My road bibs were doing off-road duty until I finally decided I needed a mountain biking wardrobe and something for casual rides no matter what the bike or destination. The Arc is the winner.
I settled on the Giro Arc + Base liner pad ($140) based on the slim, trim fit. I find many MTB shorts run baggy and are loaded with cargo pockets — like you’re doing the La Ruta de los Conquistadores stage race in Costa Rica. I’ve got long, skinny legs so I didn’t want to be swimming in wide body trunks.
Among the several things I like about the Arc + Base Liner pad were the reasonable price and nail-the-basics design approach. At my age I prefer an understated, uncluttered look. I’m also partial to bike shorts that function as Summer casual wear to go with sandals, t-shirt and beer. The trim fit, five color options and chill styling make that possible.
The Arc features a DWR coated ripstop fabric that feels super lightweight — which means good wicking properties and super fast dry. I generally skip the dyer and don’t have to wait long before the shorts are ready to roll. I wore these on bike trips to Europe and that quick dry time is even more appreciated. Same goes for the DWR coating that preserves the fabric and boosts durability.
On board the Arc, you’ve got two side pockets and a decent-sized zip pocket down the right thigh. You could probably stuff your phone in there but I just use it for gels or keys. Personally I would have beefed up the zipper but that’s not a deal breaker. The adjustable waist belt has velcro so you can dial in fit — my weight tends to fluctuate so that’s real handy.
The base liner pad features a dual-density 12mm pad. It’s comfortable and well-shaped but I wouldn’t say it’s as comfortable as a high quality bib pad. Really, what is? I’d say you’re good for 2 to 3 hours of saddle time depending on your particular rear end.
What does work really well with the liner is the form-fitting body contour design. No slipping or sliding around. Plus there are moisture wicking mesh side panels that keep things aired out. You also have a fly panel to speed up nature calls. By the way, the short and pad are also sold seperately if you prefer to go that route.
I’ve worn these shorts for over six months. They’ve held up well except for a slight color fade and abrasion on the butt. Most likely, that’s a function of the lightweight material — the trade-off for breathability and rapid dry times. I’d still give the Giro Arc and Base Liner high marks for keeping things simple and well-designed.
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