Waterproof trousers don’t immediately strike me as the perfect riding attire, but they are a fantastic and practical solution for short journeys by bike when you want to arrive looking presentable.
Bad waterproof trousers will make you feel like a person dressed in a very hot plastic bag – they’ll cause you to swelter and you’ll want to rip them off as soon as you get to your destination. The Endura Gridlock II trousers (£45.40 for the men’s at Chainreaction, £47.99 for thes women’s version from Evans Cycles) are another invention altogether.
Endura have created a pair of waterproofs that allow more breathability than most, and they’ve combined this with some clever features designed to ensure the water stays out. You can pop them over your civvies and no one would know you’d arrived on a bike in downpour.
Here are some of the key features…
Elasticated waistband and a belt
Perhaps not the height of fashion, the waistband is comfortable an allows you to stretch the trousers over more bulky items of clothing, for example if your nipping to the pub and wearing a pair of jeans. The belt adds security – so if you aren’t loading up over bulky clothing, you don’t have to worry about these slipping down your bottom (unless that’s your style…).
These trousers aren’t padded, so if you’re used to riding with a chamois, a pair of Endura wicking mesh undershorts (mens and women’s both £15.13) could be a helpful addition. These seamless padded shorts are handy for slipping beneath normal trousers, skirt, or these waterproofs for comfort.
There is a reflective logo on the calf and a strip of silver running from knee to angle, and Endura claim this can be seen from 360 degrees, but considering these are designed for riding in wet conditions, when visibility is poor, I think more could have been added.
Ankles and zips
The trouser have a special treat in store for tall bods and those that might want to fit these over bulkier shoes: popper leg adjustment. These one height fits all trousers have a line of poppers along the ankle – un-pop ‘em and you gain about two inches in length. This is handy obviously if you’re tall, but also if you want to splay them out over the top of boots or shoes to keep the water from dripping through to your feet.
Zips extend from just below the knee to the ankle, too, to provide a wider fit if you wish, and also making these easier to whip off when you reach your destination. The zips are finished with a Velcro cover at the bottom to ensure that grit and water doesn’t infiltrate the mechanism causing issues.
All zips, including the sealed pockets, are covered with what Endura call a ‘storm flap’, so that no water can make its way through any possible gaps.
If you commute often in trousers that aren’t skin tight, you’ve probably experienced the horrible moment when you realise you’ve caught a bit of trouser in your chain. These trousers have that covered, with extra velcro sections along the calfs so you can make them tighter of you wish. On top of that, they have durable panels on the inner ankles – these are designed to make them hardy against chainring and crank wear from repetitive brushing against metal, but I expect over time I’d find the extra layer come in a handy in preventing a snag.
I wouldn’t wear these trousers for a longer ride, but then that’s not what they’re designed for. On a short commute, a trip to the shops or a jaunt by bike to the pub, they’re a great addition that will help you face the great outdoors when conditions are wet.
There is a certain smugness that comes from removing these not-entirely-fashionable trousers to reveal a whole new outfit, and if that’s something you’re looking for, these are for you. These are of course, deisgned to go with the Gridlock II waterproof jacket, which I reviewed here.
For more advice on how to ride in wet weather, check out this post on exactly that.