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  1. #1
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    Protective inner shorts compared

    Inspired by a recent wreck that had me sleeping on my left side for two weeks from a hip impact, I plan to start wearing padded short liners on my daily XC/AM rides. (By "padded," I'm referring to protective padding over the hipbone and/or upper leg, I'm not talking about liners with a chamois.) This thread had some helpful suggestions on options. I thought it might be helpful if I posted my own limited impressions of specific shorts.

    (Many people looking for padded shorts are looking to use them just for downhill and don't really care if they have a chamois or are comfortable for pedaling. If that's you, then you have more options than just the shorts I'm focusing on.)

    There are three different shorts I'm planning to compare:
    -- 2011 Fox Launch (msrp $70, paid $56),
    -- 2011 Rockgardn CYA (msrp $65, paid $64), and
    -- POC Hip VPD 2.0 (msrp $100, paid $75).

    I own the Fox shorts and have worn them half a dozen times. I ordered the CYAs but haven't worn them on a ride (and won't till I decide whether I'm keeping or returning them). I've ordered the POCs but they haven't arrived yet.

    So for now all I can really do is compare the Fox and CYA shorts out of the box. They're different in many respects:

    Padding
    - the Fox armor is all foam, while the thigh and tailbone pad on the CYA is hard plastic sewn over the foam (but the hip pad is foam only) ;
    - both shorts use rigid foam padding, but its different. The Fox padding is more firm but at the same time has more air holes. The foam on the CYA is squishy enough that I'd be concerned about impacts to the him (where there's no hard plastic on top);
    - the Fox has a lot of upper leg coverage (covers the side plus some front), while the CYA has no coverage of front of leg and maybe 80% as much on the side;
    - the CYA has much more hip coverage -- the hip pad is maybe 5x larger than on the Fox and extends up to the top of the hip bone;
    - annoyingly for me, both shorts have no padding over the point of my hip, the spot I want padding the most. Both shorts have a leg pad and a hip pad, and on both shorts the point of my hip falls exactly in the gap between them. WTF? [EDIT: My bad. I was assessing coverage while standing up in my living room, but the pads move as you bend your leg, and it seems to me you're much more likely to impact with you leg bent at the waist, not straight. Anyhow, when my leg is bent, the Fox provides great coverage for the point of my hip.]

    Chamois
    - both shorts have a synthetic chamois pad. I'm no chamois expert, but the Fox chamois feels somewhat higher quality to me, comparable to a nice mid-range cycling short. Hard to assess the CYA pad without riding in them, but they feel lower-tech and less cushiony. Feels like a minor difference only.

    Quality/durability
    - the shorts fabric (what the pads and chamois are sewn to) is nicer quality and more durable on the Fox shorts. The CYA fabric is lightweight lycra, while the Fox fabric is a heavier stretchy mesh (except for the inner thigh which is lightweight lycra). Fox seams are flatlock, CYA seams are not. The fox has a gripper thingy around the leg openings, the CYA does not.
    - I wonder a little about the long term durability of the CYAs if used for pedaling and not just downhills. The shape of the pads is such that when your leg is bent at the hip, the pad stretches the short in a way that seems like it would stress the lightweight fabric over time. Hard to explain in words.
    - I have a 32 waist and got a medium in each short, and both shorts fit me fine.


    Once I get the POC shorts, I'll compare them to the other two and try to give some ride impressions of the Fox and POC shorts.
    Last edited by OldManBike; 07-09-2011 at 06:33 PM.

  2. #2
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    POC VPD shorts out of the box

    My POC liner shorts arrived today. I haven't worn them on a ride yet, so these are just my out-of-the-box impressions.

    Padding
    - unlike the other two I've tried, the POC shorts use VPD instead of regular foam (or foam and hard plastic) for the padding. Same stuff that's in POC's knee and elbow pads, same sort of stuff as 661 Evo and others. The pad is not especially thick, but it feels very firm and confidence inspiring.
    - the coverage scheme is completely different than the Fox or CYA. Hip and tailbone only, no coverage at all on quads or outer thigh. The hip pad is roughly the size and shape of my hand with fingers straight and together.
    - The tailbone coverage seems ample, as do the other two.
    - the POC actually covers the point of my hip, unlike the other two. For me, this is a huge plus in its favor relative to the other two. [EDIT: uh, not exactly. It covers the point of my hip only when my leg is straight, which is not an especially likely impact scenario. When my leg is bent (at the hip), no coverage. So huge minus, not huge plus. Oh well.]

    Chamois
    - these shorts have a synthetic chamois. "Coolmax invicta" stamped on it. Definitely not as thick and cushiony as the Fox. Thinner but a firmer than the CYA. My suspicion is these will be fine for shorter rides but less comfortable for me for longer rides. We'll see.

    Quality/durability
    - A very breathable mesh on the outside of the leg, lycra on the rest. (Heavier weight lycra than the CYAs). Flatlock seams, no grippy rubber around the leg opening (which is a plus for me).
    - just trying them on, the POC are the most comfortable of the 3 for me. Like the others, size medium fits me fine.
    - the POC has a bit of the same issue as the CYAs, namely that the larger hip pad resists bending with your leg during pedaling motion. Maybe something one doesn't even notice while riding, or maybe not, we'll see.
    - POC has a reputation for quality construction, but these shorts come up short. The stitching is glaringly sloppy in several spots. Should have been sold as seconds, even. The CYA felt like cheaper materials to me, and that's not the issue here. The materials are nice, its the construction that is lacking. Pretty disappointing.


    Just judging from the design (not ride experience), these 3 shorts offer some clear contrasts. Here are my thoughts:
    -- If you need a chamois that's just as nice as your regular bike shorts for long-ride comfort in the saddle, then the Fox looks like the choice. The Fox also is the friendliest for pedaling because its hip padding is so minimal.
    -- If you need leg coverage, not just hip and tailbone coverage, you don't want the POC. The CYA gives you hard plastic outer thigh coverage, while the Fox gives you front and side foam coverage.
    -- If you need coverage for the point of your hip, the POCs are your best bet but it might be worth trying on the other two to see where the padding falls on you. The CYA offers the best protection for the top of your hip bone. [EDIT: Actually, for me, the Fox covers the point of my hip with my leg bent, but the POC doesn't.]
    -- If tailbone coverage is your priority, I think any of the three will serve you well, but the CYA appears the most protective.
    -- If you need the coolest (i.e. least insulating) liner short, I suspect the POCs are the way to go.
    -- If durability is the most important thing to you, I'd recommend the Fox. Clearly superior quality vs. the other two.

    Bottom line, there's no one right choice for everyone, it depends what features you care most about.

    Will update this thread once I have a chance to wear the POCs out on the trail.
    Last edited by OldManBike; 07-09-2011 at 06:28 PM.

  3. #3
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    Good reviews.

    Same thing happenned to me a few weeks ago so started looking at padded inner shorts with the same criteria(quality chamois). Unfortunately, Ive only been able to try the POC so far. Chamois is too thin(not enough padding for long rides and unlike OLDMAN, the edge of the padding sits right on the point of my hip bone(trochanter??) so in an actual crash, I think it would shift out of position and not provide the necessary coverage.

    Just made a HAR order, damn should have included the Fox Launches.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by robnow View Post
    Good reviews.

    Same thing happenned to me a few weeks ago so started looking at padded inner shorts with the same criteria(quality chamois). Unfortunately, Ive only been able to try the POC so far. Chamois is too thin(not enough padding for long rides and unlike OLDMAN, the edge of the padding sits right on the point of my hip bone(trochanter??) so in an actual crash, I think it would shift out of position and not provide the necessary coverage.
    Yeah, and its not so easy trying to choose these without being able to just walk into a store and compare them all right there. The website descriptions tend to not give a lot of information about the quality of the chamois, or even a photo of the inside. And obviously its hard to tell from a picture exactly where the pads will cover on you.

    There are a lot of other options besides the 3 I've discussed above. A couple from TLD, a couple from 661, at least two more from Fox, O'Neal, Alpinestars, and many others I'm sure. From what I can tell just from online descriptions, I haven't found anything to indicate that any of these have a chamois as comfortable as the Fox Launch shorts, although they all could have better hip bone coverage.

    Oh, what the hell. I'm going to order the Fox Titans and TLD Padded Impact shorts, too.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by robnow View Post
    unlike OLDMAN, the edge of the padding sits right on the point of my hip bone(trochanter??) so in an actual crash, I think it would shift out of position and not provide the necessary coverage.
    It finally occurred to me today that I was assessing pad coverage wrong. I was focusing on what was covered while i was standing up. (And thought the Fox and CYA pads left the point of my hip uncovered while the POC covered it.) But in a real crash, your legs are almost invariably going to be bent at the waist to one degree or another, not straight. The area covered by the pads (or, at least whether the pads cover the point of your hip) changes as you bend your leg, so the way to figure out if the pads protect the point of your hip, it seems to me, is with your leg bent, not straight.

    All of which is probably obvious to most, but it wasn't to me. Once I realized my mistake, I realized that actually the Fox covers the point of my hip great, but the POC doesn't. With my leg bent at the hip, the POC hip pad shifts right off the point of my hip and covers nothing important.

    I've edited my reviews above to correct the mistake. I've decided against the POC and the CYA, and I've pretty much decided that the Fox Launch Pro is the one for me. But I already have the other two I ordered on the way, so I might as well check them out.

    I hope all this is helpful to somebody.

  6. #6
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    I love the Fox Titan shorts. Out of the box, they're the best I've found. Very comfortable, nice chamois, good coverage, high quality. Exactly what I was looking for. Haven't worn them on a ride yet, though.

  7. #7
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    Any other differences between Titan and Launch other than:
    - tailbone coverage on Launch
    - lower thigh padding on Launch

    Same chamois or better on the Titan?
    Is the Titan better ventilated or the same?

  8. #8
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    The Fox Titan inner shorts, compared to Fox Launch

    Padding
    -The foam itself is similar although not identical. It seems a bit thicker in the Titan. It has more airholes in the Launch.
    - Both have tailbone coverage. The Launch tailbone pad is maybe 3x larger. The Titan tailbone pad is a little larger than a credit card.
    -- The padding for the hip bone is similar.
    -- the Launch has much more leg coverage. Maybe 2x as much on the side, plus padding on the front. Titan has no padding on the front.

    Chamois
    -- the chamois pads are not identical. The cushioning on the Titan feels more firm. The Titan has a dual density chamois (i.e. thicker padding under your sit bones) like the liners that came with my expensive TLD Ace shorts, while the Launch is single density. Both appear very good, I'd be surprised if I notice any difference in use.

    Quality/durability
    -- The Titan fabric is mesh on the front and lycra on the back. The Titan mesh is lighter, softer, and appears more breathable than the mesh on the Launch, but not flimsy or delicate. Flatlock seams. The leg openings have a gripper silicone bead, but not as grippy (and more comfortable IMO) vs the Launch.

    The only thing I didn't like about the Launch shorts is that they got kind of wet and clammy feeling on hot sweaty rides. I attributed this mostly to pad coverage (the foam is much more insulating than fabric, so all that leg coverage kept them from breathing better. To me, the comfort cost outweighed the benefit of all that padding on my legs, at least for summertime riding.

    I'm optimistic that the Titan shorts will be more comfortable in the heat while still offering all the protection I need for daily rides. We'll see.

  9. #9
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    Thanks for the info and the TLD Ace comparison as those are what I rock as well(great shorts but every TLD piece I've ever had seems to be put together by blind first year 10 year olds). Found a local shop carrying the Launches, hoping they have Titans as well and will check them out later today. Had another crash in the wet this week and hit the exact same spot on hip so definitely grabbing a pair now.

  10. #10
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    Thanks for the review..

  11. #11
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    Very happy with Fox Titan shorts after first ride.

  12. #12
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    Totally satisfied with the Fox Titans, after maybe 10 rides. Wear them on all but the hottest days. Great short liners for trail riding, IMO.

  13. #13
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    I've ridden the TLDs and found the chamois comfortable but somewhat thick--doesn't breathe as well as my bibs. What I like is the hip/spleen/kidney protection. In case of a wreck all the important parts have some padding against the rocks and roots.

  14. #14
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    hey, some great info there, did you return the pocs or did you get to ride in those?

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by dan1210 View Post
    hey, some great info there, did you return the pocs or did you get to ride in those?
    Thanks. I returned the POCs without wearing them on a ride.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by OldManBike View Post
    Totally satisfied with the Fox Titans, after maybe 10 rides. Wear them on all but the hottest days. Great short liners for trail riding, IMO.
    OMB,

    Thank you for your VERY informative review of these padded undershorts. I was considering both CYA and Launch and didn't consider the Titan. I ride in Sedona AZ and it can get nearly 100deg in the top of the summer and would like to know some additional info.

    Is there a noticeable discomfort when wearing the Launch compared to the Titan when the weather is warm? After several months of use how is the chamois wearing compared to the Launch? Also is the chamois comfort between the two noticeable (I ride a FS bike 3-5 hours a ride 5-6 days a week) this is an important factor. I currently use a regular Sugoi 100 chamois under some Fox padded (hip only) DH shorts and would like to have some more options.

    Again thank you for your reviews and response!

  17. #17
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    I have a pair of the TLD shorts, they seem to have decent coverage from hip, leg to small of lower back, tailbone area. Only major griped is the chamois is just average not as good as a Pearl Izumi or Defeet liner short I have. So far after 6 months of intermittent use the shorts have held up well.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by RideNShine View Post
    OMB,

    Thank you for your VERY informative review of these padded undershorts. I was considering both CYA and Launch and didn't consider the Titan. I ride in Sedona AZ and it can get nearly 100deg in the top of the summer and would like to know some additional info.

    Is there a noticeable discomfort when wearing the Launch compared to the Titan when the weather is warm? After several months of use how is the chamois wearing compared to the Launch? Also is the chamois comfort between the two noticeable (I ride a FS bike 3-5 hours a ride 5-6 days a week) this is an important factor. I currently use a regular Sugoi 100 chamois under some Fox padded (hip only) DH shorts and would like to have some more options.

    Again thank you for your reviews and response!
    Well, this response won't be terribly helpful. I can't give much more comparison between Launch and Titan than what I said before because (a) I basically stopped wearing the Launch shorts after I got the Titan shorts, and (b) I don't wear the Titans all that much anymore either because regular, non-padded inner shorts are just more comfortable and I'm not falling enough lately for the less comfortable shorts to be worth it. The titan shorts, including chamois, are holding up fine for the occasional use they're getting.

    By less comfortable, I mean a couple things. They're sweatier because of the padding and because the fabric doesn't wick as well as my TLD Ace liners. The fabric that makes up the shorts (seams, leg grippers, fabric) isn't quite as comfortable overall. And, probably the biggest thing, the chamois just isn't as nice as the chamois in my TLD Ace or Jett Raptor liners. Bulkier but noticeably comfortable an hour into a ride. None of that's a big deal at all, if I wasn't spoiled by fancy high-end shorts I'd probably be perfectly happy with the Titans.

  19. #19
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    I thought you was perfectly happy with them? I just ordered the titans on the strength of your review but now your opnion has changed? I recently had a really nasty fall on my hip and back and am still struggling to get around and currently in bed with 2 haematomas that are agony! I also ordered the poc vpd 2.0 and the titans and plan to wear whichever i prefer for everyday riding, i wouldnt wish this on anyone! I dont have the titans yet but the pocs are ok just not so sure the large vpd pad will be great to pedal in, ordered the titans for comparison

  20. #20
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    Dan,

    What I gathered from OMB is that while he has tried them all he prefers the Titan's for protection, comfort, durability and breath ability over the others he has mentioned. He's not saying that the Titans are not his top choice, he is saying his need for protective under shorts is not as much as it once was since his skills have improved and hasn't crashed in a while.

    OMB,

    Thanks for the response as it was indeed helpful! I have decided on both of the Fox shorts, and plan to use them on the more technical rides. You helped me realize that the use of such shorts should be on occasions and not a daily replacement to a high quality chamois.

  21. #21
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    Hey, many thanks to the original poster for a very informative discussion, apologies if my comment may seem a little harsh, been stuck in the house for nearly 3 weeks is getting to me lol!

  22. #22
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    Anyone tried the g foam crash shorts yet?

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    Hi there,
    I use Knox cross armored shorts when I ride my motorcycle. They have them on sportbiketrackgear dot com. I cant post images or links due to low post count.

    Removable and replaceable CE approved rotating hip and thigh.

    I usually put them on under my one piece leather suit. I recently had a small crash, lowside (on a track, fell on my right side and slid/tumbled for about 25 feet) my hips were fine next day, did not feel a thing. I would highly recommend these. Remind you, ive never used these for mountain biking. Let me know what you think.

  24. #24
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    These are interesting (while I sit here with a badly bruised ass & lower back):
    RS Taichi U245 COOL RIDE PROTECTION RIDING SHORTS
    Craig Kelly is my copilot.Product Marketing and Product Photographer

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by OldManBike View Post
    My POC liner shorts arrived today. I haven't worn them on a ride yet, so these are just my out-of-the-box impressions.

    Padding
    - unlike the other two I've tried, the POC shorts use VPD instead of regular foam (or foam and hard plastic) for the padding. Same stuff that's in POC's knee and elbow pads, same sort of stuff as 661 Evo and others. The pad is not especially thick, but it feels very firm and confidence inspiring.
    - the coverage scheme is completely different than the Fox or CYA. Hip and tailbone only, no coverage at all on quads or outer thigh. The hip pad is roughly the size and shape of my hand with fingers straight and together.
    - The tailbone coverage seems ample, as do the other two.
    - the POC actually covers the point of my hip, unlike the other two. For me, this is a huge plus in its favor relative to the other two. [EDIT: uh, not exactly. It covers the point of my hip only when my leg is straight, which is not an especially likely impact scenario. When my leg is bent (at the hip), no coverage. So huge minus, not huge plus. Oh well.]
    Thanks for the review.

    Just to confirm, you are talking about these shorts form POC?

    sicklines.com/news-images/2012_poc_vpd_2.0_productss.jpg

    I havent seen them in person, but the hip vpd part looks quite large to me.

    So you are saying when you leg bents, this vpd side part rises and it doesnt cover the hip any more?

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