Marks & Spencer launches cycling chinos

Waterproof, stretchy, bike-friendly kecks on the High Street

by John Stevenson   February 18, 2014  

cycling chinos wide

Forget MAMILs, stockbrokers and mass media claims that cycling is the new golf/squash/bar billiards. You know that cycling has finally cracked the mainstream when that most conservative of clothing stores Marks and Spencer introduces day clothes with cycling features.

That’s exactly what’s just happened with Marks and Spencer’s introduction of cycling chinos. The High Street giant describes the new trousers as ‘Tapered Water Resistant Cycling Chinos’ though there are very few other details about the cycling features on Marks and Spencer’s website.

Made from water-resistant cotton with two percent Lycra to give some stretch, the big game-changer here could well be the price: just £39.50 for trousers that look normal, but are comfy on the bike.

Road.cc forum user ceepeeee drew the chinos to our attention. He got a pair yesterday and wore them for the first time this morning. He writes:

“First impressions are good - they fit well, are stretchy enough, the poppers to tighten the ankles work well, the reflective details are subtle enough. Can't comment on the showerproof-ness as it was dry.

“Two big plus points: they only cost £39.50 and they come in larger sizes. I have no idea how they compare to similar offerings from Rapha or Vulpine, for example, but as I can neither afford nor fit into them it's not a comparison I can make. Maybe one of the cycling magazines or website will review them but maybe M&S haven't sent any out - until yesterday they weren't even being sold as cycling specific even though there's a big label inside that says ‘Cycling Chinos’.”

Unusually for niche trousers, a large range of sizes is available, and two colours. They’re offered in 30in to 44in waist, in 29in, 31in and 33in leg length and in ‘charcoal’ (dark grey) or ‘stone’ (that horrid light brown that’s the inexplicable default colour for chinos).

As yet, though, there is no women’s equivalent.

More details on the Marks & Spencer website.

43 user comments

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And these PR shots are where M&S go wrong. Put on some decent sneakers, roll up a leg hipster style and team not with a tucked-in white t-shirt that makes it look like they've been made for 60 year olds, but a cool shirt - untucked - and PUT THE MODEL ON A BIKE with some moody black and white urban background. Voila, I'd be all over them and running up to M&S at the top of town pronto. However on the basis of these shots, I will not be going to M&S except to buy a sandwich.

posted by tombourne [15 posts]
18th February 2014 - 16:27

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tombourne wrote:
And these PR shots are where M&S go wrong. Put on some decent sneakers, roll up a leg hipster style and team not with a tucked-in white t-shirt that makes it look like they've been made for 60 year olds, but a cool shirt - untucked - and PUT THE MODEL ON A BIKE with some moody black and white urban background. Voila, I'd be all over them and running up to M&S at the top of town pronto. However on the basis of these shots, I will not be going to M&S except to buy a sandwich.

Nail/head etc.

Those dorky trainers are awful. I think it's a wider M&S issue in that they always appeal to their core market (the average age of an M%S customer is 49 according to the Telegraph). Perfect for a relatively health young grandad though.

arrieredupeleton

posted by arrieredupeleton [534 posts]
18th February 2014 - 16:43

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The reflective detail is hidden away - both legs have a strip which is revealed when you roll them up and both back pockets have reflective flaps which can be popped out when needed. I would post a picture but I'm worried I'll get strange looks if I start taking photos of my own arse when I'm at work.

posted by ceepeeee [6 posts]
18th February 2014 - 16:47

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Rapha's strong point is extra material in the crotch area. Not quite padding but extra material for protecting the vulnerable parts.
Do M&S's have this?

posted by ChairRDRF [97 posts]
18th February 2014 - 16:51

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Nope. They are definitely chinos without any major structural additions. The back is a little higher than on "normal" trousers so builder's crack is less likely but if anything the fabric is thinner than other chino-type trousers - less canvassy, if that makes sense.

posted by ceepeeee [6 posts]
18th February 2014 - 17:06

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fatsimonstan wrote:
chokofingrz wrote:
My local M&S doesn't carry anything in a waist smaller than 32in. Complete waste of time for a normal person going in. I hope they fail to sell a single pair.

