Kitsbow Ventilated Short - Review

Nov 27, 2014
by Mike Levy  
Kitsbow Ventilated short Photo by Paris Gore

Kitsbow's Ventilated Short is a lightweight and not too baggy option for those who are looking for something to wear during big rides in the heat.



Kitsbow might be synonymous with high-end clothing and equally high price tags, but the U.S. brand is hoping that their only-the-best approach to design and manufacturing is what riders will come to know them for. The company's made in Canada Ventilated Short has, as the name suggests, been penned to keep you as cool as possible during hot days on the bike. That means that they're lighter and have a shorter inseam than some other baggier options out there, with Kitsbow referring to them as sporting a ''tailored fit profile'' that won't see any extra fabric catching your seat or fluttering in the wind. There are five sizing options that run from XS to XXL (27'' to 39'' in two inch increments), and you can choose from a subdued black or an even more subdued grey colour. MSRP $240 USD www.kitsbow.com

Kitsbow Ventilated short Photo by Paris Gore

Leg length sat right at the knee, and there's a slight up-turn to the cut behind the knee to keep them from rubbing.



Kitsbow has used a 93% nylon and 7% elastane blend of high-end Schoeller fabric that is said to be both lightweight and durable, and they have also given it a water resistant treatment from the same textile brand. Stretchy mesh panels have been employed on the front, sides, and waist (which rides higher at the back than the sides) in order to allow air to flow through easier, and the perforations at the back of the short line up with the vented panels on Kitsbow's liner as well. They've also not simply made straight leg openings as you'd find on nearly every other short out there, but rather tailored it up slightly behind the knee so as not to chafe or rub on your calf.

Kitsbow Ventilated short Photo by Paris Gore

A slider-snap ensures you won't pop a button, while three-position alloy adjustment hooks on each side allow for fine tuning without having to use Velcro.



A slider-snap is used to close up the short after you do up the zippered fly. What's a slider-snap? Think of it as a locking button that needs to be slid slightly in order for you to pop it open, thereby keeping you from busting a button during your post-Thanksgiving turkey ride. Probably the most interesting feature on the Ventilated Short are the alloy slip hooks that offer three different positions on each side and do the same job as Velcro or a belt would, but in a different way, while reverse facing side pockets have been used to keep contents from rattling around when you're pedalling.




Pinkbike's Take

bigquotesI bet I already know what you're thinking: there's no way that the Kitsbow short is good enough to justify its $240 USD sticker price. Remember that it's all relative, though, and that there are many riders who don't bat an eye at spending that kind of money on their hobby/lifestyle. After all, there are loads of less expensive options out there for those who'd rather spend less than half of what these retail for, and many of us, myself included, spend more on coffee, Snowballs, and sugary drinks in a month or two than what these cost. On to the review... Those who prefer a casual, over-the-knee sort of fit will likely find the Ventilated Short a little, ahem, short for their liking, with their leg length just barely coming over the knee when standing. That means that, when you're pedalling, they tended to expose more of my creamy white thighs (lets all cringe in unison) than a baggier short that I might wear while in the bike park. I'd say that they have more of a ''performance fit'', and that I preferred this when out for a pedal on a warm day, or anytime I wanted to go for an actual ride that involved pedalling a fair bit - they feel light, airy, and nearly invisible, which is exactly what I want if I'm climbing up hills before riding back down them.

You know what sucks? Velcro sucks. I've got a number of shorts that employ Velcro waistbands to allow for some adjustment, but that design often seems to come undone, especially when you run them through the washer machine, and will sometimes peel off when you're on the trail. And don't even get me started when it comes to belt loops on a short made for mountain biking... who the hell wants to wear a belt while on their bike? To be honest, I thought that Kitsbow's ''alloy slip hooks'' looked a bit hokey at first, but I'll admit that they make a lot of sense: they never come undone, are super simple to adjust, and while they might not offer the fine tuning that Velcro does, the three-position design of the slip hooks offers more than enough adjustment range. The locking slider snap does work as advertised, but I don't think that I've ever had a standard button come undone on me anyways. Maybe I need to eat more Snowballs? The rearward facing side pockets are a bit odd, but, having had other shorts with the same design, I can say that they are ideal at keeping things from bouncing around while you're spinning circles. They are relatively small, though, small enough that some new, larger phones or thick wallets might not slide in. Anyways, a lot of people's wallets might be empty after buying these, so maybe they'll fit better?

