What you wear on your bottom half is one of the most important things for ensuring a comfortable ride. But that doesn’t mean you have to squeeze into less-than-flattering Lycra cycling shorts. On the contrary, there’s plenty of chic urban attire you can wear that is perfect for any commute and doesn’t mean you need to get changed at your destination.
Stylish Cycling Chinos + Trousers
Chinos are normally made from a cotton twill fabric and are stereotypically khaki-coloured. But in the search for some stylish urban cycling pants, I’ll play a little bit fast and loose with the “chino rules”. As ever, though, my focus will focus for finding the best gear will be focused on two things: 1) style (do the chinos look good off bike?) and 2) function (do they make your ride comfortable and practical?)
I’m a big fan of chinos – and especially cycling chinos – because they are a very adaptable piece of clothing. They can be worn with a t-shirt for a casual look but can also easily be transformed into more formal occasions with a shirt.
Below I’ll run through five of the best cycling chinos for men, before taking an admittedly shorter look at the best women’s cycling trousers/chinos. Click here if you want to skip to the lady’s section (pun somewhat intended).
When comparing cycling chinos, I’ve looked at seven criteria:
- Do they look good?
- Is the fit suitable for cycling
- Is the material stretchy?
- Do they offer protection against rain?
- Do they have deep/secure pockets?
- Do they boast reflective features?
- Are they value for money?
Top 5 Cycling Chinos for Men in the UK
Although a very pricy pant, Mission Workshop’s Division Chino is built-to-last.
These are great all-round stylish cycling chinos that will be able to keep up with you – regardless of what your day entails.
Importantly, the Mission Workshop chinos are water-repellent, so they can keep you dry in all but the most severe of downpours and are made from durable four-way stretch nylon fabric – so cycling in these chinos is no problem.
Another thing I love about these urban chinos is that they include a zipped pocket on the side of the trouser to keep any of your valuables secure.
While these trousers look good, they are a little stiffer than typical chinos and so don’t quite fit into more formal or office environments. That said, these are great chinos for the outdoors and ambling about in a city: they’re warm, flexible and durable.
Colours: Navy, Black
I reviewed the Spoke Bulletproof Chinos last year and was well impressed.
Again, these are warrior cycling trousers that look good and boast tonnes of functionality. They come in a regular fit, with water rolling right off the material.
The SPOKE Bulletproof Chinos are light (weighing in at just 8oz) and offer plenty of stretch as well as a raised back for riding. There’s also a reflective patch in the back pocket which you can expose when riding.
One thing I really like about these chinos is that they are very versatile and can easily pass in smart-casual dress codes and I have no bones about wearing them with a smart shirt.
Simply put, the Spoke Bulletproof Chinos are great on the bike and look great off it.
Colours: Navy, Olive
PEDal ED have really come up trumps with their range of cycling chinos which look simply fantastic.
Made from a blend of cotton and elastin, these bike chinos boast a four-way stretch and are available for £86 – not bad for a premium, practical and stylish product.
A reinforced insert means that the PEDal ED Cycling Chinos are hard-wearing on the most delicate areas and won’t wear out in a hurry, while discreet reflective detailing is valuable for cycling at night.
Colours: Navy, Beige
Normally when I talk about Rapha in cycling style guides, the discussion goes something like “this product is sexy and functional as hell, but daaaamn it’s expensive”. And while you shouldn’t get your hopes up that the Rapha Cotton Trousers are “cheap” – which they’re not at £95 – but they’ve certainly snuck into the “reasonable” price bracket for an excellent product.
Admittedly, the Rapha Cotton Trousers aren’t branded as “chinos”, but they basically are. They’re made from 98% cotton and 2% Lycra (for a bit of extra stretch).
Side pockets have zips (hallejulah!), as does the right rear pocket, while the left rear pocket has a Rapha-esque hi-vis pink button strap for extra visibility. There’s also some hi-vis pink features on the inside leg if you want extra visibility.
I love the look of these trousers/chinos, which come in a slim fit and boast a true urban style. One of my favourite Rapha products – which is a big statement.
If water resistant features were built into these trousers they would likely top this list.
Colours: Dark Brown, Beige, Carbon Grey, Stone
The water and wind resistant swrve Midweight Downtown trouser are highly functional, good-looking trousers for day-to-day urban life – on-and-off the bike.
The swrve Midweight Trouser has been built with cycling at the forefront of functionality, with a raised rear waist, but staying lower on the front to prevent it digging in. Importantly, there’s also a seamless diamond gusset to keep these pants sturdy and comfortable.
These are great all-round, sturdy trousers that are very tough while also maintaining a classic urban style. As well as being water resistant, they also dry quickly, making them great travel chinos too. They feature four-way stretch for comfortable riding and also boast moisture wicking properties – making them ideal for cycling in any weather.
On a Budget: Best Cycling Chinos Under £40
If you’re on more of a budget but still want chinos with some good functionality for cycling, I’d highly recommend checking out UNIQLO, a company with a reputation for providing lightweight, stretchy fabrics on stylish garments for pretty cheap.
UNIQLO’s Ultra Stretch Skinny Fit chinos are one great example of their budget cycling-friendly gear, with the chinos made from 96% cotton and 4% spandex to ensure stretch. The chinos are also available in multiple colours too: orange, black, beige and navy. But the best bit is undoubtedly the price: £34.90.
You obviously won’t be getting the same level of quality and superstar features as those seen in our list of the best chinos for cycling, but you’re still getting a product that will provide some extra comfort and give on your commutes.
Urban Cycling Chinos in the US and Canada
One of my other favourites, but one that hasn’t made the list because they’re hard to hold of in the UK, are DUER. However, if you live in the States or Canada, they offer a great selection of pants, chinos and shorts – all built with great functionality for an active lifestyle in mind, as I’ve discussed in my DUER reviews.
Best Cycling Chinos for Women
Now, normally I’d include the top five options for both men and women when looking at stylish cycling clothes. However, chinos are not such a common clothing item for the ladies (unlike bike jeans, for example).
There are a couple of decent chino-ish options for female cyclists though, and I’d recommend checking out the following duo:
You can also check our Best Cycling Jeans Around for Men and Women guide for more stylish cycling attire.
Got a favourite pair of cycling chinos? Let us know in the comments section below.