OK, another day, another cycling trousers review, it will all make sense when you guys have (hopefully) the definitive “which are the best though” review – which is coming soon, I promise.
The outliers are the first serious cycling trousers I bought. I’ve had the pair I’m going to be reviewing for getting on 2 years now and (not wanting to spoil the review or anything) I bloody love ’em.
Outlier are a US brand with a similar ethic to Rapha…
“Clothing should be liberating. What you put on in the morning should never restrict what you do with your day. We make garments that dance around the boundaries of fashion using a function driven design process and high quality technical fabrics.”
I’m not sure I need my trousers to have a philosophy, but I’ve never been afraid of dancing round the boundaries of fashion (granted, I normally stick to the less visible boundaries of fashion if it can be helped).
I did do some fairly intensive research before buying these though – I remember well thinking if I was going to spend over £100 on a pair of pants I’d better be getting the best…
So, what we have here is “Schoeller dryskin double weave” with a nanosphere coating. I don’t claim to be an expert in fabrics (and schoeller’s website seems to be down as I write this) but this does seem to be a different fabric from the other pants reviewed here – it has a similar lining but it does feel slightly, well, “pointy”… Outlier claim that the under a microscope, the fabric consists of millions of points which water and dirt cannot cling to, making them uniquely slippery and whilst I don’t have a microscope I can attest that these pants shrug off dirt and water better than any of the others I regularly wear. They rock the same nanosphere coating as used on the Levi’s commuters, and it’s still there, doing its job after 2 years.
What sets these apart for me is the weight of the fabric – Outlier seem to have got it just right for a commuter / office trouser. The swrve pants feel more like a jean in terms of weight, these are more like a pair of suit trousers – very lightweight. What makes them truly magical is what makes them truly worth the “4 season” tag.
These trousers are genuinely warm when you need them to be (down to -10 c) and yet cool and breathable when rolled into shorts for the summer. This is dark magic.
Fit & Style
What we have here is a suit trouser – I’m not a suit trouser aficionado. To me, I’ve got to be honest, when I first tried on my (black) 4OGs I just thought – “well, they’re like a pair of school trousers”. Outlier make great play on their website about how they’ve adjusted the tailoring around the hips etc and that may well be the case and I’m just too much of a philistine to recognise it. They’re certainly comfortable – nothing is going to “hang” well on my frame, but they certainly aren’t too tight or loose – they don’t make any claims to a “cycling specific fit” like Rapha or Swrve, but I haven’t noticed anything significantly lacking in that respect. I don’t consider these to be a particularly “stylish” pair of trousers and that might just be what makes them the most stylish of all the trousers here. They are unobtrusive, functional and comfortable in all settings. They do work very well rolled up into shorts – the lightweight fabric means the turn up doesn’t look too bulky… In short, while not making any pretensions to cycling fashion, these somehow manage to be pretty much the perfect cycling commuter trousers.
Cycling Specific Features
Well, there aren’t any. Other than the fact that they are perfectly comfortable when riding a bike whatever the weather. There are no trick belt loops or glow in the dark seams, no u-lock park, no pencil pockets at all. No articulated knees or double thickness saddle pad. Just a pair of fairly unobtrusive trousers which manage to be the best I’ve ever worn.
These are the best
cycling trousers I’ve ever tried. There is magic in both the cut and the material which makes them somehow just the right pants to be wearing, pretty much whatever you happen to be doing. They’re not that easy to find in this country – so far as I know the only UK retailer is Tokyo Fixed Gear in London (who don’t believe cyclists have larger than 34″ waists for some reason) but carry the 4OGs for £130, the alternative is to buy from Outlier direct (http://outlier.cc) where they’ll cost you about £120 with another £18 – £36 for postage but you should buy yourself a pair – really, you will not be disappointed.