First Look: Rapha's Fast & Light Pants are Made For Your Hottest Rides

Apr 18, 2022 at 13:25
by Mike Levy  
Rapha says that their $150 USD Fast + Light pants are built for those sunny, hot days... Which I haven't seen any of yet.



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
www.rapha.cc


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.

The women's Trail Lightweight Tank costs $70 USD and comes in white, black/grey, and the blue pictured here.
The $125 USD women's Trail Fast + Light Shorts can be had in purple, grey, or red.
You can get the $80 USD Trail Lightweight T-Shirt in grey, orange, white, or a minty green color.
The men's version of the shorts comes in grey, dark blue, green, and something called tapenade?


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.


The Fast + Lights feel more like lightweight athletic pants next to the heavy canvas bags I'm used to wearing around my legs.


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.


Both pockets can hold a phone, but the left has a sleeve to keep it from swinging around.
The right pocket is deep and tapered.


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.


Plastic cams are used to adjust the waistband.
Instead of the metal clasp on their other pants, these use two flat snaps that are lighter.


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.


111 Comments

  • 151 4
 Hear me out: Remove the lower ~18” from the pants to improve ventilation and comfort for those really really hot and fast ride. Call it “invisi-pants technology”, add $80 for the price. You’re welcome.
  • 19 1
 Brilliant! I bet you could easily drop another ~90g in the process. Clearly those levels of performance warrant a premium price.
  • 6 0
 Jorts technology.
  • 5 0
 Seems to be something with the younger crowd and/or bike media and/or with people that are afraid of sunshine.
  • 1 0
 17.99" boost for increased stiffness in your invisi-pants
  • 2 0
 "We swear these stretchy plastic bags sewn together to resemble pants behave just like an air conditioner for your thighs. It only takes a $150 investment for us to prove it to you."

"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"
  • 6 1
 @foggnm: You could say I'm afraid of sunshine... I'd rephrase it as "afraid of skin cancer" (which runs in my family). Long sleeves and long pants, every day I'm outdoors.
  • 4 0
 @foggnm: judging by the tight fit of every pair of cycling trousers I have tried on this winter I assume that all the people that wear them must be too embarrassed about their tiny calves to ever wear shorts. I’ve struggled to find a pair that fit my legs (quads and calves) that are’t huge around the waist. Don’t cyclists have big legs (without huge waists) anymore?
  • 4 0
 @CustardCountry: you must be thiccc
  • 2 0
 Actually, use a “raver” net material on the bottom; 100% ventilation and super sexy. You can also go straight from trail to the local EDM clurb and bust out some moves to trance or dubstep.
  • 1 0
 @kingbike2: username with custard in it might imply as much. But I know a guy they call Joey Bag O Donuts who isn't chonky, so...
  • 3 0
 @blowmyfuse: custard country is a reference to the county of Devon where I used to live.

Can’t afford to buy custard nowadays. All my money goes on energy bills and diesel
  • 2 0
 came here for this thread was not disapppointed
  • 54 3
 Am I the only one who is sick of snaps on pants and shorts? I don't need to rip them off in a hurry, but I do need them to stay closed when I sit down in the early spring while still burning off those few extra winter pounds. Just give us buttons Please!!!
  • 6 0
 Seriously what the hell. I have their other pants and the closure is great. This is dumb. Those snaps are going to rip off.
  • 18 0
 "... these use two flat snaps that are lighter"

Lighter = Faster. You just don't get it.
  • 12 0
 You are not alone in your strife, my button-popping comrade.
  • 10 3
 snaps and all the new designs with a "built in belt" GTFO with that shit. buttons and belt loops or keep your overpriced garbage.
  • 1 0
 @waldo-uribe: and cooler
  • 2 0
 to be fair, they aren't a traditional snap - it's more of a slide in place mechanism. You won't pop the snap with the poutine belly, and you won't "quick" pop off your pants like magic mike (as much as I'd love to do this in a parking lot post ride).

I do like them quite a bit, and I do HATE snap closures
  • 3 0
 @pdb18: That is for the first pants they put out, but these are actually normal snaps as far as I can tell.
  • 7 0
 And those stupid plastic cam tighteners - every pair I've had spontaneously opens when you least want it to.
  • 1 0
 I have a pair of Pearl Izumi pants with similar snaps that work perfectly and have never accidentally come undone. Velcro side cinchers too. Little too much over 75°F though...
  • 8 1
 These snaps feel quite strong to me - I don't think they'll pop open unless you're wearing a size too small? I think I prefer them over a big metal clasp.
  • 3 0
 @mikelevy: Good to know, my Fox Ranger shorts fit me great but still pop open way more than they should. I just don't see much benefit to a snap over a button
  • 1 0
 @dairydolores: The metal clasp on their other pants CAN'T ever pop open, of course.
  • 1 0
 Amen. And likewise what's with the velcro zippers. I'd be fine just with elastic/drawstring like some gym shorts. I'm not sure why I need any snap/button/zipper/strap/loop. Why can't we just have the equivalent of soccer/gym shorts with one pocket and a bit more durable material?
  • 1 0
 Amen!!!
  • 1 0
 @pisgahgnar: Right you are!
  • 1 0
 @pisgahgnar: time for the "poutine pop" and Magic Mike Moments in the parking lot!
  • 1 0
 My favorite is the little ratchet-buckle belt on the Specialized pants… very low-profile, very secure, but still quick to get undone if you need to get busy mid-ride (happens to me all the time.)
  • 1 0
 Buttons are heavy, get caught on branches and attract ticks. Smart shredders also know when a Momma Bear gets her claws into your shorts, you want QR snaps every time.
  • 29 0
 For those of us who get poison oak lightweight pants are a godsend...
  • 5 6
 *laughs in British isles*

