I commute to–and–from work every day by bicycle. Initially I tended to wear normal trousers or jeans. But this wasn’t particularly comfortable and certainly wasn’t any fun when it rained (which is quite common in the UK).
I tried over–trousers to keep my legs dry when it rained, but over–trousers aren’t particularly comfortable or easy to ride in. Although they were cheap to buy, they are better suited for emergencies rather than regular use.
Since then I looked around for a better solution. This is where the Gore Countdown AS cycling trousers came in.
Gore Countdown AS cycling trousers
Gore Bike Wear is owned by the parent company of Gore–Tex, namely W. L. Gore & Associates. The innovative Gore–Tex and Windstopper technology is featured in much of the Gore Bike Wear range. However, Gore Bike Wear tends to be more expensive than other competitors such as Altura.
The Gore cycling trousers are available in black with grey reinforced sections (which will be discussed later). The trousers are made from a lightweight Windstopper Active Shell which helps to keep you warm in the cold and wind. The trousers feature an elasticated waist with a draw string which I found more than adequate for keeping the trousers in–place.
The trousers also have a comfortable mesh lining, as well as anti–wear material on the seat and lower inside of each leg. This was one of the features that impressed me the most, as these trousers are clearly built to last.
Converts into shorts
The cycling trousers are designed with an active fit, but are certainly not skin tight. However, these trousers are not designed to be worn as over–trousers. As the trousers are significantly more expensive than standard over–trousers I was keen to find a pair that converts into shorts—and these do just that!
In the winter these trousers are ideal for even very cold weather, and I gave them a thorough test during the cold winter of 2009 in the UK. However, in the warmer weather or for longer rides these trousers easily convert into shorts.
Another important consideration is that these trousers are not sold as being waterproof. However, I have found that they keep me completely dry even in heavy rain.
I have not tested them in heavy rain for a prolonged period, but for a daily commute they have stood up to some very heavy showers without leaving me soaking wet.
It’s worth noting that these trousers are not only suitable for commuting but are perfectly comfortable for longer rides. I have done several 25–30 mile rides with the trousers and have found them very comfortable.
Another advantage of these trousers is the Velcro section on the lower leg section. By simply adjusting two Velcro strips you can tighten the trousers around the lower leg meaning you don’t need clips to keep the trousers away from your crank.
Air–vent zip section
Although it’s difficult to see in the picture—the trousers have air–vent zip sections near the upper thigh which really helps to keep you cool. If you start a ride when it’s cold, and it warms up, there’s nothing worse than feeling too hot. Just unzip these sections and you get an instant breeze to cool you down—a really great design feature that has proven useful on numerous occasions.
Overall I’ve been extremely happy with these cycling trousers. I have worn them as trousers and shorts on numerous occasions and have found both formats to be functional and comfortable.
My initial concern was feeling the zip joining the upper and lower part of the trousers whilst cycling. Although you can feel the zip when riding, the mesh lining means that it is almost unnoticeable, and certainly isn’t uncomfortable on longer rides.
Another issue was the price. At around £85–100 ($120–160), these trousers aren’t cheap. However, they are well–made, and are built to last with reinforced panels in the most important areas.
If you want tight fitting trousers these definitely aren’t for you. But if you want trousers that keep you warm in the winter, can cope with heavy rain during a commute, and convert into shorts for warmer weather—then I would strongly recommend these trousers.