Don’t be deceived by the impressively light weight of POC’s Essential Enduro shorts, these are an excellent pair of all-rounders.
The design is pretty basic, with no ventilation holes, extra pockets or other distractions, and I appreciated this. I rarely store kit in the pockets on rides anyway – concerned about smashing a phone or keys piercing legs when riding in anger – but they are useful when cafe surfing or commuting to the trail head.
The two hip pockets were well specced for this job, though. They’re deep and zipped for security, so you could realistically keep things in there without fear of losing the contents halfway through a ride.
The fabric is light and stretchy, but the Swedish brand has managed to do this without sacrificing a robust feel. It’s nothing like Fox’s Defend shorts, for example, but is better than most of the other lightweights on the market.
The fabric has a more utilitarian feel than a soft and welcoming one, but that’s one of the reasons they’re less likely to stretch and catch on wayward branches on the trail.
On the bike they pedalled well, never making my legs feel restricted, and maintained a good length without rucking up. Knee pad compatibility kept them high on my list for scratching around my local woods, too.
If you want one pair of shorts that can do it all, these would fit the bill. They’re light weight (204g, size large) and free-moving for long days in the saddle, but durable and long enough for more aggressive days out with pads.
I would like to see a higher panel in the lumbar area for better back coverage, and the open-weave elastic at the back of the waist could have been stronger to keep the shorts in place more effectively. They also look uncharacteristically cheap for the price.
However, I’m being picky here, overall these are actually great all-rounder shorts.