Casual Women’s Cycling Shorts Round-Up: Rapha Explore Shorts, ORNOT Women’s Mission Short, Fjallraven S/F Rider’s Hybrid Short and Ripton Diesel Jorts


Casual Women’s Cycling Shorts Round-Up: Rapha Explore Shorts, ORNOT Women’s Mission Short, Fjallraven S/F Rider’s Hybrid Short and Ripton Diesel Jorts

For the start of summer, Hailey Moore shares a brief review of four casual women’s cycling short options: the Rapha Women’s Explore Shorts, ORNOT Women’s Mission Short, Fjällräven S/F Rider’s Hybrid Short and Ripton Diesel Jorts. Find your new warm-weather uniform for on and off the bike! 

Summer is too short to get into the “short” vs “shorts” debate. It’s during these hottest months of the year that I find myself wanting to find a do-it-all pair that I can throw on in the morning, wear no matter where the day takes me, and rinse (maybe, in a creek) and repeat the next! It’s been exciting to see more brands coming out with versatile options that are tech-tailored to the bike but transition easily to other activities. Read on for a snapshot review of four shorts I’ve been wear-testing this season.

ORNOT Women’s Lightweight Mission Short

Quick Hits:

  • Soft elastic waistband for mobility and comfort.
  • 7.5″ inseam.
  • Durable bluesign® approved Recycled 4-way stretch 85% Nylon / 15% Elastane fabric, made to last.
  • Full panel gusset to eliminate seams and pressure points.
  • 4 Pocket construction, 2 rear zippered pockets for secure storage.
  • Available in size XS to XL
  • Designed in San Francisco and sewn in Oakland, CA
  • Price: $126

After discovering the Men’s Mission Short are a customer favorite in the brand’s lifestyle product line, ORNOT has followed up with a women’s version, released this spring. Based on ORNOT’s product descriptions for each version, the Women’s Mission Short does appear to have quite a bit more stretch — constructed with 15% elastane as compared to 5% — than the Men’s analogue. I found the Mission Short to have a somewhat relaxed fit and the inseam was longer than any of the other shorts I tested. The leg opening also seems to flare ever so slightly towards the hem. I found the semi-loose fit comfortable at first but could lead to bunching and chafing around the saddle on longer rides. However, I should point out that I did not wear a liner underneath which would likely remedy any friction with the short. While made of technical fabric, the Women’s Mission Short feature traditional pockets and have a nice casual look off the bike, thanks to ORNOT’s signature minimal branding. I found these most applicable for cross-over activities like hiking and commuting, though —with the addition of a liner—I think the longer inseam favors MTB riders.


  • Made in USA
  • Longest inseam of all four shorts
  • Sustainable materials used for construction
  • Somewhat loose fit

Ripton Women’s Diesel Jorts

Quick Hits:

  • “Blacker than the ink of a giant squid”
  • “Gusseted for smooth sailing below the equator”
  • 54% stretch
  • 9.5 oz denim
  • 72.5% cotton, 3.5% elastane, 13% recycled cotton, 11% recycled polyester
  • 5.5″ inseam
  • Available in sizes 24″ to 36″
  • Designed in Colorado, made in Turkey
  • Price: $69

According to Ripton, “life is jort” and their performance denim is built to take the proverbial bull by the horns. For their Women’s Diesel Jorts, they advise riders to “wash to tighten / wear aggressively.” I’m going into my third season with this pair of their Diesel Jorts and they remain my favorite of the Ripton line for the thinner, stretchier denim and, so far, they’re holding up well. However, I do prefer a more technical fabric (because: sweat) for longer rides and the 5.5″ inseam is a touch short for saddle compatibility for my 5′ 7″ frame. I most enjoy shimmying into the Diesel Jorts for quick MTB trail hits, coffee pedals, or to throw on in the morning when I know I might be on-and-off my commuter throughout the day.


  • Least technical
  • Most affordable of the list
  • Shortest inseam
  • All the vibes

Fjällräven S/F Rider’s Hybrid Short

Quick Hits:

  • Made in G-1000 Lite Stretch that can be waxed.
  •  G-1000® Lite Stretch: 52% polyester (recycled), 13% polyester (T400), 35% cotton (organic)
    13% elastane, 87% polyamide
  • Back section in 4-way stretch.
  • Reflective details inside the hems.
  • Fold up the cuffs for enhanced visibility.
  • Zippered hand pockets. Thigh pockets with snap buttons.
  • Reinforced gusset.
  • 7.3″ inseam (18.5 cm)
  • Available in size 26″ to 37″
  • Designed in Sweden and California; made in Vietman
  • Price: $140

Fjällräven has been making a big push in the lifestyle cycling and bikepacking spaces in recent years, a move reflected in their collaborative collections with Specialized. As part of the S/F apparel line, the Rider’s Hybrid Short is advertised as a hardwearing, technical bike-specific piece: The front-facing G-1000 panel feels a bit burlier than the rear-panel fabric and can be waxed for more water-resistance (though I’ve yet to try). The front also features four pockets: two zippered hip pockets and two thigh pockets. Similar to ORNOT’s Mission Short, I didn’t find the traditional hip pockets here comfortable for carrying things when on the bike, but I thought the snap-closure thigh pockets were ok for holding a phone or wallet. In general, I thought the fit of the Hybrid Short was a little boxy on the front side when in the riding position— the reinforced hem seems to taper the leg openings — but the higher waist band felt well tailored to the bike.


  • Sustainable materials used for construction
  • Creative design elements and features, like reflective hems when flipped and option to wax the front panel
  • Burly construction
  • Boxy fit through the thighs

Rapha Women’s Explore Shorts

Quick Hits:

  • Made with lightweight technical fabric (121gsm) with in-built stretch for freedom of movement
  • Treated with a durable water-repellent (DWR) coating for protection from light rain
  • Low pack volume with integrated roll loop for easy storage on multi-day trips
  • Ergonomic panelling to prevent bunching on- and off-bike, with liners or underwear
  • Zipped side pocket and two hand warmers pockets carry all ride provisions
  • Main: 91% Nylon 9% Elastane, Contrast: 100% Polyester
  • 7.25 (?)” inseam (not stated online)
  • Available in XXS to XL
  • Made in Vietnam
  • Price: $145

These shorts made my 2023 Favorite Products List for a reason, but I wanted to assess them again after the release of ORNOT’s Mission Short and Fjällräven’s S/F Hybrid Short. Alas, the Rapha Women’s Explore Shorts are still my most preferred “casual” riding short because they just nail all the points for me. While they do stretch out some with extended wear between washes (with that stretch showing up most noticeably in a little pouching at the low back), I found the stretch to be the least of the technical options of this list (i.e., excluding the Diesel Jorts); the hip pockets extend laterally inside the short such that a phone, bar, etc., rests against the outside of your leg, rather than resting on the thigh and impeding pedaling; I appreciate the off-center detailing around the waist-band closure and integrated belt, and — for me — the leg fit and length is just right. I’d wager that I’ve put over 2,000 miles in the saddle in these shorts and the seat is just starting to show a little wear from a couple of minor snags. (Note: I’ve sized these to wear without a liner.)


  • Most expensive
  • Best fit (imo)
  • Best pockets