Review: Specialized Mountain Bike Shorts - Para and Shindig

A password will be e-mailed to you.

Review: Specialized MTB Shorts – Shindig and Para

Specialized is well known throughout the mountain biking industry for providing a complete lineup of high-quality mountain bike apparel and accessories for riders. As part of their extensive lineup, Specialized offers some apparel for the all mountain, free ride and downhill segments to meet the needs of more agressive riding. The Specialized Shindig and Para mountain bike shorts are part of that lineup and the subjects for today’s review. These two heavy duty MTB shorts are designed to protect your lower body with thicker and more durable shorts that meet the needs of more extreme mountain biking.

Specialized Shindig Mountain Bike Shorts

The Specialized Shindig mountain bike shorts are the top end of the lineup for Specialized.

Specialized Shindig MTB Short Specs

Specialized MTB Shindig ShortThe most aggressive mountain short for the most mobility, durability and performance under fire.

  • Outer shell is a durable nylon/polyester blend
  • Inner polyester mesh lining for extra comfort while riding
  • Front mesh panels provide comfortable airflow
  • Stretch panels on the front for full range of motion
  • Full function front snap and fly
  • Waist adjustments enable custom fit
  • Single zippered cargo pocket on thigh provides storage
  • Lighter material at the back of knee for pedaling comfort
  • MSRP: $100.00
Review: Specialized Shindig MTB Shorts

Specialized Shindig Front

The first thing that hits me as I picked up the Specialized Shindig shorts for the first time was… durable. The nylon/polyester shell provides a very strong, durable weave that can withstand the abuse of hitting the ground on a repeated basis. This durability does come at a weight cost, but if you are riding with the Shindigs…you more than likely are carrying around extra weight everywhere in your search of hitting obstacles and trails that aren’t for the average XC/AM rider.

With extra padding and material around the typical impact zones (knees and hips), the Shindig shorts provide some extra protection while keeping the other areas of the short flexible for ease of movement. With high impact mountain bike shorts like the Shindig, the extra material can sometimes decrease mobility, but Specialized did a great job of including flexible material around areas that need to move while protecting those areas of your body that don’t.

The internal mesh lining does improve comfort while on the bike by giving a little bit of cushion between your body and the hard surface of the Shindig outer shell. With adjustable Velcro straps and heavy duty buttons and zipper, the Shindigs are both comfortable and durable for more extreme uses.

The subtle black and red styling of the Shindig (only color available) fits in perfectly with my style needs and matches just about all of my riding equipment so that is a nice change from some of the more wild designs now being released in the FR/DH market.

One area that I think the Shindig does lack in relation to other mountain bike shorts on the market is the single zippered pocket. While it does provide adequate storage with an extremely durable zipper, I do like to have more conventional open, side pockets on my MTB shorts for iPods, Goos and other readily accessible items.

Positives: Specialized Shindig MTB Shorts
  • Extremely durable outer shell for more aggressive riding
  • Comfortable on the bike due to the mesh inner shell and increased mobility with flexible outer components
  • Subtle styling
  • Will last a lifetime
  • Work perfectly with a wide variety of lower body protection (padded liners, knee pads, shin pads)
Negatives: Specialized Shindig MTB Shorts
  • Only one zippered pocket
  • Price – 100 bucks may be a little much for some riders (but is about average)
  • Availability – Only available at or an authorized Specialized dealer
  • May be heavy for some riders

If you know what 5.10’s are and your bike has 6.4″ of rear wheel travel or more, the Specialized Shindig’s will be a great set of MTB shorts that will fit your needs. While they might be a little bit heavier, they provide a ton of protection and will withstand the abuse of harder riding with World Cup style performance.

More info on the Shindig shorts at

Specialized Para Mountain Bike Shorts

The Specialized Para mountain bike shorts come in right under the Shindig above and provide a different feature set that may suit different riding styles.

Specialized Para MTB Short Specs

Specialized Para MTB ShortThis cargo short packs all the right performance features for the biggest days on the mountain or anywhere else you’re looking to roam.

  • Outer shell is a durable nylon/polyester blend
  • Inner polyester mesh lining for extra comfort while riding
  • Full function front snap and fly
  • Waist adjustments and functional belt loops enable custom fit
  • Single back pocket on right hip with angled front hand pockets
  • Mid-size cargo pockets on thighs for additional storage
  • Contoured shape at the leg opening for pedaling comfort
  • Also available in Black
  • MSRP: $90.00

Review: Specialized Para MTB Shorts

Specialized Para Short Front

The Specialized Para mountain bike shorts are noticeably lighter than the Shindigs previously reviewed. With a thinner outer shell, the Para’s provide additional protection than conventional mountain bike shorts but not to the extreme of the Shindig’s. With multiple pocket options (cargo, side and rear) the Para’s are really well suited for all day saddle excursions over rough terrain. The heavy duty zipper and double button combination provides a secure fit while the adjustable velcro straps and functional belt loops will allow you to get the perfect fit.

On the bike, the Specialized Para shorts are pretty comfortable. Even though they lack designed in stretch areas, the lighter outer shell provides enough movement that you do not feel constricted while pedaling. The inner mesh shell is confortable in multiple riding situations (stand and hammer, sit and spin), but for long days in the saddle you are going to want to match these shorts with some kind of inner shell as one is not included.

For easy pocket access, Specialized thought ahead and attached a loop to every single pocket flap to pull on to release the velcro. This made for easy opening with full fingered gloves on and was a nice addition on the trail.

With two color options available…Fatigue (reviewed) and black/white…there are options to fit your style needs. Personally, I am more partial to the black/white setup over the fatigues but that comes down to personal preference.

Positives: Specialized Para MTB Shorts
  • Durable outer shell that will withstand harder riding
  • Lighter weight shell for all day excursions
  • 5 pockets to carry anything you need with loops for easy access
  • Plenty of adjustment for fitment
Negatives: Specialized Para MTB Shorts
  • Price – 90 bucks may be a little much for some riders (but is about average)
  • Availability – Only available at or an authorized Specialized dealer
  • May be heavy for some riders
  • Styling may not be up your alley

The Specialized Para mountain bike shorts are designed for more aggressive mountain bikers that are looking for a mountain bike short that provides both durability and flexibility for all day hammers in the saddle. The longer length and durable outer shell is going to lend itself towards riders that are not weight conscious but are looking for more protection as the take their 5.5″ to 6.4″ travel mountain bike up and over the hill in search of the nastiest way down.

More info on the Para Short at

Overall Thoughts: Specialized Mountain Bike Shorts

The Shindig and Para mountain bike shorts are for riders that like the more agressive style of mountain biking, so if you are into lightweight wheels and short travel…these are not going to be the shorts for you and you will want to check out the rest of the Specialized lineup.

Taking the shorts intended use into consideration, these are some of the best shorts I have found for this style of riding. With incredible durability and comfort, both the Shindig and Para provide more agressive riders with an incredible option that is custom tailored to their needs. They also fit perfectly with other increased protection items that are a requirement for much of this riding style as you can see in the pictures with the Kyle Straight knee pads.

If you are looking for a mountain bike specific set of shorts, hit up the Shindig for FR/DH and the Para for the lighter side of FR/DH and heavier side of AM.

For the rest of the mountain bike apparel lineup from Specialized mountain bikes, check out