Sombrio Pinner shorts review

The OG freeride short grows up

BikeRadar score4/5

The Pinner shorts have been in Sombrio's line-up for years primarily as a tough freeride short. This latest version retains the burly roots, and branches out into (dare I say it?) the enduro category.

On-bike manoeuvres were met with four-way stretch and full mobility
On-bike manoeuvres were met with four-way stretch and full mobility

Sombrio is located near Vancouver, BC's infamous North Shore and was born to outfit the freeride pioneers who explored the iconic terrain that spawned an entire new way of riding. Taking cues from their groundbreaking past, Sombrio's designs are still steeped in deep BC style and the performance required to ride such aggressive landscapes.

Fit and build quality

The fit is classic Sombrio, meaning it's snug through the hips and butt. Sombrio shorts have found their way into my riding gear, off and on, for 10 years, and the trim pelvis region fit has been consistent. I don't mind it, especially on the Pinner as they're constructed from four-way stretch fabric called Quattro Flex Dura.

No subtlety here, the Pinners are mountain bike shorts through and through
No subtlety here, the Pinners are mountain bike shorts through and through

That material is a bit heavier than what composes the standard XC or trail-oriented baggy short, such as Pactimo's Apex or the insanely light Conation baggies. That sturdiness is a remnant of the Pinner's freeride past and its intentions to charge hard now.

I have to admit, it's reassuring when pointing the bike at some nasty, chunky terrain with knee and elbow pads and a long-sleeve jersey. Adding to the burliness, the fabric also has a durable water resistance (DWR) finish to repel water. 

The waist closure has two snaps and Velcro surrounding the snaps for an added measure of security. The Velcro waist adjusters are pretty slick, laying flat and having a low profile. I didn't have to mess with them, though, as the Medium's waist sizing fitted me perfectly. 

Dual snaps are reinforced with Velcro
Dual snaps are reinforced with Velcro

The 14.5in inseam hits just below my knees while standing and slightly above when pedaling, both of which makes me happy with or without knee pads. No liner shorts are included. 

On to the riding

This is where the aforementioned enduro comes in. Most mountain bike baggies fall into one of two camps; the overbuilt, 1,200 denier, mega-loose downhill pajamas or the thin, light, wispy, XC-skinny kit. The Pinners about split the difference leaning towards the downhill crew, which brings me back to enduro.

Sombrio's Pinner shorts living up to their name
Sombrio's Pinner shorts living up to their name

With the proper length and the four-way stretch, seated or standing pedaling is easy. Once elevation is gained (or the transfer stage complete), the Pinners lived up to their name. Blasting through tight trees, skimming rocks and sliding around corners all came naturally and without hesitation. The Pinners felt like they could take a hit, or snag a branch and come out the other end in one piece, which is about perfect for rowdy enduro-type riding. 

There are two obvious thigh vent zippers, highlighted with fluro yellow accents. I found them easy to open and close while riding, and their placement might be my favorite spot for ventilation since it actually works. 

Thigh vents work, any short made from non-lightweight material should have them
Thigh vents work, any short made from non-lightweight material should have them

The zipped thigh pockets seemed a bit odd when off the bike, as they sit squarely on the upper thighs and zip down and away. But on the bike, here's where they made sense. The side placement stored gear nicely while pedaling up and shredding down. The pocket carried my smartphone so stealthily that I forgot I had it; zero bouncing, zero banging around.

I didn't crash on it, and it's worth mentioning this might not be the best spot as a lot of falls can smack on or near the hip. The left pocket also has a lift pass attachment. 

If you're used to the light, airy XC-type of baggies, the heavier material will be noticeably hotter. The thigh vents and seamless crotch panel show that the Pinners are meant for pedaling however.

About the only other downside is that they're not stealthy at the bar or burrito joint. Other shorts, like Elevenpine's Crankitups, or 7mesh's Recons look completely pedestrian if that's your jam. Simply put, the Pinners don't look like casual, everyday shorts, they look like mountain bike gear. 

With their motto "The luxury of dirt", Sombrio is unabashed in its focus on mountain biking and the Pinner shorts deliver on that message loud and clear.

Sombrio Pinner shorts pricing

£89.99  / US$120 and Australian pricing not available.

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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