Bike Pant Roundup — 2022, Part 1

Blister Bike Pant Roundup — 2022, Part 1
Kara Williard wearing the Wild Rye Freyah Pant

Intro

Bike pants are popular options for cooler months, inclimate weather, or riding aggressively in the bike park, but they aren’t just for these scenarios. We have been testing several men’s and women’s bike pants throughout the last few months, and have found options that work well for a huge range of conditions and types of rides. Bike pants can offer more protection against the elements and trailside vegetation, reduce sun exposure, provide warmth, and prevent your legs from being caked in dirt or dust. So, check out the variety of pants that we’ve been spending time in – there’s a good chance that one of them might be just what you’re looking for. And we’ll have a Part 2 to this roundup with even more options in a few months.

Shredly Cascade Pant

Fabric: 91% Recycled polyester, 9% Spandex
Size Tested: 8
Measured Weight: 335 g
MSRP: $135
Reviewer: 5’9”, 167 lbs / 175 cm, 75.7 g

Blister Bike Pant Roundup — 2022, Part 1
Shredly Cascade

Kara Williard: I received these pants just as temperatures in Gunnison began to really suggest that ski season was near, and biking was starting to feel a little brisk. My first impression of the Shredly Cascade Pant was basically “this is the most comfortable pair of pants, can I wear them every day?” As someone who isn’t usually the biggest fan of pants for everyday wear, the Cascade Pant offers the perfect amount of stretch and flexibility. The most comfortable feature is the wide, yoga-style waistband. The 4-way stretchy fabric moves great on the bike, and has the right amount of stretch to feel flexible, but also to maintain their elasticity and a flattering fit over a series of days without washing. This is a quick drying fabric, which makes the Cascade a viable option for wet and rainy rides, or even a bit of mild snowfall which I got to experience in late November. The pants feel great while moving for long periods of time, and I was pleased with the sustained comfort of the fit. 

The Cascade Pant is a great weight for something that’s meant to be warm, durable and protective. While I have yet to spend time in this pant in the warmer months, I know it will be a go-to as I jump back on the bike this spring, and there are many rides in the alpine all summer long that will justify the the extra protection from the cold air and rocky terrain, too. Though I haven’t yet worn the Cascade in super warm weather, they felt breathable when the sun came out and I started to break a sweat. The fabric isn’t the smoothest or the softest, it has more of a water-resistant and burly feel to it, especially when compared to the Wild Rye Freyah pant.

The size 8 was a perfect fit, and I found the length to be just right. Even with a thicker chamois beneath, the pants were comfortable, stretchy, and always flattering. The waistband is extremely stretchy and smooth. The snuggest part of the pants was the cuff around the ankles, which I had to guide over my foot, but that wasn’t really a problem. I have historically worn an 8 in several different Shredly shorts, so the fit of the Cascade remains consistent within the brand.

The Cascade is built with zippered pockets at the hip and the side of the leg, which are useful for snacks and even my pretty bulky phone. There are also two fairly large hand pockets. I don’t find myself carrying much in my pockets on the bike, but for someone that does there is plenty of space to carry the smaller items. There is a drawstring at the waist to snug up, if needed, and this also prevents any gaping in the back when bending over.

From past experiences testing Shredly shorts and bike shirts, it’s clear I am a fan of their fit, design, fun patterns, and overall inclusivity approach to the biking world, as Shredly offers sizes 00-24, which is amazing. While I won’t be biking much over the next couple of months, I am already looking forward to pulling out the Cascade Pant for some of the early spring rides.

Wild Rye Freyah Women’s Bike Pant

Fabric: Shell Fabric: WRDuraStretch 4-way stretch nylon, 88% Nylon, 12% Spandex, Secondary Fabric: 72% Recycled Polyester, 18% Polyester, 10% Spandex
Size Tested: 8
Measured Weight: 369 g
MSRP: $189
Reviewer: 5’9”, 167 lbs / 175 cm, 75.7 g

