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Indispensable for every cyclist: waterproof pants

For your legs and behind to remain dry and your body to remain warm waterproof cycling rain pants are indispensable for all those who want to cycle in all kinds of weather conditions. But cycling rain pants are not all the same. We will here try to give you an overview with our explanations which might help you decide.

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Cycling Rain Pants as Long Over Trousers

The classic cycling rain pants are mere over trousers which you can simply wear on top of your cycling trousers or everyday trousers. For this reason cycling rain pants feature a wider cut and usually an elastic waistband. At the lower legs such rain pants can be opened or adjusted either with Velcro or zippers so they can be pulled over your shoes.

Cycling rain pants as over trousers feature a low weight and small pack size to easily fit into your backpack or even rear pocket. When the weather goes wild you should have them at hand immediately.

How can I recognise good rain trousers for cycling?

  • Waterproof Material: Waterproof membrane fabric is used for cycling rain pants. Their waterproofness is expressed in mm water column. This water column describes the amount of water – measured in mm – the fabric can bear on an area of 10 cm² before the water starts penetrating the material. The higher the water column the more waterproof the material.
  • Water-Repellent Impregnation: Impregnation is a kind of additional protective layer against water applied to the material. Our Tip: PFC-free impregnations offer comparable functionality nowadays and are also significantly more environmentally friendly.
  • Breathability: The material not only needs to be waterproof but also breathable. Whenever perspiration or body heat are trapped inside a garment they condensate creating a wet feel. So good breathability always guarantees a good feel.
  • Bonded Seams: the material of cycling rain pants can be as waterproof as you like if the seams are not bonded though water can easily penetrate from outside. The garment as a whole can then only be called “water resistant“.
  • A good Fit: Since membrane material tends not to be highly elastic a good fit of your cycling rain pants is really crucial. Rain trousers for cycling are adapted to the seated on-bike cycling posture. The cut of the back panel is rather long and knees and seat areas are pre-shaped. Because the pedalling movements should not be restricted by the cycling rain pants.
  • Reinforced Seat Area: In cycling rain pants by nature the seat area is subject to extreme wear and tear on the saddle. For the delicate material not to be damaged by this friction very often a more robust and yet waterproof material is used in this area.
  • Reflective Elements: Rainy days are by definition rather dark and when it rains in such dark conditions your vision is impaired even more by reflections on wet surfaces. Good cycling rain pants therefore always feature reflective elements which enhance your visibility in traffic.
 

Cycling Rain Pants with Different Leg Lengths

Cycling waterproof over trousers are available with three different leg lengths:

  1. classic long
  2. ¾ length
  3. short

It might sound strange initially but especially among mountain bikers and road cyclists with a sporty cycling style cycling rain trousers with short or ¾ legs are highly popular.

According to the principle “as much as necessary but as little as possible“, cyclists wishes are fulfilled as to the over trousers not being longer than the trousers worn underneath, if possible. Whether the naked legs then are exposed to dirt or water is of no concern at all. This way optimal performance when wearing them or moving is combined with optimal protection from water and dirt. There are no limits as to the preferences of combinations due to the different available leg lengths of cycling rain trousers.

Long Cycling Rain Trousers are more suitable on rather cool days for everyday use, mountain bikers and tourers. The perfect combination for cold winter days are long cycling rain trousers on top of long Thermofleece winter cycling trousers. The cycling rain pants ward off not only water but also cold wind and the Thermofleece cycling trousers keep you warm and wick moisture away. As an alternative warm, long Softshell bike pants offer good protection from wind and weather, yet they are not really waterproof but simply water resistant.

 

Group of cyclists in the rain

Rain Pants from Top Brands

Vaude rain pants and Endura rain pants offer a wide range of high-quality overpants for cycling.

For mountain bikers, Endura is the ideal choice, while environmentally conscious riders opt for Vaude.

Rain pants with GORE-TEX® membrane are in a class of their own. GORE takes a pioneering role in the development and production of membrane fabrics. Rain pants with GORE-TEX® membrane meet the highest standards. They are super elastic, extremely breathable, and very lightweight.

The range of motion while cycling is hardly restricted with these GORE-TEX® rain pants. Their fit is closer to the body, and they don't add much bulk. Due to their high breathability, they can be worn directly on the skin, only over cycling underwear.

Of course, rain pants with GORE-TEX® membrane are equipped with all the features mentioned above that make for a really good cycling rain pant. On top of that, there are small zipper pockets in the waist area, which often double as packing bags.

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