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Waterproof Cycling Trousers – Forget about Bad Weather

Sadly, the sun doesn't always shine when you're out on your bike. Any cyclist would agree that there is hardly anything more unpleasant than having to wear wet cycling shorts after getting caught in the rain. That's why a pair of waterproof cycling trousers or overtrousers should definitely be part of your cycling wardrobe. BIKE24 has waterproof cycling trousers for every occasion – whether you want them for nipping to the shops or your daily commute, to keep up your road bike training even in bad weather or to rock the trail downhill even in mud and puddles. Read more

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Why Waterproof Cycling Trousers?

The weather forecast isn’t always accurate. And if you don't want to keep interrupting your training schedule, or if you commute every day on your bike or can hear the trails calling, you want to be outcome rain or shine. Rainwear should always be part of your basic equipment and have a place in your cycling wardrobe. Because wet clothing while cycling is not only uncomfortable, it also cools your body down more quickly. Along with a rain jacket, waterproof cycling trousers are essential for getting out on your bike in bad weather. Waterproof cycling trousers are not only practical while it’s raining, but also after it stops, because they can double as genuine cycling short or pants. If there are puddles on the trail or the roads are still wet, a pair of waterproof cycling pants will get you to your destination clean and dry.

The Features That Make Waterproof Cycling Trousers Stand Out

  • All waterproof cycling trousers typically come equipped with reflective elements for 360° visibility. So you'll be seen from all sides even in the rain – no matter what time of day it is.
  • Many waterproof cycling pants are characterised by their low weight and particularly small pack size.
  • Pre-shaped knee sections are part of the waterproof cycling trousers’ fit. This ensures freedom of movement despite their robust, waterproof but rarely stretchy outer material.
  • To meet the particular challenges of cycling, waterproof cycling trousers are usually reinforced in the seat area.
  • Zips and seams are treated to prevent moisture from entering. Seams are taped or welded. Zips are also welded or covered with a layer of fabric.
  • Waterproof cycling pants often have side zips on the trouser legs so they can be put on quickly even over cycling shoes.
  • Ventilation inserts or additional ventilation systems provide more air circulation and better heat exchange.

A Material Guide – So You're Not Left Out in the Rain

As their name suggests, waterproof cycling trousers are worn while it’s raining or immediately afterwards. Their main task is to reliably prevent any moisture getting in. For this purpose, the material used (usually polyamide or polyurethane) is usually equipped with a membrane. This layer, which is located between the robust outer layer and the comfortable inner material, has tiny pores. The so-called micropores are so small that rain and moisture (e.g. splash water) cannot penetrate from the outside. However, it does allow perspiration, in the form of water vapour, to escape to the outside and thus ensures ideal temperature regulation. 

Different types of membranes with varying degrees of water permeability are used in the production process. This permeability is indicated by the ‘water column’, which tells you how much pressure the fabric can withstand before it lets the first drops of water through. Imagine a cylinder standing on the trouser material and being steadily filled with water. The more water the cylinder can hold without it soaking through the material, the higher the material’s water column. Clothing with a water column of 1,300 mm or more is usually considered waterproof and may be labelled as such.  

💡 Please note, however: cycling trousers are exposed to additional stress when cycling in the rain. Wind or airstream, movement or the constant strain of stretching the material (e.g. at the knees) increase the pressure of the water on the fabric. So if you want to be out in heavy rain, we recommend waterproof cycling pants with a 10,000 mm water column or higher.

Many men's cycling trousers and women's cycling trousers for bad weather are not only equipped with a membrane but also with an additional surface treatment, but this needs to be refreshed after a while, e.g. with an impregnation spray.

The Different Types of Waterproof Cycling Trousers: Something for Everyone

To give you an overview of the complicated world of waterproof cycling trousers, we will briefly discuss the different types of waterproof pants, trousers and overtrousers in the next part. And although they are different, they all have one goal: to keep you dry in the rain. Before choosing a pair of waterproof cycling trousers, it's important to decide whether you're looking for a back-up extra layer or a pair of cycling trousers for rainy weather. Depending on your intended purpose, different properties – low weight and pack size or the highest possible breathability – are decisive.

Classic Waterproof Cycling Overtrousers

Classic waterproof cycling trousers usually mean waterproof overtrousers made of a waterproof outer layer, usually with a light inner/net lining. These keep you dry on the bike day-to-day, for example on the way to work, even in rainy weather, because you can simply pull them over your everyday clothes. They have long trouser legs and a wider cut. The trouser legs are often adjustable (e.g. with Velcro), so that you can slip them on easily and then tighten them, e.g. so that the trouser legs don't get caught in your chain. Many styles have a side zip or button placket to make them easy to slip on quickly. So you can confidently jump into your waterproof cycling overtrousers with your shoes still on when a rain shower surprises you. They also have a slightly longer cut so that your everyday trousers underneath are completely protected from moisture and dirt.

Waterproof Cycling Overtrousers have a very small, light pack size so that they fit comfortably in a backpack, bicycle bag or jersey pocket and are always ready to hand.

Hardshell Waterproof Cycling Trousers for Perfect Protection

The ultimate waterproof cycling trousers are almost certainly hardshell trousers, which stand out for their extremely high waterproofness and so provide particularly effective protection against wet weather. They consist of several layers to combine all the required material properties: waterproof, windproof yet breathable. Their breathability prevents the body from overheating, so that you stay comfortable even on strenuous rides. Hardshell trousers can be worn over normal trousers, over bike trousers (bib shorts), with inner trousers or just a base layer.

If you want to get your miles in as a road cyclist and the training schedule is set, sometimes you will have to go out when it’s grey and wet. Then you should opt for tight-fitting overtrousers or hardshell trousers. In any case, the leg cuffs should be tightly adjusted to improve aerodynamics and minimise the potential for getting snagged on the bike.

Rain Shorts for Warm Summer Rain

Even in summer, you cannot escape the odd rain shower. Waterproof cycling shorts are the way to go, especially in the MTB or trekking segment. They protect the thighs (which are most exposed to the rain) during the downpour and the seat area even after the rain. At the same time, waterproof mountain bike trousers or rain shorts give you the freedom of movement, breathability and comfort that you know and love from cycling shorts.

Care Tips for Waterproof Cycling Trousers

To ensure that your waterproof cycling trousers last for a long time and protect you reliably from the rain in the long term, there are a few points to bear in mind. If you have packed your trousers away while wet, make sure you let them dry out at the next possible opportunity. Even though you may have chosen them for their small pack size, it is not good for the fabric to be kept crumpled up all the time. So when you're not using them, hang them on a trouser hanger in your wardrobe or roll them up neatly. While the waterproof cycling trousers are taking a break in the bike bag, you should always make sure that no sharp-edged objects are packed near them. These increase the risk of damage and can result in your waterproof cycling trousers no longer keeping you reliably dry. 

When caring for your garment, we recommend that you always check the care label inside the trousers first. You should always follow the manufacturer's washing and drying instructions. You will find special detergents and suitable waterproofing care in our textile care range for functional clothing.

If you follow this advice, you will extend the life of your waterproof cycling pants and enjoy them for a long time.

What about Style? Combinations for the Perfect Rain Outfit

A useful addition to waterproof cycling trousers is, of course, a rain jacket. To complete your cycling outfit for rainy days, you will also find a large selection of matching accessories at BIKE24, such as gloves with moisture protection or overshoes. This means that the weather will no longer be a stumbling block and you can stay safe and dry on your bike even in the rain.