Blister Bike Pant Roundup — 2022, Part 1
Wild Rye Freyah

Kara: The Wild Rye Freyah Bike Pant is another pant that has helped change my mind about the function and necessity of bike pants, and maybe just pants in general. The Freyah was one of the first pants from a women-specific company that caught my eye. Upon my first ride in them, I was a fan. The Freyah is a stylish, technical pant, with a smoother and lighter material than the Shredly Cascade. For anyone that has worn the Wild Rye Freel or Freda short, the material is the same stretchy, smooth WRDuraStretch 4-way stretch nylon. I received these pants early enough in the fall to put them to the test through hotter, dry and dusty rides, and then translate this into plenty of cold rides including a snowy 100-mile bikepacking mission where temps were as low as 20-30° F. For this reason, I would say the Freyah are extremely versatile pants that serve as an option from wanting more protection in hot, rocky desert terrain, to wanting a warm, viable way to extend your bike season.

Blister Bike Pant Roundup — 2022, Part 1
Kara Williard wearing the Wild Rye Freyah Pant

The fit of the Freyah is also consistent with the Freel and Freda shorts. In my previous review of the Freel Short, I spoke highly of both the fabric and fit of the Freel Short, which I tested in a size 8. The Freyah fits similarly, but I appreciate how Wild Rye built these pants to accommodate a variety of inseam heights. While all sizes offer an inseam of 31.5”, the cute patterned detail along the cuff with velcro closure makes it possible to roll up or down depending on your height, and depending on how snug you want the ankles. I found myself using this feature when I wanted to roll the pants up for a little more air flow.

The waistband on the Freyah isn’t quite as stretchy or comfortable as the yoga-style waistband in the Shredly Cascade, mostly because of the two snaps, in addition to two large buttons used for closure. But, over the course of a ride these pants stretch out quite a bit, so I mostly noticed the slight discomfort at the waist when first putting them on.

The true test of comfort was two 50+ mile days during a cold bikepacking trip across southern New Mexico in late November, and I was so glad to have brought the Freyah as my only pair of bottoms. They were protective, warm, comfortable, and felt soft and flexible throughout many miles and climbs on the bike. Even as temps warmed, and the strong New Mexico sun came out, the Freyah felt breathable. I also found the option of a bike pants to be wonderful, as I crawled into my sleeping bag at the end of a long day, my legs didn’t feel caked in dust, so it was a much more comfortable sleep than I am used to on bikepacking missions.

The Freyah also fits in a very cute, flattering way, and the size 8 remained consistent with previous experiences in Wild Rye bottoms. While they can feel a little snug in the beginning of a ride, the material is super stretchy and starts to relax. Though, they never feel excessively loose, even when wearing them several days in a row. Throughout the hips, butt, and thighs, they felt like a contoured, flattering fit that didn’t restrict movement whatsoever.

The Freyah is a thinner material than the Shredly Cascade, which might make them more versatile. I have found this material from Wild Rye to still be robust and durable, though, as my original Freel shorts have sustained lots of rides and a couple big crashes. The Freyah has reinforced knees, which reportedly fit knee pads under the pants, though I haven’t tested this. They also offer two, side-zippered pockets that are ideal for smaller items, not quite roomy enough for my large phone. The construction of the Freyah features several panels of materials, which I think caters to a flattering fit while still offering great mobility and articulation over key zones, especially the knees. The patterned detail of the cuff is also featured in the back of the waist, which is cute, but not overkill on pattern or colors, keeping them a simple, clean look while still having a bit of Wild Rye’s classically beautiful, nature-based prints.

Fox Flexair Pant

Fabric: 88% polyamide nylon, 12% elastane
Size Tested: 30
Measured Weight: 286 grams
MSRP: $140
Reviewer: 5’10”, 155 lbs / 178 cm, 70 kg; 31 inch waist, 32 inch inseam

Blister Bike Pant Roundup — 2022, Part 1
Fox Flexair

Dylan Wood: The Fox Flexair Pant has become my go-to option for dry, cool weather riding.

First of all, they’re extremely comfortable – they’re one of the most comfortable pairs of pants I own, and I’m not only talking about mountain bike pants here. I could seriously wear these as pajama pants. The waistband is stretchy, always stays in place, and has a very simple design that is easy to use and adjust to your specific waist size. The fabric of the Flexair is also quite stretchy and allows for a very nonrestrictive fit, even with knee pads worn under the pants.

