Primal Modenza Short Review

I was offered to test the Primal Modenza Short pretty late in the mountain biking season in Colorado, but I jumped at the chance to try these out despite looming frigid weather, given the quality Primal has consistently produced in other products I’ve tried.

A local Denver company, Primal is known the world over for cycling apparel on both dirt and road. I actually worked with them privately this year to order a custom jersey for a local club, and the quality was amazing. That business interaction solidified my interest in their products, and it was at an annual IMBA meeting that I first put hands on the Modenza in the spring of 2015.

Modenza is roomy and comfy for long days in the saddle
Modenza is roomy and comfy for long days in the saddle

The Modenza is a versatile short for all types of mountain biking, but it was clearly designed for riders who demand a durable, aggressive fabric that can withstand a fall or two. The Taclar ballistic nylon moisture-wicking ExoDura fabric is svelte but stiff, with a tailored, loose fit with vents for warmer days. Two ratcheted waist straps which pull and snap keep the silicon-gripped waist band snugly in place. An Italian-made TMF®  detachable chamois is included.

Ratcheted waist straps make fit snug and comfy
Ratcheted waist straps make fit snug and comfy

 The Deets (from Primal)

  • ExoDura Fabric
  • Loose Fit
  • Detachable Liner with Chamois
  • Ratcheted Waist Straps
  • Taclar Ballistic Nylon
  • Snap Button Closure
  • Belt Loops
  • Zippered Mesh Pockets
  • Velcro-enclosed Rear Pockets
  • Reflective Accents
  • Sizes: M, L, XL, 2X, 3X
  • Technical Specs: 90% Nylon, 10% Spandex -190 gsm
Generous side pockets can store essentials for a quick grab
Generous side pockets can store essentials for a quick grab

Testing

Fitting shorts is always personal. Like many of you, I have freakishly-large quads and hamstrings and usually have to go up a size when I shop for shorts and chamois. The Modenza was no different. The chamois was well-tailored and was comfortable overall, but I though the leg bands were a bit snug. However, they stretch out after a couple of rides. The chamois was slightly too large for me and instantly felt a bit diaper-ish when I tried them on, but became unnoticeable and very comfortable once I started pedaling.

The quality is exceptional and the fabric is durable
The quality is exceptional and the fabric is durable

The actual short was roomy, although the fabric over the upper thighs were a little tighter than the lower portion of the short. The waist seemed about right (XL tested, 35in waist), and there are handily-crafted pull tabs on the waist to cinch it snug.

The silicon grippers on the waist band initially produced some mixed feelings about what I considered to be an overall excellent short. On the first couple of rides, the silicon grabbed the skin of my waist and tugged; it was annoying enough that I actually tucked my shirt into the back of my shorts, something I never do. After two rides, however, this did not happen again–either my skin was more moist, or the uber-grip of new silicon lost a little of it’s bite… or both. Since then, these shorts have been nothing short of comfortable.

Silicone grippers on the waist band definitely do their job
Silicone grippers on the waist band definitely do their job

Overall I really liked the Modenza and would recommend them; in fact, when these wear out I plan to buy another pair. A couple of notable things that make this short stand out above so many others:

  • Quality: Excellent craftsmanship and bombproof seams make this short durable and built to last. I really like the reinforced fabric in both the seat and in the inner thighs–two areas that see a lot of abuse when pedaling. The fabric is sufficient, but not too thick, so it retains a soft and pliable feel (unlike some other shorts that resemble burlap’s little brother).
  • Pockets: There are two side pockets which are zippered, and one on the left leg, also zippered. These are the perfect size for small objects like gels or maps.
  • Waistband closures: I used these every time I put them on, which helped make for a perfect fit.
  • Vented thighs: These shorts are black, and have the potential to get hot. Having vents on the front of the thighs, backed by a fine mesh, that are easy to access, make these a good 3-season choice.
Zippered vents in the thighs are well thought out
Zippered vents in the thighs are well thought out

You can find out more about the Modenza here on Primal’s webpage, along with other shorts and products for both road and mountain biking.

MSRP: $130

Thanks to Primal for sending the Modenza over for review!

Check out some more product photos:

Handy waist tab
Handy waist tab
A closer view of the stitching
A closer view of the stitching
Zippered side pockets with reflective piping
Zippered side pockets with reflective piping
Close view of the chamois
Close view of the chamois
Front view of the Modenza
Front view of the Modenza
Rear view of the Modenza
Rear view of the Modenza

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