Gore’s C5 Trail Light Short is the best warm weather short we’ve tested. Lightweight fabrics and huge mesh vents mean you’ll be as comfortable as possible in even the hottest weather. Very stretchy fabric means that even the snug cut isn’t constrictive when pedaling hard or snagging shifting body positions on the seat. Not a great short for cold weather riding, but an ideal part of any summer riding kit.
The Gore C5 Trail Light Shorts have a snug fit, but are constructed of very stretchy fabric, there is plenty of freedom of movement even when pedaling hard from a seated position. We never had a problem with the shorts snagging on the seat on dismount. They are held up by a stretchy drawstring, which is absolutely adequate given the shorts very light (just 125 grams) weight.
Cross-country race inspired, the C5 Trail Light Shorts have a very sporty look, a single color with black accents that are the thigh and lower back vents and the waistband. They’re about as close to an all-spandex racer-head getup as you are going to get in a draping short.
These are the lightest, best ventilated shorts in the test by a long shot. There are ten-inch long see-through mesh vents over the thighs and across the low back. Even without them, the lightweight fabric won’t trap much heat. The stretchy fabric ensures easy movement. Not a great choice for cold-weather riding.
In the spirit of staying light, the C5 Trail Light Shorts are skinny on features, with just a single hip pocket. As for that one pocket, it’s plenty roomy enough for a plus-sized phone, and is positioned low and to the side to keep said phone from bouncing across your thigh. Also nice is a subtle pattern of silicone grip tape on the back of the waistline to help keep the shorts from slipping down.
Despite the race-inspired look and weight, it’s a standard-length endure style short with a 14-inch inseam, long enough to bridge the gap to knee pads and protect from road rash in a crash. The fabric is pretty thin, though, and wouldn’t do much to turn aside a cactus spine or a pointy stick. Luckily we didn’t have to test such an eventuality. The seat, inner thighs, and waist band are made of a slightly tougher fabric, mainly to prevent normal wear and tear from friction.
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HOW WE TESTED
Our testing team tested the shorts in and around Minneapolis and Duluth, Minnesota; Sedona and Tucson, Arizona, Jackson, Wyoming and Moab, Utah over a period of two months on asphalt, gravel, and singletrack in temperatures ranging from the low 40’s to the mid-90’s and on distances that ranged from six miles to 56. Our testing team did not intentionally set out to test the durability of each pair of shorts in a crash. Instead, to judge the shorts’ ability to withstand impact, they scrutinized their construction materials, the weight of the fabric and the stitching. Though, there may have been some crashes anyway.