My summer plan for 2021 is the usual: find a beautiful spot deep in the mountains where I can work and ride every day. Preferably a town with a river to jump into and a dirtbag-pub, but I’m not super picky. Steep and natural singletrack is the important piece.
Part of the summer packing list includes lightweight mountain bike pants. I appreciate the aesthetic and the added protection around the calves and ankles, and It’s rarely hot enough up high to truly need shorts. Pants can also be worn at night to keep the bugs at bay, reducing the amount of clothing crammed into the van.
The Norrøna fjørå flex1 mountain bike pants are a fairly sturdy option that’s available in seven different colors with a women’s or men’s-specific cut. They’re not easy on the pockets, at €199, but you get a pair of pants that will last several seasons for that coin.
Fit in the waist is slightly tighter than some others, and if you’re on the cusp of two sizes you may want to bump up. I typically wear a small, and these are a bit snug around the belt-line. In the legs and ankles, they are somewhat baggier than a lot of MTB pants, with more of a trekking fit. In these photos, I am wearing a pair of Leatt AirFlex Hybrid knee pads underneath, with space left over for the pants to move around and breathe. The waistband is high enough to make an easy overlap with any jersey, keeping soil on the outside. Flex pads, flex pants, loose moves.
On to pockets, the flex1 trousers have two zippered hand pockets that are large enough for a set of keys and a face mask in one side, and a snack in the other. There is a larger pocket on the right hip with space for my huge cellphone and a second or third snack.
I wore the flex1 pants on a few different dig-days, and the 30cm-long hip vents helped a lot to cool things off inside. The material breathes quite well while pedaling, but it can get a little steamy when you’re balanced on a hillside swinging a pick. After a few warmer days of riding in these pants, 70° seems to be the limit for me. That should be spot on for high alpine sunshine shreds with some chairlift assistance mixed in.
The PFC-free, DWR-coated fabric feels plenty tough, ready to hold up on the bike, the dig, and through a few slides across the trail. Norrøna says that more than 50% of the synthetic fabric is recycled, sewn together in a factory that’s subject to third-party inspection. These climate and human equity concerns are also sewn into the price, providing peace of mind for consumers with a little extra cash.
- Find the Nørrona fjørå flex1 pants at Backcountry.