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Gear Review: Hoss Ponderosa Shorts and Knickers
By MBT Staff

Soft Seating

Urban Camo is one of the many designs Hoss offers.

Hoss is a well known name in the business of cycling clothing. Their excellent prices and product quality have made them some of the most highly recommended products on the market, and their Ponderosa series is no exception. The Ponderosa shorts are a comfy way to spend a day in the saddle and they'll keep your tender bits safe from harm. Featuring an 8 panel micro fiber outer shell, 6 panel spandex/polyester CoolMax liner with multi level technology CoolMax chamois, these have all the makings of an uber comfy pair of shorts. Utility is handled by 7 pockets to squirrel away energy gel and keys, a partial elastic waistband with nylon webbing belt and buckle closure and rear stretch panel so your ass doesn't bunch up on those maneuvers that require you to get behind the saddle. They even come in a rainbow of colors to match (or mismatch if you prefer) the rest of your riding kit. All in all, it looks like a hell of a product on paper. How does the paper model compare to real life?

We've spent more than a few months grinding it out in these shorts, and we have to say we're impressed. As advertised, the liner and chamois are amazingly comfortable and supportive, keeping the chamois placed right under your butt at all times. The chamois itself intially feels bulky and hindering, but after a couple minutes in the saddle, it more or less melts into the construction of the shorts while still providing loads of support. Saddle sores be GONE! There's nothing but cushy, pillowy feelings for your rear with these shorts protecting them. The liner is sewn into outer shell in a number of places, so this is not a separate liner, which is unfortunate but it helps to keep the price reasonable. And speaking of the outer shell, we were highly impressed by it's ability to resist damage. We hit the dirt doing more than a few stupid things with these shorts and they've always come out more intact than we have. The shell also has a hint of water resistance to it, as we didn't feel completely drenched when we rode in the rain with these.

There are more pockets in this pair of shorts than there are in an average hydration pack, and they are generally quite useful. The rear cargo pocket had limited use due to it's position (things tended to end up partially under your butt cheek while riding which could be due to a certain skinny tester who has some issues with his shorts falling down at times) but was very secure nonetheless. We would have liked to have seen a key clip in one of the cargo pockets to keep your car keys from disappearing on a ride, but this is a minor quibble and hardly a deal breaker. The elastic and buckle system makes the shorts widely adjustable for many waist sizes and is a welcome change from some shorts that are "medium, and ONLY medium."

The Ponderosa Knicker is perfect for cool weather or urban situations.

What didn't we like so much? Well, the liner is stitched into the legs of the outer shell, and as the liner rode up our legs a bit, the outer shell would lift as well. This really isn't too much of a bad thing, but it looks a little odd at times, and it can feel a bit strange. If you're riding the gnar, you shouldn't be worrying about it anyway. Aside from the key clip, the only other issue we had was that these shorts are HOT. They keep you very warm indeed, with the microfiber outer shell holding in heat making your nether regions into a sweating mess. Thankfully the chamois and liner wicks it away well. Still, these shorts are best for slightly cooler days, and are a little bit warm for dog days of summer riding.

The knickers are almost an exact clone of the shorts, but in a 3/4 length that is well suited to messengers or cooler trail rides. The knickers even feature bungee cord closures on the legs that keep them nice and snug on the calf. They are wonderful for cooler day rides and for urban rides where road rash is a real possibility.

Overall, Hoss has scored big with the Ponderosa line, with excellent quality materials that last forever and come clean easily combined with a very reasonable price. And the Ponderosa line is just the tip of the iceberg; Hoss has a whole line of lifestyle apparrel, cycling jerseys and jackets. We still think that the product that put them on the map is what will keep them there for a long time to come.

Hoss Ponderosa Shorts - MSRP: $49.95
Hoss Ponderosa Knickers - MSRP: $69.95
Hoss - www.hossmtb.com

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