Royal's newest Signature shorts take the company's top shelf for 2013 trail shorts. The cut and style cover the enduro/trail spectrum quite well, and are subtle enough not to be laughed out of other mountain bike categories, either.
The two-way stretch shorts offer impressively unrestricted pedaling and movement, save a slight bit of tightness through the lower hip. The material itself offers decent breathability on its own, and has added ventilation through two mesh panels on the back legs, and mesh pockets that can be unzipped for added airflow.
Two stout velcro waist adjusters offer plenty of fit variation up high, and the dual snap closure on top of the zip fly kept fit firm throughout all test rides. Below the waist the fit is casual but not overly baggy, and we never had an issue with getting the shorts snagged on the saddle or any other part of the bike.
Royal's Pro Level liner had a much baggier fit than expected, especially compared to the shell. The chamois was comfortable enough but the fit didn't offer the kind of support expected from a trail liner, unfortunately. A somewhat standard design, the liner is removable and is made of a nicely breathable mesh, short of the chamois itself.
The one waterproof stash pocket is just big enough for a money clip or MP3 player, but wasn't big enough for an iPhone 4 – not that the location of the pocket would be a good spot for something that bulky anyway.
Mesh, zipped pockets for controlled airflow
The open hand pockets up front didn't seem like the best option for stashing things, especially when two zippered pockets were located just below them. The open pockets also occasionally felt like they were bunching up a little bit while riding, and their tops had a tendency to gape open, versus offering a clean, clutter-less look.
Sizing seems to run a bit small, and the cut itself may not fit larger riders very well. But overall, the Signature shorts seem like a solid option for quality trail shorts.