The Specialized Trail pants are clearly inspired by the downhill-focused Demo Pro pants that won me over in 2017, thanks to their low weight, practical features, and pedal-friendly design.
At the time, the Demos were one of the few pants that were comfortable when worn for long days of pedaling the trail bike, and when they were released I wore them almost constantly.
The Trail pants take that formula but have been created with an even more trail-friendly design and, as you’ll soon find out, I love them.
Specialized trail pant details
The Trail Pant is made from Specialized’s VapoRize fabric. This provides some welcome stretch, which not only helps with the fit, but also the way the pants fit as you pedal and move around the bike. Specialized has added a water repellent treatment to help stave off light showers and puddle splashes.
Perhaps the most striking feature of the Trail pant is its fit. While the hips and thighs remain relatively roomy, the lower legs are sharply tapered to prevent them from interfering with the cranks while you turn the pedals.
Despite the skinny appearance of the lower legs, getting them on and off isn’t as difficult as you might imagine, thanks to half of each ankle being elasticated. It also helps provide a very snug fit once in place.
Specialized offers the unisex Trail Pants in six different sizes (from 28 to 38 inches). The fit around the waist can be easily adjusted using the ratchet buckle, which combines with a zip fly to keep them securely in place while riding.
Just in case you start to warm up while riding, there are perforations on the inner thigh to help release heat. That said, at 300g, the Trail pants aren’t exactly too thick or heavy.
Thanks to the three zippered pockets, it is quite easy to store the essentials while riding. The two hip pockets are a little more generous than the rear-facing thigh pocket on the left leg, ideal for storing a phone.
Performance of Specialized trail pants
Tight, but not too tight
Although the tapered lower legs of the Trail pants might seem a bit extreme, I’m a huge fan of the fit and shaping. Yes, you could say they’re tight enough to warrant aero gains, but it’s how they feel on the bike that won me over.
The fit around the waist of my 30″ pants was precise and with the ratchet buckle it’s easy to modify it to feel great, especially useful if you’ve overindulged your lunch break at halfway.
The hips and waist also articulate well, which means when you move, the Trail Pants move with you and stay exactly where they belong. I never had to pull them up during a ride, nor suffered from a sagging crotch when they got covered in mud.
Along with the fit, for me at least, I feel like Specialized totally nailed the leg length (my inseam is about 30 inches).
Taller riders can feel a bit of a breeze on their ankles compared to us more compact types, but I prefer that to loads of excess gear bunched up and left to flap around as I pedal.
In fact, coat them in wet mud and the Trail pants manage to avoid shifting and won’t slap your shins or rub your cranks with every turn of the pedal.
These are easily one of the most comfortable pants I’ve ridden in, and that level of comfort doesn’t diminish when the pants experience the inevitable soaking you can expect during the winter months.
As you get caught in the rain, the Trail pants do a decent job of keeping out splashes, but won’t keep moisture in during extended downpours.
Luckily, they dry out pretty quickly. As you’d expect, the effectiveness of the water repellency diminishes over time and with more washing machine spins, but six months later my pants still provide a reasonable barrier between me and the elements.
Thanks to the relatively lightweight fabric used here, I had no major issues wearing the Trail pants on milder days in the hills either.
As you’d expect, they’re not as airy as a loose pair of mountain bike shorts on a sweltering day, but I never felt too clammy wearing them in late summer/early fall or during the last weeks of spring.
That said, while not the thickest, the Trail pants do keep you a bit warmer on really cold days.
You’ll still need properly waterproof mountain bike pants with no ventilation if you plan on riding in a monsoon deep in winter, but the Trail pants still do a decent job of adding a bit of extra warmth over that. driving in shorts.
Thoughtful design details
Despite the svelte appearance, Specialized managed to leave enough room around the knees for the big knee pads.
And thanks to the don and composition of the material, the Trail pants move smoothly with and over the knee pads without snagging as you pedal, which is something that can’t be said for all pants in this range. nature.
The three zippered pockets are large enough to easily store keys, a map and a phone. Luckily, the contents are held tight enough against your leg to prevent the contents from shifting too much as you turn the cranks.
Yes, those tight cuffs mean it’s not as easy to get the Trail Pants on and off as some straight-cut equivalents, but thanks to the semi-elastic hem and natural stretch of the fabric, you you won’t need to drive around the parking lot with these stuck around your ankles.
And to be honest, I’ll happily live with that and how well they work on the bike, compared to baggier pants that constantly fidget while riding.
Having now worn the Trail pants for over six months, I have been seriously impressed with their durability.
After many washes, drops, and hours in the saddle, they have not faded, warped, or suffered any rips or tears.
This means that even though the asking price is quite high, I think the performance more than justifies the cost. It also helps that they perform well in various weather conditions.
Specialty Trail Pants and How They Compare
I rode the Specialized Trail pants as part of a group test and back to back with 10 other pairs of pants.
The Trail Pants came out on top against some really impressive competition, including Nukeproof’s Blackline Pants, which are cheaper but arguably not as well-proportioned, and POC’s Rhythm Resistance Pants, which perform impressively but cost almost two times more expensive.
Also on trial:
- Anti-nuclear black line
- Endura Singletrack II
- Troy Lee designs the skyline
- Fox Ranger
Other notable performers came from O’Neal’s Pathfinder pants, which are cheap and well shaped, though they’ve faded over time, and the Troy Lee Designs Skyline pants, which offer great functionality but don’t couldn’t quite match the Specialized Trail pants in terms of performance.
The bottom line of Specialized trail pants
Specialized Trail pants are highly versatile and proven in a variety of weather conditions, managing to offer an excellent blend of coverage, protection, warmth and comfort.
While the figure-hugging look might not be to everyone’s taste, it helps them perform brilliantly on the bike, articulating well when pedaling and never moving or flapping even when they’re on the move. covered in mud.
The features included suited my needs perfectly and only added to the driving experience. The fact that their style is beyond subtle is also another win in my book.