We first spotted Specialized’s Demo DH pants a couple of seasons ago piloted by Troy Brosnan. At the time we didn’t think give them all that much thought as there is more to the DH world than pants. That was until a contact at Specialized insisted we try them. Comprised mainly of highly flexible “Vaporize” fabric, they were a bit of a departure from most of the other offerings we’ve tried in the full coverage DH pant world. Shoot, just 3-4 years ago we were simply wearing moto kits with leather patches and all. When TLD introduced the bike specific Sprint kit, things changed. Now that Specialized have launched their Demo pants, things are changing again with unseen levels of flexibility.
- VaporRize™ woven fabrics are treated to be water-repellant, while remaining durable, stretchy, and lightweight for piece of mind on the mountain.
- Three zippered pockets provide ample, secure room to store everything that you need while you’re out riding.
- Laser perforated venting adds sophisticated points of ventilation that don’t detract from the durability or performance of the shorts.
- Designed to retain a loose and open fit while using pads and armor.
- Side waist adjustment tabs ensure that the fit of the shorts is easily customizable and dialed-in, even when your pockets are loaded.
- Tapered leg helps to prevent anything getting caught in the chain.
- Deflect® UV 50+ protects your skin from harmful, ultraviolet rays.
- Sizes: 30,32,34,36,38
- $130 US
What really stood out to us when we first got our hands on the Demo pant was just how light they are. We haven’t gotten a chance to weigh them, but we feel comfortable claiming that they likely come in at a lower weight than your average DH shorts. After putting them on we were surprised by how stretchy they are. Their “Vaporize” material feels akin to high end board shorts that are geared toward high performance surfing.
Moving on from the material itself, the fit is absolutely spot on and we loved how everything is pre-contoured with a riding position in mind. A bit more room is left at the knee to account for kneepads and there is a pronounced (but not extreme) taper at the ankles to avoid snagging on cranks/chain. The waist sits high out back with some light padding, up front it’s cut a bit lower and secured by two buttons as well as velcro. This may seem excessive, but we’ve had 2 different DH pants in the past which constantly came undone, so we aren’t complaining. Lastly, the main pockets are placed in a rather unconventional place, at the front of the thigh. A phone can be stored in one, a wallet in the other and perhaps stash a key in the smaller one at the back of the waist. This way, your phone is more apt to survive a slideout; as for huge crashes, fortunately we can’t speak on that topic.
On the Trail
Upon initially donning these pants and busting out a few shuttle runs amongst friends, the first thing we noticed was nothing at all. We specifically went out with the intention of really paying attention to how these felt on the trail, but it wasn’t until after a couple of runs that it dawned on us…we were sublimely unaware of the Demo pants, which is a good thing. Completely unrestricted, they truly are like nothing we’ve ever worn…
On longer runs, the Demo pants remained much cooler than some of their heavier duty counterparts on the market. We’re not sure how much of this is due to the light perforation and how much could be attributed to the seemingly breathable material in general. “Vaporize” is treated with a water repellant so lo and behold, on rainy rides they initially did a nice job of having water bead right off of them. When it was downright pouring, unsurprisingly they eventually got soaked, but that’s to be expected. After a few washes and dries, the coating began to be less effective but that’s to be expected and is common with any outerwear water repellant coating. If it’s super important, there are hydrophobic sprays easily available online to reapply, but following the washing/drying instructions will better help preserve the water repellant.
So , while we were blown away with the uninhibited movement, fit and comfort of the Demo pants, the one thing that we can’t confidently comment on is durability. We didn’t have any huge crashes in them, rather just a couple of slideouts which they held up fine to. That said, some of the heavier duty DH pants on the market are perhaps likely to better hold up to multiple big crashes. As far as all out quality, these pants are good enough to convert some die hard short wearing downhillers and even be used for trail riding in chilly conditions. At $130 they are well priced and have the best on trail feel of any DH pant we’ve ever used. Unless you’re the type of thrifty consumer who wants to own a piece of apparel for 5 years, there is no reason not to consider these as your next pair of DH pants…We hope to see other brands follow suit with the use of similar materials in the DH world.