Troy Lee Designs Skyline Air Short - Review

Jul 27, 2017 at 11:41
by Richard Cunningham  
Troy Lee Designs Skyline Air short


Troy Lee Designs says that its original Skyline was by far their most popular trail riding short. This season, the Skyline was completely redesigned, with upgraded adjustable waistbands, a Velcro-secured snap fly, and triple stitching in key areas. The padded waistband is printed with silicone gripper material and both front pockets have security zippers. The original Skyline's angled wallet zip pocket has been eliminated, which some of us will miss, and the entire short is constructed with elastic material and it is ever-so-slightly tapered in the legs to maintain pedaling comfort.

The Skyline Air we review here benefits from top-to-bottom vented mesh panels in the front of the short, including the pockets, which should raise a cheer from TLD fans who ride in hot climates. Further cooling is provided by the addition of Troy Lee Designs' new Air 2.0 padded liner, which incorporates mesh panels on the front and rear, as well as a high-quality perforated pad material. Thin, moisture-wicking material and silicone grippers on the leg bands further boost the liner's comfort. TLD Skyline Air shorts are available in black, red or gray and in even sizes from 32 to 38 waists. The length is 12.5 inches (317mm) and the MSRP is $95 USD.


Skyline Air Details:
• Highly breathable construction for hot weather conditions
• AIR 2.0 mesh liner with moisture-wicking, perforated chamois pad.
• 12.5” inseam
• Soft hand 100% polyester construction
• Four-way stretch fabric
• Rubber Troy Lee Designs “no pick” waist adjusters
• Two front zipper pockets
• Reflective logo details
• Sizes: 30, 32, 34, 36, 38-inch waists
• Colors: Red, gray and black
• MSRP: $95 USD
• Contact: Troy Lee Designs
Troy Lee Designs Skyline Air short
The new AIR 2.0 mesh liner is a step up in fit and comfort.

Troy Lee Designs Skyline Air short
Elastic waist adjustments are slimmer and more user friendly.

Troy Lee Designs Skyline Air short
Triple stitching in high stress areas.
Troy Lee Designs Skyline Air short
Soft waist band with printed silicone gripping material.

Troy Lee Designs Skyline Air short
Mesh front panels and zip-pockets maximize ventilation.


Ride Report

I liked my original Skyline shorts. They had a just-right fit over knee pads, they looked great, and the pocket placement was such that I could actually put something in them and still pedal comfortably. The only negative issues I had with those Skylines were that the liner was a bit crude, the waistband could dig into my flesh if I didn't adjust it perfectly, and the ventilation was only adequate. I wore my first pair until the stitching finally wore through at the crotch and the single fly-snap gave out.

Troy Lee Designs went beyond addressing those woes with the new Skyline Air. They doubled the comfort, tripled the ventilation properties, triple stitched near the nether regions, and added a strip of Velcro to the fly to bolster security there. The waistband has a soft inside liner with gripper strips to ward off plumbers' crack, and redesigned adjustment pulls that can't abrade flesh.

I like everything about this new short. It is the most comfortable piece of kit in my cycling drawer that I would trust in a crash. I used to reserve my TLD Skyline shorts for more technical rides, but the Air model is wonderfully comfortable, and its liner fits more like a like a pro-level XC short, so whatever ride I have planned, it's the first one I grab after the laundry is done.
Troy Lee Designs Skyline Air short
A Velcro closure replaces the original Skyline's zipper.

Technically, I miss two features from the original Skyline: the angled rear zip pocket, which was perfectly placed to secure my phone, or wallet, and the removable liner loops. The attached liner keeps the outer and inner shorts aligned when the pockets are weighted, but the cut-to-remove tethers can get wound up tight in the wash. I'll probably cut them soon. On the plus side, the tapered legs play well with a variety of knee pads. and the addition of a zipper on the right pocket is great. I had to decide what was least likely to be lost and stuff accordingly with my old Skylines.


