Some people seek the solace of shelter, mounting their indoor trainers or Pelotons once the colder months breeze in. Others take to emptier roads with a renewed sense of joy. Cold weather doesn’t have to keep you off your bike. As the saying goes, there’s no such thing as bad weather, just unsuitable gear. That’s where winter cycling pants come in.
When you wear the best winter cycling pants, biting wind, frigid temps, and inclement weather won’t factor in to whether or not you ride. Until recently, there weren’t a lot of options for winter cycling pants.
You could don skin-tight bibs under a pair of rain pants for extra weather protection; wear softshell pants made for hiking or backcountry skiing; or layer moto or DH pants over shorts or fleece tights.
Now, nearly every great bike apparel brand makes winter cycling pants for road, gravel, trail, and commuting. From stretchy and light softshells best suited to dirt roads to rip-resistant, moto-inspired pants with space for knee pads and armor, there’s a pair out there with your name on it.
Winter Cycling Pants to Keep You Riding Through Wind, Rain, and Freezing Temps
1. Yeti Cycles Renegade Ride Pant
One of the lightest pairs of pants for mountain biking, pack these for trips when you’re unsure of weather or terrain. Made from four-way stretch nylon with abrasion-resistant stretch Cordura nylon at the knees, these pants repel rocky scraps and snagging thorns without feeling hot, clammy, or restrictive. The seamless, gusseted crotch and vented panels prevent chafing and saddle hot spots, while letting you move freely—even if you need to hike your bike through unridable terrain. The waist ratchet dials in the fit without digging, and ankle cuffs are easy to get in and out of but block debris. The race fit is trim, but stopped short of skintight. Last but not least, a single pocket keeps a phone and snacks on hand.
[$150; yeticycles.com]Get it
2. Bontrager OMW Softshell Pan
Made for winter fat biking, the OMW isn’t for all-season use, it’s for frigid temps. The heaviest and warmest pant we tested, the water- and wind-resistant softshell has a removable internal boot gaiter to keep snow out when the powder’s deep. Zippered and snapped ankles accommodate winter riding footwear with or without a gaiter. Five zippered hand, leg, and hip pockets hold everything you need: fuel, phone, extra batteries, and handwarmers. Should you work up a sweat despite the cold, zippered leg vents keep things from getting swampy. The double snap front also has a sewn-in adjustable belt that keeps the pants in place with whatever layers worn underneath. The gray colorway has a bright, contrasting red belt; minimalists should go for the all-black colorway.
[$150–$210; trekbikes.com]Get it
3. Fox Flexair Pro Fire Alpha Cycling Pants
Polartec Alpha insulation is shockingly warm for its weight. Boasting optimal breathability in motion, it won’t trap sweat during high-output activities in the cold, like winter biking, but it will keep you warm. The pants feature Alpha panels along the belly, front of thighs, and low back under a water-repelling, wicking softshell fabric. While there’s an elastic waistband, there’s a ratchet closure system to dial in the fit. We’ve tested these on fall days that started brisk but warmed, and in the thick of winter layered over fleece tights. In both scenarios, the Flexair Pro Fire moderates temperature so all-day comfort. Zippered hand pockets double as vents, while semi-elastic cuffs seal in body heat. Bonus: There’s room for knee pads.
[$170; rei.com]Get it
4. Velocio Recon Stealth Pants
Gravelleurs, commuters, and roadies love these pants as much as the mountain bikers among us. Tailored and stretchy, they don’t get baggy during hours on the bike, and post-ride they look good enough to wear out to dinner. In fact, some days we commuted to work, then kept these on all day. The slide-lock button stays closed even when cranking up hills, reflective highlights on the ankles shine bright when worn around town, and we love the fabric: buttery Italian-milled, 4-way stretch nylon-elastane that’s biodegradable.
[$269; velocio.cc]Get it
5. Specialized Trail Pant
We love the Trail Pant’s deep front pockets and ratcheting waist buckle. They’re burly enough to handle trails, but trim as not to look moto. They’re light, stretchy, and soft—warmer than they look, but breathable thanks to laser-cut inner thigh vents. The pockets comfortably hold a phone, as does a spacious side pocket. Elasticized cuffs are tight to slip on and off (we had to turn the pants inside out to get them off), but are exceptional at keeping out mud and debris. While the pants stretch at the knees and seat, the waistband doesn’t, so these won’t slip down even after days of wear.
[$135; specialized.com]Get it
6. Gorewear C5 Thermo Bib Tights
If baggies aren’t your thing, Gorewear’s C5 bibs may be your winter ace. They look like any other pair of winter tights, but there’s more to these than meets the eye. A Windstopper cup and spray-repelling fabric along the inner thighs significantly enhance cold-weather comfort when donned alone for a road mission, or under any of the other pants in this review. Reflective, slim, and made for roadies or for layering, the thermal material is toasty and the shorts-height front minimizes exposure when taking a leak. Perforations in the back prevent sweat buildup. Layer these under Gorewear’s Gore-Tex Paclite Pants ($200) in a full rainstorm.
[$170; gorewear.com]Get it
7. 7Mesh Glidepath
Cut loose and highly adjustable, with four-way stretch and a DWR treatment, these feel like a hiking pant for multi-disciplinary use. There are adjustable straps at the waist and oversized front and thigh pockets. The fit through the waist and thighs is looser, tapering down to the lower leg to keep the pant from snagging. If you’re gonna bring one pair of pants bikepacking, these are it. Bonus: Every pair comes with a crash replacement.
[$170; 7mesh.com]Get it
8. Pearl Izumi Launch Trail Pants
Adjustable on the fly, the gravel/MTB/commuter Launch Trail Pant is all-season appropriate and pleasantly protective against nettles, thorns, bugs, and poison ivy. Made from four-way stretch Cordura that’s been treated with DWR, water beads right off. Dual-zippered thigh pockets keep gear close but out of the way, and Velcro waist adjustments let you fine-tune the fit on the road or trail, even when riding.
[$150; pearlizumi.com]Get it
9. Dakine Thrillium Bike Pant
Made for crisp fall days on the trail and on the lift, Dakine’s Thrillium is made from a low-impact, heavy-duty fabric, with perforations across the belly and low back. Some favorite specs: A ribbed band above the knee lends plenty of give when worn with knee pads; the fabric is soft on the skin, but won’t tear in a tumble; and a built-in belt backs up the button waist. Spacious handwarmer pockets are also deep enough to hold a phone comfortably, as well as snacks. There’s an additional large pocket on the low thigh.
[$160; dakine.com]Get it
10. Tasco Scout MTB Pant
Tasco’s Scout MTB Pant is cut from eco-conscious Repreve softshell, a four-way stretch polyester spandex blend made from recycled plastic bottles. The softshell fabric is protective and warm enough for winter months, but not too hot for spring and fall liftserve shredding (the pant even has a park pass loop). Our recommendation: Wear chamois shorts underneath on chilly fall rides and full-length tights when winter rages. An internal waist adjustment allows for extra space when wearing the pants over pads or extra winter layers. Two oversized thigh pockets double as vents. Just double check your phone isn’t in there before you ride with them open.
[$135; tasco-mtb.com]Get it
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