At first glance these shorts look pretty basic, but sometimes simple is a good thing. The Jett Drakens are made with a polyester spandex chassis, and feature dual pockets, an adjustable waist closure, and sublimated graphics.
Things We Love
There's a fair amount to like about the Draken shorts, but what stands out the most is the material. It's very lightweight, and the breathability and freedom this allows is a huge bonus for hot days or epic all-mountain rides. There are no zippered vents on these shorts, but we're not sure they're needed given how well they vent. The material is also very quiet which we really appreciate. Too many shorts make an almost annoying amount of sound when pedaling, but not the Drakens. The majority of the material doesn't have much give, but a rather large stretchy panel runs across the back of the shorts and aids mobility greatly.
There are two very convenient, easy to access zippered pockets located on the outside of the thighs. These are large enough to stow more than you'd probably want to carry on a ride, but it's certainly nice to have the extra room. The opening is pretty wide so reaching in with a full hand is a cinch.
Consistent with most of Jett's line, the shorts come with a very nice removable chamois. The chamois offers a comfortable amount of seamless padding to prevent chaffing. Long-time Jett users will appreciate the sizing changes they've made to their chamois - it's now a little snugger around the thigh for a better fit.
In general, the double-stitched construction is great. We've been riding in these for about four months and they aren't showing any signs of premature wear or fraying.
Things That Could Be Improved
Though we suspect this may be a fluke, our pair of shorts has two rather obvious construction errors. As shown in the upper left image above, there is some bunched up material on top of the leg that causes a raised ridge. It's no deal breaker, but it is a little odd. The shorts also tend to flare out on the inside of the leg openings.
Jett placed easy to adjust buckle at the waist that helps with fit and keeping things snug. When it was operational, we loved it. At some point one of the rivets that holds the buckle on was pulled out of the shorts, rendering the buckle useless. We don't know when or how it came undone (probably too many Pop-Tarts, haha!), but this likely could have been prevented if the material was reinforced in this area. All isn't lost though, as we've been able to continue using the shorts because of the zippered fly.
Sizing seems to be a little on the small side (we usually wear size 32, but the 34 fits well), so consider that if making a purchase. The legs are also a little shorter than most riding shorts, but fit is good otherwise.
Finally, the colors are a little off. Some of the areas we think were meant to be black or grey have a slight blue-purple tinge to them.
What's The Bottom Line?
Save a few construction issues, we've been pretty impressed by the Jett Draken shorts. At a price tag of $100, the shorts and removable chamois that comes with would be a nice addition to your closet, especially for all-mountain rides. Lightweight materials, large pockets, and a seamless chamois highlight the list of features we really enjoy about these simple but durable shorts.
Be sure to check out the Jett Draken jersey as well. It complements the shorts nicely.
About The Reviewer
Brandon Turman likes to pop off the little bonus lines on the sides of the trail, get aggressive when he's in tune with a bike, and to really mash on the pedals and open it up when pointed downhill. His perfect trail has a good mix of flow, tech, and balls-to-the-wall speed. He loves little transfers, rollers, and the occasional gap that gives him that momentary stomach in your throat kind of feeling. Toss in some rocky bits with the option to double over them or risk pinch flatting and you've got a winner in his book. In 13 years of riding he worked his way through the Collegiate downhill ranks to the Pro level. After finishing up his mechanical engineering degree, his riding focus turned to dirt sculpting and jumping with the occasional slopestyle contest thrown in for fun. Nowadays he's Vital MTB's resident product guy.