From the first time I put on the Troy Lee Designs Ruckus jersey and shorts kit, I knew they would be my first choice for many rides to come. Designed and built for “Trail” riding, the Ruckus kit fits the bill perfectly. A casual, low-key design—bright orange color excepted—imparts an unconcerned vibe, and a light to medium-weight build ensures that you won’t be stifled by your gear. My only worry was that the shorts and their removable liner wouldn’t live up to the high-end bib/short combos I’m used to.
As is true of most Troy Lee shorts, the size 34 Ruckus shorts I tested run a little big, so if you think you are between sizes, go down. Thankfully, molded rubber waist adjustment tabs are there to dial in the fit, and a quick adjustment was all I needed. Aesthetically, the Ruckus shorts are great. A perfect mix of casual and athletic, they would fit in on any ride except a pro-level XC race. I prefer to ride without a hydration pack, so storage space is a crucial concern for me. The Ruckus shorts barely passed the storage test with two side hand pockets. One of the pockets is zipped and provided just enough secure space for my essentials. My main concern, the quality of the removable liner/chamois, would be tested by an unrelenting fire road climb on my favorite lunch ride.
Once on the trail, I quickly forgot I was wearing new shorts. The liner is light, stretchy and breathable, and holds the TLD chamois comfortably snug against the rider. Ample padding in the soft, chafe-free chamois keeps it comfortable and forgiving without being bulky, and the chamois does a great job of staying dry. I never felt overheated in the Ruckus shorts, a result of the lightweight, airy shell rather than airflow through the few small ventilation holes in the front of the shorts. Because of the lightweight build, I wouldn’t recommend the Ruckus shorts for DH riders, who might need something that can stand up to repeated crashes in rough terrain. However, the Ruckus shorts are perfect for anyone else who needs a pair of shorts that will be comfortable climbing, non-restrictive while descending, and look great while waiting for the ride to regroup.
While the Ruckus shorts are a slam dunk for riding in all conditions, the Ruckus jersey shines in slightly cooler temperatures. 3/4-length sleeves provide sun protection and slightly reduce heat loss in cool weather, and the moto-inspired collar is the most comfortable design of any jersey I’ve worn. Soft, sweat-wicking fabric gives the jersey a cool, silky feel, and it’s relaxed fit doesn’t restrict your movement at all. Breathable mesh side panels and perforated fabric provide great airflow if you are moving quickly, but at climbing speeds less air is forced into the jersey. I found that in temperatures above the low 80-degee range, the Ruckus was too warm on the uphills. However, I wouldn’t hesitate to wear the Ruckus jersey for shuttling or chairlift riding no matter what the temperature. With a look that’s a perfect combination of technical and casual, a super-comfortable fit, and lightweight fabric construction, the Troy Lee Ruckus jersey is my choice for any ride except during the height of summer.