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review

Gore Explore Shorts Mens

8
£119.99

VERDICT:

8
10
Impressive, comfortable and versatile shorts – worth it if you're okay with the high price
Load of adjustability
Good water resistance
Impressive breathability
Expensive
Weight: 
198g

At road.cc every product is thoroughly tested for as long as it takes to get a proper insight into how well it works. Our reviewers are experienced cyclists that we trust to be objective. While we strive to ensure that opinions expressed are backed up by facts, reviews are by their nature an informed opinion, not a definitive verdict. We don't intentionally try to break anything (except locks) but we do try to look for weak points in any design. The overall score is not just an average of the other scores: it reflects both a product's function and value – with value determined by how a product compares with items of similar spec, quality, and price.

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The Gore Explore Shorts Mens offer strong performance for gravel riding, and in reality they're just as good for commuting as they are for adventures. You're really paying for the privilege, though.

The Explore is a do-all pair of shorts that can be used for gravel riding, bike packing, or just for commuting. They have several features that make them particularly useful for multiple situations.

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One of the keys to them being so multi-disciplinary is the amount of stretch they give, whilst still being water and wind resistant, and maintaining a good level of breathability too.

Despite being relatively form fitting, they should be comfortable to wear regardless of your size or shape – they do not restrict movement at all. It's almost like wearing a baggier version of lycra bib shorts.

2021 Gore Explore Shorts Mens - back 1.jpg

This makes them good for anything from intense gravel riding right through to sitting in pubs on a hot day, and practically anything in between. The freedom of movement is unlike I've generally found in any other commuter/gravel/adventure shorts so far.

2021 Gore Explore Shorts Mens - leg zipped pocket 2.jpg

Their multi-functional qualities are further helped by the straps on the hips, which adjust the waistband elastic running across the back. It's easy tweak them for bib shorts beneath during a commute, then readjust them for casual wear for the rest of the day.

It also means that sizing is not the critical step it can be – as long as you're in the right ball park, you'll be fine.

2021 Gore Explore Shorts Mens - side strap.jpg

Another benefit of so much stretch is that the closure doesn't need to be more than a single popper and fly zip. When I initially saw these I thought they would just continually pop open, given how easy they are to open and close, but this was not the case at all. The minimal hardware means less stuff to stick into you as you ride, too.

2021 Gore Explore Shorts Mens - button and fly.jpg

Water repellency is good too. I stayed comfortable in rain and found them really useful over the top of regular shorts as protection. They're not water resistant all the way round, but instead have 'spray protection' – the back central panels are inherently water resistant to protect against wheel spray, but the other panels are just treated with a water repellent.

2021 Gore Explore Shorts Mens - waist back.jpg

I didn't really have the opportunity to test these in extended heavy rain, but during the heavy showers and spray I experienced, I was impressed by the protection.

The Explore shorts are designed for hot weather, and this is helped by the material being quick drying and breathable. I wore these over the top of bib shorts in 32 degrees without finding I really needed to strip off midway home.

> 38 of the best cycling bib shorts — get comfy on longer rides

Gore includes some nice features, such as the rubberised gripper to keep the back in place either against skin or fabric, two regular pockets and a small 'keys' pocket, a mid-calf pocket and a single rear pocket.

2021 Gore Explore Shorts Mens - back pocket.jpg

I found it a practical combination both off and on the bike. There are also a number of high-vis areas to help with being seen.

2021 Gore Explore Shorts Mens - leg zipped pocket 1.jpg

Value

At £119.99, this is an expensive pair of shorts. You could compare them to the Endura GV500 Foyle Shorts which come in a full £40 cheaper, but those do not have the same kind of water resistance and stretch.

The closest I have used are the Rapha Randonnee shorts, and while those are cheaper at £90, they also lack the neat, close fit and excellent stretch.

Overall

The Gore Explore Shorts Mens are a very good pair of shorts. The material has a huge amount of stretch, they're very comfortable, they offer good protection and have an impressive amount of pockets too. There's no getting around the fact they are very expensive, but if you're happy with the price, you'll be very happy with the performance.

Verdict

Impressive, comfortable and versatile shorts – worth it if you're okay with the high price

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road.cc test report

Make and model: Gore Explore Shorts Mens

Size tested: Large

Tell us what the product is for

Gore says: 'The ideal combination of protection, style and versatility for gravel riding, adventure and bike packing. Wear alone or over padded inner shorts.'

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

PFC-free, DWR treated material

Water resistant center back wheel spray protection panel

Rugged, abrasion resistant fabric

4-way stretch fabric

Lightweight, breathable material

Adjustable waistband with lateral buckles and rip tab

Zipper closure and snap button

Silicone coating at the inner back waistband

Two front pockets

Security pocket inside right front pocket

Zip pocket on right thigh

Back pocket

Inseam length 30.5 cm / 12 inches

Reflective details

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
9/10

Very well made; strong stitching combines with an impressive amount of stretch in the fabric.

Rate the product for performance:
 
8/10

The fit, the stretch, the protection and breathability are all excellent.

Rate the product for durability:
 
8/10

Abrasion resistant and feel likely to last.

Rate the product for fit:
 
8/10

With the amount of stretch and adjustability, a good fit is easy to achieve.

Rate the product for sizing:
 
8/10

There is so much adjustability and stretch that sizing is almost irrelevant.

Rate the product for weight:
 
7/10
Rate the product for comfort:
 
9/10
Rate the product for value:
 
4/10

There is no getting around the fact they're very expensive, but their quality and versatility goes some way to justifying it.

How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?

No problems.

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

Very well: they are versatile, comfortable, and durable.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

The fabric, the amount of stretch, and the water resistance.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

They are expensive.

How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?

At £119.99, this is an expensive pair of shorts. You could compare them to the Endura GV500 Foyle Shorts which come in a full £40 cheaper, but those do not have the same kind of water resistance and stretch.

The closest I have used are the Rapha Randonnee shorts, and while those are cheaper at £90, they also lack the neat, close fit and excellent stretch.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes

Would you consider buying the product? Yes – on sale

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes – when on sale

Use this box to explain your overall score

These are very good, versatile shorts that can be used for a huge number of activities. They're really well made and should last, too. With a lower price they could score higher still.

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

Age: 33  Height: 6 ft  Weight:

I usually ride: CAAD13  My best bike is: Cannondale Supersix Evo

I've been riding for: 10-20 years  I ride: Every day  I would class myself as: Expert

I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed,

George spends his days helping companies deal with their cycling commuting challenges with his company Cycling for Work. He has been writing for Road.cc since 2014. 

When he is not writing about cycling, he is either out on his bike cursing not living in the countryside or boring anybody who will listen about the latest pro peloton/cycling tech/cycling infrastructure projects. 

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