Review: Dakine Descent Mountain Bike Shorts

The Dakine Descent Mountain Bike Short is squarely aimed at riders who ride unforgiving trails usually pointed in the down direction only. It is not a wispy ultralight cross country piece of underwear. No sir. These shorts are the kind of thing a bomb squad guy wears for skivvies over his diaper before he cuts the red wire. The Descent is made of uber-tough fabric that buffers mother nature’s caustic rub when you make mistakes, or that 25 pound marmot decides to run through your spokes. If you fall as hard as you ride, keep reading…

The Dakine Descent short is aptly named
The Dakine Descent short is aptly named

The Deets (from Dakine)

  • Ratcheting waist adjustment (similar to many mtb shoes)
  • Patterning at knees designed to fit over pads
  • Low profile zippered side pocket (large enough to hold a smartphone or a few gels)
  • Fit: DH – 14.75″ inseam
  • Sizing: 30, 32, 34, 36, 38, 40
  • Colors: Black, Imperial, ThreeDee

    Strong, fast, secure ratcheting waist adjustment
    Strong, fast, secure ratcheting waist adjustment

Materials and Contruction

The outer shell is made of super tough and stiff 600 Denier polyester for both durability and protection, and the shorts will hold their shape if you let them. They are lined with a softer 120g vented polyester mesh that is breathable and holds up under pressure. The crotch has 4-way stretch gusseting to provide range of motion, in case you want to practice your can cans or try and beat Cam Zink’s recent 100ft 3in backflip record. Go for it. You can do it in these shorts.

Yeah, they're stiff...
Yeah, they’re stiff…but comfy

Outstanding features

Aside from the fact that these look like they could survive an atomic blast, they fit well and are comfortable to wear even hours after the ride. As with most DH shorts, these do not come with a removable liner or chamois, so they make excellent “street” shorts.

This small pocket is hidden in a way that it won’t snag on a fall, but easy to get to. I wish there were two of them, though, one on each leg.

The ratcheting waist buckle is awesome, and well suited for what this short is designed for.

A small pocket on the leg for stuffing essentials...
A small pocket on the leg for stuffing essentials.


These shorts were tested in bike parks and on shuttled front range Colorado trails. I took some tumbles at 20mph. I got up. The shorts were unfazed. That made me happy. Thanks to these burly bad boys, and some retro dorky knee pads, I kept riding without a scratch on me… at least below the waist. I did ride in these once on a cross country trail, up part of a fire road, just to see how it would feel for climbing Enduro stages. They were acceptable, but I would not recommend these for all mountain trails with a lot of pedaling, at least until you break them in.

These shorts take a licking and keep working...I wish my armor held up that well.
These shorts actually feel better the more you crash in them…you know, to break them in.

Overall Impressions

These shorts are thick, beefy, and designed for the park crowd to dampen abrasions and impact. The Descents are thick as Old Western burlap, but soft on the inside and ventilate reasonably well.  They are not well suited for, or designed for, long pedaling stints in the saddle, but I personally feel they would be a good choice for an Enduro stage… but they are named “Descent” for a reason.

So, if you fancy shuttle runs or lift-assisted mountain bike activities, these shorts should be on your short shorts list… they might just save you a few stitches or a trip to the ER if you take a digger.

MSRP: $100

Also, check out my review of the Dakine Descent mountain bike jersey here.

The Descent jersey and short pair well together and provide all day downhill comfort and protection
The Descent jersey and short pair well together and provide all day downhill comfort and protection

Thanks to Dakine for providing the Descent shorts for review.