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Troy Lee Designs 2015 Ruckus Riding Short (discontinued)

Average User Rating: (Excellent) Vital Rating: (Excellent)
 Troy Lee Designs 2015 Ruckus Riding Short  Troy Lee Designs 2015 Ruckus Riding Short  Troy Lee Designs 2015 Ruckus Riding Short  Troy Lee Designs 2015 Ruckus Riding Short  Troy Lee Designs 2015 Ruckus Riding Short
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Tested: 2015 Troy Lee Designs Ruckus Short and Jersey

Rating: Vital Review

Review by Johan Hjord // Photos by Tal Rozow and Johan Hjord

Troy Lee’s Ruckus kit has been part of the catalogue for a good few years already. Billed as the do-it-all, all mountain option, it is meant to be lightweight and breathable enough for all-day adventure, yet sturdy enough to get rowdy in. TLD’s full 2015 apparel line actually launched earlier today, but we managed to lay our hands on some early samples, so we’re here to tell you how the stuff performs already. Read on to find out!


Troy Lee Designs Ruckus Short Highlights

  • 2 way stretch, 92% polyester / 8% spandex
  • Includes premium removable chamois liner short
  • Full waist / hip height adjustment via bonded rubber adjusters
  • Zipped front pocket
  • Inner thigh ventilation via hidden inseam zippers
  • Premium single snap fly closure
  • Rear pocket with air-mesh padding
  • Zipped pedal friendly cell phone pocket
  • Open access pocket with content security panel
  • Ergonomic MTB specific cut and fit
  • MSRP: $135 USD

Troy Lee Designs Ruckus Jersey Highlights

  • 2 way stretch, 100% polyester
  • Microfiber sunglass wipe at bottom hem
  • Breathable polyester mesh side panels
  • Easy entry Lycra neck collar
  • Side stash pocket with YKK zipper
  • 3/4 length raglan sleeves
  • Drop tail length rear
  • MSRP: $52 USD

Initial Impressions

TLD apparel is mostly known for its bold, in-your-face styling, and the 2015 Ruckus kit is no exception. Available in either “TLD OPS” or “REKON” graphics, the red and white REKON jersey we took delivery of definitely knows how make an entrance. The 100% sublimated design features huge TLD lettering on the front, and a clean white backpanel (the REKON jersey is available in 3 other color combos as well). The “TWILL” short is a bit more subtle, with a more uniform color scheme dominating a pretty sweet pinstripe pattern.


Closer inspection of both jersey and short revealed high quality materials, excellent craftsmanship and lots of attention to detail. The short is adjustable at the waist, has a breathable inner liner, a zippered and buttoned fly, and seems to have been put together with great care – no loose threads on display here. The short also comes with a removable chamois liner.


The jersey material is of the shiny variety, and feels thin to the touch. In terms of design, TLD have included a small stash pocket and new for 2015, a sunglass/goggle wipe sewn into the hem. The jersey has ¾-length sleeves, and a “drop tail” in the rear, to make sure the only gaps left anywhere to be seen are the doubles on the trail.


Sizing proved to run true to measurements. We found the short ever so slightly roomier compared to the 2013 version, for reference, so keep that in mind if you are between sizes. And with that, we were ready to hit the trails to see how the Ruckus kit would stack up to a little action.

On The Trail

The fit of the Ruckus short is spot on. This product has evolved over the years into quite a refined piece of apparel. The short is made from relatively lightweight and flexible materials, which leaves it feeling much more like a trail or all mountain short than a pure gravity item. The fit is perfect for riding, the short doesn’t move around excessively when you do, nor does it want to snag the saddle. The elastic panels sewn into the short make sure it stays snug and secure around the waist, even when you are at your most acrobatic.


The length of the short is just right, long enough to cover your kneepads and make sure you never have to face the ridicule of the dreaded knee gap – keeping it on polite terms here. The adjustability is good, and the short is very comfortable in use. The included chamois liner is ergonomically shaped, quite thin but gets the job done including for long days in the saddle. The side panels work to provide a little extra airflow, and the thigh vents are easy to use when things really heat up.

There are several storage options provided in the short for carrying essentials. 2 main cargo pockets, one of which features a zipper, one phone pocket more to the rear of the thigh (also zippered), and a small pocket at the rear of the waistband for credit cards or similar items. All of the pockets are tight, and hold contents securely against the body to avoid stuff moving around as you ride.


The material used for the jersey is thin, but the weave is tight. As a result, the jersey is warmer than you’d think in use. It wicks away sweat fairly well, although it is not the coolest jersey we’ve tried. On the flip side, for longer adventures and/or taller peaks, the wind protection provided by the Ruckus jersey was certainly appreciated. The small storage pocket is not something we find incredibly useful on a jersey, anything bulky you keep here will make itself felt when you move around, but if you absolutely hate riding with a pack and run out of other places to store your stuff, it will hold an energy bar or two for example. The new for the year sunglass wipe on the other hand is a very welcome addition to the Ruckus jersey, and it works well too.


