“I’m The Dude, so that’s what you call me. You know? That or uh… His Dudeness, or uh… Duder, or uh… El Duderino if you’re not into the whole brevity thing.” -The Big Lebowski, 1998
The Sweet Story
Sweet Protection has been outfitting action sport enthusiasts and pros officially since 2000, but the Norwegian-born company is steeped in rich history. Twenty years ago, Ståle N. Møller and friends were the Z-Boys of Norway skating outside the bounds of the law, building ramps in the woods, and hand-making their own decks.
Skating paved the way for other sports such as snowboarding, skiing, and kayaking, and the pre-Sweet crew’s desire to fashion their own gear followed suit. The Sweet brand moved from Møller’s garage to the international scene after working with pro snowboarder, Terje Håkonsen, on helmet design. In 2003, Sweet won the Brand New Award for Best Newcomer in their first ISPO appearance. 10 years later, Sweet launched their first complete mountain bike collection.
Since going worldwide, Sweet continues balancing function and quality with a distinctive design and attitude that reflects fun and performance. The homegrown brand realized its potential with the help of pro-level athletes and today, no Sweet product leaves Trysil, Norway without team influence. While those late-80s, pre-Sweet skate decks have long since been abandoned, Sweet is still deep in protective gear and tech apparel for whitewater, snow, and bike, including the El Duderino shorts reviewed here. Also, check out my review of the Chikamin Jersey for a snazzy kitted-look.
El Duderino Shorts Spec
- Dupont Sorona and Polyester fabrics
- Tailored, slim fit
- DWR treated
- Two-way stretch
- Double snap buttons, zipped closure
- Inner shoelace waist adjustment
- Belt loops
- Seamless cargo pocket with Velcro closure
- Two open front pockets
- Colors: 5 (midnight blue reviewed)
- Sizes: S-XL
- Weight: 285g (L)
- MSRP: $119 USD (NOK 999)
We us the term “baggie” when referring to anything but Spandex, but in reality baggies come in different inseam lengths and leg openings. There is baggy and baggier. Longer lengths and larger knee openings can better accommodate larger knee pads and thunder thighs. The El Duderino shorts have an inseam around 13″ and taper slightly toward the knee, revealing a slimmer fit which still articulated well with two different sets of mid-level knee pads I used during my test period.
At 5’8″, 175lbs, occasionally I find myself between sizes medium and large when it comes to clothing. While most of my mountain bike shorts are medium with a waist size around 32″, the El Duderino mediums fit so tight I almost quit my day job, bought a fixie, and gauged my ears. Helmet? What’s that?
I’ve found many European brands similarly fit small, so you may need to size up with the El Duderino. The size large felt closer to an American-designed medium, and the inner shoelace adjustment further tuned the waist to a perfect fit.
The El Duderino’s primary makeup is a blend of polyester and DuPont Sorona fiber. Sorona is uniformly soft, dries quickly, and stretches comfortably while quickly recovering its shape. DWR treatment brings the minimally-water resistant fabric up to moderate which, like most DWR treatments, will decay over time.
Extras are few on the El Duderino, but worth noting. The simplicity and durability of a dual-snap with a YKK zippered closure is about as good as you can expect from any mountain bike short. The front pockets are open and the right-sided seamless cargo pocket, which is almost invisible to the naked eye, employs Velcro for closure. Instead of the typical waistband adjustments, Sweet has threaded a piece of shoelace along the circumference of the El Duderino, just below the waist. Admittedly, this seemed impractical and a bit archaic on the surface, but surprisingly worked very well to keep the shorts in place. If the shoelace isn’t your cup of tea, the waist features belt loops, too.
On the bike, the overall feel of the El Duderino was flawless. Where longer, baggier cuts weigh down and slosh, the El Duderino is composed, with just the right amount of give. Although not insulated, the Sorona fabric is highly windproof while being very lightweight. Durability came into question after spilling in a corner and ripping a hole through the side pocket, but this wasn’t a huge surprise given they are a light duty trail short. There are no ventilating ports, but El Duderino’s lightweight fabric and minimal construction lends itself to adequate breathability.
Despite a $119 price tag, El Duderino’s overall fit and feel make a strong argument for re-upping when it comes time to retire this pair. In the end, I still prefer the waist adjustment to occur at the actual waistband, but it’s definitely not a deal breaker. While they’re certainly not for a day on the lifts or downhill shuttle runs, most riders have a need for a lighter short for lighter riding like the El Duderino.
Thanks to Sweet Protection for providing the El Duderino shorts for review.