The Troy Lee Designs Skyline range has been around for some time now and has generally been trail rated gear that doesn’t take the “techy” aspect over the top. Rather, it lands near the intersection of utilitarianism and comfort with a simple, more casual aesthetic. It wasn’t until today however that TLD introduced a Skyline pant to the mix. The new bottoms draw on many of the same features of the Skyline short, but are aimed at the shoulder seasons – cooler days and average, but not “bad” weather. For the last couple of months I’ve been wearing mine often both in Northern Idaho and on the Central Coast of California. Here’s how they’ve been working out…
- 28, 30(tested), 32, 34, 36, 38, 40
- Bluesign approved fabric
- Chain abrasion patch on right inner calf
- Laser cut ventilation behind knees
- Kneepad friendly cut
- $109 USD
To keep things minimalist and avoid using unnecessary extra panels, the Skylines have a simple “dart” stitches so as to work nicely with kneepads. Everything from no kneepads to some of the heavier duty trail offerings fit nicely. The stretchy nature of the material helped to prevent my pads from slipping underneath the pants as well.
At the back of the knees are a plethora of laser cut perforations to help keep things cool. Both these holes and the somewhat porous fabric made the Skylines the coolest running pant I’ve worn to date.
The Skyline pants feature two roomy zippered slash pockets. At each side of the waistband is a velcro tab to fine tune the fit.
The drive side inner pantleg can take a beating, so TLD put a high wear patch there for improved longevity. It’s tougher for sure, but wasn’t overly stiff and didn’t make itself known.
There is a nice stretchy panel below the waist band to keep the pants moving nicely. The fact that they are stretchy and free to move with your body also helps prevent them from sagging down or riding up.
On the trail
Starting with fit, I was a little surprised to need to size down to a 30″ waist. I’m roughly a 31-32″ waist and I generally don’t have any issues making 32″ pants/shorts work – particularly if they have a feature that allows you to snug them down. So with that in mind, the Skylines run quite roomy in the waist and most riders will likely want to err toward sizing down. Anyhow, despite being a 30″ waist, the inseam was still generously long and the pants fit me flawlessly. TLD lists the Skylines as having a “relaxed cut”. Every body is different, but I would rate them as having more of a classic, middle of the road fit. They were a little on the skinny side for me, but that’s partially because I had to size down, so that adds up – besides, I prefer my riding gear on the more trim side of things. Anyhow, I appreciated that the waist was higher cut in the back, which helped limit the amount of loam that ended up going down into my pants on a recent trip to Santa Cruz.
As far as fabric is concerned, the material is plush, stretchy and soft on the skin. Even when I got quite sweaty the pants remained very comfortable and dried quickly, unlike pants with a greater emphasis on water resistance and/or durability. Personally I would rate comfort as the Skyline pant’s strongest attribute – they feel like a nice pair of joggers. Most of the time that I’m wearing riding gear, I can’t wait to get out of it and change into jeans. However, with these pants I would generally finish a ride, pull my kneepads off and leave the pants on to run errands or grab a bite to eat and such – which was refreshing. The button closure and waist cinch tabs were both simple and stayed put nicely. I appreciated that the pockets were roomy, but not so big that my phone would turn sideways and get stuck in an awkward position. The inside bottom edge of the pockets are also rounded off to encourage items to shift toward the outer edge so as not to bunch up when pedaling. Regarding flexibility, if you hadn’t already inferred based on what I already said about the material, the Skyline pants keep you moving in an uninhibited fashion more so than anything I’ve ridden to date. Lastly, as far as durability is concerned, I haven’t had any big crashes and nor have I worn them for a year or any such long stretch of time. For the few months that I have had them, I’ve washed them a lot and they seem to be handling the miles well. With that in mind, the fabric doesn’t seem to be nearly as tough as some of the Cordura style fabric found in race type pants. Then again, that kind of high wear material isn’t very comfortable. Alas, life is about tradeoffs…
With the exception of the minor gripe over sizing, the Skyline is the perfect trail pant for fair weather pedaling missions. Personally, I prefer pants over shorts whenever possible – perhaps that’s due to PTSD from dealing with poison oak in California – but most trail rated pants aren’t this lightweight, breathable, stretchy or comfortable. Not even close. One thing that I haven’t touched on which really earns TLD some extra points is the price…At just $109, I’m not aware of anything else on the market that can contend with the Skyline’s value. Now that they’re officially available, I’m ordering a backup pair in case these sell out like everything else in the MTB world at the moment.