Overall, the fit is pretty slim. I found that the inseam is perfectly cut when standing with my legs straight, but with bent knees while pedaling, the cuffs sit an inch or two above my ankles.

The Flexair pant features small circular cutouts on the thighs and calves, and is pretty breathable for a pant. They definitely kept the wind off my legs in cooler temps such as 45º F (7º C), but I was also quite happy riding in them in temperatures up to around 60º F (16º C) and sunny, where I could also definitely be content with shorts on.

These pants do offer some warmth when riding in cooler temps, and they also offer some protection against riding through shrubs and tall grass. They definitely aren’t waterproof and would be far from my first pick for riding in wet conditions (I mean, they have tons of small holes throughout, what would you expect?). While I never had any durability issues with them, I was also fortunate enough to not have any bad crashes in them. I definitely took a spill in them a few times and rode plenty of trails where I was brushing up against lots of moderately woody foliage, and I don’t think a single thread came out of place, let alone rip. That being said, since these pants are so light and thin, I do not think they are a good choice for riding in the bike park or for people who just tend to crash a lot and rip their pants.

Last, this pant has one zippered thigh pocket on each side, and they are plenty roomy to carry a larger cell phone, a pair of gloves, or a Clif Bar, and they easily fit my wallet and keys for any post-ride activities.

Overall, I was very impressed by the Flexair, and they are now my go-to pants for trail rides in chilly and dry conditions. Anyone interested in a lightweight, thin, slim MTB pant and is okay sacrificing some durability and weatherproofness ought to check out the Fox Flexair pant.

Dakine Thrillium Bike Pant

Fabric: 96% Nylon, 4% Spandex
Size Tested: Medium
Measured Weight: 672.5 g
MSRP: $160

Blister Bike Pant Roundup — 2022, Part 1
Dakine Thrillium

Dylan: The Dakine Thrillium pant to be a very good option if warmth, durability, and/or protection are high priorities. They’re much heavier, warmer, and burlier than the Fox Flexair (above), making them a great option for cooler days and/or more gravity-oriented riding.

The Thrillium pant has a pretty baggy and loose fit. It easily fits knee pads and whatever other layers you might need to wear underneath them, including other pieces of body armor.

The Thrillium is definitely a pant that is best suited to gravity riding. They are pretty heavy and thick, and high-wear areas are reinforced, resulting in a lot of protection for crashes (I did take a few small spills in them and you couldn’t tell by the way their current condition). Despite being heavy and thick, they don’t restrict movement and they didn’t feel heavy on me (for comparison, the Thrillium’s weight is pretty comparable to a pair of winter snow pants).

While I think the Thrillium is a great choice for those who ride chairlifts or shuttle rides often, I think some people would be okay occasionally pedaling in them, specifically Enduro riders or those who just want that extra protection on the way down and don’t mind something heavier and less breathable on the way up. Despite having perforated fabric in a few spots, I didn’t find the Thrillium to be a particularly breathable pant. During an hour long transfer of an Enduro race held in near-freezing temps, my lower body felt pretty hot after only about 20 minutes on the bike. I do think that this makes the Thrillium a solid choice for those who ride their bike in very cold temperatures, but for warm(ish) weather riding, expect to trade ventilation with durability from the Thrillium.

The Thrillium has two hand pockets and one small thigh pocket, all zippered. I found the hand pockets to be a perfect depth for something like a cell phone or a pair of gloves, and the zippered thigh pocket, although smaller, was great for Clif Bar wrappers and does have a sewn-in loop ideal for attaching keys to.
Blister Bike Pant Roundup — 2022, Part 1
Dylan Wood wearing the Dakine Thrillium

Luke Koppa: I’ve also spent a bit of time in the Thrillium and agree with everything Dylan said. They are a notably burly and roomy pair of pants. I really liked them for fall shuttle laps and I suspect I’ll enjoy them in the very beginning of the spring season here in Crested Butte, but I wouldn’t break them out often throughout the heat of the summer.

But the ruggedness of the Thrillium is pretty sweet, and if you ride at a bike park and/or shuttle where it’s not super hot, they make for a compelling pant — especially if you’re not a big fan of the increasingly common skinny fit of DH pants these days. Not only does the Thrillium leave plenty of room for my bulkiest knee pads, it also leaves lots of room around my (maybe a bit bigger than average) thighs, unlike many of the pants you now see on the DH circuit.

