The Atom is made from a new lightweight four-way stretch polyester with moisture-wicking properties. First time feeling the fabric the quality is immediately evident. When worn, the shorts feel light and airy. The fabric has proven to be very durable over the last 5 months of riding. The test pair of shorts have seen frequent use and a number of hard slams with only a few cosmetic scuff marks to show. Even when drenched in mud the fabric maintains it lightweight feel.
The Atom shorts wear slightly larger than the size tag would suggest. I went with one size smaller than usual and there was still a fair bit of room. However, a slight adjustment on the internal waist adjuster (on either side of the “Trails to Ales” motto) resulted in a snug fit. Should you prefer, there are also loops around the waist for a belt. The Atom shorts stretch in the right places making changing position from seated to standing, or even leaning back behind the saddle, comfortable.
Once zipped in, there is a single button to secure the shorts. It’s not something I experienced every ride but a handful of times the button worked its way loose. Although the pants stayed up, it’s was an annoyance when it happened.
The Atom shorts cut is a loose fit but not unnecessarily big. The length fits just over the knees. Knee pads fit comfortably under the Atom without any catching or snagging on the pads.
There is no shortage of pockets on the Atom, five in total. There are two open hip pockets with a stash pocket inside which is well sized for a small multi tool. Lower down are two zipped thigh pockets. The last pocket is smaller (with a velcro strip) that is useful for storing cards, keys and notes. Each pocket is lined with a netted fabric which turns out is excellent for gripping items in the pocket. This helps prevent items from moving around and spilling out the pocket while riding. I happily stowed my multitool, a hex key, and car keys in these top open pockets without anything going missing.
Inside the Atom is a removable chamois liner. The Atom chamois pad is decent quality. It provides sufficient protection for a longer trail rides. However, I wouldn't rely on it to serve as your main chamois on multiply day endurance events. The rest of the liner is made from a soft mesh fabric that does well at keeping the rider cool and the chamois in place. The liner is secured to the shorts using a button loop. I found the loop to be very weak and ended up not even bothering connecting the two garments. The chamois stays firmly in place regardless.
In the end
The Atom is all about getting the job done. The new material is durable, light and holds out well in the wet. The fit and stretch of the shorts work to make them comfortable in all conditions, with or without knee pads. The numerous pockets are varied in design to cater for most purposes. The chamois does well at keeping the rider cool and provides acceptable protection. The 2015 Atom shorts are big improvement on the previous generation and well worth a look.
You can find One Industries product at your local dealer here. Recommended retail pricing is R1,250.