TLD BP7605 w/ Shock Doctor, 3 Seasons of Use
The Good: Low profile protection, moisture management, easy to wash, excellent coverage, light weight, easy to take on and off
The Bad: Silicone strip in leg opening
The BP7605 is Troy Lee's top end protective short created with Shock Doctor, X-Fit and a bunch of other patented technologies... That's great and all but how does it work? I tested it all out for three full seasons to find out. Here are my thoughts.
Fit: The best way to describe how these fit would be to explain how they fit me. First lets get an understanding of my length and girth. When I got these I was 190lbs with a 34 inch waist and a 32 inch inseam so based off the the sizing guide from a variety of websites (couldn't find one on the TLD site) I picked up a large. The initial fit actually felt a bit snug around the waist but felt true throughout the rest. After having them on for about 2 minutes and a couple of test squats I realized that they snuggness is only in the elastic waist to keep the shorts in place while riding and by no means is it uncomfortable. The rest of the short is form fitting with no real areas where they're baggy. Padding should stay in place in the event of a fall. Length is true to size with the opening at the base of the quad. It's snug but also very flexible so circulation won't be cut off. TLD put a silicone strip at the opening of the leg to "prevent" slipping and while standing that seems like it makes sense... but more on that later.
What about my shorts, do I need to start sizing up? I didn't. Sure the shorts feel a bit more snug but they still fit well without any barriers to movement. Granted I mainly use the Sombrio Charger and the TLD Moto shorts which are a bit baggier but even with my Sombrio Badass trail short I have plenty of room. Keep in mind that waist band doesn't add much if any girth to your waist. Only where the padding is located is where you'll feel a bit more substance.
After 3 seasons do they still fit? I have used the TLD BP7605 shorts for three seasons now and the fit is still true. Since I purchased these I have actually lost 20lbs and have a 30 inch waist. Oddly enough the material comfortably stretches and retracts so well that they still fit. I could probably move down to a medium at this point but I still don't notice any movement or slipping.
Areas of Protection: The TLD BP7605 short covers a lot of real estate. In total there are three leg pads for each leg and one small tail bone pad. On the inner thigh there is a softer pad and an integrated chamois. You'll first notice the largest pads in the system that sit right on your hip and upper outer thigh. This pad is situated in an area that normally hits the ground first. TLD obviously recognized this making the hip/upper thigh pad more robust and it bends less than the others in the system. Below are three pads that lay horizontal. These seem to support the larger pad for when your leg hits the ground after your upper leg takes the initial impact. On the rear there is a small tail bone protector that seems to cover enough without getting in the way of your shorts. The material on the inner thigh soft to the touch and isn't designed for absorbing heavy impacts. This area is in place for saddle rubbing.
Performance: How does the protective short fair? Over my three season in these shorts I've taken a fair share of falls. More than I can recall actually. Given that I'm a natural hack I fall in unorthodox places as well as the places you'd expect riders to go down. The shorts have been excellent. I originally decided to get them after a trip to Whistler resulted in two bruised femurs. Since I have yet to bruise another bone and my leg bruises/scratches have been reduced dramatically I have been very surprised at the level of protection because they're not large bulky pads. They cover just enough to keep your legs safe without hindering your movement. What about the chamois, does it work? Yes and no. I wouldn't replace my go-to crotch pads for all day rides with shorts but I have found they you can actually wear them over the top of your normal chamois without getting excess movement or rub. What I find interesting is that these have actually migrated their way into my trail riding activities as well. Normally I used them exclusively for downhill but really never noticed them while riding so I decided to give them a shot while on longer all day up/down rides. They've been excellent. I wear them with a thinner Sugio chamois and I don't get any rash from being in the saddle for 4+ hours.
Are they hot though and do they start to stink? Any short is going to get warm on a summer day and you'll really start to notice a short when you start sweating. These have been great however. The lyrca material manages sweat by wicking it from you body efficiently keeping your legs and tush dry to keep rash at bay. TLD included an anti-microbial material to help with the stink but after a few hot summer rides without a wash they start to develop a funk. There is no better cure for bacteria than killing it with a nice wash.
Easy to wash? It's not hard but you definitely need to pay attention. I normally leave the removable pads in because they absorb stink along with the rest of the short. Keep your eyes peeled though when pulling them from machine because some pads can work their way out and you'll need to remember to put them back in before you wait a week, find the pad and say "what the hell does this go to?" and throw it out because you're too lazy to figure it out. Line drying is relatively quick so it can be done overnight before a morning ride.
Improvements: I only have one gripe with these and it's the same gripe I have with bibs and lyrca shorts. Silicone lined leg openings: For me, it's obnoxious. It's designed to keep the leg in place. It actually does the opposite. On very rare occasion one leg with ride up and the silicone strip keeps it up around my thigh. If the silicone strip wasn't there the short leg would just fall back to it's native resting spot, especially with the stiffness of the leg padding to keep it in place. When it rides up the lower three pads bunch making it uncomfortable. Silicone + sweat = sticky friction. I mitigate this with a little dusting of baby powder before a ride.
Bottom Line: Would I recommend these to my mom? Yup. They've done their job in an excellent way and for $80.00 retail (found for $70.00 online) I can't ask too much more. Solid construction that TLD is known for is present throughout the entire package. They've lasted three season of riding DH/Trail and still look and fit like new. My favorite part is the lack of The Grimace colored bruises from thigh to cheek since pulling these on.