POC Men’s Ardour All-Weather Pants

Main fabric: 90% polyamide, 10% elastane. Reinforcement below the knee and in the seat: 100% polyamide Cordura. Front: 64% polyamide Cordura, 26% polyamide, 10% elastane.
Size Tested: Medium
Measured Weight: 304 grams
MSRP: $250
Reviewer: 5’10”, 155 lbs / 178 cm, 70 kg; 31 inch waist, 32 inch inseam

Blister Bike Pant Roundup — 2022, Part 1
POC Ardour

Dylan: Coming in at a similar weight and with a similar barely noticeable, comfortable feel as the Fox Flexair, the POC Ardour All-Weather pants are a solid option for riders looking for something comfortable and supple for wet-weather riding.

The Ardour Pants have a generally baggy fit yet also tapers off nicely at the ankles to keep the weather out. The taper also prevents the cuffs from getting snagged on any bike parts or trail side vegetation. They have plenty room to accommodate for knee pads and other layers without looking like clown pants. When pedaling and moving about the bike, these pants do not restrict movement whatsoever. The Velcro waist adjustment takes some more time to get right than two more easily adjusted options above, but once it is set, the waist band is very comfortable and does a great job of keeping the pant in place. Due to the waterproof fabric, the Ardour pants aren’t quite as stretchy and supple as the Fox Flexair, but these are another pair of pants that I often forget to take off after rides due to how comfortable they are. They have two zipped hand pockets which I also found to be great, and a smaller pocket onn the rear of the waistband (for a credit card or something of similar size) that I didn’t really have any use for.
Speaking of the waterproof fabric, these pants are truly impressive in terms of how well they keep water out. After riding in conditions ranging from moist trails with occasional puddles to straight-up rain, the Ardour pants kept my legs dry and warm. The typical places I’d get soaked on wet rides would be my butt (from spray coming from the rear wheel) and lower legs, and this is exactly where the Ardour pant is reinforced with waterproof fabric. The rest of the pant sheds water nicely as well, and I didn’t get wet at all when wearing them.
Blister Bike Pant Roundup — 2022, Part 1
Dylan Wood wearing the POC Ardour All-Weather

While impressive in terms of how waterproof they are, I found that they sacrifice some breathability to achieve this. In cool, rainy weather, I found them to be a great temperature. However, in conditions in which the weather is dry but the trails are wet (think spring/fall riding or the day after a rainstorm), I found myself feeling a bit hot in them at around 50º F (10º C).

While there are more breathable options for everyday riding, the POC Ardour All-Weather Pants are a great option for those who reserve pants for riding in wet conditions or those who just live in a wet climate and end up with a soaked lower body after many rides.

NF DP3 Pant

Fabric: 90% Nylon 10% Spandex
Size Tested: Medium
Measured Weight: 410 g
MSRP: $218 CAD ($171.49 USD at the time of writing)
Reviewer: 6’, 170 lbs / 183 cm, 77.1 kg; 32 inch waist, 32 inch inseam

Blister Bike Pant Roundup — 2022, Part 1
NF DP3

David: I’ve been using the NF DP3 pant for everything from bike park laps to trail bike rides on cooler days, and I’ve become a big fan. They’re extremely well patterned and comfortable, with just enough features to be super functional, without feeling like you’re carrying around the proverbial kitchen sink.

Probably the most standout feature of the DP3 is its integrated elastic belt. It’s sewn into the pants, and isn’t adjustable, but is remarkably comfortable, and still does its job of keeping the pants up admirably. There’s no fly or any other closure either — and the result is a super low-profile, comfortable waist system that’s especially nice to wear in conjunction with a hip pack. The DP3 also has two small zippered hand pockets, plus a third zippered phone pocket on the right thigh. I often don’t like carrying a phone in those sorts of pockets in looser fitting shorts or pants because it bounces around too much, but the DP3 are a slim enough fit to work well.

