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Club Ride's Freedom shorts initially caught my eye because of their hipster-style appearance, with their figure-hugging fit and low waist, but their features mean they've got substance as well as style.
With a casual fit, they sit well below the belly button, but they aren't cut high at the back so pair with a long top or show off your lower back with pride.
They sit in Club Ride's mountain bike range of clothing, but strike me as perfect for urban riding – with their trendy design – commuting, and even touring. I've even worn them in the office all day and no one's noticed that they are cycle shorts.
The number of pockets is very handy, especially the zipped leg pocket for keeping my train ticket safe. It's described as a smartphone pocket, but I couldn't comfortably fit mine in as I find the legs quite slim-fitting. I sized down from the medium in the photos because the waist was far too big and gaped at the back; the small fits me much better, but the legs are markedly tighter.
The material is lightweight and thin, and I was surprised to see that it's 96% cotton as it feels more synthetic – in a good, wicking way – and it's very fast-drying too. The 4% Spandex gives the fabric ample stretch to be comfy on the bike.
One bike-specific feature is the one-piece seamless gusset, which runs from each leg hem via the crotch, meaning there's nothing to catch or bother you if you ride in normal underwear.
There are several reflective details, too, the most noticeable being the thick rear belt loop, plus there's a hip logo, back pocket tag and a thin tab up the leg that's about 5in long. However, because this tab is on the left side (Club Ride is an American brand, set up in 2008), it's not so streetwise for UK cyclists.
This very minor niggle aside, these are a quality pair of stylish shorts that make a change from the norm, and at a decent price too.
Good shorts for cruising around town – or country – in style and comfort
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Club Ride Freedom Women's Shorts
Size tested: Medium, then small
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?
The Freedom short is actually part of Club Ride's mountain biking range, hence the abrasion-resistant fabric, but their cut and features mean they are suitable for touring, commuting or just going for a leisure ride, and of course wearing to the pub or cafe after.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
StretchRide7™ - Lightweight, stretch, poly-blend wicking fabric
/ Seamless crotch gusset
/ Zippered side smartphone pocket
/ RideLight™ reflective accents
/ Sport fit
/ Inseam: 12in
I found the waist large in comparison to the leg width.
They feel quite warm when riding hard, given that the fabric is fairly thin.
I was aware of the material clinging around my legs when riding – personally I'd prefer a slightly looser cut on the thigh.
This is about what you'd expect to pay for a pair of mountain bike 'baggies' like these.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
These shorts are designed for razzing around on your bike in comfort then heading for post-ride refreshments without looking like a bike geek – tick and tick.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The appearance – style and fabric.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your score
A good pair of shorts, nicely made, nicely designed for on and off the bike.
About the tester
I usually ride: Marin Point Reyes 29er My best bike is: Giant Anthem X1
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, touring, club rides, mountain biking, audax