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New York's Outlier are not the only brand offering tailored city cycling clothing out there, but their take on it bring a distinctively American preppy-meets-hipster style. These Climber Pants fit the bill: smart, hard-wearing and 'reassuringly' expensive.
Though Outlier has branched out into shorts and other items, Outlier's core range is still trousers, tees and outerwear, and the Outlier Climber pant is a variation on its core-of-the-core smart trousers. They are cut - like the more generously proportioned 4 Season OG pant - from Swiss-made Schoeller Nanosphere material. At first touch, it's a bit weird: sort-of rough and stretchy, but when you put the pants - sorry, trousers - on it all makes sense. Inside, the material is soft, and they feel great.
Schoeller makes the fabric in Switzerland (although the trousers are tailored in New York itself), and calls it Nanosphere for its ability to slough off water and grime. Outlier goes further and says it has four-way stretch. It claims it's accommodating, light, breathable, fairly waterproof and quick-drying, and that it doesn't pick up dirt or grease easily. All this is true: it's a great material for cycle clothing. The lightness and stretch mean the Climber pant doesn't restrict movement on the bike, or rub annoyingly like other trousers sometimes do. They're even cleverly cut with a complicated panel construction that means they sit entirely still at the bottom... a boon to all those who suffer from cold ankles in winter.
Seriously, though, they're practical and smart - and better (in my humble) in grey than in black. They look and feel good on the bike, and I was happy wearing these in most situations. I reckon that paired with a shirt they're smart enough for everywhere except smart offices and other whistle-and-flute gigs. The Climber cut is definitely slim. Not skinny-jeaned-hipster slim, but slim enough. More sturdily built people might want to try the OG pant or Outlier's Keirin dungarees (which are made from a less technical fabric); but if you're skinny, the cut is great. Too much flappy material is bad for riding, and these - unlike Outlier's other products, which are cut for a more 'American' figure - fit slim people well. Remember, though, that they come with a long leg and only supermodels will escape from a trip to the local tailor to have them taken up.
If you like the cut of The Climbers you can either buy them direct from Outlier in the US, current price $188 or from Tokyo Fixed Gear over here, once you add in NY sales tax there isn't much difference in the price.
Ah yes, the price. It's a high one - definitely enough to make the casual purchaser think twice. But if you need a smart pair of trousers that you can wear every day on the bike, these are probably worth your cash.
Nicely cut for grimpeurs, smart enough for office wear, very good on the bike. Let's not talk about the price...
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Make and model: Outlier Climber pant
Size tested: 32
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?
"Slim and free. A lean jean cut, reengineered for a life of action. Our core 4Season fabric has an incredible four way stretch, plus hardcore durability and doublewoven comfort.
When we named these the Climbers, we were thinking cycling, pants for those lean slim mountain goats that race up mountains -- funny thing is, they also turned out to be amazing pants for rock climbing and bouldering. Slim cut with a vertical yoke that removes most of the traditional stress points that restrict your leg movement. The curved waistband is higher in the back and lower in the front so you can lean forward without presenting your crack to the world. The spread back pockets are easy to access and designed so you don't sit on them while cycling. Cut slim for comfort and form.
The Climbers are made with our classic Outlier 4Season fabric, made by Schoeller Textiles in Switzerland. The four-way stretch gives you full freedom of movement, light rain beads off and rolls away, and when it does get wet it drys in minutes not hours. The 'self-cleaning' Nanosphere treatment makes it highly resistant to, dirt, coffee and beer, so don't worry about your morning cup of joe spilling all over you as you ride. This stuff wicks and breathes great too. Made so you can live in them everyday, no matter how high you climb.
Slim cut, straight hips, not skin tight but with a tapered leg."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
The voluminous blurb continues:
"Our core fabric: versatile, comfortable and durable, and the most breathable fabric around. The self-cleaning nanosphere treatment means that coffee, wine and dirt roll off with ease, keeping you looking fresh and clean in the trickiest of situations. The Schoeller Dryskin Extreme fabric looks elegant, yet repels water. But when it does saturate, will dry in minutes (generally around 15-20). The doubleweave structure means it's tough and durable on the exterior, yet soft and comfortable inside. The four way stretch doubles-down on that comfort and means these pants move freely through any situation.
Outlier 4Season Doubleweave: Schoeller Dryskin Extreme fabric
NanoSphere treated to emulate the self-cleaning capabilities of a lotus leaf
80% Nylon, 10% Polyester, 10% Elastane
Midweight doubleweave twill: 240gsm per square meter
Fits slim to average built men
Very high breathability
Dirt and grime resistance
Coffee, beer and wine resistance
Available in Black, Slate Gray, Army Green and Marine Blue
Made in New York City for style and quality"
Stitching was good. Nice zip and buttons. The panelled construction looks a bit odd but works beautifully for ease of movement on the bike.
Pretty good. Did everything it was claimed they would.
They seem sturdy, don't get dirty easy and I had no problems when testing.
Expensive, but value is in the eye of the beholder. I'm not of the school to gripe about high prices, and if you need smart trousers that are great to cycle in, try these.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Ease of movement. But with styling that means you can forget you're wearing cycling-specific clothing.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
It took me a while to get used to the material. More practical than beautiful.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Age: 31 Height: 1.78m Weight: 65kg
I usually ride: Cinelli Strato road or fixed commuter hack. My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed,