In what seems like a classic move for me just as I’ve used these pants long enough to really feel solid about writing a review they disappeared from the Race Face website. I’m not sure if they are being discontinued or replace with a new/improved version. Regardless I’ll post this review. Maybe it will help someone and if not it’s a good way to capture my thoughts for posterity. Back in 2020 I got interested in trying some mountain bike pants and the ones that fell to hand were the Race Face Ruxton pants. I put them to regular use for a year and then added a pair of the Endura MTB pants to the mix as my stoke grew. Vancouver Island’s climate is pretty ideal for this style of pant for more than half the year as we specialize in cool, mild and damp a lot of the time. So these pants have seen a lot of use during the last two years.
The Ruxton pants are a soft shelled pants made of a rugged stretchy material that [at least initially] repels water well with a DWR coating and breathes well. The design is very stripped down with just two small thigh pockets. There is a plastic waist buckle adjuster and that’s it. No vents. No fly. No belt loops. The overall cut is relaxed, but tapered towards the ankle. This is a minimalist pant. No doubt. On one hand I like the laser focus of these pants. On the other I do miss belt loops and a zippered fly every ride.
In terms of sizing I’m 5’11” and weigh about 190lbs about of the shower. If I was buying pants I would normally look for 34″ waist and 34″ inseam pants. The RF Ruxtons in Large fit me well.
What these pants do well?
- Rugged fabric shrugs off abuse and crashes very well.
- Relaxed/tapered cut works great on the bike.
- Stretchy fabric pedals well with knee pads.
- Long inseam makes me happy.
- Fabric breathes well so I don’t miss the lack of vents.
- They don’t look MTB “specific” so I use them a lot for hiking, running and skateboarding.
- While new DWR keeps material dry in light rain.
- Not many features means not much to go wrong.
- No annoying seems in the knee area for use without pads.
- They come in black with minimal logos.
- Price was reasonable.
What I don’t love?
- No belt loops. I find I stop to pull these pants up a few times a ride.
- Small pockets are a bit awkward to use when off the bike when I want pockets most.
- No fly means peeing is a pain as you have to pull the waist down past junk level each time.
My only really big complaint is the lack of belt loops. Having to pull these pants up every ride gets old. I don’t have much waist and a small butt so that’s somewhat of a personal problem, but with belt loops I could solve that issue easily and folks who didn’t need ’em could ignore the belt loops. The lack of a fly and the awkward small pockets are annoying sometimes, but I’m not that bothered by those two issues. These pants don’t slide down on me when running, hiking of skateboarding and they don’t scream “I RIDE MOUNTAIN BIKES!” so they get used a lot for those activities.
To be clear these are not rain pants. They are not waterproof. When new-ish the factory DWR coating does keep you fairly dry even in persistent light rain, but after a lot of use it wears away and the water will soak in more easily. I am too lazy to re-apply a DWR treatment. The pants still work fine for me for most of my riding where it’s either dry/cool, moist from a previous rain/cool or lightly raining. They also handle wheel spray that gets past my fenders nicely and makes post-ride clean up a breeze. If I was going to ride for an extended period in moderate to heavy rain I would want actual waterproof rain pants, but that’s not my jam and it’s mostly avoidable where I live. Despite the lack of venting and fairly rugged material these pants adapt well to a wide range of temperatures. I’d wear them from -10 deg C to around 14 deg C. That’s most of the year on Vancouver Island.
I liked these pants well enough to grab a second pair in case RF stopped selling them or decided to improve them. Seems like that was a smart move! The oldest pair looks well worn after a couple years of riding and many many cycles through my washer/dryer. The RF has peeled off which doesn’t bother me. Beyond that if you look closely you can see abrasion marks in some areas. I suspect I’ll have these pants rocking and rolling after 10 years without much trouble.
Comparing these RF pants to my Endura MTB pants the RF are more rugged, more stripped down and more versatile since they don’t look so MTB specific. The belt loops, fly, leg vents and pockets on the Endura pants are very nice features though. If I had to pick between these two pants just for mountain bike use I’d go with the Endura pants. Not having to pull them up a few times per ride is worth it without thinking of anything else. If I was thinking about all my sporty uses for a pair of outdoor pants the RF Ruxton pants would win. If I was particularly hard on my MTB pants [like a lot of savage crashes] I’d pick the RF Ruxton pants for riding as the fabric is very rugged and the lack of zippers means fewer potential points of failure.
So all in all a very nice product. I’ll be interested to see if RF sells them again or if they are history. Either way I am glad I have a couple pairs and I’ll keep wearing them for a long time I suspect.