These Fusion SO Lady Pants from Gore Bike Wear – also available in a men's version- are along the lines of the zip-off walking trousers hikers will be familiar with.
Cycling specific trousers are a tricky area at the best of times. There are a few companies offering jeans and casual trews for urban hipsters to ride in, and a few offering more technical loose fit pants, but they are quite thin on the ground, especially for women. It's a tall order to provide riding comfort in something that looks OK for wearing about town.
These have a zip mid-thigh that allows them to be magically transformed from full length trouser into shorts, should the need arise. A bit like Superman whipping off his suit to reveal his spandex.
But they are cycling specific and have a whole raft of features that make them different from other zip-off (and indeed other cycling) trousers. They are made from a soft, pliable, stretchy windproof soft-shell fabric, they have an elasticated waistband with Velcro waist adjusters, several zipped pockets, lots of reflective bits, toughened patches at the inner ankle high wear areas, and shaped legs. There's no integral padding or liner, so it's up to you what you choose to wear under them. I found they worked well with a lightweight padded liner short.
In wear, the first hurdle to get over is the sizing. I'm normally a medium or large in shorts/trousers, depending on the cut at the thigh. With these, I needed a size XL for full pedaling comfort without tightness on the thigh muscles as the leg fit is fairly narrow.
On the plus side, the waist adjustment does mean that a size larger is an option without them being too big at the waist (although they are cinched right in).
That aside, they were incredibly comfortable, with little feeling of constriction when riding due to the stretch in the fabric. The zips at the ankles allow for cinching in flapping fabric on the bike, or helping the trousers to look more normal when off it by loosening it off. They also enable removal of the lower leg portion if shorts are required, without having to take shoes off.
I couldn't see myself often wanting to remove the legs, to be honest, but they are reasonably warm trousers, so on a changeable autumn day, it could happen. The fabric does wick moisture well, and there's little feeling of clamminess even on a warm day. Levels of water repellency are excellent, with even a pretty hefty shower being kept from soaking through, and this also means they're very dirt repellent too. Road grot just failed to stick.
Looks wise, they're not the most stylish, but they are an inoffensive looking casual/functional type of trouser. Again, akin to the zip-off hiking option. You'd not get away with wearing them to a smart workplace, but for most purposes, like getting to work and touring, they do the job just fine.
£139.99 is undeniably expensive for a pair of trousers, but these are well designed, nicely made and will last for years, as well as being genuinely comfortable and versatile. If you like cycling in long trousers (that flip to shorts), these are a safe investment.
These are an excellent addition to a cyclist's wardrobe. If you can get the right size.
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Gore Bike Wear Fusion SO Lady Pants
Size tested: 42, Earth
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?
Aimed at cyclists looking for a water and wind resistant long trouser.
Primarily aimed at MTBers but probably better suited to touring or general bike use.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Windstopper softshell fabric
Zip-off legs to turn them into shorts
2 zipped side pockets
1 zipped lumbar pocket
1 zipped thigh pocket that doubles as vent
Elasticated waist with velcro adjustment tabs
Toughened ankle patches
Zipped ankles to relax fit for casual wear
Available in sizes 34-44 (XS-XXL)
42 = approx UK14
Well made from high quality fabrics.
Comfortable on the bike, breathed well, kept the wind and rain out and made a good casual styled touring trouser.
Good quality fabric but fairly quickly acquired some pulled threads. Waist elastic eased quite quickly too.
Not the lightest, but a decent weight for a wind and rain resistant trouser with versatility.
Very comfortable on and off the bike.
Pricy but a sound investment if you're in the market for versatile cycling specific trousers.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Performed very well.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Pliable soft fabric, waist adjustment tabs, comfort.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Sizing/fit, price, colours.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.
Would you consider buying the product? Possibly. Probably in the sale.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Probably.
Anything further to say about the product in conclusion?
Comfortable and versatile riding trousers for all weathers, but on the expensive side.
About the tester
Age: 37 Height: 1.65m Weight: 67kg
I usually ride: My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, touring, general fitness riding, mtb,
Lara has been riding bikes for longer than she'd care to admit, and writing about them nearly as long. Since 2009 she has been working as part of the road.cc review team whilst championing women's cycling on the side, most notably via two years as editor of the, sadly now defunct, UK's first and only women's cycling mag, erm, Women's Cycling.
Believing fervently that cycling will save the world, she wishes that more people would just ride a bike and be pleasant to each other.
She will ride anything with two wheels, occasionally likes to go fast, definitely likes to go far and is always up for a bit of exploring somewhere new and exciting.