A month or two ago I managed to get hold of a pair of Intrepid Apparel Mission shorts. Our riders now number six (that I can think of) that wear Intrepid clothing which is a pretty amazing stat. I can’t think of another clothing manufacturer so well supported by the Moles, with the exception of the Endura ‘team’ shirts we use.
There must be a good reason for it…
Actually there is. In a word, it’s quality. Mountain biker’s shorts tend to get a lot of abuse out on the muddy Surrey trails and I’ve ripped the backside out of a number of famous name shorts over the years. My other Intrepid shorts (the Campaign shorts) still look as good as new after 18 months of use (stop coughing into your hands back there!), so I feel just as confident that the Missions will be looking after me for a while.
The Missions are quite different to the Campaign shorts, not least in their styling. Mine are the ‘confident’ green and blue plaid option and garnered a striking level of abuse when I first ventured out in them; however I think my fellow Moles are just jealous! They are also available in a low contrast black and grey plaid, which it must be said probably meets the aesthetic sensibilities of most of us. Kev and John both have this option and it looks quite sophisticated, if that’s a word that can be applied to either of them.
Unlike the Campaign shorts which sport multiple pockets, the Mission shorts make do with just three; two at the front and a small wallet friendly pocket at the back near the base of your spine. All are heavily armoured – as is Intrepid’s custom – with chunky zips which are easy to operate with gloved hands. The familiar Intrepid tree logo appears as little tags on the zips themselves and is also embroidered quite tastefully to the fly and the front of the left leg. The branding is clever, consistent and quite low key with the fabric and contrasting zips doing all the ‘talking’ on Intrepid’s behalf.
This time round I’ve gone for the small size and for me the fit is perfect. The cut of the Mission shorts is quite streamlined anyway but for me a small was the right choice. On a good day, when I haven’t been allowed near a Cornish Pasty Pie Shop, my 32″ waist is enough to fill the shorts easily. Riders of even lesser girth will find these shorts offer an excellent range of adjustment from the unusual white waist grippers that can cinch in the waist to just the right amount without further slippage. If you’re greater than 32″ in the mid-drift though I’d recommend a move up the size range.
These are by no means a loose-fit baggy, being designed for more all-round (dare I say ‘Enduro’?) style riding. In fact, I’d think the cut would also do rather well as a casual, urban style short as these certainly don’t shout ‘cyclist’ or ‘MTB’ until you get to the details described above. My wife was actually quite approving, which is an uncommon sign I can tell you.
Coupled with the fit, the material itself is much lighter than the rough and tumble oriented Campaign shorts, with a pleasing amount of stretch to the fabric. Manufacturers often use the term 4-way stretch but I have no means of commenting on this – what’s the 4th way after length, width, depth, err… Well, to be fair Intrepid don’t say 4-way but in any case this fabric, while being lighter, still offers a confidence inspiring level of robustness that has been tested by more than one of our riders. The fabric is tough enough that thigh vents are called into action on hot days but really the Mission is easily a 4 season short if you’re not one of those people that sport waterproof shorts in winter.
I really do like these shorts, they have a great fit and are extremely comfortable. Aside from their performance I’m actually tempted to indulge myself in a black pair for those days I want to wear my bright green Moles jersey, as the two go very well together. If you want a pair of shorts that will see you through most conditions come what may then the Mission shorts are well worth the outlay. Top rating for me.