I used to wear MTB shorts with knee pads all winter here on Vancouver Island. And to be fair it was okay. I mean sure I was cold and muddy sometimes, but if I kept riding I stayed warm enough to not hate life…most of the time. I had tried MTB pants a couple times, but the only thing on offer seemed to be DH pants which didn’t pedal well or commuter/roadie tights of the budgie smuggler design. So I just made things work with shorts. Then I noticed a bunch of softshell MTB pants in the media and I figured it was worth another shot. Fast forward to today and I am riding in MTB pants every ride 7-8 months of the year. So what happened?
I’m not a true sports clothing nerd so I can’t get too deep into the design/material details, but this new crop of pants are extremely comfortable. They pedal great with knee pads underneath. They hold up well to our Coastal BC weather and mountain biking use…including crashing! Last, but not least they make post-ride clean up noticeably easier. I have to say when I got my first of these pants I was still skeptical. My main concern was that they would not feel natural when pedaling especially with knee pads. So I was blown away when I could wear them on a 3-4hr ride and never think about them once in terms of disrupting my pedaling. In fact they seem to keep my knee pads from slipping down so in that way they actually make pedaling the bike easier/more fun.
So what’s so great about these Endura SingleTrack Trousers II?
- Belt Loops!!! [with a belt deployed they never move down and bother me]
- Slim ergonomic cut [works well on the bike]
- Stretchy, light durable fabric [feels good against the skin, doesn’t hinder movement and takes abuse like a champ]
- Tough reinforcement patches at the butt and the cuffs at the bottom of each leg
- Lots of “normal” pockets [I mostly use these when not riding for my phone and keys]
- Side vents [easy to open while riding and they dump heat out when you are too warm]
- Normal zippered fly [so I can pee easy!]
- Long inseam [I hate short pants]
- Breathe well and work over a wide temperature range
- They come in black
- Reflective detailing
- Price is reasonable
What don’t I love?
- They definitely have a “I ride bikes!” aesthetic [so I wouldn’t use them for other sports]
- Lots of zippers [these may fail over the long term]
- Thinner fabric than some other brands/models [might not be as durable over the long term]
- Seam at the knee you can feel when not wearing pads
I had to work pretty hard to come up with the negatives list and two out of the five items talk about possible durability issues, which in fairness to these pants, show no signs of materializing…yet. There is a lot to like about them. If you took these pants away from me I would be ordering up a new pair ASAP. Heck I bought a second pair that are new in the drawer just in case Endura decides to “new and improve” them so they don’t work so well for me.
In terms of fit I am 5’11” and normally I would buy 34″ waist & 34″ inseam pants. I’ve got long skinny legs and not much butt. These size Large pants work for my long inseam preferences…in fact they are a touch longer than ideal, but I’d rather have a bit too much leg than too little. The 34″ waist fits as I would expect…slightly roomy. They do have velcro waist adjusters, but I leave them alone and use a belt to adjust the fit. The belt keeps the pants up on my waist all ride without any issues. I don’t wear padded bike shorts so these pants were just used with my normal synthetic boxers. My normal knee pads are Race Face Indys or G-Form knee and shin pads.
I would wear these pants from -10 deg C all the way up to about 16 deg C. They are not insulated and while they have vents I’ll be a bit chilly and a bit warm at the extremes of that range. Once the temperatures are 16+ deg C consistently I am reaching for shorts. Living on Vancouver Island that means I can ride in these pants most of the year.
One important thing to note is that these are not waterproof rain pants. They come from the factory with a nice DWR coating that sheds water like a champ…until you wash them a lot. Eventually that stops and they absorb water. I am too lazy to re-apply a DWR treatment at home. I don’t ride in the pouring rain much and if I did I would opt for some waterproof pants. The SingleTrack Trousers are great when it might rain, for riding through wet vegetation, splashes that get past my fenders and for light intermittent rain that we get a lot here.
I use a RRP front fender and Mudhugger rear fender on my “wet weather” bikes. So they save me from the worst of the muddy wheel spray on the trails, but some crud does sneak by. Wearing MTB pants keeps my legs and pads clean so when I get home I can just peel them off and deal with them which is a much easier job than cleaning my legs and pads.
That’s about all I have on these pants. If you have been thinking about them I’d give them two thumbs up and recommend you try them. If you haven’t been thinking about them and still found this review give it some thought!
BTW – Sorry for the use of stock photos from Endura. Trying to get useful images of clothes as a solo operation is tough. These photos show the pants off pretty well. If you want to see some real humans wearing them a Google image search will sort you out.