Machines for Freedom’s gorgeous aesthetic and obsessive product design quickly put them at the top of my list for cycling gear. Even though I only ride trails, I’m partial to spandex kits over baggies. I’ve been wearing Machines’ bibs for a couple of years, so I was excited when they released these shorts sans bib. I ordered them literally the day they were launched. In the months I’ve been wearing them out on my rides, they have not let me down!
The fabric is made of a different material than their bib shorts and pants. While their bibs are made of a slick, high-shine fabric, these are more matte, but still have a subtle sheen. The fabric provides good coverage with no see-through issues. Personally, I like this fabric better than their bib fabric for both look and feel.
I purchased these in a size XS and they fit perfectly. They’re snug and compressive without being constricting or difficult to put on. Depending on the brand, I wear XS or XXS. They fit similar to other brands of cycling pants and the same as Machines’ other cycling bottoms. Purchase your usual size, or go up if you are in between sizes.
The rise is very high, with plenty of coverage in front and back. It comes up high enough to just cover my belly button. There are no seams on the top of the waistband, which means it does not dig in. Whether standing or in riding position, the waistband is totally comfortable for me. The chamois is comfortable in the saddle. It’s plush without being overly stiff or awkward. I’ve worn these for quite a few 2-3 hour rides, plus lots of shorter ones, and have been very happy with how they feel.
The inseam is 8.5″, longer than the 7.5″ inseam on their bib shorts. I was a bit worried about the inseam length, since I’m petite (5’3″) and many reviewers on Machines’ site took issue with it. They did seem a little long when I put them on for the first time, but as I move around, they settle in at a nice length, as my pics show. While I’m sure a shorter inseam would work too, they don’t look overly long, even on my shorter legs. Once you start riding, they stay in position and don’t ride up or slip down. Silicone grips on the inner band of the hem help them stay in place. The lack of seams at the hem prevents the dreaded sausage leg effect.
Overall, I’m very happy with these shorts and wear them constantly. At $148, they’re definitely at the top end of the price range for cycling shorts, but in my opinion, they are worth it. These are my favorite cycling bottoms I own so far, both out of Machines’ lineup and the other brands I’ve tried. Machines offer free shipping and free returns, plus a 30-day trial period for bottoms to be sure you’re happy with the fit and feel.
Machines for Freedom essential shorts
Machines for Freedom summerweight long sleeve in jaded rose
Machines for Freedom x Roka Oslo sunglasses in palmera
Smith Forefront 2 helmet
100% ridecamp gloves
Garmin Fenix 5S
Stance crew socks
Five Ten freeriders