Great value riding pants from the Fox head – if you've got skinny legs.
Fox offers a fairly bewildering array of riding pants for mountain biking. There are the pro level Defend pants as worn by World Cup racers, the ultralight Flexair models and the trail-friendly Ranger options. At £90 (currently discounted online) these Ranger pants are the cheapest in the range, but they bring enough performance to work for a wide range of riders.
Fox has chosen a nylon/polyester/elastane blend for the fabric which has a soft, brushed feel. It’s not the most luxurious fabric we’ve tried, but this reflects the sub £100 price tag. The elastane is there to give a slight stretch to the fabric, but it’s not that successful. The Ranger is one of the least stretchy pants we’ve tried. This restricts freedom of movement slightly compared to the best MTB riding pants, as well as placing more importance on the cut and sizing to provide adequate mobility.
Sizing and fit
Yet the Ranger pant is also one of the most figure-hugging pants we’ve tried. The legs are comparatively short (leaving lots of exposed sock above the ankle), and tight, so they tend to ride up with sustained pedalling. On the flip side, they stay well away from the drivetrain and other oily bits.
Because they’re so tight, the Ranger pants are also quite difficult to get off when wet or muddy. There’s not much stretch in the waist either, although there is a discrete cinch strap to add tension, and Fox relies on a single pop stud to keep the fly from bursting open.
Two open hand pockets are supplemented by a further zip pocket lower down the side of the thigh.The front pockets are deep and close to the body, so useful for a phone and car key without worrying about them falling out, although they’re not big enough for bulkier items.
In the field
The Fox Ranger pants look and feel racy when riding. They’re so tight they’re verging on leggings, which is certainly fashionable, but we’d prefer they had more stretch to them to compensate for the snug fit. Fox doesn’t mention any kind of DWR waterproof coating to the fabric, and while water does bead on the surface at first, it quickly gets absorbed. Suffice to say, this isn’t a pant to wear in wet or muddy conditions.
While there are better riding pants on the market, it does a perfectly reasonable job in most conditions and for most types of riding. If you’re of slim build, or happy to live with the tight fit, then the Fox Ranger pant is offered at a very reasonable price (particularly if you can find it on sale).