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June 05, 2020 6 min read

I tried to think of a more witty title to this blog post but I kept on coming back to this very simple and self-explanatory one. After all, I wanted to highlight the differences between all The Overland shorts which on face value look largely similar but actually fulfil very different needs. This feature is designed to help you pick the right ones for your riding and other adventure sports.


The Selector.

This was our very first "baggy" short. I have baggy in inverted commas as this I often feel conjures up the wrong impression of these. The brief was to design a short that was loose fitting but tailored enough not to be flappy and cumbersome. It was to be sleek enough to be worn over the top of lycra shorts on a road bike, yet loose enough for mountain biking, light enough for trail running, quick-drying enough for wild swimming and stretchy enough for climbing. Yes, it was quite some brief!

It took us many prototypes to find the right fabric, which is central to its success. The Bluesign-accredited fabric (a pioneering mark of sustainable textile production) has an incredible amount of stretch. In fact, I would go so far as to say no other short on the market stretches and moves as much as the Selector, with the fabric able to double it's length and still return to normal!

But why is that important? What we discovered in our trials was that the greater the stretch, the less it felt like we were wearing that extra layer. A strange feeling, but actually one that we quickly realised was what we were after. These are the shorts you can forget about. They bend and stretch in every way so they are never, ever restrictive and allow complete 360-degree freedom of movement.

"The Overland Selector shorts are my perfect multi-activity short. They are light and stretchy enough that they are barely noticeable over Lycra when riding: perfect for long days in the saddle. They are so comfortable that I wear them day-to-day, when climbing and even when running. Regardless of when, where or what the next trip involves, the Overland shorts will be at the top of the packing list (if I’m not already wearing them). 

Tom Hill
Adventurer, Cyclist and Writer of inspirational features for the likes of Sidetracked Magazine

Weight was next on the list of priorities. Not just total overall weight (which is a very light 218 grams) but also the weight of the fabric itself. This is the weight that can make a fabric either feel too flimsy and insubstantial, or heavy and stiff. We found (finally) the perfect middle ground that retained a good shape, didn't flap around in the wind yet could also easily to stashed into small pockets for bikepacking and multi-day expeditions. 

"I’d heard from a few friends that the new shorts from The Overland were the business. I’m always pretty sceptical until I try something for myself, but it turns out I really shouldn’t have been. At least in this case. It’s no wonder why they were an award finalist at Eurobike in 2019.

For me, it’s quite rare to find a piece of cycle clothing that I feel truly at home in off the bike as well as on it. When a bit of kit serves more than one specific purpose, it adds value, and that’s just what the Selector does. Cycling overshort, casual wear, hiking gear, you name it. The Overland Selector is technical, but subtly styled, so you don’t feel like the latest sportswear fashion victim."


In terms of styling and details, we kept things minimal. Everything you need and nothing you don't. Three zipped pockets, waist gripper to keep the shorts stable when cycling, hidden waist adjusters and a clean appearance so they can be worn around town without any eyebrows raised.

Add in PFC-free durable water repellency to compliment the fast-drying nature of the fabric and you also have a short that can be used for swimming, surfing and kayaking.

"Have to say the shorts are probably now my absolute favourite and are now pretty much my ‘1000 milers’! The fit and fabric feel is superb."

MBR Magazine

Best For:

The perfectionist. The person that requires the utmost from their clothing and demands the most capable short. The kind of short that replaces four or five – just think of the carbon footprint saved. 

The Elemental.

With the Elemental, we took what we had learnt with the Selectors and worked on a more affordable version. So they still have stretch (although not as much), they still have durable water repellency but don't dry quite as fast, they have three pockets but only one is zipped. Think of them as an introduction to the Selector. A mid-range Specialized compared to the Selectors which are like the S-Works. If you're in need of a solid, capable short without the bells, whistles and price tag, then the Elemental is for you.

We'll hand you over to Dom Mason, founder and CEO of the multi award-winning Mason Bikes.

"As owner and designer of Mason Cycles, our 'Ride Driven Design' statement is a very important cornerstone of every bicycle and component that we make. It means that every feature is there for a performance and functional reason and that the shape, geometry and ride feel are all born from the task that the bicycle must carry out, rather than being added for aesthetic or marketing reasons.
This is why I love the Overland Elemental shorts. They come from the same thinking. Nothing is there without reason, all features have purpose and there are no annoying additions for 'styling'.
Riding shorts are an apparently simple thing, but there are so many that just aren't right. The Elemental short has obviously been thought about and ridden in before being produced, it's the perfect balance of light weight, length and 'bagginess', with just the right amount of storage and no seams in the wrong place to annoy on long rides.
When a customer comes back from a test ride on our bikes and says " I didn't really notice the bike, it just came along with me and did exactly what I wanted it to do..." I take it as the highest compliment. This is just how I see the Elemental shorts and in fact all The Overland clothing that I've ridden in."
Best For:

The everyday rider who's looking for a no-nonsense short that will handle the rough and tumble of everyday life. 

The Adapt.

When the weather turns nasty, the Adapt is the short to turn too. A fully waterproof and taped short that still has four-way stretch but also, and very importantly, doesn't feel heavy, stiff and makes loud rustling sounds as you pedal. This was the brief: to design a waterproof short what looked and behaved like a regular short. Three zipped pockets, adjustable waist and little details such as the gusset behind the fly zip to stop water getting in, result in a short that keeps you warm and dry and yet is more than capable of keeping going when the sun comes out and the temperature lifts.

‘I used the Adapt waterproof shorts first for test riding gravel and mountain bike routes I have mapped in Highland Perthshire in Scotland in early March. The conditions ranged from minus 10 at night to a few degrees above zero during the day. The shorts worked perfectly, they kept my upper legs and waist dry in those challenging riding conditions. They also dry superfast and pack down easily, which makes them a great choice for warmer weather too. I prefer shorts to full length waterproof trousers, as my lower legs are normally covered by boots and knee-high socks. I have also used the shorts on a few shorter rides in town too, as they look like normal shorts. They are a great addition to my kit list for any trip, whether multi-day excursions or just a short ride after work.’

Markus Stitz
Founder of Bikepacking Scotland, co-founder of the Dirt Dash gravel events and the first person to bikepack round the world on a singlespeed.


Best For:

When the weather can't make up its mind or is just in a plain bad mood. 


The Bib-short.

The most straight-forward in terms of functionality. Based on the award-winning and much-lauded Morvélo bib shorts, these are designed to go underneath any of our other shorts or can be used by themselves. The mesh rear pockets are designed to hang just over the waist of the Selectors, Elementals and Adapts so they don't infringe on carrying potential. Some other cargo bib shorts have the mesh pockets on the leg which isn't practical when used under baggy shorts.

Made from breathable Italian lycra and using the trademark Italian Morvélo chamois these are the shorts you need to cover hours, days or weeks in the saddle in supreme comfort.

“I can tell you that these are brilliant performers; so great, in fact, that they arguably make ‘premium’ £180 models which we've also tested recently, look a little silly.”
Road Cycling UK

Best For:

Wearing under all The Overland baggy shorts or doubling them up as road cycling shorts.

Jump On.