The material used in the DP3 is a touch on the warmer side of average, but does wick and breathe nicely. I’ve happily worn the DP3 for shuttle / lift access riding up to 85° F / 29.4° C or so (and could probably go warmer than that — I just haven’t had cause to) but if I’m planning to do a whole lot of pedalling, I’ll generally grab something else if it’s over 60° F (15.6° C) or so. That’s not to say that the DP3 wouldn’t be fine in warmer weather, too, but I’ve got more ideal options in my (very full) closet.

For cooler fall and winter days, though, the DP3 has be come my go-to option, provided that it’s not so wet that I reach for a fully waterproof option. They’re warm enough to wear on pedally rides down to around freezing, ultra comfortable and well-patterned for on-bike use, and have held up great to a ton of days on the bike in the last 6+ months.

The fit of the DP3 is definitely quite slim, but they’re plenty stretchy to be comfortable and not feel restrictive. There’s room under them for fairly burly knee pads — I’ve used both the POC System VPD and VPD 2.0 very happily — but the combination of slim fit and quite articulated knee patterning means that they’re clearly a bike-specific pant. There are a bunch of better options here if you’re looking for something that’s as home being worn around town as it is on the bike.

For on-bike use, though, I’m a huge fan of the DP3. The fit is great (if you’re happy with a slim one), they’re super comfortable, and have held up well to a ton of miles and a few solid crashes. And as a bonus, they’re made in NF’s own factory in Vancouver, BC too.

Blister Bike Pant Roundup — 2022, Part 1
David Golay wearing the NF DP3

686 x Evil Everywhere Blackout Pant

Fabric: 92% Nylon / 8% Spandex
Size Tested: 43
Measured Weight: 380 g
MSRP: $120
Reviewer: 6’, 170 lbs / 183 cm, 77.1 kg; 32 inch waist, 32 inch inseam

Blister Bike Pant Roundup — 2022, Part 1
686 x Evil Everywhere Blackout

David: On the opposite end of the spectrum, in terms of overall form factor, is the 686 x Evil Everywhere Blackout. It’s 686’s first foray into the bike world, in conjuction with Evil, and is essentially a casual pant that’s been tweaked to work a bit better on bike, and the result is pretty interesting.

These aren’t the first pants I’d grab for an all-day ride, but they’re plenty serviceable for shorter pedals, and — very much unlike the NF DP3 — also look totally at home being worn around town. They’re also quite fully-featured, in terms of pockets and the like. The Everywhere Blackout has two standard open hand pockets, with sewn-in loops to clip a key ring to in both. The right one also includes a small zippered key pocket. A pair of zippered thigh pockets sit below the hand pockets, and another pair of open pockets are also included on the seat. And finally, those included internal sleeves to keep things organized, the left one of which is labeled as being RFID blocking.

The material used for the Everywhere Blackout is mid-weight and quite supple, but its relatively tight weave does mean that it’s a bit less breathable than some of the more technical options here. And so I’ve worn the Everywhere Blackout for all-around casual use a lot more than I have on the bike, but for that use I’m a big fan. They’re comfortable, look good, and work great for running errands by bike or shorter, more casual rides.

As 686 notes, the Everywhere Blackout Pants run really small. I’m squarely a 32 waist normally, but they sent over a 34 to test, and that was absolutely the right call. Size up on these — and not just if you’re on the brink between sizes. Having sized up, I’d call them a pretty average fit. Particularly compared to more bike-specific options, the lower leg is a bit less tapered than average. The waist closure uses a normal zippered fly with a top button, and adds an option drawstring to help cinch things down.

Leatt All Mountain 5.0 Pant

Fabric: HydraDri 3L, 98% polyester, 2% elastane
Size Tested: Medium / US 32
Measured Weight: 380 g
MSRP: $200
Reviewer: 6’, 170 lbs / 183 cm, 77.1 kg; 32 inch waist, 32 inch inseam

Blister Bike Pant Roundup — 2022, Part 1
Leatt All Mountain 5.0

David: The All Mountain 5.0 is Leatt’s 3-layer waterproof pant designed for wet weather use, and they’ve been in heavy rotation for me in what was a very, very wet start to winter in the PNW. The HydraDri material is stated to 30k waterproof / 23k breathability ratings, and is medium-supple while proving to be quite tough so far.