poison oak????
  • 10 1
 Stinging nettles but muhricanised
  • 12 1
 @naptime: Oh....I am American....from the land of plenty in regards to PO. I get it bad....living here and never having to think "was that...." when something whips your leg at 25mph, has been a godsend! lol

Poison oak branches are the devils syphlitic dick, reaching up from hell and dousing you in that demon semen....
  • 3 0
 @naptime: Nah, they're different, mate. Poison oak requires actual sunshine to grow. Zing!
  • 1 0
 @conoat: very accurate description, a plant formed deep in the depths of hell......this is why I've gone to pants and I really haven't turned back.
  • 2 0
 And stinging nettle! Being in the PNW, pants in the summer is a foreign idea to me but all the desert rats tell me they make a lot of sense.
  • 2 0
 @mikelevy: I've been riding in Arizona for 30 years and I don't think I've ever worn pants on a ride.
  • 4 0
 @mikelevy: for protection against stray blackberries, maybe?
  • 1 0
 @Slyham: I see tons of people wearing lightweight long sleeve shirts, so I assume these pants are for the same kind of thing?
  • 2 0
 @mikelevy: I wear long sleeve shirts for sun protection. I just think pants would be too hot for 99% of the year. But maybe I should try some for winter riding.
  • 4 1
 And skin cancer
  • 1 0
 @mikelevy: your legs get numb to them after a while - or maybe I'm just old and losing circulation/ feeling.
  • 3 0
 @mikelevy: Couple of us northeast US folks shuttle up Mt Lemmon one time in March and this local guy has khakis and a thick button up on. Looks our group up and down and says "There's going to be blood". He was right.
  • 1 1
 @mikelevy: Nobody in the desert wears pants. I have been riding in the desert for 25 years. Long sleeve shirts are good for sun protection and the occasional time when it cool out in the mornings.
  • 2 0
 @mikelevy: are these the same people that suggested your vest?
  • 1 0
 @JoePAz: @mikelevy pants should certainly protect against rattlesnake bites down there in the desert.....
  • 15 1
 I can't wait for this to slowly morph into MTB rompers and whatever else they can fish out of the H&M dumpsters.
  • 6 1
 Deadass I'll wear mtb rompers.
  • 3 0
 @plustiresaintdead: Samsies, just so I can say "I'm gonna romper stomp that landing"
  • 1 0
 Haven't seen the Muc Off stuff, I take it? They look a lot like pajamas. Like a LOT.
www.pinkbike.com/news/video-dharco-launches-commencal-muc-off-team-replica-race-kits.html
  • 11 0
 Pairs well with $9000 Megatowers with GX
  • 6 0
 Nice, i love that they can be used for trekking, climbing or whatever. Motocross look for mtb is over, it's the end of an era.
  • 5 1
 Anyone who wants light weight highly breathable pants for riding should check out eddie bauer Resonance pants. Nice cut, DWR breathable fabric, mesh vents at the leg and waist....best part, they are usually on sale for 60-70 loonies.
  • 1 0
 I wear pjs bottoms at home all the time and even outside occasionally, very comfy, May wear them on next off-road ride.
  • 5 0
 Another that doesn't believe that cyclists might be slimmer for their height than the non sporting public. Maximum inseam of 32" doesn't cut it for the 6' plus rider with 33" or longer inseam.
  • 1 0
 SportHill makes MTB pants in lengths and will ship to CA. 119 USD. Slim fitting and very stretchy but also durable.
  • 1 0
 I'll second that. I can only wear trousers/pants when it is cold, the best ones I have found which are fairly lightweight & have a decent inseam for a 6ft 2in rider are Madison Flux Trousers & for waterproofs Royal Racing Storm Pants. The Madisons are a lot cheaper than the Rapha offerings.
  • 4 0
 I’ve got a couple Pieces of the Rapha MTB stuff and have been really impressed with the build quality, cut and durability. They even come with a patch kit. Plus, the colours are more subdued than a lot of brands.

Hate Rapha if you want but they’re gonna get my money.
  • 5 1
 I tried the pants this year because all the pants reviews were very positive. I was frankly disappointed because as soon as you sweat it sticks and it becomes very unpleasant.
  • 2 0
 Try pj bottoms , very comfy and you can sleep in them.
  • 4 0
 "You can get the $80 USD Trail Lightweight T-Shirt in grey, orange, white, or a minty green color."

