Pactimo Apex shorts review

Strong first mountain bike offerings from Colorado road brand

BikeRadar score4/5

Denver, CO's Pactimo is new to the mountain bike side of the cycling industry, having made their name in road gear — both custom and off-the-shelf. After riding the Apex shorts, it's pretty obvious that that knowledge and expertise came in handy when forging into the high-end mountain bike apparel world.

Apex shorts specs:

  • Lightweight, breathable 4-way stretch body fabric
  • YKK hidden zipper rear and side entry pockets for pedal-friendly storage
  • Double offset button opening
  • YKK front fly
  • Contoured on the bike fit
  • Front entry hand pockets for off-the bike comfort
  • Elastic interior micro-adjust retention system
  • Tall rear waist panel
  • Shaped rear leg opening
  • 13in/34cm inseam (size medium)

Front hand pockets are so nice to have when not riding
Front hand pockets are so nice to have when not riding

Wonderfully stretchy

The fit on the Apex shorts would definitely fall into the slim category. "It's an enduro/XC fit," says Pactimo's retail brand manager Josh Cook. Even though pretty trim, Pactimo's lightweight 4-way stretch fabric features "unhindered mobility and quick-drying breath-ability." That seems to be a pretty spot-on description as the material is definitely on the lighter, and thinner, side of MTB baggies.

Every movement on or off the bike is met with reassuring give, with nary a hint of binding or restriction. The material is also lightweight, making it a definite go-to piece when the temperatures hit the larger numbers of the thermometer. The thin material looks to be a standout in the hot summer months, while layering underneath (shorts plus tights in the winter, for example) could likely pose some issues.

Breathability is good, remaining comfortable on long, hot climbs yet not too cool or airy when bombing down. Durability so far has been spot on, shrugging off a couple of minor crashes, including one that sent me in for stitches.

Under the hidden zip, the big thigh pocket can hold an iPhone 6 or a couple of bars
Under the hidden zip, the big thigh pocket can hold an iPhone 6 or a couple of bars

It's clear that the Pactimo team put some thought into the Apex's layout. The pockets are close to perfect, with two front hand pockets, one rear zipped pocket, and a right thigh zipped pocket big enough for an iPhone 6. The right thigh pocket is offset, so when in the saddle, and while pedaling, your cargo stays put just as it should. 

The shorts have a noticeable contour to their shape. The leg openings are higher in the rear for ease of pedaling, as is the rear of the shorts to prevent the infamous plumber's crack phenomenon that shows up on lesser shorts. 

With a rise in the back and behind the knees, these shorts are pedal friendly
With a rise in the back and behind the knees, these shorts are pedal friendly

The waist closure, a potential pet peeve of mine (I hate it when buttons or snaps pop open when moving around the bike), consists of two offset snaps, which thankfully fall on the happy side of my personal waistband battle. 

Speaking of the waistband, the two size adjustments are located on the inside, which does keep the appearance clean, but makes dialing in the fit while wearing the shorts a tad cumbersome. The stretch of the actual adjusters made the fit a bit tricky to get right. Static, non-stretchable adjustments would be better in my opinion.  

The waist adjusters are nicely hidden inside the waistband, but much too stretchy
The waist adjusters are nicely hidden inside the waistband, but much too stretchy

Pricing

  • Apex shorts: £65 / US$90. Pactimo does not ship to Australia currently.
Russell Eich

Tech Writer, US
Russell fell head over heels in love with bikes in the '90s, and has been involved in the bike industry ever since. Between wrenching in bike shops, guiding professionally, and writing about bikes, Russell has honed an appreciation for what works, gained knowledge of what doesn't, and can barely contain his enthusiasm for what comes next. His two-wheeled passion continues in the Rocky Mountains high above Boulder, Colorado.
  • Age: 39
  • Height: 6'3"/190cm
  • Weight: 175lb/79kg
  • Waist: 34in/86cm
  • Chest: 42in / 107cm
  • Discipline: Mountain, road, cyclocross
  • Preferred Terrain: High altitudes, forgotten singletracks, bike parks, roads without cars
  • Current Bikes: Custom Meriwether steel hardtail, Specialized S-Works Enduro 29, Kona Jake the Snake, Trek 69er, and a bunch more
  • Dream Bike: Yeti SB5c, Intense Tracer 275C, Black Cat custom road
  • Beer of Choice: Gin + Tonic
  • Location: Rollinsville, CO, USA

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