The Quest for the Perfect Pants for Biking: Are We There Yet? I Need to Go.

Yep, still questing. I’m listing some additional options I found after my Phase I pants quest in all those Google search sessions while my family watches a movie and I multi-task (because really, how many movies these days can hold your full attention?).

Ibex Rio Pant: An activewear pants option for women who ride bikes

The Ibex Rio Pant has some definite possibilities. go look at them on the Ibex site, where you can zoom in and see more detail (and the back side!).

I’ve had to delete some that became unavailable after my initial search, like the Sugoi HOV (Human Operated Vehicle) urban cycling line of pants and matching jackets.

I did track down one pair of the Sugoi HOV pants through an outside vendor after they disappeared from the Sugoi site but don’t figure they’re worth reviewing since you can’t get them. (Sugoi, if you’re thinking of bringing them back, let me know and I’ll write a review–with just a couple of small tweaks these could be 100% awesome and I love being able to get pants with a matching jacket for more of an office look.)

Totally bums me out that what looked like a good option disappeared from the market, which tells me that if you find something that you think might work you should jump on it.

Real possibilities:

  • Outlier Women’s Daily Riding Pant. Unfortunately these only run sizes 0-12. Available in black, static gray, slate gray, marine blue, burgundy. $180. Scroll way down on the page to see a photo with some of the colors but not all (which really bugs me).
  • Ibex Global Wool Pant. Dings for the contrast stitching. Big patch pockets outlined with contrasting stitching Are. Not. Flattering. On. Any. Woman. The back pockets make these look more like jeans than like office wear. Only available in charcoal gray. $195. May as well bite the Outlier Tailored bullet, get more color choices and not have to look at the contrasting stitching and fattening pockets.
  • Icebreaker Rio Pant. They’re cute and made of wool (which I want for fall/winter). Only available in black. $100.

Too yoga/sporty for me, maybe okay for you (I’m only listing a few I spotted that look as if the legs aren’t too flared–you can find these kinds of pants everywhere):

  • SportHill Women’s Traverse Pant Plus: For plus-sized women 1X-4X. On the sporty side but some potential for a casual day, and wind resistant which is nice for riding as the temps cool down. May be swishy-sounding when you walk, though; no way to know what some of these technical fabrics are really like. $129.95
  • Columbia Anytime PantMajor points for having a little video clip with someone talking about the pants, holding them up and pointing out the hidden zipper pocket feature. Totally yoga though. $45.
  • Lolita Pant by PrAna. Only available in espresso. Totally yoga. On sale when I last looked for $37.49.
  • Patagonia Merino 3. These look too wide-legged and are definitely yoga. They show as sold out on some sites and aren’t listed on the Patagonia site any more so if you like the look, order them ASAP.

I should mention that I actually do yoga so saying pants are “totally yoga” isn’t meant as a bad thing–just not a boardroom thing.

Considered and rejected:

  • Columbia Just Right Pant: Honkin’ big zipper pocket on the left thigh, cinch things that raise and lower hem length. Not just right for my purposes.
  • Columbia Trail Twist Slim Pant: Looked great—straight legs won’t catch on pedals—until I zoomed in and caught the flashy little décor on the backs of the ankles. And I really don’t want my work pants to say “Omni-Dry” on the outside; doesn’t this suggest I’m in need of Depends? On sale last I looked, though, for $37.90.
Swrve bike knickers for women

Swrve's bike-specific knickers: Cute, but my calves get cold just looking at them as I contemplate fall/winter riding.

Not pants but so cute: Nau Confidant Short. Long enough to be considered a city or walking short, which might be fine for some workplaces and I could get away with it in summer. Made of fine merino wool which is a great fabric for active movement. Gray heather or brown heather.

Nau makes some cute pants for women that are supposed to be designed for active movement and I love their business values and design aesthetic. Organic or not, though, I just don’t like the chafe potential of denim or the failure to dry of cotton, their fabrics of choice.

Also not pants, also cute: Swrve Softshell Knickers. I just can’t figure out why anyone thinks knickers are cold-weather riding gear; do their calves not feel temperature or get wet? And for $120 (regular price–on sale right now for $90) couldn’t they use enough fabric to cover my ankles?

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Your Turn

  • Add to the list! Have you found pants designed for biking and for business?
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6 Responses to “The Quest for the Perfect Pants for Biking: Are We There Yet? I Need to Go.”

  1. Did you look at Title Nine? Their Arctic Training pant looks so cozy! Not sure about swishy with the performance outer fabric. Wonder if you could just email the company and make a suggestion for a pant that has all the features you want? Couldn’t hurt! Maybe they’d do a small clothing line geared toward the “professional woman who bikes to work”!!!

  2. Love those shorts for the late spring/summer/early autumn time of year. They won’t fit me, but still love ’em!

  3. On the note of the Swrve Knickers did you check out their winter softshell trousers or to really one up it their blk_label Winter trousers that use Schoeller tech fabrics?

    Softshell Trousers:
    http://www.swrvestore.com/servlet/Detail?no=102

    Blk_Market Softshell trousers:
    http://www.swrvestore.com/servlet/Detail?no=81

    Comfortable? Definitely.. Warm? Of course.. Stylish? you know it.. pricy? maybe..

    For me i’ve been a bike messenger for year in multiple cities with some of the worst weather out there. Luckily for me i met Muriel and Matt from Swrve at NACCC 07′ and I’ve been buying their stuff ever since. Its all made right here in the USA, and you ever have a seam, witch, etc. bust or fray you send it to them and they fix it (i’ve only had this happen on a belt loop) and they are seriously two of the nicest & most down to earth people I’ve met in the bike industry.

    Give em a chance..

    -Nate

    P.S. For what its worth i love knicker and when paired with a good pair of merino wool tall socks there’s nothing that can beat them, and as an added bonus no worries about chainring catching the pants.

  4. I should be grading papers–instead looking at cute pants. My problem falls at the other end of many women. Clothes keep getting bigger and I can’t find small enough pants in athletic fabrics. Love Title Nine, but much of their line starts at a 2, and 2 keeps getter larger every year.

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