- Zip pocket on back
- PrimaLoft® Gold Insulation Active
- Adjustable leg width through lateral, with fabric lined zips
- Ventilation opening with stretch inserts at knee for optimum freedom of movement
- Partially padded
- GORE® WINDSTOPPER® Product with Insulation Protection: windproof, water repellent and breathable
- Abrasion resistant material at inside leg
- Grippy insert at the waistband
- Highly functional material mix
- Reflective print on back
- Stretch inserts for optimum freedom of movement
- Short front zip
- Partially elastic waistband
- Pre-shaped knees
- Reflective logo on front
- Reflective logo on back
- Zippers at lateral hem for easy access with shoes
While sure, all these features are great, the design element that stood out to me most is the articulated knee. Essentially, the pant is split into two parts, with a heavily-insulated upper portion that comes down and covers the knee. A lower profile pant for the lower leg is mated to the heavy upper pant, which helps to keep fabric out of the fat bike’s drivetrain thanks to the reduced material.
While sliding your leg into the pant feels natural and seamless, across the front of the knee there are actually two layers: the outer, heavily-insulated layer that comes down from the upper pant, and an elastic flexible liner beneath it. This is definitely one instance in which a picture says a thousand words, so check out the images.
What’s the upshot? Essentially, this pant is heavily insulated where you need it the most (from the knees up), and provides pedaling-specific flexibility that prevents fabric from bunching behind your knees. The ONE Windstopper pants are designed specifically with riding bikes in mind. While one would think this technique and design would have been perfected for decades by now, remember: before the advent of fat biking, mountain biking was generally a warm-weather pastime. If you were to wear pants, most often you’d be racing downhill–in which case you wouldn’t be sitting and pedaling, so there’d be less bend at the knee. If you were seated and pedaling and wearing pants, most often you’d be wearing fleece tights–again, not very effective at really cold temperatures.
Out on the trail I found this articulation to be supremely comfortable and the solution to a problem that I didn’t realize I had. I also found the Windstopper pants to do a great job of cutting the wind. Temperature wise, they paired very well with the Thermium jacket, meaning I wouldn’t use the Windstopper pants in temps much above 20 degrees. Around the 20 degree mark I paired a chamois with the Windstopper pants and was perfectly comfortable. For single digits and below, add a full length base layer as well, and you’re good to go.
One unintended benefit of the knee articulation in the Windstopper pant is that I found it allowed some flexibility in the length of the pant legs. Here’s a common problem that I encounter with full length cycling pants: they never fit properly. Unlike standard blue jeans and slacks that have measurements for both the waist and the length of the pant, cycling pants always come in set sizes: Small, Medium, Large, Extra Large. Unfortunately, the pants are always either the proper length but are too tight in the waist, or they’re perfect in the waist and too long in the leg. Maybe this means that I have a weird body shape, maybe it’s a not-so-subtle hint that I need to lose a few pounds, or maybe, just maybe, it means that most mountain bike apparel brands who use whip-thin XC guys as their models are grossly out of touch with reality. Whatever the case, this is a common problem that I face.
However with the Windstopper pant, the elastic at the knee seems to slide up a bit, essentially shortening the length of the pant without me having to roll up the cuffs from the bottom. One would think that this would cause undue bunching behind the knee but again, I didn’t experience any uncomfortable bunching. Rather, having this knee articulation not only provides a great pair of pants for pedaling in, but it makes the sizing seem much more flexible.
As you can tell, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed testing the Gore ONE Windstopper pants. Thanks to the excellent insulation and the supreme comfort while pedaling, they’ll be a regular fixture in my fat bike wardrobe for years to come.
Thanks to Gore for providing the ONE Windstopper pants for review.