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That's knicker as in three-quarter length cycling trousers. They're a godsend for the commuter, tourer or recreational cyclist, combining a relaxed look with long-term riding comfort - when they're well designed. Bontrager's Commuting WSD Knicker looks to be just that.
They're made from a tough but super stretchy fabric, treated with a bamboo charcoal finish for improved odour management. The utilitarian design is easy to wear and should please all but the girliest of cyclists. The waistband is broad and largely seam free, with internal waist adjustment and external belt loops (more for style than anything), and it fastens with a button and zip.
There is a variety of pockets, including two patch pockets at the rear with silicone to secure the contents, two deep front slanting pockets, and a pretty generous security pocket inside one of these that fastens with a press stud and is shaped to happily accommodate and secure a wallet or smartphone. There's also a small zipped thigh pocket.
The knees are articulated to allow for knee bend while pedalling, and there are reflective accents at the bottom of the leg and on the rear pockets. There's no liner short, so it's up to you whether to wear one or not; there's plenty of room for one in the cut. In essence, they appear to have all the features you could wish for.
They look good too. If you don't like the slight military air of the khaki/brown colourway, they are also available in black. The cut is flattering and the stretch content makes them sit well, while the pockets are unobtrusive and don't spoil the lines.
On the bike, they move well with the body, with the stretch fabric meaning no binding on the thighs at all. The fit is good, and the adjustment afforded by the internal waist adjuster is excellent, making for a really fine-tuned fit at the waist. The soft-shell fabric repels water sufficiently to see off showers and should cope with the worst of winter road grot, while inside it's comfortable next to skin and manages moisture well. Riding in them was an absolute pleasure, and off the bike they were low key enough to walk about in.
There really was only one problem with them, and that was the length of the leg. At 5ft 5in and with a 31in inside leg I'm not the tallest, but by no means short in the leg. These came to beyond mid-calf length and just brushed the chain with every pedal stroke. It was irritating when riding, and more so afterwards as they acquired a permanent light coating of chain oil, which looked messy and could make them wear quicker. If they were 1 or 2cm shorter, they would be almost perfect.
Versatile, practical and laid back. Almost perfect except for being a tiny bit too long
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Make and model: Bontrager Commuting WSD Knicker
Size tested: Brown
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
Aimed at fashionable female cyclists looking for style and comfort on the bike and off.
Do just what they aim to do.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Made from tough stretch woven fabric
- 65% nylon
- 23% polyester
- 12% elastane
Bamboo charcoal treatment to manage odours
Water repellent finish
2 rear pockets
2 deep slanted side pockets
1 small side pocket with press stud fastening
1 small zipped thigh pocket
Silicone textured interior to rear pockets to secure contents.
Interior waist adjustment
Available in sizes XS-XL
Brown or Black
Well constructed and made from high quality materials.
Performed really well apart from the slight rub of the bottom of the leg on the chain due to length.
Should be very durable, but the chain rub on the bottom of the leg could cause problems for shorter women.
About right for a tough relaxed pair of trousers.
Good value for a versatile very wearable pair of trousers.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Very well. Apart from the rubbing.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Style, fit, cut, fabric, stretch, details
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Length of leg just a little too long, some different colours would be nice.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.
Would you consider buying the product? Yes. If my legs grow.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes. Leggier ones.
Anything further to say about the product in conclusion?
A really well considered and thoughtfully designed pair of trousers, very slightly let down by being a fraction too long in the leg.
Age: 37 Height: 1.65m Weight: 67kg
I usually ride: My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, touring, general fitness riding, mtb,
Lara has been riding bikes for longer than she'd care to admit, and writing about them nearly as long. Since 2009 she has been working as part of the road.cc review team whilst championing women's cycling on the side, most notably via two years as editor of the, sadly now defunct, UK's first and only women's cycling mag, erm, Women's Cycling.
Believing fervently that cycling will save the world, she wishes that more people would just ride a bike and be pleasant to each other.
She will ride anything with two wheels, occasionally likes to go fast, definitely likes to go far and is always up for a bit of exploring somewhere new and exciting.