If the two things that are certain in life are death and taxes, then the cycling equivalent must be punctures and crap weather. If you've come for advice about the former then you're in the wrong place, but if it's protection against the elements you're after then the Tenn Outdoors Driven Waterproof Breathable 5K Cycling Trousers might just be the slacks you've been looking for. Tenn have managed to produce a pair of waterproof trousers that meet the mark on performance and give any cycling brand a run for their money when it comes to, well, money.
The Driven trousers aren't just a run of the mill pair of overtrousers, they're a fully lined pair of cycling specific trousers. They consist of an outer waterproof shell made of 95% polyester with 5% elastane, and a polyester mesh lining. The lining makes them really comfortable to wear as normal trousers against bare legs, and has none of the boil-in-the-bag effect that some waterproof trousers often do. The extra layer also creates an insulating pocket which is very welcome in colder conditions. The use of synthetic materials means that although the trousers are nice and durable they can become a bit pongy with a lot of heavy use, but nothing that a quick wash can't sort out.
Tenn say that the Driven trousers can be worn as regular trousers or used as overtrousers. The zips make the ankle cuffs wide enough to pull on of off without having to remove your shoes, but the lining does make it a slightly tricky ordeal to pull them over bulky shoes with edges snagging on the mesh. If you are using them as overtrousers then it's worth considering that the dual layered trousers combined with your regular trousers underneath is going to result in three layers, which might end up cooking your legs.
The trousers are pretty adaptable to most styles of riding, perfect for a commute, suitable for a wet road ride, and certainly wouldn't look out of place being used on an off road ride. Off the bike the trousers fall down slightly on the style side of things, they're fine for popping into the shops to pick up some milk, but if you're heading into the office or the pub then they probably aren't going to cut the mustard.
The Driven trousers have a comfortable fit, loose enough that the pedalling motion isn't hindered in any way, but fitted so that they don't look overly baggy like a lot waterproof trousers tend to. Sizing options are wide ranging, there are seven sizes ranging from XS to 3XL, 28in waist up to a 42in waist.
There are two side pockets with zipped openings to keep your belongings securely tucked away. The ankles have zips allowing them to be taken on and off over your shoes, there are also Velcro tabs on the ankle to tighten the cuffs, keeping out drafts and protecting any loose material from the chain. There are also several bits of useful reflective detailing on the trousers: strips of reflective piping down the edge of the ankle zips, reflective logos below each of the side pockets, and a reflective logo on the back of the right ankle.
The waistband is half elasticated with heavy duty elastic along the back giving a really snug draft-free fit. The front has a simple popper fastening and a zip fly. Unfortunately the super strong elastic and the popper do not make good bedfellows. Even with the trousers fitting perfectly in a standing position, as soon as you're sitting in the saddle and exerting some effort into pedalling the popper is prone to popping open. It's really not sufficient for a pair of trousers designed with strenuous activity in mind, there needs to be a second fastening or something more heavy duty. Fortunately the trousers do have belt loops so you can add a belt to save any popper malfunction blushes.
The Driven trousers are fully waterproof with taped seams throughout. The 5K in the product title is significant, it refers to product's waterproof rating. For those unfamiliar with waterproof rating scales then here's a very brief rundown of how it all works: The most common method of waterproof testing is the static column test. A column with a 1-inch diameter is placed over the material and filled with water, the height at which the water penetrates the material becomes the material's waterproof rating. These trousers have a 5k rating indicating they can withstand 5000mm of water pressure. 5k is towards the lower end of 'waterproof' with 40k being a material that is totally non-porous.
In a practical sense the trousers stand up really well in light and medium rain showers with water visibly beading on the surface of the outer shell. In heavy rainfall they withstand the rain well too, but in sustained periods of rain the the water does start to come through, specifically in areas where the product is stretched taut over the body. Riding without mudguards can end in a soggy backside and thighs, however we've also found this in top end higher-rated waterproof trousers that we've reviewed. The trousers are also breathable, they've mainly been tested during the cooler winter months but even on warmer days they regulate the temperature pretty well.
When it comes to price the Driven trousers deliver very minimal damage in the wallet region, in fact they are superbly good value. The RRP is just £29.99, an extremely good price for a impressively performing and comfortable pair of waterproof trousers. There's nothing from major cycling brands that comes close in terms of spec and price. There are budget supermarket options that might match in the price department but nothing from an established cycling brand.
Practical and impressive waterproof trousers at a bargain price.
road.cc test report
Make and model: Tenn Outdoors Driven Waterproof Breathable 5K Cycling Trousers
Size tested: Medium
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?
An all round pair of waterproof cycling trousers. Tenn says the Driven Waterproof trousers are "Technical waterproof cycle trousers. For road or off-road cycling and commuting."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
"Made from a waterproof/breathable fabric with a mesh liner and fully taped seams, to keep the rider dry and comfortable in the rain. A half elastic waist and Velcro leg adjusters ensure a good fit and prevent uncomfortable drafts. Ankle zips make for easy removal over shoes or even boots.
Highly durable, Driven trousers are ideal for riding off road but their cut also means they'll be good for many miles on the road. They also have an attractive casual fit for off-the-bike wear and can even be used as over-trousers.
Waterproof and breathable fabric with mesh liner – keeps rider dry and comfortable.
Taped seams– fully waterproofed.
Durable – tough enough for road and off road use.
Velcro adjusters – for a close, draft-free fit.
Ankle zips – for easy removal.
Reflective detailing – front and back for safety."
Generally really good, only slightly let down by the popper fastening.
The trousers performed well in a variety of weather conditions and were comfortable to wear.
They're pretty sturdy, marks and scuffs brush off easily.
Really comfortable, close fitting to keep out drafts, but loose enough to be able to move freely. Again, the waist fastening was the only minor niggle.
Great value, a lot of trousers for the money.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
The Driven Waterproof trousers performed impressively, stood up to the elements well, nicely fitted and comfortable.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The fit and the lining, not too baggy like many waterproof trousers and they didnt get too hot and sweaty. And obviosuly the price was another big plus.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The popper on the waist band, simply not strong enough.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.
Would you consider buying the product? Yes.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes, with a slight mention about the popper.
About the tester
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.