My Favourite Bike Shorts

4 min read

Dear Ground Effect People

I am writing with a complaint of sorts. It's about my favourite bike shorts (MFBS), they are starting to fall apart. The stitching is giving way in four separate places and the synthetic chamois is worn through. I am quite distressed about this state of affairs as my MFBS and I have been through a lot together over the years.

A current picture of MFBS

A little background to my situation - my wife purchased said bike shorts second hand on Trade Me about eight years ago (so I am afraid I don't have a receipt). To be fair to you guys, they were showing some outward signs of wear at that time and I estimate they would have been about 4 or 5 years old even then. Initially I felt a bit awkward about wearing another man's shorts, but decided to give them a go. Up until that point, I had mostly been attired in imported Italian lycra, which was lighter but a bit fragile by comparison. Once I got accustomed to them, I loved MFBS from Ground Effect and used them on most rides, both on the road and on the MTB. I also have a pair of your baggy shorts but frankly the lycra is more comfortable on the bigger rides (while the baggies are more comfortable for everyone else when I visit the pub or café after a shorter ride).

Since having them, MFBS and I have shared many adventures, we have ridden the Heaphy about five times, the Old Ghost Road three times as well as over a hundred laps of the Dun Mountain Railway.


MFBS and I on the Heaphy

While this is intended as a complaint of sorts, I thought I should throw in a quick thank you for helping out with firming up the middle section of the Heaphy a few years back with generous contributions toward track work, it is so much less muddy and more ridable these days.

Right, back to the protracted complaining. MFBS and I have toured the shingle roads and bike trails of Otago, the hills and heat of Tasmania and the peat and heather of the Scottish Highlands. These shorts have accompanied me for hundreds and hundreds of hours and well over ten thousand kilometres in the saddle.

MFBS and I at the top of the Omarama Saddle, Otago


MFBS and I in the Scottish Highlands on a 2000 km tour

I have also chosen my GE shorts over my lighter weight lycra for a number recreational events in the last few years. They have accompanied me on dozens of training laps of the Takaka Hill (my favourite road hill climb). I've worn them on The Grape Ride, Le Race and even the Milk and Honey Race.


MFBS and I trying to look serious on the Milk and Honey Race

While I am on the subject of recreational events, I must take another break from complaining to thank you for your support of local rides with the generous donation of prizes. I have been lucky enough to win Ground Effect gear, not once but twice. This wasn't achieved through being the fastest rider on the day, it was through strategic entry into obscure categories that no one fast would enter. I wear the GE top I won most days for winter commuting and my son makes good use of some shorts that are a little smaller than MFBS. On an earlier Harbours Ride I managed to score a generous GE voucher that my lovely wife utilised, I think it temporarily softened her attitude toward my ongoing obsession.

Clearly my complaint is not one of unreasonable failure of MFBS, the opposite is true. I think that they have lasted unreasonably well. As an old friend of mine says, "Quality lingers long after the price is forgotten". In this case you guys have just gone too far! The essence of my complaint is that MFBS have lasted too long and this has caused me to forget that they would ever wear out. Now that I realise their final ride is approaching, I would like to claim emotional damages. It has hit me hard. I know this all sounds a bit crazy and even as I write this I remind myself that I prefer logic and science over invisible forces and the imaginary powers that may be possessed by an item of clothing (to assist MFBS defy the ageing process).

For the first few years I checked them for further wear and tear but they seemed not to change. After awhile I stopped checking and forgot that they would eventually deteriorate. It seemed as if they were made out of some magical, stretchy and bulletproof fabric like the suits worn by the family in 'The Incredibles' movie. I know that this is not the case now. That 'The Incredibles' is a kid's movie and a cartoon should have been a clue. There is no such fabric, I get it now!

I am a bit of a cheapskate, but I'm not aiming to score any free stuff with this complaint. I have already scored free Ground Effect gear as a result of your support of recreational events and have benefited from your contributions toward track development. I do think you should consider issuing a warning with your bike clothing regarding its durability however. You could include something like this:
Alternatively you could provide a 'wear guide' as follows:
So as I save my MFBS for extra special occasions and come to terms with their new ceremonial role. I guess I will just have to look back on the good times and move forward (on two wheels). Although I am a little cross with you Ground Effect people, my feelings are bittersweet in reality. I should probably just be grateful for the things I have done and the places I have been with MFBS.

Regards
Billy from Nelson


25 Responses

Pete
Pete

September 19, 2018

ADD IN A CHANGE IN SIZING IN THE DOUBLE HAPPYS CASE AND TRULY GROUND EFFECT GIVES EMOTIONAL SCARS FOR LIFE

Robin
Robin

September 10, 2018

The MFBS bike pants story by Billy from Nelson was a fabulous read!
Your bike clothing is legendary.

Billy
Billy

September 07, 2018

I didn’t imagine so many others felt the same way about their bike gear. I am thinking of setting up a support group (not physical support with high strength Lycra, I was thinking more emotional support group).

Most of my other gear was purchased new so it should be quite a while before another crisis.

Greg
Greg

September 07, 2018

Brilliant ! In a world of disposable everything, this is an unexpected problem. I had the same issue with my orange stormtrooper jacket. It refused to die for many years until I managed to deliberately break the rear zip so I could get a nice lime green one.

