SEVEN DAY CYCLIST
CYCLING, BUT NOT USUALLY RACING
LATEST UPDATE: MARCH 18th
SHOWERS PASS SKYLINE TROUSERS
435g XL Black (As tested) £125
Showers Pass Skyline Trousers aimed at the cross-trainer, mixed activity outdoor enthusiast, there are bound to be some compromise with cycling specifics. However, there’s a lot to like on the bike, especially on tour or commute, and, with a couple of minor gripes, I have enjoyed cycling in the Skyline Trousers/Pants/Pantalon.
Pros: Multi-use garment, good on and off the bike, very thoughtfully made.
Cons: Limited temperature control.
You’d expect a lot of thought to have gone into a garment made by Showers Pass. The relative deployment of 32% Nylon and 68% polyester is one example. Upper thigh and lower leg are made from “Elite TM Waterproof” breathable hard-shell: knee from waterproof softshell material for comfort and stretch. The ‘join’ is over-taped.
However, the trousers are not waterproof – nor is that claim made. The stretchy sides offer some temperature control, but offer “maximum mobility.”
Details include, drop-down gaiters (Velcro retained when not in use), reflective trims at calf and thigh, compatibility with Showers Pass’ braces, and a key pocket. There are also calf-length zips.
Some may miss internal padding, but this is easily overcome with padded underwear or, in colder weather appropriate cycling longs.
Size and fit
Size XL was spot on for me. Not too lose, not too tight: neither is the gusset too baggy nor the legs too long. The sizing guide seems pretty reliable. Needless to say, these are not skin-fit racing snake skins, so expect a leisurely feel. The waist band keeps things in place nicely, too.
Cool and gentle washing is the order of the day. Avoid contaminants and use a liquid detergent such as Nikwax Tech Wash. Follow the advice on the website, and things should not go wrong. Certainly, ours have emerged looking pristine. Leave to air-dry, and they’re wearable in two or three hours. Avoid excessive heat
By the way, Showers Pass also offer useful advice on storage, and how to persuade stubborn zips to play nicely again.
Drying time on the bike has been around thirty minutes. Mind you, that’s for the outside. Although not waterproof, rain has so far, failed to penetrate. I’ll update, if and when.
Comfortable worn next to the skin – over padded underwear, if you like – they’ve not induces clamminess at steady 15 mph with temperature around 11C, except temporarily on the more strenuous climbs.
First frosts arrived and I’d no need for thermals underneath on the commute, but really cold days will probably require something like the Tucano Urbano Polo Sud longs. I’ll report back when things get really chilly.
Having said that, I’d not go too heavy on the underwear, although there’s plenty of room for it. Setting off on a cold grey morning in Normandy, things felt a little on the chilly side. Likewise waiting at the station. Things were comfortable on the train, too. In Paris the sun was blazing. Rattling across the city made things very humid. I’d have appreciated an opportunity to vent. In the countryside I’d have nipped into the hedges to change into shorts; in Paris the crowds were gathering for the funeral of President Chirac, so opportunities for secluded stripping-off were limited or under observation from security personnel.
On the subject of getting them off – whatever the theatre of activity – calf zips aid easy removal over touring type shoes. Those with smarter shoes, or with a tidier mind, will find that the drop-down gaiters offer some, rather than thorough splatter protection to bike-side socks and shoe tops.
Although not technically waterproof, there’s not been a damp spot to be felt inside during two hours of steady. heavy rain. Things have stayed similarly dry during five hours of wind-driven drizzle.
The mix of hard and soft shells is very effective; stretch where stretch is needed – avoiding cumbersome knee-articulation needed in many hard-shell trousers. Suffice it to say, pedalling feels little different to wearing cycling tights. There's a lot to be said for them when out on the gravel or MTB machine when easy position-shifts a frequent.
Velcro loops around the waist band would allow a belt to be worn, if you don’t want to go for the Showers Pass ‘suspenders’ – braces. Mind you, I’ve not felt anything other than secure without either.
Will be a staple for touring and longer leisure riding, and commuting, when there’s the chance to change clothes at the destination. Seems to me that they’d combine well with shorts or long thermals or tights, if required, from autumn through to spring. Even in a UK summer, they would not be out of place on a cooler, damp day.
Let’s start off with a price tag of £125. That’s a lot of cash.
Comparison to cycling specific, fully waterproof over-trousers such as Proviz Nightrider Overtrousers, is a bit unfair. The Skyline trousers offer more comfort, but are technically not 100% waterproof. However, the nightriders come in at around half the Skyline’s price, possibly appealing to those with shorter distances in mind, or more frequent stops as the weather changes.
Equally, good quality bib-tights, such as Stolen Goat’s Winter , are really a different kettle of fish – although faster riders who eschew Lycra may well prefer the Skyline. Some here have suggested wearing bib-tights as a base-layer under the Skyline on really cold days.
I've always found my Paramo waterproof trousers excellent. for outdoor activities. They are more expensive, but totally waterproof. mind you, personally, Ifind them less effective for cycling.
Frankly, although they have to compromise in some areas, those are small and few. The Skyline Trousers offer something different to cyclists. As well as the short ride, theses should be good for touring and longer day rides where speed is not of the essence. Clearly sporting gear, but not unsuitable for the café, although I’d not attempt the Savoy Grill. They are well-made and meet the design brief very well.
Verdict 3.75/5: worth making minor compromises if you want adaptable, non-Lycra, cycling trousers for the cooler months.
PUBLISHED OCTOBER 2019
BUILDER OF STEEL CYCLE FRAMES
Ryton On Dunsmore
Coventry CV8 3FH