I'm not sure about anyone else but claiming legs longer than 33" and waists less than 32" as normal. Bloody freaks! Laughing

Rule of thumb - if your waist size is bigger than your inside leg, you need to lose a bit from around your middle Smile

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posted by PJ McNally [579 posts]
18th February 2014 - 17:27

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I like M&S, they have variable leg lengths in the womens Depts is one of the few places that makes trousers that are long enough for me at 36"
Shame they're not doing that in this line or i'd happily buy a pair

I'm only here for the cake

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posted by Dizzy [61 posts]
18th February 2014 - 17:30

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It's a shame they're only available for short people. Sad

posted by markyboy007 [20 posts]
18th February 2014 - 18:20

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'Rule of thumb - if your waist size is bigger than your inside leg, you need to lose a bit from around your middle '

Depends how long/short your legs are

posted by andyp [776 posts]
18th February 2014 - 18:30

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If your waist measurement is less than your inside leg then stick to buying Rapha. The snobbery is then there for all to see and saves you posting on the Web and sticking the vees up to ordinary cyclists.

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posted by bikeandy61 [383 posts]
18th February 2014 - 18:42

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So you can wear them on your bike. Like, when you go cycling. Wow - that means they're just like, er, trousers ...!

Mike S

posted by Mike Smith [7 posts]
18th February 2014 - 20:19

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Glad to see that the model in the picture is wearing regulation prison-white coach tour trainers. Who's betting that if they are wearing Reactolite Rapides and a blue harbour polo shirt as well to complete the ensemble.

Velotastic !

Too many hills, but too little time.

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posted by badback [264 posts]
18th February 2014 - 20:22

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You know you've been road cycling too long when you feel perfectly comfortable walking around in cafes in full kit and the thought of biking in jeans is uncomfortable. But seriously, how did they manage to make the thin model look lumpy? There's something going wrong with the waistband and front pockets on these trousers.

Melancholy is incompatible with bicycling. ~James E. Starrs

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posted by movingtarget [126 posts]
18th February 2014 - 20:43

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the 4th photo down looks like the model has wet himself ! some dodgy shadow anyway ! I think I'll go for a zip cardigan before these....

posted by arfa [435 posts]
18th February 2014 - 21:10

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Jonathing wrote:
What an absolute sizing balls up. No 28x32, I thought cyclists were supposed to be slim.

Some cyclist are on the more rotund size. Not "all" cyclists are slim

posted by Wesselwookie [108 posts]
19th February 2014 - 9:00

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On the issue of fit, thin waist I understand - but why is everything 'slim fit' (or in yoof shops 'ultra-skinny') in the leg? I can barely get a pair of trousers over my thighs these days, let alone try to pedal in them. Confused
I want to know where Chris Hoy buys his pants!?

posted by JeevesBath [82 posts]
19th February 2014 - 9:16

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That be a rule of thumb, but for those of us who are somewhat challenged in the height department, were we to follow your advice we would have to find somewhere else to store kidneys, liver, muscles, etc.

Heightist git!

Edgeley

posted by Edgeley [156 posts]
19th February 2014 - 10:23

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And precisely what is wrong with being made for 60 year olds? I will certainly be buying a couple of pairs next time I am back in the UK - just as long as they are snow proof as well.

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posted by Tovarishch [44 posts]
19th February 2014 - 11:06

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PJ McNally wrote:
fatsimonstan wrote:
chokofingrz wrote:
My local M&S doesn't carry anything in a waist smaller than 32in. Complete waste of time for a normal person going in. I hope they fail to sell a single pair.

I'm not sure about anyone else but claiming legs longer than 33" and waists less than 32" as normal. Bloody freaks! Laughing

Rule of thumb - if your waist size is bigger than your inside leg, you need to lose a bit from around your middle Smile

I'll go along with that one.

posted by Super Domestique [1583 posts]
19th February 2014 - 11:45

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chokofingrz wrote:
I hope they fail to sell a single pair.

Jeeees

What is wrong with the internet....

