Protective’s Boto are probably the most civilian and arguably best of the biking baggy trouser breed, closer to combat fatigues sans bike but thanks to clever detailing and a cycling specific cut you can cut a dash in the saddle just as easily as sashaying past the boss in more conservative offices. Sure, you’d never consider racing in them but otherwise they’re perfect for general riding, commuting, touring and even a bit of off-road action.
Fashioned from super tactile, easy care rip-stop polyamide (polyester), they’ll laugh in the face of branches, thorns and other potential snagging as well as chemical attack from oils, grease and other everyday contaminant. They’re lined too, although comfortable on shorter hops-say a few miles around town, separate inserts are advisable for more concerted efforts/longer rides. The articulated knee panels of the sort commonly associated with ¾ lengths is a real feather in their cap, enabling more fluid pedalling action and racing cadences.
A high back protects against chill when stretched out on the drops for longer periods, the discrete adjustable waistband and tapered legs ensure a perfectly tailored, practical cycling cut, so no danger of adopting a John Wayne pedalling style here. Additional tapering in the right leg eliminates bottoms caching the transmission-even at warp-speed cadences.
Four (two front, two rear) generous pockets swallow the usual essentials-keys, wallet, mobile phone/multi tool etc without detracting from chic lines or gathering up when riding.
Climate control and breathability are broadly comparable with others of the cycyling baggies genre meaning you won’t feel boiled in the bag on longer rides in milder weather but vented panels would be welcomed. The fabric is best described as shower proof, resisting moderately persistent rain but takes longer to dry when saturated. At the upper end of the market, the Boto will suit anyone needing uncompromising, chic stealth trousers.
High performance baggier cycling trousers near perfect for general riding and work off the bike too
road.cc test report
Make and model: Protective Boto trousers
Size tested: L
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
The Boto are a pair of cycling trousers for those who wouldn't be seen dead in Lycra. Probably the most civilian looking and best performing of the mtb/performance casual trousers.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Rip stop polyester fabric with mesh lining (but no insert) Tapered legs, articulated knees, Scotchlite reflectives, zippered fly and integral belt.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
In short the Boto are by a nose the best of the stealth/performance casual trousers I have used- the secret seems to be in the detailing-specifically the tapered legs and the articulated knees that allow unrestricted movement aboard the bike and riding at speeds close to race-pace.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Casual styling and uncompromised performance.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
About the tester
Age: 36 Height: 1m 81 Weight: 70 kilos
I usually ride: Rough Stuff Tourer Based around 4130 Univega mtb Frameset My best bike is: 1955 Holdsworth Road Path and several others including cross & traditional road
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo cross, commuting, touring, fixed/singlespeed, mtb,
Shaun Audane is a freelance writer/product tester with over twenty-eight years riding experience, the last twelve (120,000 miles) spent putting bikes and kit through their paces for a variety of publications. Previous generations of his family worked at manufacturing's sharp end, thus Shaun can weld, has a sound understanding of frame building practice and a preference for steel or titanium framesets.
Citing Richard Ballantine and an Au pair as his earliest cycling influences, he is presently writing a cycling book with particular focus upon women, families and disabled audiences (Having been a registered care manager and coached children at Herne Hill Velodrome in earlier careers)