Showers Pass Skylines waterproof trousers show that the idea has come a long, long way since the rustly, leaky nylons of old. Not only do they work, but they actually work very very well.
Waterproof trousers have always been a bit of an interesting one for me when it comes to cycling attire. Yes you're going to be drier for a hell of a lot longer, but can you deal with the flapping about in the wind? Not to mention the uncool factor.
Enter the Showers Pass Skylines. They're certainly not a pair of tights, but they're also certainly not just some baggy bin liner sitting on your legs either. The ends of the legs rapidly taper down to keep material covering your ankles away from the grabbing teeth of the front chain rings, and also have serious reinforcement down there just in case the worst should happen. A good-sized zipper on the ankles also really helped when putting them on with my shoes already buckled up.
The Skylines are clever in that they aren't constructed from the industrial strength Elite waterproof material all over, but instead only in the places where you really need it - namely the tops of the thighs, the bum, and the lower legs. Around the knees and the sides of the legs, much stretchier (but still waterproof) soft shell material is used. This is important as it means the Skylines don't rustle and move about anywhere near as much as some pairs of trousers do, even when you are pedalling away furiously. They were comfortable enough to wear on their own on my fairly short commute, but if on longer rides I would heartily recommend throwing on your favourite pair of bib shorts underneath. They'll stay plenty dry under the Skylines.
A crucial factor for any waterproof trousers is that they actually are waterproof. The Skylines really shine here. From commutes in drizzle, to hail, to full on apocalypse rain my legs stayed warm and dry. It would be interesting to see how this holds up after multiple washes, but for the time I tested them I saw no degradation in impermeability. Warmth was also on par with my faithful winter bib tights.
With any clothing that is this impervious to the elements, I always am concerned about breathability. It would be untrue to say the Skylines were perfect, but they are by far and away the best riding trousers I have used. I only ever had sweat issues on really long and/or humid climbs, and when riding at much slower speeds, usually on mountain bike rides. However on most road rides – a 50km club ride was the longest I rode in them for – they were largely indiscernible from my bib tights. Overall I thought they performed excellently here, given their intended use.
There are a couple of drawbacks though. There is no button or fly on the front to aid getting them on and off. The waist may be elasticated but I would have liked a button or a popper just to make life a bit easier. The Skylines also only have one small key pocket, which serves keys very well but putting any more in there would have been a struggle.
Given the Skylines are likely to be used for commuting, I would have liked a waterproof, zipped pocket elsewhere that I could have put my phone into. Also, while I'm on the commuting point, there is some 3M Scotchlite reflective material on the lower legs, but a bit more reflectivity would have been ideal, given they will be primarily used in rubbish weather and in darkness.
One other thing I would have liked to see would be a slightly longer extension of the waist up my back, just to give really good, safe overlap with whatever jacket/jersey I was wearing at the time.
In term of sizing, I am a touch over 6ft, 72kg and the mediums on test were pretty much bang on. The Skylines never slipped down my waist once. However if you find they do move about more than you would like, they also have loops for braces.
The Skylines are a solid, comfortable investment for anyone who rides in really filthy conditions and wants to stay warm and dry.
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Showers Pass Skyline Pant
Size tested: Medium, Black
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?
Waterproof trousers for those riding days where many choose to stay indoors.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Highly waterproof, breathable Elite hardshell fabric where you need it most, and comfortable, stretchier waterproof soft shell where movement is the critical factor.
Overtaped seams where required.
Tapered, reinforced zipped ankles to protect them from pesky drivetrains.
Taped seams and the clever mixture of hard and soft shell fabrics meant I was never wet but also never uncomfortable.
Excellent waterproofing and warmth in all the right places, and plenty breathable too on all but the most humid of rides.
No problems or wear encountered at all, over the period I tested them for.
Not quite "top drawer bib tights" comfy but still fine. Even better with a pair of bibs on underneath.
One pound under £100 is reasonable for the performance of these trousers. How I look at it is that the alternative to riding in bad weather is taking up the turbo. I'd pick the Skylines every time if it meant I got to go riding outside.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The waterproofing is the real selling point of these trousers, no bib tights I have ever used even come close. Also plenty windproof, and warm to boot.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
No flies to speak of at all, combined with a quite tight waist (and I'm only a skinny lad) may make for a bit of pain getting them on and off. They also only have one small pocket that would only suit a pair of keys. I would have liked a couple of normal pockets, even if only for putting hands in when off the bike.
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: 21 Height: 182cm Weight: 73kg
I usually ride: On-One Carbon Whippet Single Speed MTB My best bike is: Scott CR1 Pro
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mtb,