If you don't want to buy M&S trousers, don't buy them. Personally, I think it's good that cycle-specific clothing is being made by the high street big names. I can only see this being a good thing overall. I've worn out too many pairs of jeans in the crotch department riding my bike around town.

posted by robthehungrymonkey [30 posts]
19th February 2014 - 11:49

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JeevesBath wrote:
On the issue of fit, thin waist I understand - but why is everything 'slim fit' (or in yoof shops 'ultra-skinny') in the leg? I can barely get a pair of trousers over my thighs these days, let alone try to pedal in them. Confused
I want to know where Chris Hoy buys his pants!?

This! I don't even have big thighs, how is it I can't even get most trousers on?!

If I could have, say, 6 bikes, would it stop me drooling over others that I don't have?

posted by notfastenough [2876 posts]
19th February 2014 - 13:05

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notfastenough wrote:
JeevesBath wrote:
On the issue of fit, thin waist I understand - but why is everything 'slim fit' (or in yoof shops 'ultra-skinny') in the leg? I can barely get a pair of trousers over my thighs these days, let alone try to pedal in them. Confused
I want to know where Chris Hoy buys his pants!?

This! I don't even have big thighs, how is it I can't even get most trousers on?!


From experience: don't ever try and buy a pair of trousers in Italy. You think cycling wear is oddly sized? Their jeans appear to be for children.

Boardman CX Team '14 | Cannondale CAAD8 '12 (written off, SMIDSY) | Scott Sportster '08

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posted by Gizmo_ [709 posts]
19th February 2014 - 16:49

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Sir Chris and Jason Kenny has some of Meccanica Cycles stuff. JC fits into their standard straight leg jeans. And they are Made in Britain! Check out http://www.meccanicacycles.com/category/Clothing PS they are a new British brand sizes up to 4XL

posted by nwcyclist [8 posts]
19th February 2014 - 16:52

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Yeah 'some cyclists' are odd sized...most of their heads are bigger than their waist sizes..but some appear to be able to fit them well up their own backsides...we are not all young skinny whippety pups...ya know...I'm off to Aldi to buy some more corny pastiches (sic)

The_Kaner
FREEEEEEEEDOM!

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posted by The _Kaner [375 posts]
19th February 2014 - 18:54

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ceepeeee wrote:
Nope. They are definitely chinos without any major structural additions. The back is a little higher than on "normal" trousers so builder's crack is less likely but if anything the fabric is thinner than other chino-type trousers - less canvassy, if that makes sense.

Thanks for bringing it to road.cc's attention; I've ordered up a pair, as my Union34 trews are showing wear. Whilst I'm disappointed that there's no gusset to avoid centre seam, I'm hoping that they may be laterally stiff, yet vertically compliant.

posted by Dr_Lex [129 posts]
19th February 2014 - 19:58

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chokofingrz wrote:
My local M&S doesn't carry anything in a waist smaller than 32in. Complete waste of time for a normal person going in. I hope they fail to sell a single pair.

Yawn

Bloody hell, I must be abnormal with my 32 inch waist.

So because they don't stock your size, you hope they don't sell a single pair.

Applause

posted by wwfcb [63 posts]
19th February 2014 - 20:57

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nwcyclist wrote:
Sir Chris and Jason Kenny has some of Meccanica Cycles stuff. JC fits into their standard straight leg jeans. And they are Made in Britain! Check out http://www.meccanicacycles.com/category/Clothing PS they are a new British brand sizes up to 4XL

Thanks for the link, not seen these before. Hopefully I won't need to go up to a 4XL....

posted by JeevesBath [82 posts]
20th February 2014 - 9:56

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Nicely twinned with orthopaedic shoes for that definitive 'no exercise in 20 years' look!

posted by Jonomc [22 posts]
20th February 2014 - 16:09

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Looking past the hideous trainers, and even the merits of the trousers as cycling wear, the arrival of specifically cycling-designed clothing in Marks & Spencer is a wholly positive sign of cycling's newfound popularity among normal people.

I'll order a pair (in 'graphite', not that horrid beige) and give them a try; I don't expect them to be as nice or as hardwearing as Rapha's or Vulpine's, but then they're one third of the price...

posted by Lord Fishface [24 posts]
21st February 2014 - 14:13

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A pair received & tried on; sadly to be returned. The cut gives no taper at the waist, and the active movement waistband lacks adjustment. Will dig deeper & try swrve/vulpine/Rapha next time.

posted by Dr_Lex [129 posts]
22nd February 2014 - 14:23

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