Softail™ Pad delivers supreme comfort for those gnarly long days in the saddle. >Differential density, multi-level foam construction provides additional padding at pressure points without increased bulk. >3D anatomical shaping and seamless construction hug your body for a performance fit. >Polyester-knit face fabric against your skin disperses heat and moisture. >Anti-bacterial finish maintains hygiene. >Dries rapidly after washing.
Bicycles.net.au - Oct 12
It was very much about wearing the right gear for the weather, and so this review of two pairs of Ground Effect knicks has been a long time in the making. The knicks, Supersonics and Snake Bites, arrived as autumn was rapidly disappearing into winter; the 3/4 Snake Bite bib knicks were more versatile and got some immediate action, while the Supersonic knicks didn't get much use until the "leg warmer" weather was finished. Now that I've given both a thorough testing, I can finally make some qualified comments.
I used the Supersonic knicks primarily for road biking, but I did also wear them for mountain biking, underneath light shorts of course. I chose the medium size which was a good fit for me; not too tight but firm enough. The wide leg bands are really good; they seem to work well keeping the knicks from bunching up and it was a good feel compared to the narrow and tight cuffs common in knicks. The black is neutral, so if you are after style points, they can be easily matched to the rest of your kit.
On the bike I found that I was adjusting my position on the saddle for the first five to ten kilometres of each ride before I become settled. Every backside is different and some knicks tend to suit me better than others. Once I settled into the knicks however, they were flawless, no discomfort or chaffing, even on long rides. Wearing leg warmers with these worked well, though for cold weather these knicks are a little "light" in the parts you want to keep warm.
The 3/4 Snake Bite bib knicks really suited me well but, I have to admit up front, they are incredibly un-sexy. When people use the pejorative Middle Aged Men in Lycra (MAMIL), they're thinking of me wearing these knicks. I really wasn't helping the cause at all; full length tights or standard knicks are a better look. The annoying flip-side is that they are quite practical and I really enjoyed wearing them.
As bib knicks they are comfortable and add another clothing layer to the lower torso (good for the kidneys). They stretch over, and keep warm, your thighs and knees, and only your lower calves are exposed. During an early morning criterium, another rider in my grade commented that I had no chance of performing in the race with my legs exposed. I don't know whether he was being thoughtful or had spotted me as a serious contender and wanted to intimidate me, but I took the challenge and achieved my best placing for the season in that race. Obviously my legs were warm enough.
Where these knicks really stood out was during long rides with cool early morning starts. They work really well for the transition from cool to warm; you may get a little more air on your calves when it's cold, but when it does warm up they are light enough to keep you from feeling as though you are stuck in jogging pants. It's a bet for both sides; if you face changing weather conditions they leave you a little less exposed and they save you from having to stow leg-warmers in your back pocket.
Compared to the Supersonic knicks, these were comfortable the minute I sat on my bike and didn't need time to adjust and wear in. For long rides I never had issues with a sore backside. The chamois used in the Snake Bites is the (relatively) new eXo skeletal pad and Ground Effect are onto a winner with this, at least for me.
Both of these knicks are well made, they have nice and clean stitching and when you have them in your hands (and on your butt) you can feel that they are quality products. Ground Effect are still making their gear in the land of the long white cloud (New Zealand); they don't outsource their quality.
While the Supersonic knicks are good knicks, the 'Softail' chamois in these didn't seem to fit my backside as well as the Snake Bite 3/4 bib knicks with eXo skeletal chamois. The Snake Bites hit a sweet-spot for me and were perfect for transitional weather and varying riding conditions. Well, almost perfect, as they though don't earn any points from me in the euro-cool department.
If you're into the technical details, like the 4-way stretch nylon lycra, contour fits and multi-level pads, you can read up on these on the Ground Effect website.
enduropulse.com.au - Jan 10
Slipping into the Supersonics for the first time inspired me to hit the saddle for a long ride. Slightly shorter than my usual shorts, my tan line was now highlighted with a white band around my thighs. I felt like a zebra on wheels. Nothing that a sunny ride across the savannah wouldn't fix.
Ground Effect babbles about its gear in a deceptively laid back manner. However it's evident that someone is working hard behind the scenes to get it right. The Supersonics are fantastic. From the wide waist band to the smooth lycra, these shorts immediately felt like they were punching above their A$99 tag. 10 panel construction ensured a snug fit and Ground Effect's website has enough information to get the size right.
The Supersonics sit at the top of Ground Effect's lycra range. The 8 panel Sputniks appear to be something of a bargain at A$79 with the same comfortable synthetic 'chamois'. My Supersonics are showing no signs of slowing down after a couple of weeks' work on and off road. Now, off to 'ride long time' and work on that tan line some more.
