They fit and feel like regular trousers, but the DWR coating means these trousers from Madison will ward off water
No one likes getting caught short out on the trail, but carrying a load of extra waterproof clobber in a backpack can also be a real drag. Madison’s new Zenith 4-Season Trouser allows you to have your cake and eat it because it features a four-way stretch fabric that feels like a regular riding trouser, but it gets a water-repellent coating and extra waterproof panels and seam taping in the seat. This means if there’s a downpour, you’re not going to get a soggy arse, but you also won’t boil in the bag when the sun comes out.
To ensure a good fit, the Zenith comes with articulated legs, which are also loose enough to accommodate knee pads. However, this trouser is a little too loose for my liking and it also doesn’t stay up. That’s because the stretchy waist adjusters pull way past the fixed Velcro on the waistband. I got them to connect by tying a knot in the strap, but Madison needs to reposition the Velcro or just make it longer.
I like pockets in my trousers for keys and such, and the two hip pockets on the Zenith have waterproof zips and good-sized pull tags. They’re not very deep though, and the zip is rough against your hand. It also runs into the concealed vents, which meant I often opened them by mistake.
Check out the competition! Our guide to the best mountain bike trousers and pants has a selection from different brands, tried and tested by our experts. Or jump straight to the best waterproof mountain bike pants. Up your game with a new pair of the best mountain bike shoes.
Even though this seems like a different take on the riding pant, the Zenith has a lot of competition from highly rated trousers like the Dainese HGL and the Troy Lee Designs Resist – both have a lightweight feel but with that extra wet weather protection. They’re also not that much more expensive, and definitely fit better in the waist and lower leg.