Mace Gear produces well-priced, quality biking gear that is targeted mostly at the freeride, downhill, and urban segment of the mountain bike market. And with a product line covering everything from helmets to protective padding to hoodies, the Norco-owned brand is a staple at many riding spots north of the 49th parallel (that’s in Canada for those of you who won’t look it up).
The Mace Ignition shorts are put together using 330D nylon, a long wearing and durable material that is meant to withstand the type of adverse conditions many riders ‘enjoy’ during the winter. The Ignition shorts also feature a ‘hydrophobic’ lining that is supposed to ‘wick’ water away from your skin and keep you a little more comfortable on those especially rainy days. Combine these core features with some well-placed zippered pockets and decent adjustments to snug the waist up properly and you’ve got a ride-ready short that should keep you going through wet winters and chilly spring mornings.
The feature that I like the most about the Mace Ignition short is the material that makes up the outer shell — it’s durable and holds up well in the muck and the grime that is so common on the trails of the Pacific Northwest. And when the rain is really coming down and you know you’re going to get soaked, it’s nice to know that the lining of the shorts will keep the water away from your skin and keep you comfortable for much of your ride. Keep in mind that there are very few garments that keep you bone dry while you’re out riding in the rain — you’ll still get wet wearing these shorts.
The shorts fit pretty well and, for those of you who are in-between sizes, they have a fitting system that’s similar to a compression strap on a hydration bag or a backpack. My waist size is 32, and while I normally wear medium-sized bottoms, I chose a large pair of the Ignition shorts because they felt a little better when I was trying them on and because it’s so simple to cinch them up and keep them from sliding down. And this way, if I have an extra burger at the weekend BBQ, all I need to do is loosen off the compression strap and I’m on my way.
I also appreciated the two main zippered pockets on the front of the shorts. They’re waterproof and are easy to get into and out of while riding so you can quickly stash your gloves if you overheat on the climb up. I never really used the other pockets while riding, although the other two front pockets often held my keys when I was relaxing after a fun day in the saddle.
Overall, the Mace Ignition shorts provide good value for the suggested retail price of $89 cad, although there were a couple of things that bothered me. The stitching is decent, but there were a good number of loose ends and a couple of obviously botched stitches, something that had me a little concerned about the long-term durability of the product. In the end, the stitching wasn’t a big deal, even though I do get the occasional comment about orphaned threads.
More significant is the fact that the hydrophobic lining has a tendency to hook up on velcro-style attachments, which is a problem if you wear any type of knee protection when you ride. I found that the Mace Dirt Jump knee pads caused some significant abrasion on the liner after only a couple of rides, so I wouldn’t recommend using these two items together unless you’re looking for premature wear. The Roach Rally leg armour did a little better, but I did have to be careful about where I placed the straps when donning the armour.
The Mace Ignition short is a very good, wet and cold weather short for riders who are looking for a fairly-well made, durable short that will last for at least a couple of seasons. They look good, fit really well (although I’d consider a size larger if you normally fit into a medium), and, while they’re a little toasty when the temperatures rise, they’ll be comfortably at home on trails in the Pacific Northwest and the wet and muddy East Coast.
Manufacturer website: www.macegear.com