Login Register for free news, tips & videos
 
 
 

Keeping dry on your commute: Overtrousers

Home / Equipment and Set-Up : Clothing

Knowledge level:

Article posted: 27/08/2013

Share |

As unglamorous as they sound, a good pair of overtrousers enables you to perform that rabbit-from-hat trick of riding through a deluge and arriving at your destination looking box-fresh. For commuters who like to ride in their normal clothes, or any bike commuter who just wants to keep clean, dry and warm, a decent pair of overtrousers is a must.

What to look for

Weatherproofing

Waterproof and breathable is what you need. Don’t be tempted to skimp and go for a thick, heavyweight set of non-breathable overtrousers. They might work fine for more sedentary outdoor applications but they don’t cut muster when it comes to riding a bike. Conversely there are water resistant highly breathable overtrousers made for high activity sports but for commuting, if they’re not 100% waterproof, what’s the point? Gore Tex is and has long been the market leader and is great if you can afford it – however, there are lots of similarly performing, a much cheaper, proprietary materials on the market.

Pack size

Look for lightweight highly packable materials – you’re more likely to keep a small light pair of overtrousers in your rucksack at all times, for when that perfect storm strikes.

Abrasion resistance 

Overtrousers lead a hard life – all that pedalling and chafing against the saddle and other bike components mean that they need to be tough. Ripstop materials are good – look for a fine ‘waffle’ pattern which means that if the fabric snags, the rip will only be small and won’t wreck the whole garment. Higher spec overtrousers will have panels of more hardwearing abrasion resistant fabric in high wear areas such as the seat, inner thigh and inner cuff areas.

Cut

Cut is important too. You want enough space for free movement and to allow you to wear them comfortably over your normal trousers but not so much that they billow in the breeze. Make sure that the leg length works when you’re in the on-bike position – most overtrousers ride-up quite a bit when you sit down. Cycling specific overtrousers will be better in this regard and usually have a higher back so that they don’t expose the kidney area when in the cycling position.

Visibility

Since overtrousers are most likely to be used in poor conditions it makes sense for manufacturers to incorporate some kind of visibility-enhancing materials. Most overtrousers tend to be black, to hide road grime so what you’ll normally find are reflective Scotchlite panels on the hip, outer leg or ankle area, to catch the attention of drivers as you pedal.

Other features

Look out for pockets to allow you access to your trouser pockets inside – ones that press stud or zip closed are the best. One final critical feature is the ability to cinch in the calf area to keep the overtrousers away from the chainwheel and cranks. Many a good pair of overtrousers have been wrecked thusly.

features

Descending on wet roads

Posted: 20/05/2015
Top tips for descending in the...
Knowledge level: Beginner

Using TrainingPeaks to optimise training with hear...

Posted: 20/05/2015
If you are training with heart rate, using TrainingPeaks is the...
Knowledge level: Intermediate

Tackling long climbs

Posted: 13/05/2015
Top tips for tackling long...
Knowledge level: Intermediate

latest content

Descending on wet roads

Posted: 20/05/2015
Top tips for descending in the...
Knowledge level: Beginner

Using TrainingPeaks to optimise training with hear...

Posted: 20/05/2015
If you are training with heart rate, using TrainingPeaks is the...
Knowledge level: Intermediate

Tackling long climbs

Posted: 13/05/2015
Top tips for tackling long...
Knowledge level: Intermediate

most popular

How to lube your chain

Posted: 17/05/2013
How to lube your chain and keep you bike running...
Knowledge level: Beginner

Getting your ride position right

Posted: 22/03/2013
How to set up your bike for on bike...
Knowledge level: Beginner

10 steps to improve your climbing

Posted: 12/02/2014
10 steps to improve your...
Knowledge level: Beginner

meet the experts

DIY road and mountain bike fit

Posted: 07/01/2015
Expert advice from Rëtul founder Todd Carver on getting the...

Andrew Evans

Posted: 12/05/2014
Andrew...

Ask the Experts: Threshold test pacing and struggl...

Posted: 09/04/2014
Ask the Experts: Threshold test pacing and struggling to hit...