Review: ION Collision Softshell Pants

by
February 14, 2017

Pants, trousers, slacks, or pantaloons - how did Hannah get on with this leg wear?

Brand: ION
Product: Softshell Collision Pants
From: ion-products.com
Price: £124.99
Tested: by Hannah for Four months

These are lightweight stretchy trousers designed specifically for riding in. Trousers! For riding! Not shorts, and knee socks, and leg warmers, and knee pads, and….how many items does it take to protect yourself from the elements, or nettles? Yes, there are days when shorts will do, but I’m not sure how I’ve survived so long without a pair of riding trousers. Certainly it makes keeping on top of the piles of laundry a lot easier. A men’s version of these trousers is also available, called ‘Impact’. These ‘Collision’ trousers have been much admired out on the trail by both men and women, and I’ve been quick to recommend them to these admirers.

Ion Collision Pants
Tapered leg

The trousers are made of a four way stretch fabric, with some stiffer and tougher panels on the seat and around the ankles. They have an adjustable waist, thanks to some strong velcro straps, and the trousers are fastened by a robust popper set into a velcro panel – not once have these trouser come undone during use. A tip though: when washing them, do up the popper – otherwise the velcro has a tendency to sticky to everything in the washing machine. It seems particularly sticky. All that stretchiness means that they are very comfortable, and the sizing is forgiving – a 38/M left plenty of room for my hips (good, since I don’t like my clothing to be too fitted) whereas I’ve often found myself having to size up to a 40 in bike clothing. They’re also a good length on me (I’m 5’9” and a little bit) – I had worried they would be too short, as in casual trousers I usually have to buy a longer length cut.

Ion Collision Pants
Waist adjustment
Ion Collision Pants
Velcro + popper = secure

There’s no restriction at all on movement, and I even managed to fit a pair of lightweight knee pads under the trousers. The thicker seat area means there’s no rubbing away of the stretch fabric in this high stress area, while the tapered cut and stiff area around the ankle means there’s no flapping around near your chain ring. Not once have I caught these trousers while pedalling.

Ion Collision Pants
Stiffer black fabric on cuffs

They are described as ‘softshell’, but don’t be fooled into thinking this makes them a thick and warm pair of trousers. They’re very lightweight, meaning you can easily wash and dry them overnight. There is a degree of windproofing to them, which helps keep off the worst of the chill, but for real warmth in cold conditions I have worn them with a pair of Roubaix tights underneath. Even at really cold temperatures and wading through snow in Finland, I found this combination kept me warm and dry. The DWR coating does a good job of fending off splashes – and snow – but in rain you are going to get wet. However, the fabric is soft, light and stretchy enough that even when thoroughly soaked there’s no rubbing or chafing – although you can get cold pretty quickly.

Ion Collision Pants
Tapered leg and zipped calf.
Ion Collision Pants
Neoprene phone pocket

There are zips on the calves, but I’ve not really had cause to use them, as they don’t open the trouser up enough to allow you to get them over shoes. Both pockets are zipped, which is handy, and one contains a Neoprene pocket for your phone – it’s quite a snug fit for my iPhone 4, and in any case I don’t like riding with a phone in my pocket, so it’s not something I’ve really made use of, but it’s there if you want it. For warmer rides, there are ventilation zips with mesh liners on the outer thighs. It’s not something I’ve needed so far, but I can imagine this could be handy if you took these as a touring option on a long trip where you can’t carry a whole bunch of different clothes.

Ion Collision Pants
Thigh vents
Ion Collision Pants
Reinforced seat

In muddy conditions, I’ve found that arriving home in these trousers makes finishing a ride a whole lot simpler. With a one piece item of clothing covering my whole leg area, there’s not a bunch of joins between socks, pads, knee warmers, etc to collect little shelves and pockets of mud. I simply take off the trousers, hang them up to dry overnight, and then either shake off the mud before putting them in the wash, or indeed just put them back on for the next ride. A whole world of faff eliminated, plus they look good too and have stood up well to a winter of punishment.

Ion Collision Pants Ion Aerial Jacket
Jacket also by Ion.
Ion Aerial Jacket
Trousers in action.

Overall: I really, really like these trousers – much so that they made it into my Editors’ Choice for 2016. I thought they seemed like a pricey option, but for comfort, faff reduction and versatility they’re worth every penny. Recommended.

Very good trousers.
Very good trousers.

Review Info

Brand: ION
Product: Softshell Collision Pants
From: ion-products.com
Price: £124.99
Tested: by Hannah for Four months

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