Royal Storm Short

Vital Rating: (Excellent)
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Tested: Royal Racing Storm Waterproof Short

Rating: Vital Review

Review by Johan Hjord // Photos by Nils Hjord and Johan Hjord

There is no bad weather, only bad gear. That is especially true when it comes to riding in the wet and in the cold. With their roots and development in the UK, the Royal Racing crew knows a thing or two about what it takes to keep comfortable when the heavens open up, and the Storm short is their ultimate weapon for combatting adverse atmospheric conditions. We took aim for the puddles and we’re ready to let you know if it is up to the task at hand.

Royal Racing Storm Short Highlights

  • Fully water proof, breathable and stretchy “3 layer” 10,000 MVP fabric
  • Fully tape sealed seam interior
  • X2 covered Zipped hand pockets
  • Reversed Waterproof zips throughout
  • Ratchet adjustable waist closure
  • Heat transfer logos
  • Bar tacked stress

Review by Johan Hjord // Photos by Nils Hjord and Johan Hjord

There is no bad weather, only bad gear. That is especially true when it comes to riding in the wet and in the cold. With their roots and development in the UK, the Royal Racing crew knows a thing or two about what it takes to keep comfortable when the heavens open up, and the Storm short is their ultimate weapon for combatting adverse atmospheric conditions. We took aim for the puddles and we’re ready to let you know if it is up to the task at hand.

Royal Racing Storm Short Highlights

  • Fully water proof, breathable and stretchy “3 layer” 10,000 MVP fabric
  • Fully tape sealed seam interior
  • X2 covered Zipped hand pockets
  • Reversed Waterproof zips throughout
  • Ratchet adjustable waist closure
  • Heat transfer logos
  • Bar tacked stress points
  • All ride fit
  • Sizes: S-XXL
  • Colors: Black
  • MSRP: $99.95 USD

Initial Impressions

If you’re going to get muddy, it’s probably smart not to be wearing your most colorful gear. Royal took note and the Storm is offered in all the Model-T Ford standard colors aka black. The short is made from a “fully waterproof and breathable” fabric, which may sound like a bit of a pipedream especially for anybody who ever had any experience with a $10 waterproof PVC shell from the local supermarket. There is sound science and modern technology behind the claim however: because water droplets are bigger than vapor particles, the pores of a fabric can be sized to only let the smaller vapor particles through. This means the fabric can stop rain water from penetrating while actually letting your sweat out. Gore-Tex is the name you most probably know this concept by, but Royal uses a different fabric supplier for the Storm.

A 10,000-mm WP rating means that the fabric can resist 10 meters of water pressure before water starts to soak through. As for breathability, a 10,000 MVP rating means 1 square meter of fabric can let 10,000 grams of moisture through in a 24-hour period. Together, these two numbers mean that the Royal Storm short should allow you to go play with bikes no matter what the weather does. Additionally, Royal uses a 3-layer version of the fabric, which adds an inner layer for extra comfort – Royal says you can wear the short directly on the skin if you so wish. For all the technology packed into the fabric, it is surprisingly thin and very light weight too.

The short features an uncluttered cut, and all the panels are taped together in addition to being sewn, to make sure water won’t leak in via the seams. There are 2 pockets featuring waterproofed zippers, the same is true for the fly. A ratchet closure lets you adjust the waist. The short is delivered without a liner.

In addition to its waterproof properties, the fabric is also coated with DWR – a “Durable Water Repellent”. This makes sure the fabric can’t absorb moisture. DWR doesn’t actually make the fabric waterproof, but it repels water off the surface which helps the garment avoid taking on moisture and weight. DWR wears off with time, but again, it is actually not responsible for waterproofing the fabric, so the garment would still function without it (and the DWR treatment can be refreshed). Time to go put all these fine intentions to the test then!

On The Trail

We’re big fans of Royal’s shorts in general. Over the last few years, the cuts have been perfected and optimized for bike riding, and the Storm short is no different. Not too loose, not too tight, and a shape that works well in the saddle. Additionally, the fabric employed for the Storm short is slightly stretchy, which gives it extra capability to follow your movements. The short is just the right length to cover your kneepads, and the hems are just roomy enough to accommodate even bulkier protection. The fabric is slightly noisier than a classic riding short, but not by much.

The sizing is slightly on the tight side at the waist, and there is not much give in this particular area. As a guesstimate, we’d say it feels about 10% tighter than the equivalent size in other Royal shorts, so take that into account if you are at the very top end of a size. If you need to cinch it down, no problem, the ratchet closure offers plenty of adjustability in that direction. Even though it doesn’t feature a stretch panel in the back, the short stays put at all times without restricting your movements.

