The Vulpine Women's Summer Cycling Capri Pants look smart, with a good fit when you're on the bike, and their diamond gusset keeps things comfy on shorter rides if you're going unpadded. A fiver off £100 isn't to be sneezed at, though, and you can certainly get a pair of cropped chinos on the high street for a lot less, albeit without the subtle cycling touches.
The least subtle of those – though it shouldn't appear obvious to anyone around you – is that diamond gusset. This keeps seams away from where you don't want them when riding without padded underwear or shorts. From the outside it's just a simple hidden seam, while on the inside green piping covers the joins; it's perfectly comfortable, despite being raised rather than flatlock stitched.
That same green piping covers other seams on the inside too, around the waistband, the pocket edges, and either side of the zip, while others are stitched flat. However they're constructed, none of the seams are irritating in the slightest.
I found the capris a very good fit on the bike, shaped by the seams and darts and helped by a bit of stretch in the fabric. They're also cut high enough at the back so when you're cycling you don't expose too much flesh or leave a gaping hole. The fabric isn't hugely stretchy; I'd say they're closer to cotton chinos than 'jeggings'.
They are a slim fit, and although you get zipped front pockets you probably won't want to put too much in them, especially as the fabric tends to show up whatever is underneath – whether that's coins in your pockets, VPLs or the hems of Vulpine's extrafine padded merino boyshorts (review to come).
What also shows through – after washing and before ironing – are the label/care instructions printed on the inside of the left 'cheek'. The lettering has that slightly rubbery feel and it puckers up in the wash, meaning you have to iron it to smooth it away.
Talking of which... the seams down the back of each leg might create a good shape for cycling but they're a bit of a pain for ironing, as you have to fiddle around them so you don't iron creases in where you don't want them.
On me, at 5ft 6 3/4in, the hems sit just below the knee and I can feel them grabbing slightly while I ride, but these aren't designed for hours and hours in the saddle, so I really don't think it's anything to worry about.
If you're caught out in a summer shower, the fabric – with Swiss Schoeller 3X Dry technology finish – is slightly showerproof. Vulpine says it will 'repel light showers' and that's about right: water beads on the surface at first, but it does get through fairly rapidly. It dries quickly, though, and also repels stains. This 'Dove grey' colour has certainly washed up cleanly so far.
Overall, they're a very nice pair of smart/casual cropped trousers for cycling round town. They are expensive, though – you can buy a pair of chino crops from Asos for about £20-£25, so whether the Vulpines are worth £95 depends on how much you value the diamond gusset, the shower-repelling fabric and the cycling-friendly fit. They're more attractive at their current sale price of £45, and are available in dark navy and black as well as this grey.
A good, if not cheap, option for shorter cycling trips while looking smartish
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Vulpine Womens Summer Cycling Capri Pants
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?
Vulpine says: "Elegantly tailored for a subtle cycling fit, made from new fabric, combining durability, smartness, moisture wicking & stretch. Swiss Schoeller 3X DRY technology ensures sweat evaporates quickly, keeping you dry. They repel light showers and stains, there's a diamond gusset to stop chafe, two zipped pockets, all wrapped into a sleek, simple package. Perfect for ladies that cycle to lunch."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Vulpine lists these details:
Diamond gusset removes risk of soreness in the seat area
CUT FOR CYCLING
High raised rear waistband acknowledges cyclist stretch position and provides coverage
Lightweight but durable fabric with a Swiss Schoeller 3X DRY technology finish
Very well made. A few stray thread ends visible here and there, but nothing to suggest they'll come apart anywhere. Green piping over seam edges on the inside is a nice touch (a bit of a Vulpine trademark?) and makes them look well finished.
Yep, they do they job they're aimed at well: they look smart, are slightly stretchy, and fit well on the bike.
Early days, but so far so good. No seams looks to be coming undone, nothing wearing out.
A good fit, on and off the bike – in contrast to some other Vulpine clothing labelled the same size.
Sized as expected.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Easy in that you bung them in the wash at 30 degrees, but they do need ironing to look smart and it's a bit of a faff. First off, the label printed on the inside puckers up after washing so it HAS to be ironed; secondly, because there's a seam down the back of each leg, you can't just iron the fronts easily. And you have to remember to only turn the iron on to one dot.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Did the job well. Just keep them as clean as you can...
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
They're not Lycra but they do fit well on the bike.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Maybe in the sale.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your score
They do the job they're designed to pretty well, with a few cycling touches making them more bike-friendly than high street options, although high street options are lots cheaper.
About the tester
I usually ride: Vitus Venon My best bike is: Paulus Quiros
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: commuting, sportives, general fitness riding
Tass is our production pedant, who boldly goes hunting for split infinitives, rogue apostrophes and other things up with which she will not put. She joined road.cc in 2015 but first began working on bike magazines way back in 1991 as production editor on Mountain Biking UK, then deputy editor of MTB Pro, before changing allegiance to road cycling as senior production editor on Cycling Plus. She's ridden off-road but much prefers on, hasn't done half the touring she'd like to, and loves paper maps.