Does Giro’s waterproof trail short sink or swim?
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Designed around Giro’s enduro-based Havoc short, the Havoc H2O adds a waterproof fabric into the mix, designed to keep you drier and more comfortable when riding in winter conditions.
Few things spoil a ride as quickly as being wet and cold, and riding in a pair of dedicated winter shorts can help make a ride.
So how do the Giro Havoc H2O shorts fair against typical British winter weather?
Giro’s Havoc H2O shorts are made from a two-way stretch nylon fabric and feature a three-layer laminate construction. Giro claims a 15,000mm waterproof rating and 6,000g/m2/24h breathability, and uses a DWR (Durable Waterproof Repellent) coating.
There’s also a Cordura® Ripstop seat panel for additional durability when sitting down and pedalling on a mud- and grit-soaked saddle that’s likely to wear through fabrics quicker.
The fabric is pretty light, but feels durable and has a slightly softer touch than a full-on hard-shell material.
Features-wise, the Havoc H2O shorts include internally sealed seams to help prevent leaks through the stitching. In addition, there’s a non-waterproof fly zip behind a storm flap, a two-popper and Velcro fastener with elasticated waist straps to help tailor fit, and additional belt loops.
Unfortunately, there aren’t any silicone grippers in the waist lining.
There’s one zipped side pocket on the right leg and a zipped pocket on the rear-waist panel. Plus, there are two waterproof zip vents on the legs that should aid breathability.
Finally, there are Velcro tabs on the short hems, enabling you to tighten them if required.
The cut of the Havoc H2O is more fitted than other waterproof shorts we’ve tested, such as the Nukeproof Blackline Winter shorts. As such, they could be used to cross over for winter gravel riding or commuting.
They’re not the longest shorts, but the hems fitted over my enduro knee pads fine, and there wasn’t any interference between the two when pedalling. They rested just above my kneecaps when seated on the bike.
Riding comfort was fine, I didn’t notice any unusual bunching and the material wasn’t overly noisy when pedalling.
The biggest problem I found was that I had to keep pulling the rear of the shorts up when riding. The lack of silicone gripper in the waistband perhaps made them more likely to slide down.
Wearing a belt might help here, but I don’t fancy pedalling with a belt buckle, and I didn’t have this issue with other waterproof shorts.
One other criticism relates to the side pocket. It’s too low down the thigh, and anything you place in there is right in the line for you to land on if you wash out in a crash.
The material did a good job of keeping my backside and thighs dry, and fended off the worst of the rain admirably. After the ride, my chamois was damp but not soaked through.
At no point was my enthusiasm for riding hindered by feeling uncomfortable, I was just frustrated at having to repeatedly pull the shorts up.
Even with their low breathability rating, I didn’t feel any clammier inside these shorts than others, and didn’t use the vents. However, they are an option if needed and may be helpful on warmer wet rides.
Giro has made a short that can handle foul weather, and the cut is great for those with more performance in mind. However, their downfall is the lack of a silicone gripper inside the waistband and the pocket placement.
To make sure I put these shorts to the test thoroughly, I took them out in some truly awful weather to face persistent rain and soaked trails with mud and puddles aplenty. I mixed up pedalling singletrack trails with winch and plummet rides to check all the boxes these shorts are designed to cover.
I tested these shorts alongside five other pairs, always making sure I used a fresh, dry chamois and clean shorts before each outing, so there would be a fair baseline for comparison.
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