Review of Altura Sparks Kids MTB shorts
My 10 year old has found a real passion in Mountain Biking. However, it soon became apparent that the skin tight lycra kids size Altura cycling shorts he wears for riding on the road and paths don't provide either the protection or style that is required with mountain biking. My local bike shop stock Altura, and given I've been very impressed with their other kids cycling shorts, I was more than happy to try their Mountain Bike offering - the Altura Sparks Kids MTB shorts.
Altura Sparks Kids MTB shorts review
The shorts come in three sizes - 5-6 years, 7-9 years and 10-12 years and are available in two colours - black and camouflage. At the front are two pockets and there are details of reflective trim (the brand name Altura) on both the front and back -useful if your child will be riding in low light conditions.
My son is a tall and slim 10 year old (we usually have to buy shorts and trousers with waist adjusters), so I was slightly dubious when I picked up the age 10-12 shorts. The waistband elastic felt rather loose and sized against the age 7-9 they looked very big. To be on the safe side I decided to take both the age 7-9 and the 10-12 years in the Altura Sparks Kids MTB shorts and return the pair that didn't fit.
Sizing of Altura Sparks Kids MTB shorts
I'm glad that I took both sizes because the age 10-12 were massive on him - as there is no way of adjusting the waist it's unlikely he'll fill out enough to fit these shorts for several years.
On the 10-12 years the width of the waist lying flat on the table is 31cm. The length of the shorts from top of the waistband to the bottom of the hem is 46cm. The legs are also very wide, so his slim legs were drowned in fabric.
The age 7-9 fitted perfectly around the waist, although because he's tall the length of the shorts on the legs could do with being a bit longer for him. The waist measurement of the shorts lying on the table is 25cm and the length 43cm. The fit on his leg was a closer cut than the 10-12 pair, but not too tight.
The pad inside the Altura Sparks Kids MTB shorts is sewn in to form part of the inner lining of the short. Due to the relaxed fit, it took several attempts to get it seated properly. N is used to tight fitting lycra cycling shorts where you pull them up and everything fits into place.
This design took a bit of getting used to, with the shorts needing to be pulled high to get the pad positioned correctly. This can be annoying to a 10 year old who is desperate to get on the trail! However, once he sorted it out, it stayed in position for the entire ride and the next time he wore them he sorted this out himself without difficulty.
The shorts have been worn several times and the fabric has washed well and dries incredibly quickly. On one occasion, I accidentally washed them at 60c rather than the recommended 30c which may explain why the reflective trim on the back of the shorts has come off (although not why the larger one on the front has stayed on). I can overlook this though as it was my fault. Of greater importance is that thankfully they didn't shrink!
Overall verdict of the Altura Sparks Kids MTB shorts
These kids mountain biking shorts look great and are comfy to wear, once the pad is adjusted. They wash and dry easily. The sizing is on the large size and there is no facility to adjust the waistline. So for kids with slim waists I'd recommend going down a size if they're on the margins of the age range.
They've been used a handful of times on various rides and are yet to show any signs of wear. However, its early days for the Altura kids mtb shorts so we'll add further comment once they've had been used and abused.
The Altura Sparks Kids MTB shorts are available to purchase online at Wiggle.
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