Rain Pant

Waterproof Fabrics

Although fabric technologies have come a long way, there is a general rule, that the more waterproof a fabric is, the less breathable it is. This is especially true for cycling specific garments, where an athlete generates so much heat and sweat, that the only way for a cyclist to stay dry inside and out, is to have a garment that is not only made from a waterproof, breathable fabric; but through garment design and construction, breathes and wicks moisture. For cycling specific garments, breathability and moisture management are obtained through venting. For more information on waterproof fabrics click here!

Venting

Vents are designed to allow air to come into the garment, keeping the cyclist from overheating. A vent can be as simple as a mesh panel, or as detailed as specially designed zipped or Velcro® vents which allow the cyclist to adjust body temperature by opening and closing vents as needed. The cost of a garment will be greatly affected by the number and type of vents that the garment has. Simple mesh panels that can not be opened and closed, let air in, but also are not designed to keep water out. More sophisticated (and expensive) vents allow air in, but are also designed to keep water out. 

Special Features to look for in a Cycling Rain Pant

Sealed and Taped Seams

All truly "waterproof", garments must be made from a "waterproof" fabric and have sealed, or taped seams so that rain does not leak in through the small perforations made by sewing needles during the construction of the garment. Sealing and taping seams takes special equipment and extra time. As such, it adds substantially to the cost of the garment, but is the only way to ensure that the garment will be completely waterproof even in the heaviest of downpours.

Reflective Tape and Piping:

Visibility is very important, especially when you are cycling in the rain. Most technical rain gear is usually produced in a bright yellow, or other highly visible color. However, many of the cycling pants come in black to hide road grime. In order to increase visibility; especially on black cycling pants, most manufacturers place reflective tape or piping on the pant. Reflective material is very visible (a great safety feature), but is extremely expensive and will add substantially to the cost of a pant.

 

Elongated Rear Crotch Seam

Pants designed specifically for cycling that are not made from a stretch fabric will need to have a longer rear crotch seam so that the pants will not pull down in the back when the back when the cyclist is bent over the bike.

Elastic Waistbands and Velcro Waist Closures

Cycling requires the cyclist to be in the saddle bent over the bike, standing, and even walking at times. This means that a great fitting cycling pant will move with the cyclist in all these different positions. Having an elastic waistband, elastic rear yoke, and/or adjustable waist closures allow the cyclist to have a much broader range of motion and more comfortable fit around the waist.

Articulated Knees

Articulated  knees provide freedom of movement through the pedal stroke.

Ankle Zips

Almost all cycling rain pants have ankle zips or some other means of allowing the pants to be unzipped so that the pants can be taken off and on without removing cycling shoes.

Ankle Synches

To prevent a cycling pant leg from getting caught in the chain ring most manufacturers have some type of ankle closure that tightens the pant leg at the ankle to prevent chain ring snags.

Packable

Having a rain pant that is easy to store is important especially if you are touring.

Waterproof Fabrics

Although fabric technologies have come a long way, there is a general rule, that the more waterproof a fabric is, the less breathable it is. This is especially true for cycling specific garments, where an athlete generates so much heat and sweat, that the only way for a cyclist to stay dry inside and out, is to have a garment that is not only made from a waterproof, breathable fabric; but through garment design and construction, breathes and wicks moisture. For cycling specific garments, breathability and moisture management are obtained through venting. For more information on waterproof fabrics click here!

Venting

Vents are designed to allow air to come into the garment, keeping the cyclist from overheating. A vent can be as simple as a mesh panel, or as detailed as specially designed zipped or Velcro® vents which allow the cyclist to adjust body temperature by opening and closing vents as needed. The cost of a garment will be greatly affected by the number and type of vents that the garment has. Simple mesh panels that can not be opened and closed, let air in, but also are not designed to keep water out. More sophisticated (and expensive) vents allow air in, but are also designed to keep water out. 

Waterproof Pants for Warm Weather Cycling (70 degrees and up)

The only manufacturer making a "vented" rain pant is a company called Showers Pass. For most other brands, breathability is limited to what the fabric technology can offer given the outside temperature, and your level of exertion and sweat production. For warm weather cycling, your best option is not to wear pants at all. Wear a cycling rain cape and cycling specific sandals and enjoy the cooling effect of the rain. More Info on Rain Capes click here!

Waterproof Pants for Cool Weather Cycling (50 - 60 degrees)

For cycling in cold rainy conditions the best option is to layer. Cycling tights come in all different fabrics and many different styles. Select a tight that is designed for the temperature you will be riding in, and then and a add waterproof pant over the top to stay warm and dry. For more information on base layers click here!