Flare Clothing Co. is a small UK-based firm that focuses on mountain bike clothing. Initially started a female specific brand, Flare has now branched out into mens ride clothing and, judging by its prevalence at trail centres and events such as the Red Bull Foxhunt, appears to be doing rather well – so we thought it seemed a good time to put its Roost Downhill Shorts through their paces.
One of the most notable features is the fit. I'm an above-average height (5ft 8in / 177cm) and found the shorts came to just below my knees. This is something of a rarity for taller riders in the world of women's specific cycling shorts – and made a refreshing change.
Made of robust non-stretch Cordura fabric, the shorts have resisted rips and tears, and stayed in shape despite several crashes and plenty of washing. However, the stripes at the front have begun to crack slightly. This is cosmetic and doesn't affect the performance in any way, but a more hardwearing print technique for future iterations of the shorts would be a bonus.
Stretch panels at the rear in a contrasting grey allows plenty of freedom of moment, and combined with a loose but female-specific cut make these a very comfortable pair of shorts for general riding as well as downhill.
There's plenty of room to fit knee pads under the shorts, and a definite advantage to the generous length is that the upper leg stays covered when riding; no annoying gap between the bottom of the shorts and the top of the knee pad. If you want to fit impact shorts under the Roost Downhill shorts, you may want to go up a size if you sit towards the upper end of the range.
The Roost Downhill shorts feature two pockets, one on each hip. The left pocket has a zip closure, the right doesn't, and although unusual we liked having both options. Both pockets are plenty deep enough to hold a phone or snacks securely, though we found that the unzipped pocket did gape open if full.
The Roost Downhill shorts have two pockets, one with a zip closure for security
I'm sized between a UK/Aus 12 and 14 (US 10 and 12) in shorts, and opted for the size Large which was a comfortable fit. An elasticated waistline at the back gives a secure fit, combined with a zip fly and Velcro pull-tab fastening which gives good fit adjustment.
It's worth noting that the plastic and webbing closure system feels quite cheap, isn't as sophisticated as closure systems on other shorts on the market, and can be a little fiddly to use. That said, it performed more than adequately during testing.
The Roost Downhill Shorts retail at £70, which is comparable to other similar items on the market in the UK. If you're based internationally and interested in getting some, Flare delivers worldwide and shipping is free for orders over £100 / US $153 / AUS $212.
Overall, the Flare Roost Downhill Shorts feel good and look good, and we were impressed with the fit and styling.