Vulpine's Men's Cotton Rain Trousers are a well made, superbly thought through pair of trousers that will keep you dry on the bike and looking stylish off it.
The tag line 'Ride & Destination' is a mantra Vulpine live by, and they have certainly delivered this with their Cotton Rain Trousers. They have Vulpine's characteristic tailored fit, not skinny and not too baggy. Loose enough to pedal in comfortably, without looking like a pair of clown's trousers off the bike.
The back is cut high to avoid any winter draughts, or unsightly views for the people in your wake. Waist sizes range from 26in up to 38in, with a leg length of either 32in or 34in, although it's worth considering sizing up on leg length to keep your ankles hidden when pedalling.
One major feature of the trousers is the flat diamond gusset. Vulpine have done away with the standard seams and structure in this area of the trousers, which can be a bit rough on the undercarriage (medical term). They've replaced it with a single diamond-shaped piece of material with the seams moved away from the contact area with the saddle, resulting in a much comfier ride.
There is also what Vulpine call an 'articulated knee' on each leg that allows the knee to move more freely when pedalling. There's no real visual indication of this, apart from the extra seam running around the back of the knee area, but it does genuinely seem to offer extra comfort.
The rain trousers are made from Epic Cotton. If you're unfamiliar with this technology it's a silicone treatment applied to the individual fibres that make up a piece of clothing. It means that the water resistance of the garment is ingrained in it rather than being applied as a final process, and therefore is less likely to wear down over time. Vulpine claim that it will last for over 200 washes.
The water resistance of the rain trousers is really quite impressive. Rain falling on them visibly beads off the surface, even in heavy downpours. We've put them through their paces in the last few weeks and only on one occasion did any water penetrate them. This was on the underside of the thigh area during a seriously large downpour, while riding a bike without mudguards. The material isn't waterproof, it's highly water resistant, so on areas where the material is stretched it's possible that water can pass through the fabric.
The material is soft to the touch and has a stretch to it so your legs never feel restricted when pedalling. It's also breathable, so there's none of the boil-in-the-bag effect you get with a pair of over trousers. In addition to water resistance Epic cotton is also windproof, stain proof and anti-bacterial, three massive benefits for a do-it-all pair of slacks.
The detailing of the trousers is second to none. The stitching inside is piped with Vulpine's signature green which almost makes them worth turning them inside-out like a wearable Pompidou Centre. Almost.
The rain trousers fasten with a combination of a robust button and a metal clasp, and there are sturdy belt loops around the waist. The inside of the waistband features a good quality silicon gripper tape that helps keep them from riding up or down when pedalling.
There are two back pockets, one of which has a magnetic flap for extra peace of mind. The two front pockets have been subtly given a higher cut which makes it harder for valuables to accidentally fall out when you're on the move. If four pockets isn't enough for you, you're in luck. There's a roomy fifth pocket inside the front left which is zippable, perfect for keeping mobile phones and wallets super secure. Another nice touch is the carabiner stitched inside the right-hand pocket for keeping keys safe.
There is a buttoned tab on the chainside ankle to keep the cuff tightened and away from any muck and grease on your drivetrain. The turn ups also feature reflective strips of Scotchlite on each of the three inside seams, positioned at the rear, left, and right of each leg for maximum visibility.
Off the bike the trousers look good too; they're barely distinguishable as a piece of cycling kit and certainly don't look out of place around town or in the office. The surface of the Epic cotton means that they shake dry and any dirt brushes off easily, although it does gives them a bit of an audible 'swish' when you're walking in them, but that's a minor quibble.
Cost-wise the Vulpine Cotton Rain Trousers are going to set you back £139. There's no arguing about that being a fair whack for a pair of trousers, but when you consider the long list of features and benefits they offer, along with the high quality production and detailing, then that price starts to make sense.
A well made pair of do-it-all trousers that'll keep you dry, while looking stylish on and off the bike
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Make and model: Vulpine Men's Cotton Rain Trousers
Size tested: Medium Regular, Charcoal
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?
Vulpine says: "Ideal for commuting, touring, off road and urban riding in a very wide range of conditions." It has to be said they are on the money with this, they really are a do-it-all pair of trousers that would perform in a range of situations.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Soft, stylish, tough and very breathable Epic™ Cotton, highly water and wind resistant, magnetic rear pocket closure flips to reveal reflective light loop, internal bound seams and cycling-specific gusset prevent chafing, silicon waist gripper and higher rear cut for cycling, zipped fly with tough button waist and belt loops, button ankle adjuster on driveside, articulated knees, reflective inner leg seams for turn-up visibility, no scratchy labels, all care info printed onto fabric, zip valuables pocket & key carabiner hidden in main pockets, front pockets are cut high to prevent losing valuables.
Constructed to a very high level of quality.
Very hard-wearing, easy to brush off dirt and shake off water.
The level of comfort was really good, well thought through design and detailing results in a really pleasant ride.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Really well. Water and wind resistance was effective, and they looked and felt good on and off the bike.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The attention to detail and considered design features.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
It was quite hard to find any faults.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.
Would you consider buying the product? Yes.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes.
Age: 29 Height: 5'10" Weight: 76kg
I usually ride: KHS Flite 100 Singlespeed/Fixed, Genesis Equilibrium 20 My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 5-10 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed,
Oli has been a road.cc staffer since day one. He's the graphic design and photography force behind the site, and has got a keen eye for good quality, well designed cycling kit. You'll find him on his bike everyday whatever the weather, he's got a penchant for a steel frame and has had 'fit mudguards' on his To Do list for nearly 6 years now. Likes: cold toast, gin, rugby. Dislikes: fitting mudguards.