Ascender Boulder MTB shorts
Ascender are the clothing brand of Fisher Outdoor PLC and according to the hang tag are designed with a simple philosophy. “By using the world’s top fabrics we aim to create high quality, functional cycle clothing that offers exceptional value.” Can’t argue with that really.Long and short of it
The light cottony fabric has a slightly cub scouts / dad’s shorts feel and look to it and the simple baggy leg cut accentuates this. There’s a lot of flap in the leg too which some will find nice and breezy but others won’t take so kindly too. We’re in the latter camp after we managed to rip the rebound damping knob off our rear shock just before we realised what was catching on our leg with every pedal stroke.
Rubber logo, contrast patches and false fly panel keep them understated and unobtrusive off the bike though. Also available in Khaki, for you Desert rats.
Cut + construction
The Boulders use a single big panel for the outside of each leg, with a small contrast panel to shape the fit around the pockets and hip. A more synthetic looking showerproof fabric is used between the legs and up the back of the arse to keep spray and stains at bay, and the whole lot tucks into an elasticated waistband with string drawcord. Length is mid-thigh when standing but there’s nothing to stop them flapping when pedalling. Thankfully the material is light enough to go unnoticed once you’re riding somewhere interesting, though we got snared on saddles and shrubs more than with other shorts.
The inner shorts are just stitched in at the waistband, leaving them free to move easily and the anti bacterial pad soon moulds into a comfortable shape.
Leg grippers stop them riding up while the baggy outers mean lots of ventilation.
The Boulders use a toughened polyester outer shell which has shrugged off weather and thorns happily so far, but it still gives a slightly stiff and formal appearance to the shorts even after a couple of washes.
The inner shorts are lightweight Lycra with a seamless anti bacterial pad.
Our medium size test pair stayed put comfortably round the waist even without the drawstring done up, and though the legs were baggy our knackers stayed happily settled in transit.
The Boulders reinforce their casual appeal with a pair of deep hand pockets for lounging, but there’s also a pair of pleated cargo pockets on the outer leg. Unfortunately the loose cut means these swing and rattle even with just a set of back door keys in, so don’t overload them on the bike. Pull tab opener is a nice touch though, and the Velcro patches hold them shut well.
Nothing really special to report.
While the pad and the inner short work fine in a basic, ‘not particularly shaped’ way we did have problems with the sheer flappiness of the fabric and cut. The fact the shell isn’t anchored on the inner means there’s loads of ventilation but also more potential to snag the shorts on the bike or bushes.Should I buy them?
Not a bad pair of shorts, but not our favourites. Price is good but to be honest we’d probably spend the extra £5 to have the pick of Ground Effect or Altura, as the bagginess is just a flap too far for technical riding.