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Aldi's Men's Casual Cycling Shorts represent phenomenally good value for money. Casual in this instance suggests more than just occasional scoots down to the pub; the shorts' looser, civilian looking cut is brilliant for commuting, touring and other contexts where figure-hugging Lycra would raise a few eyebrows.
A paltry £11.99 buys nicely cut knee-length outer shorts complete with single zippered pocket, adjustable waist and zippered fly, plus detachable liner.
Materials aren't cutting edge but will exceed most rider expectations from garments commanding a measly £12. The black with blue contrast outer short is made from a water repelling and relatively breathable polyester/elastane mix, whereas the detachable liner sports a medium density Coolmax antibacterial pad. The leg panels also feature a silver component to neutralise odour.
Elasticated hems and flatlock seams are another definite plus in the comfort stakes. Generally speaking, few liner shorts have failed to disappoint me, even those featuring in upper end longs. Some detachable types have gathered painfully in a matter of five miles, demanding a swift trip home and change.
These are detachable, allowing the outers to be worn with boxers as casual shorts, or paired with top drawer road shorts on longer rides. This was my default move off-road, having succumbed to a nasty case of saddle soreness after 30 miles' mixed terrain meandering. That said, for two to three-hour road biased riding/commuting and utility stuff, the OEM set are bang on.
Sizing is near as damn it accurate, although those like myself with a narrower waist and longer inseam (it's not me in the photos) will be pleased to note that belt loops and inner straps mean you can achieve a decent, flattering fit. Shape and hang is pretty chameleon-esque, working well with looser mountain biking/touring jersey and civvy-styled technical shirts.
The pocket is just roomy enough for a wallet/small smartphone or similar valuables, and discreet Scotchlite detailing is a nice nod in safety's direction. Being picky, I missed somewhere to park my hands when mooching about, but that's a bit of a tall ask at this end of the market.
In the saddle, I was initially conscious of some flutter at higher speeds but this was quickly forgotten, especially cruising at 15-17mph on tourers, hybrids and mountain bikes.
Showery rain tends to bead up and then roll away from the surface. Thunderstorms and persistent cloudburst will see them pretty soggy after 25 minutes or so, though the medium tog weight and polyester fibres kick in pretty quickly – they were touch dry after 20-25 minutes, less with a decent breeze. That's great news for touring, and they'll line-dry in similar timescales following machine washes.
Used regularly off-road, frequent and occasionally savage scrapes with brambles and other foliage has made negligible impression – not even a bobble – and their ability to withstand 40 degree machine washes is another definite plus.
Ultimately, these have met their design brief and exceeded my expectations. I'd sooner pay a few quid more for additional pockets, but for plain clothes commuting, touring or just loafing about, it's hard to see where you'd go wrong with these.
Surprisingly capable shorts for casual riding and general mooching about
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Aldi Men's Casual Cycling Shorts
Size tested: Medium
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?
Aldi says: "These men's cycling shorts are comfortable, breathable and water resistant, with a handy zipped pocket and reflective details. They feature removable inner shorts with an anti-bacterial COOLMAX® seatpad and moisture regulation for ultimate comfort and hygiene."
No quibble here, especially at this price, and the fact that they double as standard casual shorts makes them even better value.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
* Removable inner shorts with anti-bacterial Coolmax® seat pad
* Inner shorts with hydrophilic finish for moisture regulation
* Water-repellent and breathable outer shorts
* Flatlock seams and adjustable waist for comfort
* YKK front fly and zipped leg pocket
* Reflective detail at back
Seem generally well made.
Promising, to date.
A little looser than my ideal but otherwise, good.
A bit hit 'n' miss, although there's provision for a belt so I achieved a decent fit with my 32 inch waist.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Materials seem very durable and user-friendly. No bobbling or other signs of wear despite regular use and 30 degree machine washing.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Overall and as shorts for casual riding/street wear, these are hard to fault. Personally, I would pay a few quid more for additional pockets, for when mooching about town. Otherwise, they're comfortable, even on longer commutes, and with better quality road shorts beneath they have serious touring potential. The materials seem rugged and are best described as shower repelling, drying relatively quickly following machine washes or after heavier downpours.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Though looser cut than my ideal, this works really well for casual riding, commuting or just general loafing about.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The fit is a little hit 'n' miss, and additional pockets would be welcome.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes, for casual riding.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes, for casual riding.
Use this box to explain your score
Very good shorts that meet their design brief pretty convincingly. Sizing and cut is a little generous and I'd pay a few quid more for additional pockets, but at this price, I'd recommend them for commuting and other contexts where Lycra isn't appropriate.
About the tester
I usually ride: Rough stuff tourer based around 4130 Univega mountain bike frameset My best bike is: 1955 Holdsworth Road Path and several others including cross & traditional road
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo-cross, commuting, touring, fixed/singlespeed, mountain biking
Shaun Audane is a freelance writer/product tester with over twenty-eight years riding experience, the last twelve (120,000 miles) spent putting bikes and kit through their paces for a variety of publications. Previous generations of his family worked at manufacturing's sharp end, thus Shaun can weld, has a sound understanding of frame building practice and a preference for steel or titanium framesets.
Citing Richard Ballantine and an Au pair as his earliest cycling influences, he is presently writing a cycling book with particular focus upon women, families and disabled audiences (Having been a registered care manager and coached children at Herne Hill Velodrome in earlier careers)