When you think about road riders’ clothing, the first items that come to mind are always helmet and motorcycle jacket. Nothing could be more iconic. However, it goes without saying that to be ready for any unexpected event, helmet and jacket – however essential and, as regards the helmet, legally required they might be – are simply not enough. To many, wearing a back protector has now become second nature, but, in general, we tend to particularly protect only the upper part of the body. It's no secret that legs and feet are often overlooked. At times, we might think that a simple pair of jeans, comfortable and seemingly resistant, might be suitable for a motorcycle ride. As it happens, however, jeans are not in the least comparable to a pair of technical motorcycle pants, and not only for the most obvious reasons.
First of all, technical motorcycle pants feature certified protectors on the knees and, in many cases, on the hips. The type of protector, whether rigid or soft, mostly depends on the garment’s intended use. Urban pants, designed to be worn all day even in the office, often integrate soft protectors in order to optimize comfort, while sports pants or pants for long-distance riding employ rigid protectors instead, for maximum safety.
Impact protection is not the only aspect to be taken into account, however. Indeed, you need to consider that motorcycle pants are always manufactured using highly abrasion resistant yarns – they’re often made of woven aramid fiber fabrics or innovative solutions such as soft yet tough Armalith® material. The same is true for sports leather pants, as leather is a material that has always guaranteed excellent protective performance. This is just to emphasize that, in addition to safety against impact, protection against sliding is also fundamental.
And that's not it as far as the advantages of technical motorcycle pants are concerned, as you should also consider the thermal comfort and the protection from atmospheric agents provided by pants designed to suit your riding conditions. During the winter season, it’s easy to see how technical garments offer much more protection than any others, and, in fact, we instinctively wrap ourselves up when riding in cold weather. This happens much less when we ride in hot weather, yet we should bear in mind that mesh summer motorcycle pants guarantee a much higher airflow than any pair of jeans or casual pants.
And let’s not even contemplate riding in shorts during the hottest days as, apart from the obvious lack of protection, there’s also a high risk of getting irritating sunburns.
This explains why technical motorcycle pants are always the best option available to us, in any season of the year and in all situations, from urban riding to long journeys.
But how many types are there, and which ones to choose? The most hardcore enthusiasts will likely be already familiar with the various options available out there, but here's a refresher on the main types of technical pants, in order to better understand which ones to choose:
So-called four-season pants are undoubtedly the most versatile, as they can be adapted to suit all temperatures by changing their configuration. They always incorporate a removable waterproof membrane, useful for protecting you from the cold and rain. They usually feature a layer of insulating material, which also protects against low temperatures, and large adjustable air vents. Therefore, by adjusting the air vents, thermal lining and waterproof lining, you can have a garment that’s comfortable all year round.
As mentioned above, technical motorcycle pants are better than any other garment even in hot temperatures. Their characteristic mesh structure guarantees the perfect balance between airflow, even at low speed, and resistance to abrasion and tearing. This kind of pants are suitable for all types of riding, from touring to sports and even off-road. Since these are technical garments designed for intensive use, they mostly integrate rigid protectors on the knees and other soft ones on the hips.
For lower temperatures, pants with a floating membrane are the best solution, as their particular construction means that the waterproof membrane is not bonded to the exterior and is not removable. Rather, it’s inserted between the outermost shell and the inner lining. This kind of construction guarantees the presence of an air cushion between the various layers, and it’s precisely this that acts as an insulator, providing excellent protection in the coldest season.
For the rainiest climates, pants with a laminated membrane are a must. Their construction integrates a laminated membrane that’s directly bound to the outermost layer, so as to completely eliminate the risk of the garment getting soaked. As such, the particular positioning of the membrane makes these the most effective and comfortable pants for prolonged riding in the rain.
A good old pair of leather pants is still the best solution for sportier riders, ideally with integrated knee sliders. Leather still boasts exceptional mechanical characteristics. It possesses the right degree of elasticity, combined with a level of abrasion resistance that synthetic materials find difficult to match, and after the unavoidable break-in period, leather pants become as comfortable as a second skin. Versions in perforated leather exist for the hottest days, to maximize airflow.
Wearing the best protection even on your shortest trips in the city is crucial, especially since most accidents occur when riding through traffic. Modern materials allow for the creation of pants that combine certified protection while boasting the same comfort and appearance of casual garments. They can be comfortably worn all day long and are designed with an understated look suitable to any occasion. The soft and flexible yarns used to manufacture these pants really make them the best allies for everyday riding.
It should now be clear that specially designed technical garments are available for any kind of riding, whether on a motorcycle or a scooter, optimized for comfort or protection, a defense against the cold or the heat. In order to make the right choice, just think about how you most use your motorcycle: Those who travel several kilometers every year might also find that it’s useful – and why not – to keep different types of motorcycle pants at the ready in their wardrobe, so they can choose the right pair depending on conditions.