Pinkbike's Take:
bigquotesTroy Lee Designs may have invented its next best-selling short with the new Skyline Air. The $95 price tag may be a stumbling block for some, but wear them for a day and the quality of their construction, the pro-level liner and over-the-top warm weather comfort should eclipse any doubts about their value.RC



94 Comments

  • + 40
 Don't like the change to a velcro fly. Sticks to everything in the laundry, until it doesn't, and then the fly is permanently open.
  • + 6
 This, I have about 6 pairs of skylines including these new air shorts, the velcro closures have been terrible from day one, the buttons on the new air suck and the velcro isn't any better than the old velcro. I love these shorts but I have been complaining about the crappy velcro for years. The chamois liner doesn't fit me all that well either, but that's not a huge deal.
  • + 4
 I agree but they have to meet a price point. I've taken my old Skylines in to a tailor and had zippers put in. $20 more but they should last for a long time now. The velcro probably got full of dirt and stuff because it didn't work anymore.
  • + 15
 Skyline has been velcro fly for a couple of seasons, this new velcro has been pretty problem free this year and the best we have used, but again, we are listening to you guys and girls-Someone mentioned here in the comments about price point and that is part of it, building this stellar short comes with a few things like a velcro fly-compared to a zipper fly as seen in shorts like a Ruckus.
  • + 10
 Just close the velcro before putting them in the wash? I do this with all my gear.
  • + 1
 They need a version of these shorts for people like me with a massive sack.
  • + 1
 @troyleedesigns: Why even bother with a fly? I hardly ever use em, but instead pull em down just enuff for a wee....
  • + 16
 Own a few pair of Skylines. One of the best shorts/liners out. TLD if you are listening -> ditch those velcro waist adjustment straps. They pull apart (separate) and get caught on everything (when wearing and coming out of the wash). The only weak pt in an otherwise brilliant short.
  • + 6
 Always listening, the newer version of velcro waist adjusters are better than they have been-but, we are listening now more than ever.
  • + 1
 @troyleedesigns: Great, I want! the rear zipped pocket on all versions of the Skyline shorts like it used to be. and... I will think if I anything else!!!
With more than 300 sunny days per year & temperatures around 35C during the summer we deserve to set a couple of specs :-).
  • + 13
 Enough with the goddamnfucking velcro which last like half a season. We want zippers and buttons. Thank you.
  • + 6
 The rest of the shorts are so nice that i keep wearing them even though the fly never stays closed. It makes pre-ride grocery visits embarrassing. I mean, the alcohol has barely begun to work that early.
  • + 1
 @Ron-C: I totally know you pain! Err, pleasure?
  • + 2
 I still wear mine too, I just have to remember not to go commando! @Ron-C:
  • + 6
 Really like the look of these, and would def like to try them out during the summer months. TLD shorts seem to be the only ones that fit me right, Now if only TLD could design a proper winter short. Not all of us live in SoCal.
  • + 2
 I went to a pair of leg warmers basically. Went to the moto shop and the have these knee to ankle things to keep chafing to a minimum when wearing moto boots. With knee pads on they don't slide down my legs, and take the edge of winter here on the island. I ride year round in shorts this way.
  • + 15
 What's Summer???

