Giro's neat New Road Classic Mobility trouser (crazy name) has a few bike-friendly features that are subtle enough not to be noticeable when you get off the bike.
One of the main features that turns these from trousers into cycling trousers is the crotch section. Rather than having that big lump of fabric where all the seams usually meet on a pair of everyday trousers – which is positioned exactly where you sit on a bike saddle, for maximum discomfort – Giro have moved that meeting point forward so that it's out of the way. There's still a central seam front to back, but you don't particularly notice that, especially not on shorter rides, because it's not too bulky. Giro have also added a second layer of fabric through the area that contacts the saddle.
The result is that sitting on the bike in these feels more comfortable than in normal jeans or trousers and there's very little chafing as you pedal. The design works, basically (it's a similar deal with the Vulpine Men's Jinzu Raw Selvedge Cycling Jeans /content/review/132357-vulpine-mens-jinzu-raw-selvedge-cycling-jeans that we reviewed recently).
Of course, you don't feel as comfortable as you would in your favourite bib tights but that's not the point; you can keep these on while you're in the office, at the coffee shop, doing your shopping or whatever, without looking a bit, you know, weird.
There's a little crossways stretch to these trousers too – the fabric is 97% cotton and 3% Lycra. There's not so much stretch that anyone else is going to notice, but enough to allow you to take up a cycling position and pedal, despite the slim cut. I think they could afford to be a bit more stretchy but there's always going to be a compromise in trousers designed for use both on and off the bike. I didn't experience an exposed lower back when stretched forward on the bike, and the fabric bounces back into shape when you get off the bike so you don't have bulging areas around your butt and knees for the rest of the day.
The fabric is reasonably rugged, as far as cotton goes, although the crotch shows some minor wear after wet weather rides where grit and dirt has got onto the saddle and then onto the trousers. When I say 'minor wear' I just mean that the surface of the fabric has been scuffed a little. There's no danger of going through it any time soon.
Unless you have a chainguard on your bike, you're going to want to do something with the right leg when you're riding to stop it getting tangled up in the chain. Rolling it up does the job, and Giro have thoughtfully added reflective tape to the seams of both legs to help you get noticed in traffic at night. That tape is grey in daylight and there's no way that anyone is going to spot it as a safety measure when you're off the bike even if you have a turn-up.
One other useful feature is a hidden hip pocket that I found handy for storing a mobile phone or keys while riding. Stuff in there doesn't get in the way as you pedal and it can't fall out because it's zipped in.
Putting cycling features to one side, these are good everyday trousers, coming with bound seams, a buttoned fly, two rear pockets, two front pockets and a little ticket pocket up by the waistband.
Slim-fitting trousers with a bit of stretch and subtle bike-friendly features
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Make and model: Giro New Road Classic Mobility Trouser
Size tested: 34
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?
Giro say, "Weekly pre-dawn rides on the menu? The men's Mobility Trouser expertly weaves together on-bike performance with subtle styling details like reflective accents on the hem for visibility and a gusseted crotch for more comfort in the saddle. Subtle stretch in the fabric gives a clean, slim fit."
These are trousers for everyday use with features that make riding a bike a more comfortable experience.
Howies' Crosstown Stretch Chinos are £69.99 and Vulpine's Summer Trousers are £80, so these look a little expensive by comparison, but the price doesn't seem crazy. You can certainly spend more, Rapha's Touring Trousers are £170.00
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
They perform well. There are trousers out there with more overtly cycling features but these are subtle enough that they don't look at all like cyclewear when you're off the bike.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The crotch design is really comfortable when you're sitting in the saddle and the reflective trim on the turn-ups isn't noticeable at all except when there's a light shining directly on it.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
I'd have preferred a touch more stretch or a slightly looser cut for unhindered pedalling.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Anything further to say about the product in conclusion?
The overall score should be somewhere between a 7 and an 8. I'll go with 8 because the on and off the bike comfort outweighs some of the other categories.
Age: 43 Height: 190cm Weight: 75kg
I usually ride: My best bike is:
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding,
Mat has been in cycling media since 1996, on titles including BikeRadar, Total Bike, Total Mountain Bike, What Mountain Bike and Mountain Biking UK, and he has been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. Mat has been road.cc technical editor for over a decade, 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 winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer. Now pushing 50, he's riding road and gravel bikes most days for fun and fitness rather than training for competitions.