John Gibson
John Gibson

September 07, 2018

I’ll just endorse the above comments on your equipment. I use mine on 6 out of 7 days every week, and still am amazed at the comfort and durability. Best knicks I’ve ever owned, and same for the various tops I have. My rain jacket is still totally waterproof after 15 years of use, and I’ve never had a zip fail on any item!

Peter Jenkins
Peter Jenkins

September 06, 2018

Good reading and very entertaining. Sadly, I don’t experience the same longevity from my Supersonics, which I love.

Roy
Roy

September 06, 2018

Have worn these since my wife and I rode Blluff to Cape Rianga to celebrate my 75 birthday. I still have them and wear them every week on our rides. All our club members use GE gear and recommend them to anyone who rides. We have come to NZ every year since 1996 from Bundaberg Australia and love to ride here. My shorts are still OK and are used every week
Keep up the quality forever.

Josephine Olsen
Josephine Olsen

September 06, 2018

I tell all new cycling buddies that GE gear lasts nearly forever and to make sure that they do, always hang them to dry in the shade or inside.the house. Best and most comfortable gear made.

Pete
Pete

September 06, 2018

I have to echo the sentiment here. The emotional distress caused by not being able to justify buying more bike clothing is quite severe. I’m going on 7 years of mud, crashing and general misuse and every piece of kit is still going strong!

James
James

September 05, 2018

Like many others I have lotsa GE gear and have to say that no apparel particularly shorts have lasted as well as other stuff.
What shines with these guys also is their long lasting brilliant service , this has also lasted like their products .
Goodonya GE crew you rock !!!!

Nigel
Nigel

September 05, 2018

Ive still got my original bike shorts. I remember going to Guy’s house to try them on when GE were first starting up. I think it was in 1996 or 1997?
They are still going strong, although the waist elastic is abit sad…..maybe they are just adjusting to suit to my slowly expanding waist line???

Adrian
Adrian

September 05, 2018

I have a 1996 Frosty Boy jersey. The stitching around the collar and cuffs is starting to give way, and the 100-weight polar fleece is down to around 70-weight these days. I might have to buy another one soon (see https://www.flickr.com/photos/ajft/5627741 where a mate has one too)

Loretta Garth
Loretta Garth

September 05, 2018

I have my original knicks from ground effect purchased around 2003.

Rosie
Rosie

September 05, 2018

Well my GE shorts are still doing fine after about 15 years, you guys should look after your stuff better.

Trevor Karton
Trevor Karton

September 05, 2018

Over the years I have acquired quite a bit of GE gear and the only item that wore out was one merino sock. Everything else that I have bought over the years is still going strong and my latest purchase of a merino long sleeve top is the most comfortable base layer I have worn yet. Keep up the great work GE

Kevin Searle
Kevin Searle

September 05, 2018

Like Billy I have the same complaint. Some years ago I complained about the state of the earliest baggies is they had the stitching begin to go after about 12 years solid use.. it was apparent they didn’t take my complaint seriously is they keep doing this with all their equipment!. I still have a riding shirt blue with black shoulders that I purchased around 2000 . This is just not good enough. How is a guy to remain fashionable!.My latest purchase of the orange Merino short sleeve shirt looked in better condition after the tour of Aotearoa than at the start.. There is no point in my complaining however as I already know they will just keep doing this to their clothing!! Be warned!

Waiora
Waiora

September 05, 2018

My shorts on 12 years, old, apart from accompanying me on rides they have slid along the tarseal, leaving a few holes but….they’re still functional and have a few years left in them. I am pretty fussy about how I treat them when washing, so far no fraying etc. need to get another pair though…cheers Ground Effect

Andy
Andy

September 05, 2018

I agree with Billy, these shorts are almost indestructible.
Mine are approaching teenage years, 12 years old and going strong. I purchased a 2nd pair that are now about 9 years old, so I’m hoping that splitting the wear and tear I should see them well into their 20’s. They may even outlast me!

Hass
Hass

September 05, 2018

Great read , very entertaining !!

Rach
Rach

September 05, 2018

Hail the GE lycra shorts! Although MFBS have been relegated to early morning solo spin sessions, they are at least 15 years old and have endured an absolute thrashing! Great piece of writing too!

John
John

September 05, 2018

A lovely piece of writing, Billy. While I can’t claim any of the hours in saddle that you do, my original GE shorts are now 15 and holding well. The baggies are too. Like the warning signs. Great marketing – and even better gear. Thanks, JP

Chris
Chris

September 05, 2018

I need to add a further warning – after a particularly hot summer lunchtime ride someone decided they had greater need than me of my GE shorts – apparently being sweatsoaked added to their allure – lock up your shorts or they’ll go riding with someone else!!

Patrick
Patrick

September 05, 2018

Agree. I have some GE baggies at least 15 years old. Have been sewn up 3 times due to wear and tear. Very reluctant to pension them off. #MFBS

Tania
Tania

September 05, 2018

What a great read. I love ground effect clothing, as you clearly do as well. Brilliant writing.

Koa
Koa

September 05, 2018

Brilliant!! I look forward to my GE bike shorts lasting a very,very long time

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