Proof that you don't need to be dressed in hi vis in order for people to see you coming.
  • 2 0
 I don't know if I'd pay $150 for them, but I love them in theory. When I lived in the Northeast, I much preferred pants to shorts as the woods I rode in was crawling with ticks (and poison ivy/oak, but I've never been that sensitive). I'd often get off my bike for a little trail work, so that made tick exposure even more likely.

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.
  • 2 0
 dumbest waste of money. i have pants that are funtionally the same, down to the color and fabric, and have comfortable zipper pockets that place your stuff in the sweet spot $18 at target iirc
  • 1 0
 Damn right, just wear pyjama bottoms.
  • 1 0
 Where I live doesn't get that cold in winter, it can get a little wet and muddy. So I could see a use case purely to keep the crap off me on winter rides. It's rare my legs get cool but it would be nicer at the end of the ride not to have to deal with mud caked legs and socks etc.
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...
  • 1 0
 For those of us who are highly allergic to poison oak these could keep alot of the oils off our skin! So to me these are great for when you know your going to a trail with less traffic or maintenance!
  • 1 0
 As I write this, there are 94 comments and I’m shocked to see that no one has realized we’ve reached the point of human evolution where a pair of pants gets a First Look. What a time to be alive!
  • 2 0
 Lightweight pants without zippered vents and vent holes? What's the point, if the goal is to avoid swamp ass?!
  • 2 0
 Good point, I think I should have mentioned no vents in the article. But then again, I've never noticed vents doing anything. They have to help tho
  • 1 0
 @mikelevy: I'm a big fan of vents from my moto days. Open those suckers up and let the air flow!
  • 1 0
 Tell me more about this “swamp ass”.
  • 2 0
 @kingbike2: It's pretty self-explanatory, really. But I can get into the nitty gritty if you'd like.
  • 1 0
 @mikelevy: Vents works great if they are actually used right. SportHill mtb pants use em and despite having thicker fabric I rarely overheat. But it's a lot of laser cut holes on the crotch and back of knee.
  • 1 0
 @mustbike: never heard of those, they look really nice actually! Clean design: www.sporthill.com/mens-mtb-pant
  • 3 0
 7Mesh ones are better IMO...
  • 1 0
 Which 7Mesh model do you recommend?
  • 3 0
 How fast are these?
  • 10 0
 not red = slow
  • 1 0
 enough
  • 1 0
 Someone start a gofundme for Mike's winter "work trips". We need those Bali reviews!
  • 9 0
 Nice burner account Levy…
  • 2 1
 I live in the desert, and even my dirt bike buddies wear shorts when the moto….
  • 2 0
 Those shorts look a wee bit long
  • 2 0
 Why would you wear pants on a fast and hot ride?
  • 4 0
 Sunburn, cactus, blackberry, stinging nettle, poison oak, ticks, et cetera.
  • 1 0
 @barp: Agreed.

I wouldn't wear black ones though, especially if the whole point is to be cool
  • 2 0
 @office: To be cool, no; to look cool, perhaps Wink
  • 1 0
 Pants are usually the first thing I grab when going for a ride on a hot Colorado day. No pain no gain, son!
  • 1 0
 What about from October thru April?
  • 1 0
 These should be great for helping @mikelevy preserve that BC tan during the summer months.
  • 1 0
 These look so flimsy and thin for an MTB pant. I’d ruin these in a month. If it’s hot out, just wear shorts.
  • 1 0
 The tapenade colors pairs well with a good Rioja post ride.
  • 1 0
 Who doesn’t love a good olive tapenade?
  • 1 0
 Go through the arse pretty quick I'd reckon...
  • 1 0
 So these are what they call hot pants.
  • 1 0
 Hot day, lemme just grab my riding PANTS
  • 2 1
 crash tested?
  • 1 3
 I feel bad for the chumps, who buy this!
  • 2 0
 Roadies taking October off ("off season") and dabbling in MTB before resuming Zwift to peak for their Cat 3 State Championships in 8 months.
  • 2 0
 $150 is a pretty standard price for softshell pants
  • 9 0
 @bikewriter: Nah, I have to disagree on that one. Rapha is easy to make fun of from an off-road perspective, but their MTB clothing makes sense, works well, and is priced similarly to other high-end stuff on the market, including these pants.
  • 3 0
 Ehhh, I'm no slouch in the saddle and I love the new line of Rapha mtb wear. The fit is really great for taller folks and the clothing has proven to be very durable. I get it, Rapha is lame roadie fashion wear but if it works it works.
  • 1 0
 @mikelevy: their roadie rep is haunting them. While certainly not cheap their prices are in line with other mountain bike apparel and the stuff is well thought out
  • 2 0
 @mikelevy: In your opinion, how would you compare Rapha's mtb to the likes of 7Mesh? Or can you not say?
  • 2 0
 @bikewriter:

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.





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