Oakley Ballistic 3.7 MTB Shorts

Got a pair of closeout Oakley shorts from Chainlove.com last week. They were cheap at $45 USD including shipping, so I gave them a shot. They were that hideous yellow-green color, which to me was a plus. These have a separate liner and outer short held together with buttons and elastic loops. The liner is meshy with a one-piece 3D stretch anti-microbial chamois. As discovered during my first ride wearing these, the chamois is thin and not particularly comfortable.

The outer short has two cargo pockets, and two zippered front vents. Some of the fabric along the front of the short is a mesh material for breathability, but the pockets cover it partially. The pockets have no interior organizer pockets like previous versions. Since the pockets are backed partially by the mesh material, I wouldn’t put anything moisture-sensitive (like trail food or a cell-phone) in them since evaporating leg sweat will turn the pockets into little humid saunas. There is a two-snap half-fly. The snaps are firm unlike the latest Oakley shorts that have single, weak snaps. Inside the short are two elastic waist adjusters. The elastic is less than a centimeter wide, so adjusting them through any of the four buttonhole adjustment points doesn’t really do much. Those may end up being cut off shortly.

These shorts really don’t deserve the “ballistic” moniker as they aren’t built to the same durability standards of the previous generations of Oakley Ballistic shorts (heck the newest Ballistic shorts don’t even have ventilation!). These have no reinforcement at the seams, no Kevlar fabric at high-wear areas, and no flow-through ventilation. In general, the fabric is light, but because of the tight weave, is not particularly breathable. The lack of attachment at the bottom of the leg does allow for a lot of airflow when moving, but in a crash, there is nothing keeping the leg down to protect your skin. I don’t really see the point in the removable liner – I’d probably be happier if it was stitched in at the top at least.

For the closeout price, these aren’t bad. There is no way I’d buy them at the original >$100 USD MSRP. If they appear again on Chainlove, I’ll probably pick up another pair. They have some shortcomings, but appear well-made and utilitarian. They are somewhat feature-poor, but in this case it may be a good thing (better to have simple shorts than shorts packed full of crap you don’t want). From what I’ve seen of the latest bike shorts from Oakley, these are the last serious bike shorts they made.

Not Recommended (see below)

Postscript: Ckucke just got a pair of Oakley Short 3.7’s from half a season after the Ballistic I got. They are basically the same, but instead of the venting mesh, they have the vent zippers on the front of the legs. The left pocket has vent material sewn in slashes on the outside. WTF? Why does a pocket need vents? The material and construction is otherwise very similar. Those were in a grey/brown color for $40 shipped.

Post-postscript: Damn pain-in-the-ass shorts! Zippers 75% jammed, ineffectual snaps, and weird geometry.  Krap.  I’m so over Oakley MTB shorts!

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