When the colder months first hit here in California, with colder being a relative term, Scott sent us a pair of their “Trail Tuned” pants for testing. Lightweight and aimed more at general purpose riding, the pants are not a full-on heavy duty downhill specific rated option. Rather they’re great for the cooler temps of winter and the shoulder seasons surrounding it, depending on how temperate your local climate is. They are also an ideal weight for e-bike rides as they’ll protect you just a bit more and, let’s face it – you probably won’t be totally overheating anyway. Anyhow, here’s a closer look at what just might be the perfect trail pant …
- Durable ripstop fabric to protect against cuts and scrapes
- External side adjustment system for a perfect fit
- Laser cut holes on front for enhanced airflow
- Side pocket
- Inner mesh pocket for mobile
- Tight bottom leg to reduce wind flap and chain snags
- Reflective camo print animation for high visibility
- S, M, L, XL, XXL
- Black only
- $ 129.99
The closure is a standard zipper fly with a button for good measure.
At each side on the waist, you’ll find adjustments to cinch up or let out tension on the waist. They are kept in place with velcro at the front.
The single pocket, located on the right leg features a mesh pocket within a pocket that’s meant for keeping your cellphone in place.
While there isn’t a ton of ventilation, some perforations can be found inside the thighs to keep air moving. Below them, the graphics in gray are reflective to provide a bit of added safety, in case you find yourself riding home on the road at night.
The reflective treatment can also be found just below the waistline as well.
Our medium pants had roughly a 32″ waist and a 32″ inseam. The legs taper down nicely to avoid getting snagged in the chain.
On the trail
Prior to wearing the Scott Trail Tuned pants, the best that I’d worn, and undisputed king were the Specialized Demo Pants. While they are great regarding all things gravity, for trail riding and long pedals, the Demo could stand to be just a little bit lighter and more breathable in order to wear them in the shoulder seasons more. That’s where the Scott pants dethrone them by being just a bit lighter and thinner, thus running cooler when you’re really turning the pedals over. For a basic rundown, starting with fit the Trail Tuned pants were true to size and had a good, comfortable range in how much you could take up or let out in the waist. Speaking of the waist, the back is cut higher, so I didn’t get a bunch of loam flinging down into my pants on steep sections, which is always a bonus. The single pocket was enough for a cell phone and the key fob for my truck, but that’s about it. For a minimalist pant, this is sufficient, but it’s worth pointing out that when I put the phone in the mesh sleeve in the pocket, it sat up a bit higher and felt a bit “off” when pedaling as it jammed up into my waist with each pedal. So, I mostly just left the phone out of the sleeve so it would sit lower…As far as pocket placement, I had a handful of crashes and never toasted my phone (something I’ve done a few times over the years), so the placement at the front of the thigh proved ideal.
As far as materials go, Scott really aced it with regard to what they put where. They got the blend of fabrics just right and put the more durable, but stiffer and less flexible panels where they were needed most to ward off trailside obstacles, while still sourcing stretchy but surprisingly tough fabrics for the areas that see the most articulation. For instance the area below the knee wrapping around about two thirds of the lower leg is made from a tough fabric. That material feels similar to cordura, but comes in at a lighter weight and with a rip stop pattern. The remaining third of material consists of a stretchier material, which helps the pants remain comfortably snug and trim, regardless of your calf size. That ripstop material is also found at the butt and hamstrings, which are also areas that are prone to ripping. So, what does this all mean? Well, I found myself able to hammer out some pretty long days in the saddle, unrestricted, all winter long. Additionally, I’ve had more crashes than I’d like to admit in these pants and they’ve yet to rip. Could a little luck be involved? Perhaps, but I’m more inclined to credit good design at this point.
At the moment, these are hands down my favorite riding pants and despite the warmer temperatures I’m still wearing them frequently without overheating. When the real summer heat kicks in I’ll probably have to switch back to shorts, but for the record they do run cooler than any other pants that I’ve worn to date. Downsides? Well, despite liking the pocket placement, the phone sleeve doesn’t do it for me, but fortunately it’s not necessary anyway. Perhaps it would work better if it sat deeper. Or perhaps Scott could add a second pocket on the left leg and no one would complain. Digging a bit deeper, some of the stretchy material has started to develop a tiny bit of pilling, but in fairness I’ve been wearing these pants for roughly 95% of the riding I’ve done for the last 4 months, so that’s not worth overthinking. All in all, the Scott Trail Tuned pants are ultra light, comfortable, flexible, durable and run pretty darn cool for a full length garment. I’d highly recommend them for cool to cold weather jaunts on trail, enduro and e-bikes. They might be a bit on the lightweight side for full on downhill riding, but then again, Vinny T wore them at Rampage, so just take that for what it’s worth…