Zoic’s Falcon shorts offer lightweight, stretchy comfort in a rugged, durable, and stylish package. Pairing them with the Impact liner shorts, riders get the added benefit of hip, thigh and tailbone protection.
The Zoic new Falcon shorts offer lightweight, stretchy comfort in a rugged, durable, and stylish package. Pairing them with the updated Zoic Impact liner shorts, riders get the added benefit of hip, thigh and tailbone protection for when trails turn rowdy.
Mountain bike trails are getting more rambunctious all the time, pinning the fun factor but upping risk of injury as well. Responding to the need for greater hip and thigh protection, the company has updated its padded Impact liner. We’ve been pairing it with their new lightweight but rugged Zoic Falcon shorts.
It’s a fortuitous mating. The Falcon Shorts offer a stretchy, comfortable, unusually lightweight ripstop fabric that even on hot days does not feel stuffy, and which gives rather than catches, snags or tears. The Impact liner features thumbnail-sized foam pads in a unique hexagonal configuration that provide comprehensive around-the-thigh, hip and tailbone protection, and conform snugly to body contours. Zoic says its 9mm-thick DEFUZE foam absorbs and disperses force to help curb hip pointers and muscle bruises.
Zoic has also come up with some clever design pluses. The Falcons’ front cargo pockets are zippered for when you need security and have Velcro for when you want convenience. Double tabs are offered on both pockets, which we found more reassuring than the usual single Velcro closure.
Within each cargo pocket is a phone sleeve — that’s right, on both sides, for lefties as well as righties. The pouches aren’t zippered, which initially gave us pause. But Zoic has done its homework. Our phone never slid out, whether sitting in our car’s bucket seats or jumping on our bike for a quick ride.
As a further test, we rode with a decommissioned phone at our local bike park. The phone got bucked around on our thigh like a cowpoke on a bronco, but never ejected. That said, we do not advise riding the bike park with an $800 phone in your shorts pocket, no matter how secure it is.
We doubly appreciated the phone pouch because we’ve had poor luck with zippered phone pockets. They’re a pain to unzip when the phone starts ringing, and half the time we forget to zip them up anyway, which has led to accidental ejection.
There’s no security clip or pouch for keys, ID, etc. We thought we’d miss it, but no. The zippered cargo pockets did the job fine. We also like the Falcon’s surround-belt, which comes with a T-lock buckle. Once you cinch the belt, it stays in place. There’s no elastic or Velcro to loosen on the ride or wear out over time.
One nuisance did pop up with the supplied belt. In the laundry, the female end of the buckle can slide into the belt channel. (This may be an unavoidable design element, since the belt is removable.) You can work it back out, but it’s a pain. Even fastening the buckle before washing did not help. It popped free in the dryer. That said, you can sub your own belt for the stock version, because the Falcon shorts also come with belt loops.
Three colors are available: black, grey and malachite. If you want eye-catching or even retina-searing, turn to Zoic’s polychromatic Ether line.
The Impact liner also impressed us. While not as burly as their Troy Lee Designs 7605 counterpart, which we adopted after a hip fracture last summer, they offer enhanced quad protection and come with a full chamois, which the TLDs do not. The chamois does up the heat factor a bit, but Zoic’s Zo-Wick “moisture management system” lived up to its name. We never felt overly inflamed, and we deem protection to outweigh the comfort negatives of an armored liner.
Our only reservation has to do with liner length. It’s a good 2 inches shorter above the knee than the TLD. Mated with knee pads, the gap doesn’t seem significant, but we prefer TLD’s longer coverage.
But for climbs and long rides, we give the Impact chamois thumbs up over the TLDs. On black diamond and chairlift terrain, TLD’s longer length and beefier pads make it our go-to.
As the saying goes, no one ever plans to crash. Bikes are so capable today, and trails are so fast, that protection can come in handy even on short local rides. Zoic’s Falcon-Impact pairing gives us superior physical comfort and psychological comfort.
Rating: Falcon shorts — 4.5 out of 5
Rating: Impact liner — 4 out of 5
Price: Falcon shorts $75, Impact liner $55
More info: zoic.com