Cycling pants are a useful bit of kit. Something you'll know if you've ever attempted to speed your way through the rain and wind on the ride to work wearing a decidedly nonwaterproofed pair of pants, or you've ever tackled the trails with only the skin of your lower legs as protection against the great outdoors.
Yes, soggy bottoms and branch-battered calves are a possibility when exploring the world with your beloved two-wheeled steed, but they can also be a thing of the past. All it takes is the right pair of cycling trousers.
But what exactly is the right pair of cycling pants? Well, that depends on what you'll be doing with them.
In summer, you may be able to get away with trousers treated with a DWR (durable water resistant) finish. You'll also want ones with lighter, breathable fabrics that are good at wicking away sweat and quick-drying with added vents in the areas where heat builds up the fastest.
Many cycling trousers have been made with mountain biking in mind and, as a result, are incredibly durable to keep up with the intense demands of off-roading. Durable, water-resistant fabric protects you from low-hanging branches, gravel and spray, while most are knee-pad friendly and have reflective detailing to keep you safe on the trails in low light.
As for why you can't just wear regular pants on days where there's no chance of rain? You could, but most cycling trousers have been designed especially for comfort and freedom of movement and include a seamless crotch, adjustable waistband, articulated knees and stretchy fabric. Not to mention a slim fit that will prevent you from fighting against the wind and keep your cuffs from snagging on your bike or the environment you're speeding through.
Ready to see just how handy having a set of cycling trousers in your life can be? Continue on for our pick of the best pairs on the market. Whether you're an avid mountain biker, make the cycle to and from work on the daily or just enjoy a spin every now and then, there's a pair for you. So, best get on your bicycle before you miss out.