Once exclusively the domain of gravity-oriented riders, pants are increasing in popularity for riders of all disciplines.
Words: Georgina von Marburg, Will Shaw
Photos: Tim Bardsley-Smith, Nick Waygood
Gone are the days of pants being adapted straight from a brand’s motocross offerings, and nowadays pants feature the same materials and technologies that make modern shorts so good. They’re comfortable to pedal in, breathable, and often feature clever construction to accommodate knee pads. The right pair of trail trousers or pants are all about fit, comfort and protection.
In late 2020 I received a set of Pearl Izumi Launch Trail Pants. I didn’t think much of it at the time, but these pants were my favourite piece of riding apparel in 2021. Prior to receiving the Launch Pants I’d done lots of trail and gravity riding in pants, but the pants I was using were quite heavy for trail riding (nearly 600 grams) and didn’t pedal very nicely. They were also susceptible to chain suck due to a lack of tapering at the ankle. The Launch Pants opened my eyes as to how much pants for trail riding have improved in recent years.
My love for the Launch Trail Pants got me thinking about the long-legged offerings from other apparel manufacturers aimed at offering something you can trail ride in year-round. For this group test I rode in 9 different sets of pants priced between $179.99 and $249.99, and Georgina tested 4 sets of pants priced between $199 and $249.99.
From the pants I received, six of the pants on test are aimed at trail/all-mountain riding, with many of those brands offering gravity and wet weather pants also. Two of the pants on test are aimed towards gravity use, and the Ground Effect Ranchsliders play in their own utilitarian world.
Will: In terms of sizing, I’ve got a 32” waist but a lengthy inseam at 93cm. The brands that participated sent out the pants they recommend for those measurements.
Georgina: I have a 32” waist and 81cm inseam. I typically wear a women’s size medium across most brands, and was sent mediums from brands which participated in the test.