, XL, XXL (black only).

    Yeah, I dig these shorts, and definitely recommend them!

  • fleetwood

    They sound like great shorts, but does anyone besides me think that $135 for a pair of shorts is ridiculous. How does the Dakine, or any other manufacturer, justify this? And it’s not just these shorts. So much mountain bike merch seems so overpriced in my opinion. What drives this? Is it because we as mountain bikers are foolishly paying the prices they are asking, or can Dakine, for instance, only make a profit off of these shorts by selling them for that much? My guess is the consumer is getting the BIG shaft on this stuff. Oh well, in a year I’ll be able to pick up a pair on closeout for $30. Okay, rant over. Back to your regularly scheduled broadcast…

  • mtbgreg1

    Fleetwood, you make a good point. With big names like Dakine, Fox, and Pear iZumi, I definitely think you’re paying out some money for the name. That said, these shorts have a ton of cool little features built in, and they’re dang comfortable… Dakine knows how to do it right!

    Personally, I buy (or at last, used to buy) a lot of my riding apparel from REI (Novara/Rei Brand). They offer some quality gear at a much, much more affordable price… but also, a lot of the gear that I’ve bought there, while it works well and lasts a while, doesn’t have all of the bells and whistles like this pair of shorts. If you’re fine with that, then cool. But some people like to own the best, and they’ve got money to spend… 😉

    Also, lots of times you can get the name-brand gear on sites like chainlove for much, much less!!!

  • trek7k

    I’ll weigh in on the price thing – a lot of times it’s the chamois that drives the cost of a pair of shorts up. If anyone is getting rich here, perhaps it’s the Italians who make the chamois in these shorts. 🙂

    Seriously though, I used to think the same thing about cycling apparel prices but I find I usually get what I pay for. The $35 Fox jersey I bought last summer? Low quality, no rear pockets, itchy, and pajama-looking. The $40 – no, $20 “closeout” – Performance cycling shorts? Worthless, so much so I’d say they should be marketed as disposable.

    On the other hand, I picked up a pair of $125 Pearl Izumi bib shorts at REI a few months back and they are heavenly on my bum. Remember what I said about the chamois? And that’s pretty cheap as far as premium cycling shorts go – there are countless $300 versions out there. I only need a couple pairs of really good shorts and jerseys anyway – not like I’m trying to outfit myself for a week of work.

    Most of my baggy MTB shorts are in the $50-75 range but I dunno, maybe the chamois in the Syncline short is super luxe? If so I’d consider popping on ’em.

  • mtbgreg1

    Thanks for the info trek7k, that’s very enlightening. According to Dakine, the Syncline has a “Removable Comp Chamois Liner short with Italian made Dolomiti pad.” It’s definitely comfortable and, so far as I can tell, durable.

    Although in a short that is designed primarily with downhilling in mind, you wouldn’t imagine that they’d include the most expensive chamois out there? But compared to the other baggies listed on their website, this is the most expensive, and the “comp” designation definitely sounds the nicest.

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