Swrve's lightweight WWR shorts are well suited to our British summer climate, built tough and with a good resistance to the elements. A good choice for urban riding and short commutes where lycra could be seen as a bit keen and a little 'inappropriate' at pub stops.
I know the Americans call these knickers but I am not an American and these look nothing like my under crackers. They're long shorts which cover the knee and yet expose the calf, so they aren't really 3/4 lengths either, maybe they should be called a 2/3 trouser? Anyway, what we have here are some slim fitting short trousers made from a 92% Nylon, 8% Lycra mix which claim to be water and wind repellent (WWR).
In reality the material gets wet quite easily, not like the Surface Liquistretch trousers where it rolled off like water on a ducks back. But the thin fabric dries quickly and doesn't lose its shape when completely sodden which greatly reduces chaffing and drag in these damp situations. Although the material is thin and has a synthetic, technical aesthetic, its smooth texture has proved to be tough during the past few months of testing. The stretch in the fabric along with a slim yet sympathetic cycling cut, with articulated knees, allow your pins to move freely. The back of the shorts are two ply, by allowing one layer of material to slide over another greatly reduces wear and also friction on sweaty pants. Interestingly there is a diamond shaped crotch panel, right in the seat of the shorts where they meet the saddle which is only single ply, presumably leaving the material more stretchy which works for comfort around the family unit!
Two pockets at the front keep and two zippered pockets at the rear gives you room for storage plus a handy pocket on the right between the front and rear pocket to slip your mobile phone into, unless you have an iphone or another phone which is quite wide, but us mortals who haven't yet caught up with the smart phone movement can use this easy access phone pouch where your phone won't dig into your groin.
The waistband is low at the front to keep out of the way of your paunch while the back is a little higher to keep your dignity when hunched over the bars, pounding the streets. Belt loops are there to keep these strides secured to your hips and prevent any de-bagging tom foolery.
After a several months riding in these the stitching is showing signs of wear, just like the Surface trousers had and the material has developed some stains from doing bike mechanics which the Rapha shorts whereas the Rapha shorts seem to shrug mechanicing muck off, but on the whole there is still enough life in them to see another summer. They aren't in the same league as the Rapha fixed or 3/4 but then they are only half the price and they perform well. What you get is a stylish, functional pair of long shorts which are cut well for urban riding, commuting and pub excursions. They are also available in black.
A stylish, functional pair of long shorts which are cut well for urban riding, commuting and pub excursions. They are also available in black.
road.cc test report
Make and model: Swrve Lightweight WWR shorts
Size tested: 32
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
Urban riding shorts for warm weather built with a synthetic WWR material ; (water-wind-resistant) the fabric is very breathable and dries quickly with a four way stretch.
The slim fit isn't too tight but if you are wanting a little more give, go up a size.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
- low waist in front to prevent your belt from digging into your belly
- high waist at the back to stay respectable and to keep you warm
- articulated knees for a better fit on a bike or barstool
- seamless gusseted crotch for comfort
- double-ply seat for added durability
- side seam designed to keep shorts in place as you move around
- two 6" zippered back pockets to store your valuables
- mobile phone pocket on side to stay connected
- YKK zippers throughout
- stylish trim fit for everyday use
After a few months the stitching was showing some wear but all the high friction areas were double or triple stitched so it would be a while before the mouse pokes out the house.
Much more comfortable than wearing a pair of jeans, less chaffing, more breathable, quick drying and not too hot.
These shorts can take a lot of punishment. Making them thicker would make them hotter and less comfortable. The stitching will fail before you wear a hole in these.
Quality YKK zips used.
These are great for summer, with their low weight and quick drying capability.
The true test is whether they are still comfortable when ridden completely drenched and they are.
A good price for niche garment from a small ethical company.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
It didn't really perform as a wind and water repelling garment as it gets wet fairly easily. It is fine when it is spitting but luckily they dry quickly. The cut is very sympathetic to a cyclists needs but also looks cool off the bike.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
They look great and they are comfortable on the bike.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
I would like them to be more water resistant.
Did you enjoy using the product? yes
Would you consider buying the product? yup
Would you recommend the product to a friend? indeed
About the tester
Age: 37 Height: 180 Weight: 80
I usually ride: Bike that I am testing at the time My best bike is: Giant CFR pro. Old school carbon converted to fixed. Kinesis Convert 2.
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, touring, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed, bare back