Rapha's catalog of mountain bike clothing continues to grow with the addition of their 'Trail Fast + Light Collection' that they describe as being "built for the hottest and fastest rides." As you'd probably expect, it consists of lightweight shorts, men's and women's lightweight shirts... and pants? While I don't ever recall thinking that I needed more clothing while in the middle of any of my warmest rides, their $150 USD Fast + Light pants are, in fact, much lighter than anything else I own and might be ideal when the temps are high but you want more coverage. Desert rats, these could be for you.
Speaking of temps going up, mine aren't. Rapha's a bit early as it's still not exactly warm here in Squamish - those temperatures are still probably still a couple months away, so expect this First Look to turn into a review once we get closer to summer.
Trail Fast + Light Pant Details
• Designed for warm weather riding
• 88% Nylon, 12% Elastane
• Adj. waistband w/ cam locks, belt loops
• Lightweight double snap, zippered enclosure
• Single vertical zippered pocket with sleeve (left)
• Single zippered rear pocket (right)
• Articulated knees
• MSRP: $150 USD
I picked up the Fast + Light pants from Rapha while at Sea Otter and have only had them in hand for a week, but the rest of the range includes shorts and lightweight tops for both men and women.Trail Fast + Light Pant Details
How are these different from Rapha's existing Trail pants? Thanks to lighter fabric and them skipping a few features, they end up weighing 260-grams versus 371-grams for the standard version I reviewed last year
. Of course, precisely zero of us care about how much our pants actually weigh, but a 30% lighter weight is probably a good indicator of how airy they'll feel on the trail in comparison.
While the standard Trail pants use a large metal keyhole clap for their waist enclosure, you'll find two low-profile snaps on the newer model, what feels like a lighter waistband, and similar adjustment cams to tweak the fit. Rapha also ditched the silly belt loops, which makes sense on these bare-bones pants.
They've also gone with half the pockets; there are two zipped and two normal hand pockets on the Trail Pants, whereas the no-frills Fast + Light version gets a single vertical zippered pocket with a phone sleeve on the left leg and a zippered side pocket on the right. I'm already anxious about where I'll put my hands when not holding onto the handlebar, but both pockets are big enough for a large-sized phone and the right pocket angles rearward to keep your stuff from swinging around while you pedal squares. I guess I'll just cross my arms.
The knees are articulated but not reinforced with a second layer as on the Trail pants, thereby saving more weight, and there are similar half-elastic cuffs with some extra reinforcing at the bottom of each leg. Lastly, if you do tear or damage them, Rapha says they'll repair them for free for the lifetime of the product, just so long as you have a valid receipt and don't mind shipping them away.
Fit-wise, they're basically the same as Rapha's previous pants, which means baggy but not late-90s JNCO jeans baggy. I think I'd prefer a bit less material and more of a "sporty fit" or however you want to say it, although I might be in the minority on that one. There's no extra low-hanging crotch fabric, though, and the leg length works well for my slightly longer than average inseam.
Given that it's pouring rain and just five or six degrees, and also that Pinkbike refused to cover my roundtrip flight to Bali so I could properly test them, I can't really comment on how airy the new pants feel in hot weather. But I will say they're far too airy for me to wear in this kind of weather, and I can feel far more cold air blow through than when I'm wearing heavy pants. I know, not the hard-hitting 10,000-word trouser review that you were hoping for, but that'll come after I wear them through the spring and early summer to see how durable they are.
"Actually, you'll brag on these things for years to come to make sure people don't think you're an IDIOT for buying summer garbage bags for your legs"
Can’t afford to buy custard nowadays. All my money goes on energy bills and diesel
Lighter = Faster. You just don't get it.
I do like them quite a bit, and I do HATE snap closures
Poison oak branches are the devils syphlitic dick, reaching up from hell and dousing you in that demon semen....
Hate Rapha if you want but they’re gonna get my money.
Proof that you don't need to be dressed in hi vis in order for people to see you coming.
I now live in the desert so ticks aren't an issue, but sun exposure is. Still, with my shorts pads, and socks, there isn't that much exposed skin to sunscreen.
I ended up with a $10 pair of Reebok branded nylon running pants that were trim enough in the calf and ankle to work well for cycling. I wouldn't mind a bit higher cut in the back and zippered pockets, but I'm not sure it's worth an extra $140 to me. it did take me a long time to find pants with the right cut in the lower leg though, so had I still been riding in the NE all the time, i'd be tempted.
That said if Levy wanted much tighter then I guess there's always yoga pants? But that triggers memories of black lycra from a few field tests ago...
I wouldn't wear black ones though, especially if the whole point is to be cool
As a fan of both, and former tech apparel industry guy, they are pretty equal.
7Mesh has a bigger offering, but Rapha has really nailed fit for a wide range of average bodies.