Nema Crown Jewels
Price: £55 (not incl. P+P)
Jungle 0113 2937703
Nema started as a bunch of sewing machine savvy surfers and mountain bikers who built the first alternatives to the skin short and surf short combinations that all their mates were wearing. They’re now one of the best loved clothing brands in the US and they’ve just landed on these shores courtesy of Jungle, the Santa Cruz folk.Long and the short of it
Nema describe their Crown Jewels as 5 Star garments, but luckily that doesn’t mean huge shoulder pads, glitter and dodgy dance routines. These are without doubt the pimp daddy of all baggy shorts, with sophisticated styling in spades.
Leg length sits just above the knee when you’re standing about, which translates to mid thigh when pedalling. You get a choice of five different contrast panel colourways, neat rubber logo’s which double as pocket tabs and Nema branded contrast piping down the legs. Even the zip tabs are plump little Nema logo fabric sausages.
As you’d expect it’s a multi-panel cut with a seamless crotch panel, but the really cunning touch is a stretch fabric yoke that spans from hip to hip below the waistband. This gives an excellent skin-short-style fit around your rump as well as stopping baggy fabric catching the saddle in technical moments. A shock-corded elastic drawstring tightens the waistband.
The inner is a cross between separate under shorts and a liner, as it’s anchored at the waistband and halfway down the leg with a broad cuff to stop it riding up or letting muck in. Last but not least, the pad is one of the best we’ve ever ridden with fully shaped soft antibacterial centre and fleecey wings. Absolute bliss.
Lightweight, showerproof, ripstop nylon shell moves freely and dries quickly, so you’re not left with soggy cloth chafing your legs. The inner is a soft, wicking, Coolmax style mesh, designed to cope with Californian heat, so it isn’t likely to break into a sweat over here.
Despite the legendarily oversize nature of the American populus we were most comfortable in size large opposed to the medium we’d worn in other pairs. The waistband was a bit baggy as a result, but the leg flange bits were just right for tightness.
Rather than the normal hand pocket arrangement, Nema have really thought out their stowage to work on and off the bike. The two side cargo pockets are high enough on the leg so as not to interfere with pedalling too much and they come in a “double-decker” design. The upper pocket has a Velcro strip across the top for quick and easy access, but it comes with a key loop so you won’t be locked out of your house / car when you get back. Hidden in the side / underneath of these pockets are zipped, front opening pockets which actually face upwards when you’re riding / sitting down, making them super secure. Marvellous.
Cunning pockets, stretch back panel, superb pad, masses of detailed styling. Exactly how much more do you want?
On the bike
Light, weather resistant, well cut, and with a superb pad and liner these are totally comfortable all-day riding shorts. They even work OK with stuff in the pockets which is pretty much unheard of!
While the Crown Jewels do come at a price premium compared to the highly recommended Ground Effect and Altura shorts, they are top quality. Riding comfort, styling and detailing is simply superb. Certainly our first choice from the dressing up box.
The only problem is that we’ve just spoken to the importers and they’ve sold so well there are only a few pairs left lurking in shops so get out hunting now.