We really enjoyed the cut of the Ruckus jersey, we’re big fans of ¾ sleeves and in general terms the Ruckus sits just right. Loose enough to be comfortable, close enough to avoid excessive bagginess or snagging. TLD have used 2-way stretch for the most part, and a 4-way stretch panel at the back of the neck that really improves the comfort in this sensitive area (and makes the jersey easy to pull on/remove). The jersey will fit over most body armor if that’s your jam, but check if you are between sizes as you may want to size up to accommodate bulkier pieces of protection. Much like with the materials chosen, the fit of the Ruckus tends more towards the all mountain side than pure gravity. Overall, the features provided on the Ruckus jersey are particularly good value given the reasonable price tag.

Things That Could Be Improved

The waist adjustment could have been better executed on the Ruckus short. If you need to really tighten the short down at the waist, the rubber tabs pull clear of the sheaths housing them to leave part of the elastic band exposed – not very tidy. The solution could have been to use a longer rubber tab or to make the sheath longer. TLD pointed out that the adjustment is meant for fine tuning, and if you choose your size with care, you should not need to cinch it down this much.


With regards to pricing, at $52 MSRP the Ruckus jersey is particularly good value for money, for an item of this quality. As for the short, it is always easy to state that something should cost less. $135 is the not cheapest short out there (nor in TLD’s own catalog), but it is also not the most expensive by any stretch. Throw in the removable chamois liner, a feature-rich design, and great performance on the trail and we think the Ruckus short delivers excellent value as well.

Long Term Durability

We’ve been putting in the miles with the Ruckus kit during some pretty adverse winter weather, and neither the short nor the jersey look much the worse for it. Everything has held together perfectly, and we were particularly pleased to see that the jersey appears more resistant to snags and running threads than certain previous iterations of the Ruckus line. Even after a few months of ride-wash-repeat cycles, both items still look fresh – even the white is still pretty much just that, white. A few unintentional dirt encounters have not left much of mark, and we are also under the impression that the material/weave used here is less prone to that pungent post-ride smell so common to polyester jerseys. Based on past experience, the Ruckus line should last you several seasons, and at this point we have no reason to think the 2015 version would be any different.

What’s The Bottom Line?

Much as we now have trail bikes that can deal with anything from all-day epics to near full-on DH, we also want kit that will keep us going through all that, and of course, it should look the part too. Troy Lee’s new Ruckus delivers on all counts, and adds the unmistakable TLD personality to the mix. For full on shuttle/park riding with frequent crashing on the menu, you’d be better off with the heavier-duty Sprint or Moto line, but throw in a bit of pedaling and the Ruckus is an excellent choice for your go-to kit.

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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.

Troy Lee Designs Skyline Short

Rating: Featured Member Review
The Good:

Comfortable, Durable, Comes with chamois, Fit is good

The Bad:

Dirt stains does not easily wash out

Overall Review:

I bought these shorts with a dual purpose in mind, to ride them for trail and DH. They are made relatively light weight but are made with durability in mind. They have an open pocket on the side, a zippered on the left, and a small zipper pocket in the rear. They also include a zipper opening on your inner thighs for those hot days to get some air moving in the shorts. They do come with a chamois, but I did not use them on any of my rides over the past year.


On the Trail

On the trail they do well with their fitment for pedaling. These are some of the most comfortable shorts I have worn and they do stay decently cool in the summer and I rarely would open the zipper inner thigh vents. They are a medium soft feeling material that is not abrasive on any exposed skin. The pockets work well, I keep my car key in the zippered side pocket and my small mulitool in the other pocket. I never had the tool fall out or even come close to feeling like it would.

I would say that if you choose a lighter color like I did, I would not use these in wet weather as the brown mud color is very hard to wash out. I now have a permanent brown butt area due to riding in the wet multiple times. This is a little disappointing that I can not get it out despite of trying pretreat scrubbing etc. It obviously does not affect function, but just the looks a little bit. If you were to use some fabric protection such as Scotch Guard it may help with cleaning them up though.


As far as fitment on the waist goes, I normally buy 31-32 jeans. I bought these in 34 and I liked the fit a lot. They have waist adjusters on the sides to take up some slack. A size smaller may have fit just fine, but the adjusters did their job great. Once these wear out (have been using for about 1.5years), I will be picking up another pair or whatever is the similar offering from TLD at the time. They hot all the major points: Comfort, durability, color options, and good pockets. These are a winner for sure.


Product Troy Lee Designs 2015 Ruckus Riding Short
Riding Type Trail, Freeride / Bike Park, Downhill, Dirt Jump / Slopestyle
Rider Unisex
Shorts Type Shorts
Material 2 way stretch 92% polyester / 8% spandex
Pockets 4
Vents 2
Size S (30) to XXL (38)
Colors Ops (Camo) x2, Blue, Red, Black
Miscellaneous Includes premium removable chamois liner short
Full waist / hip height adjustment via bonded rubber adjusters
Zipped front pocket
Inner thigh ventilation via hidden inseam zippers
Premium single snap fly closure
Rear pocket with air-mesh padding
Zipped pedal friendly cell phone pocket
Open access pocket with content security panel
Ergonomic MTB specific cut and fit
Price $135
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