Madison has recently given its clothing line-up a significant overhaul, launching a number of new items, including the new Flux DWR Trail Trousers.
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These trousers have been developed in conjunction with the Madison Saracen race team and are designed for downhill and enduro riding or racing.
The phrase “simple yet effective” springs to mind when it comes to the Flux trousers’ performance. That’s not to say they lack features or details, they just have the right ones and nothing unnecessary.
That helps make them light and breathable, with the tapered cut working incredibly well on the bike, too.
Add in that they’re available in both men’s and women’s-specific models with three leg lengths to choose from in each of the five sizes (men’s only) and it becomes obvious Madison is on to a winner.
Madison Flux Men’s DWR Trail Trousers details
The Flux Men’s DWR Trail Trousers come in five different sizes (S-XXL), but unlike almost every other brand, Madison gives you the option of three leg lengths (short, regular or long) to choose from.
For those at the more extreme end of the sizing spectrum, this is a revelation.
The trousers are made from a stretchy, lightweight fabric that gets a DWR (Durable Water Repellent) coating to help fend off puddle splashes and rain showers.
A heavily tapered cut ensures there’s little excess material around your ankles to sag and flap about when wet or covered in mud.
Although the trousers are quite tight on your lower legs, an elasticated mesh panel should make getting them on and off over your feet less awkward.
There’s also a mesh panel behind the knees, said to help dump excess heat when working hard. It’s great for summer riding, but not so good when the seasons turn.
In terms of adjustment at the waist, the Flux trousers keep it relatively simple, with just a single ratchet strap. To release the buckle, you need to push directly down on the central panel, rather than on tabs at the top and bottom, as found on most ratchet systems.
To add a little more security, the inside rear half of the waistband gets a grippy silicone print to help hold the trousers up against shorts liners or bib shorts.
Capping things off are the two rearward-facing thigh pockets. Both are zipped and big enough to accept most smartphones.
Madison Flux Men’s DWR Trail Trousers performance
To put the Flex Trail Trousers to the test, I’ve ridden wearing them in a variety of conditions, ranging from cold and dry to mild and wet.
From the off, I found the fit worked perfectly. I opted for the size small with short legs. These have an inseam of 30in, which suited my modest 172cm stature really well. They’re seriously comfortable, too.
There’s enough give around the ankle to get them on easily, though they’re still tight enough to require a bit of a wiggle around your feet when removing them. That’s a small price to pay for the impressive fit, though.
The push-to-release ratchet buckle is okay, but I don’t find it quite as easy to release as a standard buckle seen on the likes of the Specialized Trail Pants. Again, it’s a minor issue and one that’s easily overlooked.
Underneath tapered legs, you’ll still fit some decently padded knee pads (I’ve been wearing these with Rapha’s Trail knee pads).
Once over the pads, the Flux trousers articulated well when pedalling, never snagging or pulling against the pads as I flexed my knees.
Along with working well while pedalling, the stretch of the fabric and secure fit around the waist ensures movement remains unrestrictive. Even when fully waterlogged, the trousers stay exactly where you need them, never sagging or needing to be readjusted.
The DWR coating works well enough to protect your legs against trail spray and the odd light rain shower, but water got in through the mesh panel behind the knee more easily.
Despite the fact these airy panels help to improve breathability, I’d prefer if they were smaller – or not there at all.
That’s largely because I like these trousers so much I’d want to wear them into the depths of winter. Performance would be improved slightly by making the panels smaller, and I don’t think it’d hamper breathability when wearing knee pads underneath.
Both rear-facing zipped pockets come in handy on a regular basis. That’s down largely to their positioning and volume.
Slip a set of keys in and they’ll seemingly disappear to the rear of your leg, where you’ll barely notice them. On more than one occasion, I found myself checking to ensure they were still there because I couldn’t feel them.
The Madison Flux Men’s Trail Trousers have quickly become some of my favourite mountain bike trousers. I regularly reach for them when packing my kit bag and that speaks volumes.
Madison Flux Men’s DWR Trail Trousers bottom line
The fit, comfort and cut of the Madison Flux Men’s DWR Trail Trousers make them some of the best in the business.
They work well over knee pads, are well-shaped and include the right features to ensure they perform incredibly well on the trail.
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Yes, I’ve got a small number of niggles regarding the mesh panels behind the knees and the ratchet buckle, but for the performance and cost, I’m more than happy to live with those issues because these are some seriously impressive riding trousers.