The Trailfinder Pants from O’Neal are a simple and wallet-friendly pair of (if you're from the UK) trousers. What they lack in features they make up for with excellent fit and some serious comfort. They downside is they struggle both to vent heat on warm days and keep hold of it when it's cold.
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While the Trailfinders aren’t as feature-packed as their pricier competitors, they're not shy of a few tricks. They're constructed from a four-way stretch fabric, there’s an elastic waistband with a ratchet closure, and they feature useful cuffless legs.
Interestingly, O’Neal has done away with a zip and has opted for small rectangles of Velcro. To my own surprise, doing so little to secure my trousers took a little getting used to, but it works.
You get two zipped pockets, which are big enough to store a decent amount of stuff.
I found the fit pretty good, for length especially, but they are quite slim around the waist and thigh. Thankfully the thick elastic waistband keeps the tightness from becoming uncomfortable. There’s plenty of room for kneepads too.
Unlike many other trousers out there, there’s no venting on the Trailfinders, which puts them in quite a weird place. The lightweight material is impressively breathable, to the point where they don’t do a great job of keeping you warm on cold days, but on mild days (and that's winter mild) they get noticeably sweaty around the knees.
I really like the cuffless legs. Instead each, erm, leg end has a triangular elastic panel, there to help these trousers stretch over your feet. I’ve often found myself having to force my feet through the bottoms of other trousers, and having a bit of give makes it a lot easier. It's also super-helpful for getting them off after muddy rides.
This does come at a cost though. Because it’s just elastic, it allows plenty of air and water in, which isn't ideal and can leave you with cold ankles.
Because of the lack of venting for warm days yet the tendency to get a little chilly in cold weather, these trousers work best in quite a narrow window. They suit early autumn and spring where temperatures are mild, yet you want some protection as the trails get wet.
At £80 the Trailfinder trousers are pretty good value for money, though an extra tenner gets you the Madison Zenith 4-Season DWR. They include features that make them much more comfortable when riding in nasty weather.
If you’re looking for a pair of budget-friendly trousers, though, the O’Neal Trailfinder Pants epitomize cheap and cheerful. They're neatly fitted, durable and comfy – just so long as the temperature is suitably middling.