In search of some perspective, I ended up passing the Ventilated Short along to a notoriously frugal friend of mine who looked at me like I had something long and awkward growing out of my forehead when I told him how much they cost. I told him to wear them a bunch and them tell me what he thinks about them, and if he'd spend that kind of coin if he needed a new riding short for summer. Here's his thoughts: ''I compared them to other shorts I own that are made in China and Vietnam and have to admit that the quality is higher when it comes to material, stitching, and durability. The big thing for me is that they're made in Canada, which is something that I take into consideration when I'm spending any money, and that I'm confident they would hold up to years of abuse. Most of my riding wardrobe consists of relatively inexpensive kit, especially compared to the Ventilated Short, but I'd consider buying these given those facts.'' They're certainly not going to be for everyone, and cost is going to induce some head shaking, but they are nicely made shorts that are going to last.
- Mike Levy

Click here to see the high-res photo gallery


52 Comments

  • + 36
 $240 is a lot of beers at the bar where I usually end up taking my shorts off anyways...
  • + 32
 my wallet will be well ventilated after buying these
  • + 2
 For sure you won't be needing a slider-snap ensures that you won't pop your wallet after that
  • - 8
flag chyu (Nov 27, 2014 at 23:10) (Below Threshold)
 You are paying this much so they can post this on pinkbike. And you can get some coolness coz your friend gonna ask is that pants posted on pinkbike..
  • + 2
 I haven't no words after this comment. LOL
  • + 13
 These guys were at Outerbike in 2013, and after laughing inside a lot when they told me the price, I said thank you to the hipster dude from San Fransisco working their both when he gave me a fancy coffee from their $2000 espresso machine. Nope, won't ever pay $240 for shorts ever.
  • + 6
 You probably met an intern hipster. A full-grown hipster would not drink an expresso pressurized in a less than 10k$ La Marzocco machine.
  • + 1
 @gnralized, that's the thing, it *may* have been one. All I know is the dude told me more about the machine than the clothing he was trying to sell. He was far more excited about the coffee.
  • + 11
 man, I just cant wait for Dakine, Fox, and Troy Lee to offer their versions of a 240$ pair of "high end" shorts....I really hope this high end thing catches on in the apparel industry cause obviously all our current clothing is crap.

I heard Under Armour and Nike has some performance boosting apparel as well. I think Nike shorts are going to retail at 1,000$ with solid gold adjustment hooks. I think ENVE will be making some carbon shorts for 1500$ and some M80 shorts for 2800$ ...totally worth it.


I kid on ENVE tho...love their hoops. rawk on.
  • + 1
 that velcro thing is shit...
  • + 3
 ^true.

comes undone and my jersey always snags on it...feel all nursing home
  • + 1
 I've seen roadie jerseys on sale that had carbon fiber ribs in them. I. shit. you. not.
  • + 0
 f*cking roadies... like 85% of their shit I look at and just think "why?"
  • + 1
 The ad copy was talking about reflecting the negative energy from powerlines or something. I, ONCE AGAIN, shit. you. not.
  • + 9
 As a college student who values money and only buys "needs", I could see myself purchasing these shorts under the condition that they would last longer than other options. Every purchase in my mind is a use:cost ratio. So $240 would be justifiable if I could use them for many many seasons. And yes, there are probably other shorts may last as long, and only then do the other factors like functionality and quality of materials used come into the equation. If their shorts could last for 5 seasons and look/function the same after that long, then I don't see a problem with the price. But then I probably wouldn't want to buy any other shorts, so they better do everydamn thing I want them to. Durable, breathable, comfortable and casual enough for before/after ride use.
  • + 8
 Hahahaha, they're smoking some good crack. $240 for a pair of shorts? Better be able to pee with out stopping on the trail for that price.
  • + 4
 For that price they should convert the pee back to beers.
  • + 4
 Ooh, even better.
  • + 7
 Checked out their website; they make a $200 flannel and a mountain bike Polo. Also, an XL in their shirts wouldn't even come down to my waist. So their target market is short rich hipsters, I guess?
  • + 13
 A mountain bike polo. This is exactly what we needed.
  • + 15
 for the prep douche who wants to ride on his free range, organic powered, all natural, GMO free, mother earth born, locally grown, free trade, hipster bullshit. sorry, i meant Fixie.
  • + 2
 Bamboo fixie... that he built from a kit.
  • + 4
 If somene can spend $240 on a pair of mtb shorts, good for them. I will put my mtb money into more critical places like my bike, shoes, and helmet. Even then it is almost always on sale when I buy. $60 shorts for me and money left for stuff that makes a bigger impact on my riding. But then I'm just an old broken down pensioner.
  • + 7
 'Gear for the inner preppie mtb'er in you.'
  • + 3
 I gotta stick up for Kitsbow a bit here, I recently started riding some of their gear and it is miles ahead of anything else I have ridden in the past (which is a lot). The fit, hand feel, flexibility, and overall look is just great. I see myself riding in the shorts for at least 5 years which makes the price not look so bad. Oh and if you have an issue, send them back...for life...it’s a premium product with premium performance...you get what you pay for.
  • + 2
 You know what's pity? The shipping costs to Slovenia is 90$ in addition... Instead to organise the EU distributor, they handed over the international shipping to USA company... Smile )))) These morons don't have sense for business... Smile )))
  • + 2
 I've worn these and can say they are the most comfortable and well made shorts I've ever used. North Americans don't understand the true cost of the things they buy...someone is subsidizing the cost of those 60$ shorts...workers in China, the environment...made in Canada rocks and is worth the higher costs!!
  • + 4
 Not really bringing anything new to the table? Just a pair of shorts.
Lifetime warranty would be worth it at that price.
Good luck to them.
  • + 1
 I thought they'd reviewed some similsr ones of these before, more expensive and pocket placement was bad. Sitting on a mini tool or whatever is in your pocket??

