[Editor’s Note: Several of Blister’s bike reviewers tested a range of Dakine’s riding apparel on a recent trip to Whistler, BC. Here are their thoughts.]
Reviewer: Noah Bodman
Size Tested: 32
- Ratcheting waist adjustment
- Articulated, pad-compatible knees
- Low-profile zippered side pocket
- Face Fabric: 600 denier polyester
- Lining: 120g 100% vented polyester mesh
- 4-Way stretch crotch gusset and rear yoke panel
Reviewer Info: 5’9”, 150lbs, 32” waist. Typically wears a size Medium
Days Tested: 10
Location Tested: Whistler, BC; Whitefish, MT
The Descent are Dakine’s minimalist downhill shorts.
I have a 32” waist, and the Descent shorts fit a little tighter around the waist than a normal size 32. The shorts’ crotch is cut high enough that it doesn’t snag on the seat, but it wasn’t so high and tight as to make things feel claustrophobic. The cut around the legs was also just right—not too loose or too tight. The Descent shorts have a zipper fly and a ratchet closure at the waist, and both seem solid.
The cut around the bottom hem of the shorts are slightly articulated, so they hang well with bent knees. Still, I would have preferred that the shorts were slightly longer. When sitting on the chairlift, they ride up above my knee pads, giving me the knee equivalent of gaper gap.
According to Dakine, the stated inseam on the Descent shorts is 14.75”, which is identical to the stated inseam on my Troy Lee Designs Moto shorts. The inseam length I measured on the Descent shorts is 12.25”, while the Moto shorts measure 13.25”. That extra inch on the Moto shorts covers my knees, and I definitely wish the Descent shorts were slightly longer.
Compared to my TLD Moto shorts, the Descent shorts seem to breathe a bit better. Even though they are both made from a 600-denier polyester fabric with a mesh liner, I don’t feel quite as hot in the Descent shorts. This isn’t to say they’re perfectly cool and airy – they’re still heavy DH shorts – but they’re not as hot as the Moto shorts.
As I mentioned, the Descent shorts have a minimalist design, but there were a few features that I often wished they had. For example, many DH shorts have removable foam pads that attach with velcro into the hip area for added protection. The Descent shorts don’t have removable pads, or even velcro tabs so that I could have inserted my own. The Descent shorts also didn’t have a good place to clip a lift pass onto the waist (there’s only a belt loop on the back of the shorts, which isn’t terribly convenient).
My main gripe about the Dakine Descent shorts, though, is their lack of pockets. There is one small pocket on the back of the right thigh that is big enough to fit some keys, a credit card, license, and a multi tool. However, the pocket isn’t large enough to to carry my normal stash of junk, which often includes sunglasses, keys, a multi-tool, tire levers, a patch kit, and a small pump, all of which I can fit into my TLD Moto shorts without a problem.
Although I think the Descent shorts look great, they were a little short for my liking and were missing a few of the features that I really like on some of my other DH shorts. But, if you are looking for a pair of simple DH shorts that don’t have a lot of features and pockets, the Descent shorts are a well-constructed option.
8 Track Shorts
Reviewer: Anders Broste
Size Tested: 34
- Interior side waist adjustments
- Patterning at knees designed to fit over pads
- Zippered inner leg vents
- Front hand pockets
- Side zippered pocket
- Hidden zippered security pocket
- Shell: 165g 100% Nylon canvas, 170g 100% Nylon twill woven
- Lining: 120g 100% Vented polyester mesh
- 4-way stretch rib knit rear yoke panel
Reviewer Info: 6’1”, 185 lbs, 34” waist
Days Tested: 5
Location Tested: Whistler, BC
The 8 Track shorts are Dakine’s casual all-mountain / trail shorts which, though they are built to withstand some days in the park, they are not as burly as DH-specific shorts.
I have a 34” waist, and usually wear shorts in the 33″/34″ range, depending on the cut. The size 34 8 Track shorts were pretty large, however, and I had to cinch down the internal velcro straps as far as possible to keep them from slipping down. In my experience, Dakine can be pretty inconsistent with their sizing. I recently purchased two pairs of the Syncline shorts in the same size and model, but in two different colors, and their sizing was noticeably different. I’d recommend trying on their shorts before buying them, if possible.
The length of the 8 Track shorts worked well for me; they were long enough to cover the tops of my knee pads while seated on the chairlift, but short enough so as not to feel like knickers. The 8 Track shorts are loose and baggy, but not so wide that you need to be worried about wind drag on descents. The crotch is cut high enough that I never found myself getting hung up on the seat, and the stretch of the fabric made them very comfortable while maneuvering around the cockpit.
The 8 Track shorts’ fabric is fairly heavy, but they were still comfortable enough on long hot climbs. The shell is made of heavy Nylon canvas and woven twill, which feels tough. The inner lining is a vented polyester mesh that effectively kept moisture wicking away from my legs to stay cool.
The 8 Track shorts have a lot of features. Apart from your standard snap closure at the front of the waistband, a front zipper, and belt loops, the shorts have vents on the inside of both legs, and a quite a few pockets (hand pockets, a single zippered cargo pocket, and a hidden zippered pocket inside the right front pocket for small valuables). The two “pockets” on the rear of the shorts are sewn shut.
The 8 Track shorts do not come with a padded liner, which I personally did not mind.
I would recommend trying on a pair before you buy, but overall, I am really pleased with the Dakine 8 Track; they’re a nice pair of shorts that perform well on the trail and look great in the bar, too.