Sugoi Ricaro Technifine Stretch Cycling Short

These bike shorts won our undying praise -- and a five hands clapping salute.

We've worn our share of snug cycling shorts, and preference usually comes down to fit (i.e., the body and the chamois) to determine whether we like them more or less than the next. We've also found that one fabric seems pretty comparable to the next.

Not so with this Ricaro Technifine short from Sugoi. Not to say the shorts didn't fit well. Oh, they fit just dandy, with the chamois snugging in nicely so you didn't have that baggy diaper butt, as is the case in some shorts (more on the chamois later).

But what impressed our sweaty selves most was the wicking ability. Look, we sweat a lot. We finish rides, runs, hikes and other "high-output" activities really wet. Our cars come equipped with towels so we don't have permanent sweat stains on the seats. But after a ride in the Technifine short -- a hard mountain bike adventure that finished with a 30-minute grind uphill and sweat dripping on the handlebars -- the shorts were very nearly dry. Shockingly dry. And in the 15-minute recovery and story-swapping post-ride time, whatever dampness had existed was wicked away so thoroughly that we didn't even fetch towels to sit on. One word: Wow. (Maybe this is why the cycling, running and fitness apparel company, established in 1987, has a name that in Japanese means "awesome," "cool" or "incredible.")

The microfiber Technifine, according to the company that often uses its own proprietary fabric technology, uses two different surfaces to speed capillary action and force quick drying. The smooth inner surface absorbs and pushes moisture to the breathable, open texture of the outer surface where it can quickly evaporate. And that textured outer surface, by the way, isn't shiny, so you don't feel so disco-shimmer-glimmery on the mountain trails either.

One feature that we thought was a fit item was the panel across the low back that oh-so-nicely snugged in the waist and made it flatter nicely. Well, we learned it has double-duty -- it's a CoolMax stretch mesh panel designed to vent extra well in an area that normally accumulates more sweat. And boy did it ever!

Now about that chamois: The seven-component chamois managed to provide comfort in all the right places without tons of extra Huggies bulk. Welding provided more comfort by allowing it to bend and fold to body contours without scratchy stitching, and an extra porous knit let moisture transfer well.

What else do you need to know? Women's style has an 8-inch inseam, while the men's has a 9-inch one. Both have gripper elastic leg openings. Both are eight-panel for excellent fit.

Suggested retail: $95
604-875-0887 or 1-800-432-1335

SNEWS Applause Meter (Winner of a nearly unheard of 5 Clapping Hands):


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