Waterproof shorts aren’t a new idea – Gore Bike Wear’s Alp-X shorts came on to the market a couple of years back, and other manufacturers have joined in since then – but they’re still a good one. While it initially sounds like a bit of a daft concept, you get the dry-bum benefits of mudguards without having to faff about with mudguards, and on every bike you may own.
Here, then, we have dhb’s Wickham shorts, crafted from eVent breathable fabric (and equipped, we can’t help but notice, with an appropriately punning name). The main selling point here is price, with DHB’s offering being considerably cheaper than Gore’s. In most respects they’re very similar, which isn’t that surprising – there’s only so many things you can do with a pair of shorts.
The fabric is a little weightier and less shiny than Gore’s Pac-Lite, neither of which are necessarily bad things. You’ll have to do without any adjustment at the waist and legs, though, and be aware that the sizing is of the “Euro-slim” school – the Medium size we tested claims to go up to a 35in waist but we’re a little sceptical of that. There are no pockets, either, but you do get a useful stretchy panel at the back and some reflective trim. The bit you actually sit on is of a meatier fabric, too, to ward off abrasion.
The Wickham shorts are a fairly close-fitting cut, which is absolutely fine for the wet conditions in which they’re likely to be used. We’ve found a pair of these over some Lycra bib tights to be an entirely acceptable winter combination (practically if not aesthetically), with the shorts offering not just a dry bum but also keeping the chill wind from your nether regions – clearly a very welcome arrangement. The only issue we had was that the front tended to bunch up a bit, but it didn’t lead to any undue discomfort.
Whether waterproof shorts actually need to be highly breathable is, perhaps, a debatable point. Certainly they’d be a lot cheaper if less clever fabrics were used, but then the groinal region isn’t really somewhere that you want to get too sweaty…