UnderGround - Dec 06
I first discovered lycra about 20 years ago. That original pair of shorts changed my very existence. No chafing, wet or dry. No catching on the back of the saddle. They felt fast, and sooooo comfy. I've motored through a couple of pairs every year since. Green dresser, third draw down on the left contains about a dozen still in service - with the Supersonics in pole position. They arrived a year ago and have received a sound thrashing.
At first blush they were extremely comfortable. The wide waist elastic holds firm, even when caked with a heavy layer of mud, yet it doesn't feel restrictive - unlike some shorts that constrict abdominal breathing or squeeze your bladder three hours into a four hour race (I hate it when that happens). The squillion-panel design holds my quads snugly. Hike-a-bike or aero tuck, the Supersonics stretch freely and hold their shape. I really rate the high-tech pad. It's luxuriously thick where your pelvic bones contact the saddle and tapers to the edge to avoid chafing. It dries fast and has an anti-bacterial finish - great on multi-day trips.
After a year of constant use, my Supersonics barely show any sign of it. The fabric, stitching and pad have withstood my standard dealing of mtb abuse. I'd say this pair has another few years of toil left in them. For me, that durability clinches the deal. Oh, and my partner reckons they make my ass look good! Whatever.
Mtb original, guide book author, track builder, event organiser & good dude.
Bicycling Australia - May 06
New Zealand based clothing manufacturer Ground Effect has made its name producing products for the 'dirty' world of mountain biking.
The firm is renowned for its casual style 'baggy' clothing and use of natural fibres, and the aim has always been to offer a functional alternative for the bike rider who is not keen on the lycra clad 'mobile billboard' look.
While its baggy clothing and muted colours have been a hit with the mountain bikers, these were never going to make it in the slick and fast leg shaving roadie world.
The Supersonics are the top of the line 'traditional' knicks from Ground Effect. For AUD$99 you get ten panel construction, a contoured multi-density synthetic chamois and supportive 280gsm lycra. This represents great value for money.
Interestingly, the Ground Effect knicks lack the elastic 'leg grippers' that most knicks use. They say that a good fit is achieved through their contoured panels so leg grippers are unnecessary and uncomfortable. Many riders roll up the rubberised elastic on their knicks for this very reason (others just do it to get a better tan).
I found that the Ground Effect knicks fitted me perfectly. They are amongst the most comfortable knicks I own and more comfortable than some AUD$200 plus knicks I have tried. There was no rubbing, pulling, or riding up, and the lack of leg grippers didn't pose any real problems. The only issue is that if the leg length doesn't match your tan line, you are not able to readjust their position as reliably without the firm elastic that leg grippers provide. The chamois offered excellent comfort and dried quickly.
I can't say a bad thing about these knicks except they may not fit every rider as well as they fitted me-but that applies to any item of clothing. This brings me to the main issue with Ground Effect's clothing. This New Zealand made clothing is not sold through retail stores and can only be purchased over the internet (or phone/catalogue order) which means you can't try the fit before you buy. They do have a good return policy that but posting items back and forth to New Zealand adds to the cost of the clothing. At least they have comprehensive and relatively accurate sizing information on their website. The benefit for this purchasing system is that you cut out the middle man and get a great price by purchasing direct from the manufacturer.
Nice materials and a high quality chamois.
Excellent knicks with a very good fit. Some minor issues with the jersey.
Value for Money 90%
Excellent value by purchasing directly from Ground Effect.
An excellent alternative as long as you don't mind purchasing over the web and the potential issues involved with on-line clothing transactions.
Wash Rating 75%
After three months of use and regular washing the jersey material showed a little pilling but there was no fading of the colours.
4-way stretch nylon with a non-shiny finish. it's soft against your skin, yet is incredibly tough and dries quickly. Blended with 16% lycra to deliver body-hugging performance and durability.
- Composition: 84% nylon; 16% lycra.
This chart is a guide only – if you fall in-between sizes, the right size for you will depend on your body shape and how loose or tight you like to wear your clothes. It's no hassle to swap it, if your first choice is not the best fit.
169 - 178 cm
175 - 185 cm
183 - 191 cm
98 - 104 cm
105 - 111 cm
112 - 118 cm
73 - 79 cm
80 - 86 cm
87 - 93 cm
94 - 100 cm
87 - 95 cm
96 - 103 cm
104 - 111 cm
112 - 120 cm
Unisex vs Women's Sizes
Most Ground Effect designs are unisex. The jackets, tights and baggy tops generally fit both men and women equally well. Fitted garments like cycle shorts and some tops are more gender specific so there is generally a women's version in the Outskirts range.
