- Fox Epic shorts
Fox describes the Epic short as its “premium lined riding short for aggressive trail riding when only the best will do”. “Aggressive trail riding” seems to be what it’s all about these days (practise your snarling next time you’re out in the singletrack…) so does the Epic fit the bill?
First impressions are good, with an understated black/grey colour scheme and subtle branding (there’s a “chocolate” colour available too). The outer shell is notable mainly for two things. It’s extravagantly vented, with large mesh panels down the legs – the Fox head logo on the left leg is mesh too. And the legs themselves are unusually long, ending up just below the knee when standing and hence a whisker above when pedalling. Both these features are mixed blessings. The ventilation is very welcome when it’s warm, but unlike some shorts you’re stuck with it – you can’t zip it away if you don’t want it and the Epic can tend towards the drafty on less hot days. The leg length is largely a matter of taste. If you’re a keen pad wearer you’ll probably like the fact that the long legs don’t leave a funny short bit of thigh sticking out to develop a hilarious suntan, if you’re not you might find that they’re mildly irritating around the knees. Despite their considerable length, there’s no undue flapping around and they’re not insanely baggy – we didn’t have any saddle-hooking problems.
At the front there’s a Velcro fly and a three-pronged fitting attack at the waist. Velcro tabs adjust an elasticated band at the back, a boxer-style drawstring pulls the front in and there are belt loops if further assistance is required. As for other features, you get simple open pockets at the sides (just the job for stashing gloves at pie stops) and a zippered pocket on the right leg that seems quite happy with a car key and bit of loose change in it. The outer fabric is a rather fine-feeling soft, stretchy stuff. A particular highlight is the welded seam under the seat – no stitching means a low-profile seam for extra comfort. Plenty of shorts manage to have no seam at all under there, although often at the expense of seams down the inside of the legs, which the Epic does without. Swings and roundabouts…
The padded liner is detachable with the same micro-poppered tapes as used on Gore’s Path short. The liner itself is of a soft polyester/Spandex mix with broad and comfy Fox-branded waistband and leg grippers. The effort that Fox has gone to to keep the outer shorts free of irritating seams is perhaps slightly undermined by the presence of seams under the seat and down the inside of the legs on the liner, but they didn’t cause any undue discomfort. The chamois itself is a four-piece, dual density moulded arrangement. It’s comfy, although not a match for some other (admittedly rather more expensive) high-end shorts. Obviously the detachable nature of the liner means that you can wear the outer shorts over whatever inners you like.
Positives: Excellent ventilation, welded seams, look good, long legs work well with pads, pretty comfy
Negatives: Occasionally a bit drafty, bare-bones pocket selection, long legs may irritate, outgunned for ultimate comfort by spendy rivals
We like the Epic short, although we think it’s probably better suited to the 3-4 hour ride than a real epic, which for the purposes of this discussion we’re defining as “all day”. It’s solidly constructed and very at home on hot days, but ultimately not quite as splendid as a couple of the other high-end shorts out there. That said, it’s also significantly cheaper. You pays your money…