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Specialized Atlas XC Pro Short

Vital Rating: (Outstanding)
Specialized Atlas XC Pro Short - neon blue
 Specialized Atlas XC Pro Short  Specialized Atlas XC Pro Short  Specialized Atlas XC Pro Short  Specialized Atlas XC Pro Short
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Tested: Specialized Atlas XC Pro Short

Rating: Vital Review

Review by AJ Barlas // Photos by Jon Anthony

We recently tested the Specialized Atlas XC Pro jersey and some keen eyes will have noticed that there was a matching short in the images from the article. That matching short was the Atlas Pro XC short and like the jersey, it's not your usual XC labeled bit of riding apparel. In fact, the short is closer to what others may label a trail short.

Much like the jersey, the short has been designed to be worn all day, keeping out of the way and remaining comfortable on the trail, without being a skin tight piece of lycra. As an added bonus (for those interested), it also comes with the new SWAT equipped bib liner that we tested not so long ago, which we think is great both because the SWAT bib is an excellent bit of kit and because it beats the cheap liner that can often be found included with a pair of shorts. Read on to learn more of our experiences with the Atlas XC Pro short.


Specialized Atlas Pro XC Short Highlights

  • VaporRize™ moisture transfer stretch woven fabrics
  • Two zippered pockets
  • Bonded Seam Construction
  • Removable bib liner short with SWAT and Body Geometry Mountain Chamois
  • Laser perforated venting
  • DeflectUV 50+
  • 14-1/2'' inseam with tapered leg fit (size 34'' waist)
  • Size: 30, 32, 34, 36, 38, 40, 42
  • MSRP: $150.00

Initial Impressions

As with the Atlas XC Pro jersey, the short is lightweight, possibly the lightest short we have ridden in. This makes it immediately comfortable once on, but that isn't only down to the lightweight material. The short has been developed with a four-way stretch fabric that allows it to move in almost any way required. When in the saddle this is a very nice feature to have!

Also in a similar fashion to the jersey, the short comes with laser perforated venting, well positioned on the inner portion of the thigh. The use of bonded seams and the 'rubber' portions strategically placed on the outside of the short helps keep them moving where they need to, while holding some form where it is necessary. The adjustable velcro waist tabs are simply done and some of the best we have used of late, making it clear that it's often beneficial to follow the K.I.S.S. principle (keep it simple, stupid). There is no expandable waist panel in the back, something we did not miss.


On The Trail

Setting out for the initial ride in the Atlas XC Pro short, it was quickly apparent that barring any catastrophe in construction, or any unforeseen problems, this would be a new favourite short. More than 8 weeks later that remains fact! The short has been ridden in varying conditions, but with most of the riding coming during the hotter time of the year and while traveling to some stinking hot places (like Moab in July) we have been very impressed with the level of comfort afforded. A lot of this can be put down to the light weight of the short and the great, flexible fabrics used, which in turn meant the short never stuck to us, nor got in the way.

The lack of an expandable panel in the back of the short meant that it stayed in place far better and never caught on the saddle - an attribute we often find with these stretch back panel 'features'. Besides, the shorts four-way stretch materials and cut meant that a panel of this nature was not required, with the short being able to stretch and move as much as necessary without getting all saggy. The cut and placement of the seams we also found to be incredibly accurate, adding to the short's great shape for riding. Unlike some shorts worn recently, the Atlas kept the length just right whether in, or out of the saddle.


The velcro waist tabs have never caught on the jersey and thanks to the simple use of the same material as the rest of the short on the outside of the tab, it moulded very well to the shape formed around the waist. The pockets are well positioned on the outside of the thigh at an angle that works well for cycling, allowing easy access to the contents while on the bike or even sitting on a bench, without having to worry about losing your belongings. They aren't the largest pockets, but they will fit most smartphones comfortably and the position will leave you unaware that you are carrying something of this weight in there.

Long Term Durability

The light blue colour of the short requires the use of some heavier washing cycles if you often ride in muddy, or slightly dirtier conditions, with ours seeing a little discolouration in the seat, where they spend a lot of time grinding dirt into our bike saddle. We don't see this as a 'no go' problem, but if you are looking to keep the short looking as good as new for as long as possible, then perhaps the black option would be a better choice. Aside from this, there have been absolutely no issues of any manner with the short.

Things That Could Be Improved

The shorts come with a velcro fly, and while we personally haven't had any issues with it, it was initially a turn-off. Despite not having had an issue to this point, anyone who chooses not to wear a chamois will have a tougher time taking a toilet break. The use of a regular fly would be an improvement from our point of view.


What's The Bottom Line?

Specialized don't do anything by halves and have come out with some fantastic new riding apparel in the form of the Atlas XC Pro range! The short is now our go to, and most worn piece of apparel thanks to its great, light weight and relaxed fit - it feels good to ride in and looks pretty tight as well. If you're after a new short that has little in the form of bells and whistles, but hits it out the park through the use of great materials and a well-designed cut for everyday riding, then you can't pass up taking a look at this short.

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About The Reviewer

AJ Barlas started riding as most do, bashing about dirt mounds and popping off street curbs. Not much has changed, really. These days the dirt mounds have become mountains and the street curbs, while still getting sessioned, are more often features on the trail. He began as a shop monkey racing downhill since day zero, only to go 'backwards' and start riding and racing BMX later on. He then came full circle once moving to Whistler. AJ loves riding everything from 8 hour mountain pass epics (bonking) to lap after lap in the park and 20 minute pumptrack sessions at sunset. Driven by his passion for biking and exposing people to the great equipment we ride, AJ started and maintains the Straightshot MTB blog. So long as wheels are involved, and preferably dirt (the drier and dustier the better), life is good.


Product Specialized Atlas XC Pro Short
Riding Type Cross Country, Trail
Rider Unisex
Shorts Type Shorts, Bibs
Material VaporRize Moisture Transfer Stretch Woven Fabrics, Bonded Seam Construction, DeflectUV 50+, 14-1/2'' Inseam with Tapered Leg Fit (Size 34'' Waist)
Pockets Two Zippered Pockets
Vents Laser Perforated Venting
Size 30, 32, 34, 36, 38, 40, 42
Colors Neon Blue, Black, or Moto Green
Miscellaneous Removable Bib Liner Short with SWAT and Body Geometry Mountain Chamois
Price $150
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