We started testing by making sure everything works when it’s not raining, as this would give us a good idea of just how breathable the short actually is. We always run a chamois liner, but you could get away without one if that is your preference. The short is not insulated though, so unless it’s particularly warm we’d recommend the liner in any case. These first rides showed that the short does indeed breathe well. Of course, not as well as a non-waterproof, perforated short with vents would, but it also surprised us by being not too clammy even with the sun out. Perhaps more importantly, it dries up very quickly even if it gets a little steamy in the heat of the battle.

When it comes to wetter conditions, the Storm comes into its own. It absolutely lives up to its waterproof billing, and it does an awesome job of keeping you dry even in the worst downpours. Rain water tends to just slide off, thanks to the DWR coating, and whilst mud will cling on a bit more tenaciously, it cleans right off with just a garden hose and a soft sponge when you are done getting down and dirty. Because the fabric doesn’t actually absorb any moisture, the short never gets clingy, and it stays as light as when you first put it on.

We tried pretty much everything short of entering a mud wrestling contest to see if we could fault the Storm. No such luck, as it shrugged off even the nastiest winter goop we could dig up. A quick rinse, and back to business. The use of taped flatlock seams and relatively large panels of fabric helps to eliminate creases, folds, ridges and other areas for mud and grime to accumulate in. Royal says to hand wash this short, and based on our experience so far, that is all it will ever need to stay fresh.

Perhaps the biggest compliment we can give the Storm is that despite the fabric not being very stretchy, the short never makes its presence felt during riding. Whether it rains or not, the short remains light, comfortable, and keeps you feeling dry (and warm, if you layered up). A perfect winter short for any conditions, bar outright snowstorms.

Things That Could Be Improved

A tiny bit more flexibility in the waist area would help those at the top end of the sizing chart, especially during these festive times full of culinary delight. We would also like to see at least one of the two pockets be fully sealed from the inside as well as from the outside, because as it stands, the mesh pockets expose their contents to body heat and moisture.

Long Term Durability

We have not subjected the Storm short to a full winter season of riding yet, but what we have seen of it so far doesn’t point to any weaknesses in the durability department. The short is very well put together, and the materials are robust. The DWR coating will wear off after time, but the short should continue to do its job even when that happens – and the coating can always be refreshed if need be.

What’s The Bottom Line?

A waterproof and breathable short can transform your winter riding from a wet, soggy, and miserable experience to a fun day out. With the Storm, Royal delivers an all-day waterproof rated short that also breathes well enough to function on drier winter days. Comfortable and lightweight, the Storm will protect you from the elements while doing its utmost to be completely forgotten about. Shred, rinse, and repeat!

More information at www.royalracing.com.


About The Reviewer

Johan Hjord loves bikes, which strangely doesn’t make him any better at riding them. After many years spent practicing falling off cliffs with his snowboard, he took up mountain biking in 2005. Ever since, he’s mostly been riding bikes with too much suspension travel to cover up his many flaws as a rider. His 200-pound body weight coupled with unique skill for poor line choice and clumsy landings make him an expert on durability - if parts survive Johan, they’re pretty much okay for anybody. Johan rides flat pedals with a riding style that he describes as "none" (when in actuality he rips!). Having found most trail features to be not to his liking, Johan uses much of his spare time building his own. Johan’s other accomplishments include surviving this far and helping keep the Vital Media Machine’s stoke dial firmly on 11.


Specifications

Product Royal Storm Short
Riding Type Cross Country, Trail, Freeride / Bike Park, Downhill, Dirt Jump / Slopestyle, Other
Rider Unisex
Shorts Type Shorts
Material Fully water proof, breathable and stretchy “3 layer” 10,000MVP fabric.
Pockets Yes, X2 covered Zipped hand pockets
Vents No
Size S - XXL
Colors Black
Miscellaneous 100% waterproof / breathable trail short to be worn next to the skin and will perform like a regular all weather short. Along with this shorts waterproof properties, it’s 4 way stretch makes the short non restrictive and comfortable at all times, So now there is no excuse to just get out and ride in style what ever the weather.

- Fully tape sealed seam interior
- Reversed Waterproof zips through out
- Ratchet adjustable waist closure
- Heat transfer logo’s
- Bar tacked stress points
- All ride fit
Price $99.95
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