Go home kitsbow you're drunk.

You could spend that cash on improving bike skills instead of being a pure consumer.
  • + 2
 I have been very lucky in life but still do hesitate at this price point. However, if Rapha and such can exist for the roadies it seems there are some that will support this. Whatever, for you all to decide, but sure support the view that velcro sucks. A good short with good sizing does not need velcro to be able to reduce sizing options for cost purposes as many are proving.
  • + 0
 I think some people will just buy the "best" (i.e. top of the range) of anything. As you point out Rapha (and also Assos) have the same strategy for roadies; a product that is marketed as "the best you can buy" but is only really marginally better than rivals that cost 1/3 of the price. This company will obviously never sell as many pairs of shorts as Endura or Fox, but they probably only need a very small market share to be profitable.

A former work colleague of mine wouldn't buy anything that wasn't an ultimate super product. If she bought a new set of pans she'd spend £300 on "professional grade cookwear" or something, even though she couldn't really cook. When these kinds of people (I'm sure there's a marketing label for them) buy a bike then they'll just credit card a load of accessories from Kitsbow/POC/Rapha etc.
  • + 1
 I own a pair of Rapha jeans. Rapha is having a 30% off sale for black Friday btw. Their jeans are tested by people riding thousands of miles. Mine are a year old and still look brand new. I doubt their riding gear can stand up as well as the jeans do. But, I do think that the jean testing and quality is representative of their dedication to quality.

I might try to buy some Kitsbow shorts when they go on sale down the road. But, the last thing I want is a Polo. My style is more in-line with Dakine. Which, their Tech T is about the best riding shirt I've ever had. $24
  • + 1
 Just look at the last pic with everything bunched up - not really the "tailored" fit you expect for this premium price. Looks to me like having only 5 sizes is the problem - particularly if you're trying to say you have a "tailored" look. Most of my clothes come in 1" increments - so why not these? At $240, it should look good - period.
  • + 5
 $240 for a pair of shorts.. for real?
  • + 3
 For real $240 ?
Nope never would I spend that much on shorts
  • + 4
 I wont even pay $80 for shorts... meaning I ride in walmart shorts.
  • + 3
 or you can get pretty much the same damn thing, but Fox or TLD shorts for about 50...
  • + 1
 I'd be curious to see a poll on average income of PB users. With all the emphasis on the super high end these days I wonder who the target audience for these kinds of posts are. I personally can't afford to spend nearly $240 on a pair of shorts and I assume that represents the majority here. But hey, I could be very wrong and a lot of people are actually buying this stuff.
  • + 5
 Kitsbow is a Huppies dream come true..

Huppie= hipster/yuppie
  • + 4
 For $240 does it come with Air Con for my Junk built in?
  • + 1
 These shorts make troy lee ace shorts look affordable with their low cost at $165 vs these at $240... If kitsbow would like to send me a demo pair I would be more than happy to write up a comparison between the two.
  • + 1
 Paying full retail for anything in the mtb world is for suckers. Unless you're really concerned with being super fashionable wait a year or so and find ot online for 70% off.
  • + 1
 Do these guys distribute though? I thought you had to buy direct from them, in which case, only sales that don't "tarnish the cachet" of their $240 shorts are going to happen.
  • + 2
 i only came to laugh at the price..... *sn*gger*
  • + 2
 Big rides in the heat In November.........
  • + 3
 its like 86 (F) in San Diego...
  • + 2
 It was 29c here in Mallorca the other day and my Funkier vented shorts kept me nice and cool for €40....
  • + 1
 Yeti's teller shorts do everything these do for $56 on sale. I'll keep my money thanks.
  • + 1
 Wish it was shorts weather here in Alberta....
  • + 1
 £153 for them shorts, they wont sell many in the uk with our climate,
  • + 1
 Rip, wahh, wahh.
  • + 0
 Bahahahahahahahahahahahah! $240 Bahahahahahahahahahahahaha!

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