IT'S f*ckING RAINING HERE AGAIN!!!
  • + 1
 @mtnbykr05 : winter shorts with a matching winter tank top!
Jokes aside, TLD Moto shorts with a separate chamois/liner are great to block out the ice cold wind...or their Sprint pants with a liner could be another option.
  • + 5
 @fartymarty: Summer is May and June and September. Just forget July and August being summer and you will be a lot happier.
  • + 1
 @mtnrush666:
I wear Motos pretty much all year round in the uk, best shorts imo
  • + 1
 @Patrick9-32: very wise words.
  • + 1
 Really like my sprint shorts but I have yet to find a pair of waterproof shorts that actually STAY waterproof..
  • + 6
 Winter shorts are coming!
  • + 1
 @troyleedesigns: look forward to seeing those! I have a hard time straying from your shorts, since my OG Ace's and Skylines fit so damn good!
  • + 0
 @troyleedesigns: the winter shorts I use the most are the ones with the waterproof panels on the back only. If it stops raining, you can still pedal and breathe.
  • + 1
 @fartymarty: it rains everywhere on summer. We're talking about a real winter with snow...
  • + 10
 no 28 or 30? poor form.
  • + 10
 bulk up
  • - 6
flag riish (Jul 28, 2017 at 8:36) (Below Threshold)
 @ryan77777: I'm a -185lbs class powerlifter, with a 1150lb total.
I don't need to do any 'bulking up', I'm just not fat.
  • + 16
 @ryan77777: do you even lift bro?
  • + 2
 Isn't that the ladies line? ;-)
  • + 1
 @riish: riposte of the day
  • + 4
 @riish: jeez. Awful humble brag from such a little guy. Awww, size 28 waist. What are you lifting, knittng needles?????
  • + 1
 Also, apparently winking faces turn into question marks in the comments...
  • + 1
 @VwHarman: dunno, the other guy got naughty first...
  • + 2
 We make a size 30 in the new AIR skyline, and we go up to 28 in our Youth skyline!
  • + 2
 Only shorts I ride in, but I do find the Velcro in the fly seems to always come open. A lesser man would insert a large package joke here to compensate for.... well you know. But this is a PB form, lets try and keep it classy boys.
  • + 5
 Wow,this is honestly the first piece of TLD clothing that I've thought "I'd actually wear that."
  • + 7
 More of this vibe coming.
  • + 2
 My favorite pair of shorts, besides the Velcro fly becoming useless after many washes. Also, once you tear the backside pretty much rips open. Used a 5 dollar patch until i can get one on sale. This has happened to both the pairs I own.
  • + 2
 PM'd you to get more info, sorry about your troubles, but will hit you up.
  • + 1
 @troyleedesigns: do you cover defective materials such as the Velcro and zippers? I didn't think you did, so I've been rocking my shorts with failed zippers for a couple years now.
  • + 3
 Try to do something nice for loyal customers and then you get people trying to get hooked up for their 3 years old shorts...
  • + 2
 @mollow: I never asked for a hook up. I was merely asking if they cover those, because the zippers and Velcro starting failing within the first year or so. If they do cover them, I would know for next time.
That and I am a loyal customer. If you notice from my other post, that you also commented on, I only use my TLD shorts, I recommend them to everyone.
  • + 6
 But but but I want to look like a Power Ranger
  • + 1
 thats easy!
1st buy tight leather gloves that go half way up your forearm
2nd buy full leather suit in bright colors with safety reflective tape
3rd buy tight leather boots that squeak when you walk
4th and most important, buy crazy bright techno colored helmet with mirrored visor
5th walk around the mall in full kit looking bad a$$...or a dbag...whatever

