Rapha are tomorrow launching their new Softshell Trousers which are aimed squarely at commuters and urban riders. They are designed to be windproof and highly water resistant on the bike and also smart enough to wear at work, and Rapha reckon they are filling a niche that’s not covered by other brands.
“These Softshell Trousers fit like normal trousers – they’re not over-trousers, but trousers you can wear all day, and also out in the rain,” says Rapha’s Laura Etherington. “We wanted to create trousers that were smart and comfortable enough to wear in the office, using a fabric that was extremely durable on the bike while also being water resistant against downpours. It was quite a challenge.
“There are other softshell trousers on the market but they are often highly insulated and too warm to wear inside. Ours are also unique in the inclusion of a seat panel which is highly abrasion-resistant.”
We’ve not ridden in the trousers yet but Rapha swung by a few weeks back and showed us the entire range. The main fabric is the same as they use for their Classic Softshell Jacket, and we’ve been using one of these for yonks. It keeps water out well, is reasonably breathable, and it looks pretty much as good now as it did to start with, so we’re guessing the durability of the trousers will be good. It’s not mega-thick and the soft tricot inner face will certainly feel comfortable next to your skin.
The trousers come with a host of features including a neoprene panel round the back to keep road spray off your butt, a soft gripper on the inside of the waistband, and a waterproof zipped pocket at the rear.
We’d be massively surprised if the build quality and finishing wasn’t top notch – it certainly was on the sample we saw and we can’t think of any Rapha products we’ve tried that weren’t well made.
And how do we always sign off a Rapha story? That’s right: they’re not cheap. The Softshell Trousers are pretty expensive, in fact, at £180 a pop from www.rapha.cc.
We’ll soon find out if they’re worth it because there’s currently a pair in the post to road.cc’s own Mr Trousers, TR McGowran. Will they finally end TR’s lifelong quest for the perfect urban cycling trousers? Intriguing, huh? Watch this space to find out.
Mat has worked for loads of bike magazines over 20+ years, and been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. He's been road.cc technical editor for eight years, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a past winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer.