The Specialized Trail Pants are a simple-yet-effective pair of riding trousers that’ll please more than just fans of the brand’s bikes. They’re built with a range of well-thought-out features without being over complicated. They’re comfy and perform well in nasty weather but they’re rather tight around the ankle and calves, and perforations allow water through. That said, are they worthy of consideration among the best MTB pants?
Specialized Trail Pants - Technical details
The Trail Pants are built using a thin-feeling 90% nylon, 10% elastane material blend with a secondary fabric of 82% nylon, and 18% spandex used on certain panels. Around the pants are three zipped pockets, and there’s laser perforated venting located along the inside of the legs and the upper rear panel.
The closure system on the Trail Pants utilises a zip and ratchet. While a little different to many other trousers on the market, the combination provides a secure but easy-to-manage method of retention - and the ratchet offers a bit of waist adjustment.
The pants also use Spesh’s VaporRize tech, which is essentially a moisture-wicking system that offers a useful bit of stretch and they come with UV 50+ protection.
Specialized Trail Pants - Performance
In terms of fit - it’s an interesting one on these trousers. They’re designed with a tapered leg, which keeps excess material to a minimum, reducing the chances of snagging it on stray foliage but, because the pants get pretty narrow towards the ankle cuff, they can be tricky to put on and take off. For me though, this is a minor downside but if your feet, ankles or calves are particularly sizey, they can make for a pretty difficult time.
However, things open up towards the top of the garment, which is very welcomed. The size 32 on test fits my size 32 waist almost perfectly and there’s plenty of room to stuff those pockets full of whatever takes your fancy. While they do taper significantly below the knee, I’ve had no issue fitting pads underneath, though I do favour slimmer enduro-style knee guards. Anything bulkier may pose an issue.
While tough to get on, the tapered leg makes sense on the bike. There’s little to no excess material, so snags against stray twigs, thorns or even my bike’s drivetrain have been non-existent.
The on-bike cut of the Trail Pants leads to an almost seamless feel while pedalling and the VaporRize tech does a noticeably excellent job of keeping sweat at bay, in tandem with the perforations. These trousers have remained perfectly comfortable when laden with pads and riding in warmer weather. Combined with the stretchy fabric, there's no hindrance to movement, no matter how wild a shape you find yourself in.
In less-than-ideal conditions, the Trail Pants have performed well above expectations. They’ve kept me pleasantly comfortable, even when absolutely covered in wet sloppy mud flung up from my bike’s wheels. However, the perforations did let some water ingress but that can easily be forgiven as Specialized doesn’t say a word about the Trail Pants’ wet weather protection on the website.
The Trail Pants prove that three pockets are enough and they’re all within easy reach. A single thigh pocket can be seen as a downside but it offers space to store things that you might want to keep away from your phone, for example. And the closure system, while somewhat unique, is actually incredibly clever. Often zip pulls can get fiddly with buttons, poppers, or Velcro when done up but because there’s a wide flap that covers the fly, and is secured by the ratchet the zip remains perfectly secure.
The ratchet then allows for plenty of adjustment, whether you’re on the upper end of the size scale, or lower.
Specialized Trail Pants - Verdict
Coming in at £110, the Specialized Trail Pants are priced pretty competitively, especially when compared to Rapha’s Trail Pants, which will set you back £130. Rapha’s offering comes with more features, however, including abrasion-resistant panels in the relevant areas, more pockets, and waist adjusters.
The Spesh Trail Pants resemble Leatt’s Pant MTB 4.0. The Leatt pair costs £120 that extra tenner will get you some abrasion-resistant patches and a reinforced gusset. However, that gusset did wear quickly while testing.
To throw cheaper trousers into the mix, the O’Neal Trailfinder Pants are a worthy choice but they struggle to regulate temperature as well as the Specialized Trail Pants do.
Whether or not you ride a Specialized bike, the Trail Pants are an excellent choice for year-round riding thanks to a great fit, brilliant thermoregulation and surprisingly effective weather protection.