*sport bike optional
  • + 4
 A pair of shorts that doesn't resemble unicorn vomit - CHECK Sizes for people that aren't fat - FAIL Goddamnit, TLD! You were so close!
  • - 1
 So a size 32 is fat? What if they are 6'4"? Get a clue. Eat a burger.
  • + 3
 Hmmmm, Unicorn vomit...might have to get Troy to sketch that out! As for sizes, we go 30-38 in SKYLINE AIR, is that not enough?
  • - 1
 @VwHarman: my size 34 skylines from last year barely stay on with the adjustment straps pulling as tight as they can, TLD sizes for motocrossers, not cyclists.
  • + 1
 @troyleedesigns: When the article was first posted it was size 32 and up. Its since been edited. You can tell because the spacing isn't equal. I'll now retract my second statement.
  • + 2
 My favorite riding short by far but I always appreciated the fact they didn't include a chamois. Kept the cost down for a new pair. Sure hope they are available as short only.
  • + 1
 you can get skyline (no liner) and skyline race (liner). Not sure if that will be an option on the airs.
  • + 1
 This year, what we are selling now is Short and Liner only, 2018 will be a shell option...but that is a long ways away. Get em' while they are hot-get it? lol
  • + 1
 @kickstand1: I hope so, cause I only wear Pearl Izumi expert shorts under my baggies.
  • + 0
 @unrooted: pearl izumi liners here too
  • + 1
 I've had a set of these in the past, they were ok, not my favorites, but it looks like some of my gripes have been addresses. I've been using Bontrager Foray shorts for about six months now and have been super happy with their fit, durability and ventilation. My only gripe is a lack of good pockets. I can live without a bunch of good pockets since I wear them nearly everyday and the Velcro fly and waist adjustment hasn't began to fail. Also since I'm a Trek ninja the price was pretty bitchin'
  • + 1
 We just started selling the new AIR ventilated model about 4 months ago? sure you are not talking about old skylines?
  • + 1
 lol 95$ for a pair of shorts?
i get 2 (or 3 when on sale) pairs of these for that price www.reebok.com/us/reebok-one-series-power-nasty-hybrid-board-short/AI1670.html
by far the most comfortable shorts with excellent fit.
  • + 1
 I'm glad these have zippered pockets now, but I don't think the pockets are placed as nicely, off to the side, as the Ruckus (which were so fantastic I bought a second pair a week later). I'm sure these are cooler, but I'll take pedalling comfort and peace of over that, and I'm an XC racer in Australia! I think the right hand pocket on the Ruckus was designed for phones, but I keep it open to quickly shove my clears in before extended climbs where sweat drips into my eyes.

Zippered pockets are a dealbreaker for me - the last time I lost my phone on a nightride was the last time.

I went to Rotorua with half a dozen other guys two years ago and every one of us had Skylines. Great shorts. Sad when I finally wore out the arse after thousands of kays.

The inbuilt chamois shown is okay, but I wore them once, cut them out, and ride exclusively in bibs. I'd like it if there was no chamois for the same reason that bikes no longer come with pedals - personal choice.

In line with other comments here, I think the fit needs work. My Ruckus' are 30s and I have the velcro straps as tight as possible, but my awesome powerfully built glutes won't fit in a skinny short that would fit my waist. Sure I have to get my suit paints tailored, but for a company producing clothing for athletes, the fit should not be run-of-the-milll Joe Public couch potato.

