Leatt HydraDri 5.0 Mountain Bike Pants review – tough South African weather protection for your southern regions

It’s been a grim winter for riding in the UK, but a great winter for testing tough, waterproof gear like Leatt’s latest full feature, tailored fit trousers

Leatt HydraDri 5.0 pants being worn near a distressed wooden door
(Image: © GuyKesTV)

BikePerfect Verdict

Excellent protective fabric, performance fit and practical features for slim riders with deep pockets but size up for a more forgiving fit and shop around for a deal on pricing.

Pros

  • +

    Impressively waterproof but usefully breathable fabric

  • +

    Excellent multi panel fit for race shaped riders

  • +

    Plenty of well placed and protected pockets

  • +

    Relatively tough in terms of wear and tear

  • +

    Very wide sizing range

Cons

  • -

    Chunkier or longer legged riders should probably size up

  • -

    High price at full retail

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    Heavy duty means heavy weight

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Leatt aren’t messing around with the protection, build quality or features list on their flagship wet weather MTB trousers. That makes them seriously tough and practical pants for handling the worst weather all day long whether you’re pedaling or park riding.

Design and build

HydraDri Max is a triple-layer fabric with a 30,000mm waterproofing and 30,000g/m2 breathability rating. The pants use a complex, multi-panel cut for a pre-articulated fit with generous knee pad room. All seams are broadly tape-sealed and there’s a seamless strip up both inner thighs and under the crotch. There’s a large zipped thigh pocket on the right leg, two zipped hand pockets including a key loop and a horizontal zipped phone pocket in the rear waist. There are zipped and mesh-backed thigh ventilation slits too and all the zips including the fly are Japanese YKK weatherproofs with easy-grab rubber tabs.

The rear pocket has an additional mesh backer with a silicon gripper and the waistband has a wicking liner. Two broad Velcro straps adjust the waistband and there are Velcro straps on each ankle too.

There are reflective logos, a metallicised badge and rubber scuff patches on the outside edge of the knees. They only come in ‘spinach green’ for military vibes. Plastic-free packaging and PFC free DWR means they’ve got other green vibes too, but there’s no recycled material in the actual pants.

Leatt HydraDri 5.0 pants booty shot

The multi-panel cut gives a great fit as long as you're a more racey than recreational shape (Image credit: GuyKesTV)

Performance

The HydraDri Max fabric has a bit of stretch but it’s heavier and less elastic than fabrics like Rab’s Cinder pants. That means it relies on the multi-faceted tailored construction for an accurate fit. They certainly fitted me beautifully and they've worked really well for everyone who’s tried them from the northern test crew too. However, they’re definitely athletic rather than forgiving in terms of dimensions. It’s rare I don’t have to pull the side straps in all the way on 32in pants but I didn’t touch the straps on these at all. The fit and back panel gripper means they don’t drag down even when heavily loaded with mud. The multi-piece knees work well around slim kneepads or big armored cups and the thigh pocket and back pocket are well placed not to get in the way of riding. The legs are a little on the short side even with my average pins though. They work fine with Leatt’s excellent HydraDri boots but you’ll definitely get a gap with shoes so you’d best get some waterproof socks if you want dry feet.

Actual weatherproofing is excellent though, staying leak-free even after long rainy rides. While the amount of surface area covered in sealing tape definitely reduces breathability, the vents work well to keep legs cool when climbing. That meant I only  noticed obvious sweaty dampness around the seat which I’d probably get in normal riding pants anyway.

The stain-proofed fabric has consistently cleaned up well and handled a few slippery conditions slide-outs without damage. I've not had to reproof them either. After a full winter of riding, the sealing tape is starting to peel up in the seat and there’s a tiny pinhole wear patch in the outer too. That’s a lot less wear than we’ve had with other pants we’ve worn through this miserable winter though so we’d still class them as tougher than average. That does come with a 25 percent weight gain even over the bombproof 7Mesh Thunderpants in mountain spec GoreTex.

Leatt HydraDri 5.0 waistband details

The HydraDri 5.0 pants are loaded with practical features including 5 zipped pockets, key loop, wicking waistband and silicon gripper (Image credit: GuyKesTV)

Verdict

Leatt’s HydraDri 5.0 Mountain Bike Pants use a top quality fabric with an excellent multi-panel cut and very well placed pockets and vents. This not only keeps your lower half dry and comfortable even on the grimmest days, but they’ll also carry your key/phone/multitool/snack essentials. While we are seeing some wear after several months of regular use, they’re definitely tougher than most pants we’ve used. They are significantly heavier than most pants as a result. The RRP is high as well but there are some great deals around at the moment, so even if the weather improves these pants are well worth grabbing for when it dives again. Maybe go a size up if you’re more recreationally than race-shaped though or you need a longer leg.

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The lowdown: Leatt HydraDri 5.0 Mountain Bike Pants
AttributesNotesRating
PerformanceExcellent extended waterproofing without excess sweating★★★★★
Fit and comfortTailored fit for slimmer riders★★★★
DurabilitySlight wear after a hard winter★★★★
Value for moneyRRP is high, but there are lots of deals about ★★★

Tech specs: Leatt Pants HydraDri 5.0

  • Price: $239.00 / £219.99 / €249.99
  • Sizes: XS-3XL (28-40’’)
  • Colors: Green only
  • Weight: 430g (slightly muddy 32in)
Guy Kesteven
Technical-Editor-at-Large

Guy has been working on Bike Perfect since launch in 2019. He started writing and testing for bike mags in 1996. Since then he’s written several million words about several thousand test bikes and a ridiculous amount of riding gear. To make sure he rarely sleeps and to fund his custom tandem habit, he’s also penned a handful of bike-related books and talks to a GoPro for YouTube, too.

Current rides: Cervelo ZFS-5, Specialized Chisel, custom Nicolai enduro tandem, Landescape/Swallow custom gravel tandem

Height: 180cm

Weight: 69kg