This is a performance review of the Troy Lee Designs Skyline Short. This has been my go-to short for the last several seasons of riding, and I have no reason to switch. They fit awesome, you don’t notice them while riding, and they have survived unscathed from multiple crashes.
But, if you’re looking for something with a ton of ventilation, or thicker protection that covers your knees, these shorts may not be the best option for you.
My MTB Short Experience
To give you some background to help you understand the basis of this review, this is a quick rundown of other shorts I’ve used.
One of the first dedicated biking shorts I tried were the Sugoi Highlines. They didn’t fit well, and had a skimpy build. The waist velcro was weak and poorly placed and did not provide an engaged fit. I mainly used these for commuting, and now just use them for indoor cycling since they are so light.
I’ve spent some time with longer, thicker, more downhill style Alpinestars shorts. Since most of my riding is Trail and Enduro style, these shorts were overkill. Heavy and long, they were not ideal for climbing and I didn’t use them for long.
My last short before the Troy Lee Designs Skylines were a Fox short. The name escapes me, but they were a more trail style short. Although I still use the chamois they came with, I stopped using the shorts after I found the Skyline MTB Shorts. The Fox fit poorly and was not comfortable. I was constantly having to adjust them.
Troy Lee Designs Skyline MTB Short First Impressions
I bought the Skyline Shorts sight unseen. I’m 6’3, 220 lbs and bought the 36, which is my usual waist size.
As soon as I unwrapped the shorts, their construction quality was obvious. Compared to all other shorts I previously tried, these were far and above the best quality materials and construction.
When I first put them on, they were reasonably snug around the waist. Not tight, just snug. The velcro waist straps really dial in the fit. They cutoff just above the knees, and did hug my thighs. I do have thicker legs than most people my height, but if you are looking for something baggy, these probably aren’t for you unless you’re really skinny.
In action, I could barely tell I was wearing these shorts. No pinch points, elastic, stretchy in all the right places. I was keen to test them out on the trails.
Skyline Ride Performance
Out on the trails, moving around, is where these shorts really shine. I have never noticed I’m wearing them.
Grinding up climbings, cruising downhill, or walking around, these shorts match all your movements precisely. For this reason alone I believe they are worth the sticker price. I don’t see myself ever buying another style of short for trail riding.
I have used the shorts with both bibs and short chamois, and never ran into issues with either. The pockets are deep and simple. The one drawback is the lack of ventilation.
But, take that with a grain of salt. I seldom feel overly hot in these, but if you are looking for something aerated with big vents or super-light material, these are not the shorts for you. The only time I really noticed the lack of ventilation is was on my indoor trainer. For that reason, I use my other Sombrio Highline shorts when indoors because they have more vent holes and are much lighter construction.
If you are used to really loose shorts, the Troy Lee Designs may not be for you. My preference for clothes is generally baggy, but even the Skylines hug tighter than I’d normally prefer. Howvever, the material and design is so adaptable that it’s never been an issue for me.
For trail and enduro riding, these shorts are great. If you use knee protection, I’ll add a couple notes.
For bigger downs, I use Race Face’s bulkier enduro knee pads. These do not go well with the shorts, but it doesn’t make a difference for my use.
The Skylines definitely bunch around the pads. This does not affect my riding, but if you spend long days in the park or shuttle and use bigger pads, this is something to be aware of. More slender trail knee pad sleeves would likely be the better option for these shorts.
But other than that small note, these shorts function awesome. If you do wipe out, you don’t have as much leg coverage and protection as you would from longer and tougher shorts, but I’ve never had issues.
After using these frequently for several years I can 100% confirm they have bomber construction and is why I also recommend them for Sasquatch Mountain Bikers.
From crashing on sharp rocks, sliding on trails, and hours upon hours of use, these shorts barely have any signs of wear.
No tears, everything is intact, velcro is grippy, and all the seams are mint. There are not many pieces of clothing I can say this about, especially after the same impacts these shorts have gone through!
Should You Buy the Troy Lee Designs Skyline Short?
If you invest in these shorts, you’ll be getting a super comfortable, functional, and durable trail riding short that will serve you well for several seasons.
If you do lots of downhill and frequently use bulky knee pads, or if ventilation is a big deal, then consider these shorts but understand they are somewhat limited in those aspects.
If you’re keen to check out the Skyline Short collection click the link below!
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