It still amazes me how many mountain bikers still don’t ride with bike-specific shorts–yeowch! The chaffing, the bruised sit bones… it makes me cringe just thinking about it. Some might call me weak for depending too much on that cushy little chamois between my legs, but I’m just fine with that.
Since baggy MTB shorts came into fashion, a number of manufacturers have been improving their designs little-by-little. Gone are the days when a standard board short was mated to a spandex liner and called a bike short. And, there are new players on the block, such as Descente, who are more well-known in skiing and road biking, but are making a strong play in the mountain bike clothing market. The Descente Newton MTB Short is the top-of-the-line MTB short from Descente, lets see how well it fared in my tests.
About the Descente Newton MTB Shorts
As the jewel of the MTB lineup, the Descente Newton shorts are as high-tech as they come. The removable D-Vente liner is built to breathe better than straight spandex, while providing just as much support and is mated to a comfortable Stealth chamois. On top of that, some of the highlights include welded seams on front and back to minimize bulk and reduce weight. A front-left zipper pocket with a mesh outer pocket and a right-back zipper pocket rounds out the storage options.
More features of the Descente Newton MTB Shorts:
- Lightweight, durable matte Nylon shell
- Four-way stretch rip-stop Nylon gusset
- Welded front and back seams for a lightweight and sleek look
- Welded front double pocket and welded back zippered pocket
- Removable D-Vente™ 6-panel contoured liner with DNA gripper and quad stitching
- Descente’s new monocoque molded Stealth Chamois provides unbelievable comfort
- Two-snap fly with zipper
- Waistband has dual ladder lock cinches
- Back stretch yoke for better fit and function on the bike
- Sizing: S-XL sizing chart
- Colors: Black/Black (tested), Black/Chocolate, Olive/Black
- MSRP: $110
Descente Newton MTB Shorts Review
With a handful of baggy shorts options already on the shelf, I was still anxious to try out the Descente Newtons. To me, Descente represents one of the most high-end apparel manufacturers in the outdoors industry. Some people love their stuff and some hate it, but they are one of the dominant players in the high-end market.
To stay on top of this market, Descente continues to innovate in features, function and style. The Newton MTB shorts are smart looking (not flashy like some current shorts designs) and also combine some newer technologies (like welded seams) to round out the package.
These shorts are very comfortable. Thanks to the front zipper and dual snaps, slipping them on or off is a breeze. The lightweight outer shell is perfect for hot-weather riding and makes for comfortable pedaling in the saddle.
I’ve found the Stealth chamois to stay in place well and provide just the right amount of cushioning. It seems a little wider than those in other shorts I’ve worn, but once in the saddle, it feels natural. Speaking of the liner, the mesh-like D-vente material is outstanding at cooling and moisture management. As you’re descending, both legs act like air intakes and the breeze instantly cools your legs and vitals–definitely the best feature of the shorts.
I know that many people are building removable liners in their MTB shorts, but I still prefer them to be integrated. They are easier to put on when integrated, but you may not always be able to get a front fly on an integrated short, so it’s give and take.
The outer shell material has been durable and comfortable on long rides in the saddle. I wish the left-front pocket was more of a side pocket because you can’t put much in it without it feeling cumbersome. A single tube of Chapstick sometimes became annoying. But, during most rides, I keep the pockets empty anyway–only putting a wallet and cell phone in them on pre or post-ride activities.
- Lightweight shell material offers welded front and back seams for extra comfort
- Interior liner offers superior breathability
- Chamois gives just the right padding
- Leg holes turn into air intakes on the downhill offering instant cooling
- Zip fly is nice and convenient when it’s time to go
- Inseam length was just a tad long on the size large (I likely needed a medium size)
- 4-way stretch fabric on inside of legs, crotch and sit-area got stuck on the nose of the saddle when maneuvering fore and aft on descents (again, likely a sizing issue)
- Front-left pocket isn’t very usable… should be a side pocket
The Bottom Line on the Descente Newton MTB Shorts
If you’re looking for baggy shorts, but want lightweight and breathable at the same time, the Descente Newton MTB shorts are a great option. Welded seams make the shorts extra comfortable and the wicking mesh liner provides the most breathability of any shorts I’ve worn. Muted styling only adds to the list of positives on these shorts.