I’ve been wearing the All Mountain 5.0 in a size Medium / US 32 — my typical pants size — and I’d say they run a touch on the small side. The waist seems true to size and fits me well, but they’re notably snug across the seat, in particular. The fit is generally slim elsewhere, too, though I’ve been able to run medium sized kee pads (POC System VPD, mostly) underneath the All Mountain 5.0 happily. It’s also worth noting that the ankle openings are fairly small — they do feature a velcro adjuster, but even with that fully undone, the opening is snug when trying to take the pants on or off. With my size US 10 feet, I’d call it quite noticeable but not really a problem; folks with significantly larger feet might struggle, though.

The All Mountain 5.0 pants are nicely featured. The waist closure is a standard zippered fly with a pair of snaps at the top, and velcro adjusters on the hips are used to tension an elastic integrated belt. I wouldn’t mind a slightly higher cut across the back of the waist to keep spray out, but the back of the waist features an effective silicone gripper. And there’s a zippered pocket across the back of the waist that’s meant to hold a phone which works great for my medium-sized phone (Google Pixel 4) with a case on it, but very large phones will likely not fit. Elsewhere, the All Mountain 5.0 has a pair of zippered hand pockets with a key clip in the left one, plus an extra zippered cargo pocket on the right thigh.

Breathability on the All Mountain 5.0 feels about middle-of-the road for a 3-layer waterproof hardhsell material, but a pair of zippered, mesh-backed vents on the inside of each thigh are extremely effective in venting warm air out. The DWR on the All Mountain 5.0 has done a good job of stopping the face fabric from wetting out, and I’ve yet to notice any water coming through the fabric, seams, or zippers.

Overall, the All Mountain 5.0 is a really solid option for a wet-weather bike pant, particularly if a notably slim fit works for you. And if you’re on the borderline size-wise, we’d recommend sizing up.

Fox Ranger Pant

Fabric: 85% polyamide nylon, 9% polyester, 6% elastane
Size Tested: 32
Measured Weight: 308 g
MSRP: $99.95
Reviewer: 5’8”, 155 lbs / 173 cm, 70 kg

Blister Bike Pant Roundup — 2022, Part 1
Fox Ranger

Luke Koppa: I typically run hot and consequently opt for shorts while biking through most of the summer (and really, most of the bike season). That said, in the Gunnison Valley we get a bit of everything in terms of weather when you’re biking from spring through fall, and I’m continually amazed by how poorly every weather app is able to accurately predict what the sky is going to actually look like on a given day.

So a lot of my rides this past spring and fall involved a mix of warm sun, gusty winds, pea-sized hail, full-on snow, and brief rain showers. There were several where I got all of that within a 30-minute period. And for those days, I really like Fox’s Ranger Pants.

The Ranger collection is Fox’s sort of “crossover” line, designed to perform on a bike but without the “let’s see how many logos and neon colors we can put on this piece” look. The Ranger Pant uses a pretty typical softshell-like stretch-woven fabric that’s on the lighter side, and the fabric breathes about as well as any of my MTB shorts. That makes me more and more inclined to bring out the Ranger Pant, even when it’s around 50°F / 10°C and sunny. However, it’s also what makes the Ranger less ideal as a cold or wet-weather pant, relative to many of the other options here. The Ranger cuts a bit of wind and sheds some water, but it’s not the best choice when the weather is really nasty.

The fabric is also quite stretchy, but I think what’s really made this pant my go-to is its fit. The patterning is really well done, with no noticeable restriction while pedalling, yet it doesn’t look or feel overtly bike-oriented when walking / standing. The fit is roomy through the thighs and knees and then significantly tapers to the ankle to avoid getting sucked into your chain. Personally, I’m a big fan of this style, though the off-the-bike look may not be for everyone if you prefer roomier-fitting casual clothes.

Blister Bike Pant Roundup — 2022, Part 1
Luke Koppa wearing the Fox Ranger Pant

I figured I’d like riding in the Ranger Pant, but its subtle aesthetics, versatile fit, and three pockets have all meant that I’ve been wearing it a whole lot just around my house and when running errands. My friends have far more flexible schedules than I do during the bike season here and rides are consequently often arranged at the last minute, so it was nice to have the Ranger for when I thought there was any chance of needing to sneak out for a quick lap at some point in the day.

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