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Rapha Trail Lightweight pants review

Lightweight trousers that can be worn all-year round

Our rating 
3.5 out of 5 star rating 3.5
GBP £110.00 RRP | USD $150.00 | EUR €135.00 | AUD $195.00
Rapha Trail Lightweight pants for mountain bike riders

Our review

The Trail Lightweight pants are cut nicely, work well on the bike and are very comfortable. It doesn’t take much to damage them, though
Pros: Great cut; nice fit; comfortable; rear-facing pockets work well
Cons: Pricey compared to some; doesn’t take much to put a hole in them
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Rapha is still relatively new to the mountain bike market, but has hit the ground running with products such as its Trail Pants and Trail knee pads.

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The Lightweight Trail pants are, unsurprisingly, lighter than the regular Trail pants and are designed to be worn through the warmer months of the year.

Rapha Trail Lightweight pants details and specifications

Just in case you weren’t sure who made these…
Andy Lloyd / OurMedia

Rapha offers the Trail Lightweight pants in six sizes (XS, S, M, L, XL and XXL). They’re made from a four-way abrasion-resistant nylon fabric, which is coated with a DWR (Durable Water Repellent) coating.

The fit can be tailored further thanks to the two lockable adjuster buckles on the waistband, which enable you to cinch things up a little tighter and prevent the pants drooping down when soaked through.

A double popper and zipped fly closure help to keep them securely fastened while riding, and the raised rear of the waistband means your lower back should remain covered while seated and pedalling.

Rapha has gone for a relatively snug fit, tapering the legs down towards the ankle. There’s ample room for a pair of the best knee pads underneath, though.

Down at the ankle cuff, you’ll find a third of it is elasticated to help with getting the pants on and off, without compromising on fit.

Rapha has also discretely added reinforced panels on the inside of each leg to bolster durability and prevent premature wear if the pants are scuffing the crank arms with every revolution.

Rear-facing pockets do a great job of securely stowing essentials without getting in the way while you’re riding.
Andy Lloyd / OurMedia

Two zipped pockets allow for secure storage of essentials. Both sit quite high on the hip and are rearward facing.

The left pocket is the bigger of the two and houses a small internal divider to help protect items, while the right pocket is more compact (ideal for car keys) and the zip is mounted diagonally for easier access.

Rapha Trail Lightweight pants performance

The double popper and zipped fly keep the Trail Lightweight pants secure while riding.
Andy Lloyd / OurMedia

The fit, comfort and natural stretch built into the Trail Lightweight pants was an instant winner for me.

There’s no restriction on movement on or off the bike and nothing to dig in uncomfortably while seated.

Getting the fit at the waist right takes seconds, though the lockable buckles are a little fiddly to use with gloves compared to the Velcro tabs found on many competitor trousers.

That said, since I got the fit right, I haven’t needed to touch them.

Despite that snug fit, I’ve had no issues fitting knee pads underneath the Trail Lightweight pants and zero problems with how they articulate while pedalling.

While there’s enough give to fit really bulky pads underneath, they may look a little odd and bulky compared to slimmer trail-type knee pads.

The rear-facing pockets work incredibly well on the bike. You can safely stash essentials away inside them and almost forget they’re there (I found myself continually checking and then re-checking for my car keys because I couldn’t feel them).

In terms of durability, while the seat of the trousers and the scuff-prone inner legs have held up really well, I have managed to add some damage along the way.

There’s plenty of give around the tight ankle cuffs, making the Trail Lightweight pants easy to whip on and off.
Andy Lloyd / OurMedia

Because these aren’t as thick as the heavier Trail pants from Rapha, they are more susceptible to harm. A hefty backside buzz from a 29in rear wheel has thinned a small area on the backside significantly, while a crash has put two small holes in one of the knees.

Rapha supplies fabric patches and offers a repair service for bigger rips, which helps ease the worry when it comes to shelling out this kind of cash on riding trousers.

However, these are probably best suited for trail miles rather than getting loose on the enduro bike.

As for their lightweight credentials, at 250g, they’re certainly not going to weigh you down. This means I’ve worn them on everything from chilly springtime jaunts through to sweaty summer all-dayers without issue.

Sure, when the mercury is about to burst through the top of the thermometer, a pair of mountain bike shorts will be cooler, but I’ve been impressed by just how versatile the Trail Lightweights are.

The DWR coating helps to bead off lighter showers and puddle splashes, but not to the same extent I experienced with the regular, more expensive and thicker Trail pants. So, expect to get wet if the rain starts pouring.

Getting these pants on and off is easy thanks to the elasticated ankle cuffs – something that makes a very big difference when trying to get changed quickly after a muddy ride.

How do the Rapha Trail Lightweight pants compare to others?

Adjustable, lockable buckles help to fine tune the fit around the waist.
Andy Lloyd / OurMedia

The Rapha Trail Lightweight pants are probably best compared to the Specialized Trail Pants and Nukeproof Blackline Pants.

While the Rapha Trail Lightweights cost the same as the Specialized Trail pants, they’re lighter and offer a little more give and stretch. They’re not as tough, though. I’ve ridden in the Specialized pants for a couple of years and have had zero durability issues.

The Rapha pants have the edge over the Nukeproof Blackline pants in terms of fit too, but the Blacklines are very similar in terms of stretch and comfort, while also costing a fair amount less.

If the Trail Lightweight pants were a touch more durable, they’d certainly make it into the best mountain bike pants 2022 list.

Rapha Trail Lightweight pants bottom line

Rapha’s Trail Lightweight pants offer full leg coverage without getting overly hot or sweaty.
Andy Lloyd / OurMedia

I’m a massive fan of the fit, feel and cut of the Trail Lightweight pants from Rapha. They’re light, easy to move around in and function really well on the bike.

The pockets work brilliantly, as does the shape and tailored fit.

These aren’t the toughest pants out there, though, and it didn’t take much to put some small tears in them, which is a shame. However, it’s nice to know Rapha can help with repairs, especially at this price.

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For big miles on your trail bike, these are great, but they’re probably best avoided if you’re looking to thrash and crash yourself into the dirt on a regular basis.

Product Specifications

Product

Price AUD $195.00EUR €135.00GBP £110.00USD $150.00
Weight 250g (S)
Brand Rapha

Features

Features Sizes: XS, S, M, L, XL, XXL
Material: Nylon 88% / Elastane 12% (main) : Nylon 85% / Elastane 15% (contrast)
Pockets: Two zipped
Colours: Ultramarine/Deep Blue; Blue Green/Egg Shell; Navy/Orange; Grey/Light Grey; Old Gold/Black
Gender Men's