TLD have been my choice of short for ten years. The best, but not perfect.
  • + 1
 Same here - tight around thighs, but loose at the waist... Waist adjusters are fully tight and they still slip down. Made for golfers...
  • + 1
 @steve9train you can also buy a supercycle at Canadian tire for $299, but I bet you aren't riding one of those down the mountain. Quality gear cost money, but if you invest in your kit, it will last better than the cheaper option. This has been my experience with these shorts ( and most TLD gear I've owned) I have been trying to ware through my gloves so I can justify buying a new pair to my wife, but I just can't trash my LTD gloves. Can't say the same for other clothing companies.
  • + 2
 I've been pedaling in these shorts for 3 weeks,
- Slimmer athletic fit
- Breathe great
- The 2 pockets are deep so your phone / tools / floor pump Smile are not up against your thigh.
  • + 2
 I have had three pairs of skylines and each pair the velcro zipper stops working after a few months . Nothing a couple zip ties wont fix .
  • + 2
 I shouldn't need zipties on $75 shorts....I've made this complaint to TLD since I bought my first pair of skylines 5 years ago. I have a handful of pairs and I love them for everything from a casual short to an XC short to a DH short, but the velcro is terrible. Just gimme a zipper.
  • + 1
 @kickstand1: 2017 is all new Velcro fly material.
  • + 1
 I've got a pair of the air shorts, ordered Jan-march timeframe, still not a fan, the new Velcro seems ok but now the snap closure isn't great. Big fine of the cut and fit of skylines, I order 1-2 pairs every year, but I still long for a zipper. How's the cut of the ruckus compare? I saw you mentioned a zipper in another comment. I'm looking for a heavy xc short and light dh short and comfy casual short, which the skyline nails perfectly, with the air being mostly xc only for me . Thanks for the responses big tld gear fan @troyleedesigns:
  • + 0
 Before investing 100 bucks, I stick to my two pairs of hummvees. They are great for not-so-californian temperatures and much cheaper. Teflon, 6 pockets, click fast liner and - for my crippled body - the fit perfect makes them better than everything else.
Why is Endura so underestimated?
  • + 1
 Because my TLD pants are.comfier than my PJs. Nuff said
  • + 0
 I have a personal pair of these and they are my favourite shorts to date. I am a very full 34 waist size but i always get 34 everything. These are the tightest shorts in my collection. So if you're busting the seams of your other shorts, consider upsizing for this one.
  • + 2
 Great short, but the velcro sucks, just gimme a zipper already. The snap closure on the new Air shorts isn't all that great either.
  • + 1
 I had a pair of these. I have long legs and my legs are on the larger side and these fit like short shorts. My inseam is 33 inches and I returned them for the ruckus which are perfect.
  • + 1
 Like my tld shorts but as RC states, hoping for some inner loops for bibs on future versions. A tad frustrating pulling your shorts up all the time as the rubbery waist lining doesn't really cut it as support.
  • + 2
 Wtf 32 American size equals 34 European, which is quite wtf, in general I do like to products, however sizing pissed me of
  • + 1
 Bibs from Alibaba for 20 bucks and lower end golf shorts, can find on sale from 15 - 30 .. done and done, cycling clothing is more market up then 1800 dollar aluminum wheels
  • + 3
 I knew this was coming, or any other variation of the 'The Industry is ripping us of, a pair of dickies shorts work just as well and can be found for 30 buck' theme.
  • + 2
 No thanks, I treat my rides like a fashion show not like I am going to work. Look good Feel good Ride good Ride fast!
  • + 2
 12.5 inches!!!!!!!!! Hopefully longer for any size bigger than M Somebody loves to see some thigh show over at TLD
  • + 1
 What happened to the dark/navy blue shorts from the skyline and ruckus range?
  • + 1
 HEY @troyleedesigns expand your size range on the smaller and larger ends. Gimme a 40, I'd buy them.Please and thank you.
  • + 2
 that short liner..........
www.youtube.com/watch?v=MZjAantupsA
  • + 2
 Bwahahaha - you too can be like cameo if you wear your liner inside-out!
  • + 1
 Also seem to be a lot less options available that have vents. I honestly find zip vents open help reduce ball sweat.
  • + 1
 Fewer pockets when more people are riding without a pack is a step in the wrong direction.
  • + 1
 $95 MSRP doesn't seem out of the norm to me. I'm having trouble figuring out why there are so many $140+ options.
  • + 1
 Awesome all year round shorts for Wales.... :/
  • + 0
 Reviews of shorts? Seriously? Only thing more ludicrous is serious commentary. SERIOUSLY?????
  • + 1
 Troy Lee has no love for fat guys...Cmon is a 42 that hard to make
  • + 3
 Oh we got love, but every time we make 40's and that one time we made 42 bike shorts, they do not sell. And for a small brand like us that spends a lot of time developing, a line, adding those sizes adds a layer of complexity. But perhaps we need to do a better job letting people know we are doing those sizes. Next year we are adding some models in 40, so we are going to give it another go-tell your bigger buddies to scream at us, squeaky wheel gets the grease! Wink
  • + 1
 @troyleedesigns: Thanks, I love all your products, I own 2 TLD helmets and plenty of gloves. Just make sure when you make a bigger size it really is a bigger size not like some brands that make a xxl that fits like a meduim....eeerhmmm endura....lol
  • + 1
 Again, no belt use? For 95 bucks a major bummer...
  • + 1
 OMG these are like SO fetch!
  • + 1
 That was a short review.
  • + 1
 $95 = £100. **** that.

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