No compromise cycle shorts for breaking the sound barrier and long distance records. 10-panel design, Bandolier™ cuffs and s-shaped seams flow with your body while the Softail™ multi-level pad provides maximum comfort with minimal bulk. Beware the sonic boom.
> Softail™ Pad - 3D anatomical shaping, multi-level foam, rapid drying, seamless synthetic 'chamois' pad with anti-bacterial finish.
> 'Contour fit' with s-shaped seams allows the lycra to stretch freely with your body.
> Full flat seaming for enhanced comfort.
> 10-panel construction.
> Hardwearing, quick drying, non-shiny nylon lycra.
> HighRise™ rear ensures a generous overlap with your cycle top.
> Out-of-the-way internal rear pocket.
> Wide elastic waistband for maximum comfort.
> Bandolier™ textured-lycra cuffs.
> Made by us in New Zealand.
What's the difference between the Supersonics and Exocets?
> Exocets and Supersonics are made from ShockWave nylon lycra with a high lycra content (16%) giving the fabric heaps of stretch and memory. Both feature Bandolier cuffs - textured-lycra bands that glue the legs of our premium shorts to your thighs, and provide muscle support, all without the discomfort of gripper elastic.
> The main difference between the Exocets and Supersonic is in the pad. The new eXo pad in the Exocets has 3D padding on both the inside and outside - more cushioning but with less bulk. More critically the pad and shorts' outer fabric are laminated together as a single layer for increased precision, with minimal movement between the fabrics and your saddle.
> The Supersonics sport 10-panels while the Exocets lift it a couple of notches to 12-panels. More panels allow for more shaping in the design, providing a firmer performance fit.
What's the difference between the Supersonics and Sputniks?
> Supersonics and Sputniks are made from ShockWave nylon lycra with a high lycra content (16%) giving the fabric heaps of stretch and memory. In addition it is treated with a moisture management solution which disperses moisture - which makes them less 'sweaty' than conventional nylon shorts and they dry very quickly (overnight if you're touring).
> The Supersonics and Sputniks share the same multi-level Softail pad. The Sputniks sport 8-panels and single s-shaped seams, while the Supersonics boast a 10-panel design with twin s-shaped seams and Bandolier cuffs - textured-lycra bands that glue the legs of our premium shorts to your thighs, and provide muscle support, all without the discomfort of gripper elastic. The additional panels in the Supersonics allow for more shaping in the design, providing a firmer performance fit.
Tell me about the pad in these shorts.
> Softail™ Pad delivers unparalleled comfort for those gnarly long days in the saddle. Differential density, multi-level foam construction provides additional padding at pressure points without increased bulk. 3D anatomical shaping, 4-way stretch and seamless construction hug your body for a performance fit. Polyester-knit face fabric against your skin disperses heat and moisture. Anti-bacterial finish maintains hygiene and dries rapidly after washing.
> It requires no special care and dries very quickly after washing (it loves a warm wash!).
> There are two main differences between the women's-specific and men's-unisex versions of the Softail pad. While the moulded part of the pad remains the same the pad is shorter at the front in the women's version. The position of the pad in the short is also gender specific, with differently shaped panels in the short's gusset supporting the pad.
Should I wear underwear with these shorts?
> Hell no. You want to have as smooth an interface as possible between your bum and the saddle. The seams on your underwear will inevitably be in the wrong place - causing rubbing and saddle sores. Also underwear is generally cotton - nice for everyday use but damp skin below is more susceptible to chaffing.
> Hand washing is sometimes the only option on tour, but a washing machine rinses more thoroughly and is preferable if you have the choice.
> With shorts in particular, cold-water detergents and those with bleach can cause 'nappy-rash' so if you're experiencing issues in that department try a warm wash and a change of cleaning brew. As a rule of thumb, product that is easy on the planet is also easy on your body. Select a mild plant-based soap like Ecover, Ecostore, Earthwise or Aware.
> Most Ground Effect gear dries super-fast so drying on the line or hanging over the bedpost does the trick. Or use a dryer on a warm (not hot) cycle.
> UV rays accelerate the decay of lycra. Our fabric is knitted so the lycra component lies on the inside of the fabric - shielding it from the sun when you're out riding. Consequently you should avoid drying these shorts inside-out. It's not a bad idea to do so occasionally as the sun does help keep the pad hygienic - although it is treated with an anti-bacterial finish anyway. But drying in this manner is a trade-off with the damage done to the lycra.
> It's common practice to not wear underwear with your riding shorts so you need to wash your shorts daily. And it's recommended to give your shorts an initial wash when they're new - the eXo and Softail pads in particular become less stiff after the first wash.