Palmer’s Picks: Alpinestars Outrider Shorts

Survive the slop with these hybrid baggies

Alpinestars Outrider shorts seen here at our annual Bible of Bike Tests, shot in Central Oregon. Photo: Tyler Roemer
Alpinestars’ Outrider shorts seen here at our annual Bible of Bike Tests, shot in Central Oregon. Photo: Tyler Roemer

Alpinestars Outrider Shorts | $130 | ALPINESTARS.COM

My first ride in the Outrider shorts didn’t go so well. It was an unseasonably warm fall day in Central Oregon and I had a couple thousand feet of climbing right out of the gate. The first thing I noticed about the shorts was the creaky, squeaky noise coming from the seat or the shorts while pedaling. Weird. I hadn’t actually inspected the shorts before throwing them on. Honestly, I just liked the color. We were on location in Central Oregon testing bikes for our annual Bible of Bike Tests and we had a photographer along on our ride that day, so I had fashion on the mind. The creaky, squeaky sound was annoying, but at least they looked cool.

Alpinestars Outrider shorts
Photo: Van Swae

After the ride I realized how dumb I’d been. As a product tester, I’m always sweating the details, but I missed a big one on the Outriders. I figured, shorts are shorts, right? There’s the fit and the features, and that’s about it. Nope. These aren’t your typical baggies. The noise was coming from the waterproof material lining the entire back panel of the shorts. These were not the shorts to bring on a 70-degree sunny ride–these things were built for the slop. Serendipitously, it snowed that very evening, creating a perfectly slushy situation to test the shorts in the following day. This is where the Outrider shorts truly shined. The waterproof membrane shielded my arse from the direct hit of trail spray, keeping me nice and cozy even though trail conditions were anything but.

Alpinestars Outrider shorts
The seam-taped waterproof membrane covers the entire back of the shorts, creating a bastion against the dreaded swamp ass.

The thing about waterproof the membrane is that it doesn’t stretch at all, which is why it’s only used on the back half of The Outrider. The entire front half of the shorts is indistinguishable from ordinary baggies–with lightweight, stretchy material that allows them to ride like any other short while they shrug off the muck below. The Outrider is perfect for places like the Pacific Northwest where, for most of the year, the rain never lets up long enough for trails to dry. In places like this, even if it isn’t raining during your ride, certain key parts of your body will be soaked in minutes without these shorts.

Alpinestars Outrider shorts
The lightweight fabric wears extremely comfortably, but is rugged enough to take a beating. The membrane on the back panel extends the whole length of the short.

Protecting your investment, snag-proof, ripstop material is used throughout. Other features include a weather-resistant leg pocket with rubberized zipper, two side pockets and Velcro waist adjustment. Sizes range from a 28- to 40-inch-waist.