Endura Singletrack II Shorts: 365 days a year
We take Endura’s Singletrack IIs bikepacking in Bolivia, where they prove their worth as a tough-as-nails pair of shorts with handy bonus features – whether you’re in the saddle pedaling, or pressing your way through a hectic Sunday market.
Words by Cass Gilbert, Images by Nancy Crowell and Cass Gilbert, shot on location in Bolivia’s Salar de Ayuni.
I’ll wager I wear my Endura Singletrack II shorts almost every day of the year. Ok, maybe that’s a slight exaggeration… But I really do live in these shorts, as my family will attest.
Perhaps I’m not the only one. They’ve long been a favourite of trail riders in the UK, striking a balance between performance, durability and affordability.
In terms of build and features, the Scottish-designed Singletrack IIs are made from hardy Cordura nylon, with a DWR coating; for the first few months of use, you’ll see water bead off the fabric rather than permeate through. The thighs have stretch panels, as does the back. And there’s vents with mesh inners too. I’m not sure how necessary these are on a pair of shorts, but they’re there for those stiflingly hot days. In terms of stitching, the Singletracks are double and triple-stitched throughout. As for cargo hauling, there are two roomy pouches at the front with magnetic snap closures. These work well, though coins inevitably gravitate towards them. At the back, there are two massive, velcro-tabbed pockets. And I mean massive.
In fact, their sheer volume may well be my favourite feature on the Singletracks. Perhaps you’re like me. I take a break from the bike. Put my sunglasses and mitts to one side. Then I pedal off again, oblivious to my lost belongings. No more! All my cycling sundries are safe at hand, stored like a marsupial on my body.
The front right pocket is worthy of veneration too. As well offering a roomy main compartment, it features a ‘secret’ zippered area that’s not only ideal for coins, but provides (perhaps inadvertently, from Endura’s point of view) the perfect stash spot for larger denomination bills. This is particularly welcome in countries where squeezing down tight market street is asking for trouble. If anyone cares to try their luck, chances are they’ll only find what’s in my main pockets.
As for the cut, I like it; they’re baggy, without being over the top. I doubt my legs do them justice, but the Singletracks are a good looking pair of shorts. There’s olive green, ultramarine and black options available. I stick with the latter, as it hides grease and dirt. If you want some extra comfort under your backside, the exact same shorts are also available with Endura’s padded, removable inserts, using their Clikfast system. I prefer to buy them without, teaming them with quick drying synthetic or merino underwear.
Gripes? There’s a few, though none are deal breakers. I’m not a fan of the blatant Endura logos that adorn each leg, nor have I ever needed to use the velcro taps that provide adjustment at their base. I’ve also managed to pop the button on mine, requiring a replacement to be sewn in. Although I’m sure Endura would have warranted them, it was easier to do it at home. Incidentally, I’m a 32in waist and wear a medium. I’d call the fit fairly snug, with the velcro waist tabs set at their loosest. In terms of length, they come to just above my knees.
Over time and after many, many miles in the saddle, the stitching will eventually wear on the backside – at least judging from my last pair. A velcro tab also unstitched. But these are easy fixes, and the result of excessive, obsessive use. Most importantly, the Cordura itself is super robust – especially the backside, which is reinforced. I’ve yet to wear through a pair.
Lastly, I should mention that the Singletrack IIs are great value for money. For once, Brits get the better end of the deal though: they’re £45 in the UK, or $85 (plus tax) in the US.
- Model: Endura Singltrack II Short
- Sizes available: S-XXL (M tested)
- Price: $85 without padded inner shorts (£45)
- Place of Manufacture: China
- Contact: EnduraSports.com
Of course, the moment I start to write this review, Endura announce the Singletrack III. And what’s more, they’ve lost the logos! No matter, because the Singletrack IIs are likely to be available for some time, given that they’re still on Endura’s website. And who knows, maybe you’ll pick them up at a discount.
All this aside, the Singletrack IIs are fantastic pair of bikepacking shorts. They tough. They comfy. And they’re roomy: you can jam the cargo pockets with gloves, sunglasses, and a smartphone – and they won’t get in the way while you’re riding. Perfect for travelers, the front pocket has a surreptitious compartment that’s ideal for stashing big dollar bills when dodging through sketchy market streets.
I’ve plenty of friends who are similarly pleased with their Singletracks, even if they’re slightly less obsessed with them than I am. Even if you don’t end up donning one pair of shorts almost every day of the year like I do… they’re sure to get a whole lot of use.