Troy Lee Designs Sprint Trousers – Review
I bet that even if you are an ardent trail rider you have considered dabbling in a pair of downhill trousers. The first thought I had when I saw a pair, was that they look cool. You look more like you are riding a motorcycle then pedalling a bike in a forest and obviously all my life I need any help I can get to look like a badass. Of course if you are using DH pants for anything other than going down you’re probably just going to look sweaty, but with a trip to the Alps and trips to various bike parks on the card for later in the summer it’s now the time to take the plunge.
When Saddleback offered to send me a pair of Troy Lee Sprint trousers I couldn’t say no. Troy Lee have a reputation for being a byword for covering the more gravity sport end of mountain biking, their D2 and D3 helmets have been a staple of the downhill world and they offer a wide range of body armour for every appendage. TLD redesigned the Sprint pant for 2018, slimming down the overall design and adding additional stretch fabric and increasing the number of strategically placed flaps. TLD’s efforts look to be around making the Sprint pants more pedal friendly, these days DH riders are more inclined to put a few pedal strokes in, plus these pants are stretchy enough to not restrict your movement when you’re throwing your weight back and low over the bike. The pants also have more breathable mesh on the backs of legs which, other than the opportunity to reintroduce your legs to pedal pins, is definitely welcome.
The Sprint pants feature a snap fly closure with a three-quarter length poly mesh liner, Lycra stretch inner liner panels, zipped pockets and full waist and hip adjustment using rubber adjusters. These things should all help you with taking an awkward trip to the unisex portaloo in the middle of nowhere (I prefer to hold it in until we are home, plus it adds an element of danger to the trip home).
The Sprint pants retail at around £115 and come in a wide range of colours in styles, though of course I opted for stylish black. The other colour choices broadly revolve around black, red and grey. Lone gone are the days of wacky colour choices for DH pants, for better or worse. Price wise the Sprints come in at a similar range to the main competitors: The Fox Demo or Flexair pants, £100 and £115 respectively. It is worth shopping around however as you will be able to find an end of season discount I suspect, and black is always in fashion.
The trousers apparently are unisex, although I think in reality that means for men, but really so far what I found is that the fit is more women specific than man-specific (aka it is a bit tight in the manly areas but for women they are just right). The trousers come in a mens size 28 – 40. Sometimes if you are a small woman you might be perfectly fine getting a junior version of the trousers, which will come up cheaper as well as smaller.
I measured myself with a measuring tape and the size was true to measurements, as the sizes come in inches. I have found the Sprint trousers very well fitted and had just enough space in the knees to put my pads on. They are also very nicely tapered at the bottom, to stop the trouser from catching your pedals, or any other parts of your bike. The Sprint trouser is made to protect, so the bits most likely to be hitting the floor (like knees) are protected whereas the bits that are least likely to do so, are used as a form of ventilation (like the back of your calves. The material is comfortable to the skin, as long as it is not wet or sweaty. I haven’t spent enough time with them yet to find out just how tough the trousers are when they hit the floor a few times, I am sure that will follow soon though!
Before you dive into picking up a pair it is worth checking if DH trousers are for you. The Sprint pant was made with being tough in mind, so it doesn’t protect you from chafing on occasion (let’s pretend I heard this from a friend) so leave the long trail rides for trail trousers, Ion and Madison have some more pedal friendly options out there, or just be brave and go out in your trail shorts.
If you are wondering whether to buy a pair of the Sprints, or any other DH trousers, make sure that you have a use for it (and looking cool in the car park is totally a legitimate use), otherwise the Sprint pants are a great purchase, its easy to see why they are an industry leader. The TLD Sprint trousers might be designed with men in mind but they fit great for women providing you find the right size.
November 7, 2018