The Rab Cinder Crank Pant is an ideal mountain biking, gravel and adventure riding trouser with its Matrix fabric keeping the wind off your legs and drying super fast when the rain stops. The waist tabs work well for quick on-the-fly adjustments and the silicone gripper at the rear keeps the pants in place. Zipped ankle gussets keep the pants away from the crud and preshaped riding cut is spot on for comfort mile after mile.
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Rab Cinder Crank Pants - Technical details
The Cinder Crank Pant is a lightweight windproof full-length riding pant for mountain adventures and fun off-road. Their articulated and preshaped cut is designed to sit snug around the hips and offer lots of stretch and comfort when pedalling hard or touring off-road. Rab uses two thicknesses of its proprietary single-weave stretch fabric for the construction of the Cinder Crank Pant. The seat, gusset, and inner right-hand ankle are all made from abrasion-resistant Matrix RX, with the remainder of the pants using a lighter Matrix fabric. Both have a fluorocarbon-free DWR coating.
The Matrix fabric is super light, highly breathable and soft and stretchy to the touch. There are zipped gussets at each ankle to prevent the pant legs from snagging on the bike or undergrowth and there are two discrete vents at the top of the thighs for ventilation and, if wearing matching cargo-style cycling shorts, to allow access to your thigh cargo pockets.
The Cinder Crank Pants have two zipped jeans-style pockets with a large capacity to the side of the leg so as to not interfere with your pedal stroke. The waist closure is via a standard zip with a double fastener system and there are two hook and loop adjusters on the waistband which also features a silicone Rab CNDR logo gripper at the rear.
All zips are made from 31% recycled material and feature a cord pull with a knotted end for easy access even with gloves. The Matrix fabric is 3% recycled and all information about the material used in this garment or any in Rabs’ range can be found on their website Rab is keen to let the consumer choose with full knowledge of the environmental impact of each item.
Rab’s Matrix and RX softshell fabric are fluorocarbon-free with a very small amount of recycled material (three per cent) used in its construction. They are also coated with a fluorocarbon-free DWR coating to help repel dirt and light rain. Rab offers a Material Facts QR code on all its products so that you can quickly see how eco each of the items in its range is. Very useful information if this is of concern to you as a rider. The Matrix fabric also boasts a high UPF rating although exactly how high is unclear.
The pants pictured here come in at a size 34in waist and 32in leg in light khaki (green) but you could also choose anthracite (grey) if you prefer. Unusually Rab offers all its pants in three leg lengths, an excellent option from an established clothing manufacturer.
Rab Cinder Crank Pants - Performance
The Matrix fabrics work exceptionally well when pedalling with plenty of stretch in all the right areas. The back stays due to the silicone logo on the inside and the articulated cut designed to cover you fully in this area. The fabric feels thin but it’s up to the challenge of off-road riding including detours into the undergrowth and the odd spill in the dirt.
While the pants are windproof, which helps keep your legs at a good operating temperature, they also breathe extremely well but should you get a little too hot there are vents in the thighs which are easy to undo while riding to let excess heat out. The thigh vent opening has no window mesh so it’s very good at letting large volumes of cold air in and or hot air out. But this lack of mesh does produce the odd squeak as the zip easily catches on leg hairs when shutting the vent for those of us that don’t shave our legs or wear full-length bibs underneath. Ouch!
It’s worth noting that if you do wear cargo bib shorts underneath it is possible to reach the thigh pocket of the inner short through the leg opening which is pretty nifty and the reason for the lack of mesh no doubt. I haven’t tested it with Rab’s own Cinder Cargo Shorts, but it works perfectly with my 7Mesh Cargo bibs.
The hip pockets are jeans style with a zip which is a little rough against your hand when trying to access when riding (or standing) - maybe my hands are too large. Once through the opening, the pockets are cavernous and designed to allow the contents to fall to the side of your thigh when pedalling; even large phones will fit without interfering with your pedaling.
Talking of interfering with your pedalling mojo, both ankles have zips on the outside of the leg to narrow the legs to avoid flapping and catching in the chainset, the righthand leg also has a reinforced panel of abrasion-resistant Matrix RX fabric on the inside to protect the leg from crank wear.
Matrix Rx fabric is also used for the back side, tops of the rear legs and the small gusset panel between the legs which allows for a comfortable long-distance riding fit but is still subtle enough to not look awkward when walking around when off the bike. In fact with the ankle zips undone these pants go happily unnoticed in the outdoor environment - looking just like a pair of tech trousers which is handy for adventure riding, cafe touring and chilling out.
Both Matrix fabrics used have a fluorocarbon-free DWR coating which has worked well shedding dirt and spray from the material either whilst it is wet or after it has dried. They have washed easily and look good 3 months into their fairly heavy use.
All zips have smart fabric pulls with knots in the ends which are easy to pull with or without gloves on although I’ve not tried them with thick winter gloves I would imagine they would be just as easy although these are not winter riding trousers on their own.
For reference, I’m 82Kg and 182cm tall and wear 32-34in jeans from most brands so I opted for Large Cinder Pants with regular leg length and the fit is perfect. A small amount of elastic adjustment before and or during a ride is all that is needed for a very comfortable and secure fit.
Rab Cinder Crank Pants - Verdict
Rab is up against some very established names in the cycling pant market but this is not a Downhill or Enduro focussed pant so that helps narrow down the competitors to lighter weight all-round off-road riding pants.
Rapha's £130 Trail Pant is perhaps one of the closest competitors for Rab – not just visually but also in style and price. Liam was super impressed with their superb comfort, and unwavering durability.
Specialized's £120 Trail Pants are a bit of a no-brainer according to Liam with their great fit, brilliant thermoregulation and surprisingly effective weather protection. They might be a little narrow for some though.
NZO is a rarer name in the UK but they've been making pants in New Zealand for over two decades. Mike was very impressed with the £120 Zip-Off Dusters with their convertible nature and swap-out leg option. Three pairs for the price of one.
Rab’s Cinder Crank Pant is a very good, lightweight, windproof riding pant. In its first attempt at riding pants, Rab has got it sorted with all the features you could ask for. High breathability, good venting, accurate sizing with leg length options and excellent cut with works well on the bike and doesn’t look geeky off it. There are also reflective details for night-time safety.
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