Along with a helmet, riding jacket and gloves, the next piece of protective kit you should consider is a riding pant. The primary purpose of wearing one is to reduce the impact to the knees, hips and legs in case of an accident.
Let us see how this works:
- Riding pants consist of protective armor at the knees, and sometimes at the hips as well. Whenever you go to purchase riding pants, do ensure the armors are CE certified/approved. There are various armor manufacturing companies and various certifications for different types of armor, but the minimum certification should be a CE level 1 certification. Look for engraving on the armors and documentation to ensure authenticity. If you want better protection, then look for armors that satisfy the CE level 2 tests. To summarize, riding pants should be called so, only when they are equipped with protective armor. Without them, its use as protective gear is virtually non-existent.
- When purchasing riding pants, the most important thing to do is wear them on, and sit on your motorcycle. Now ensure that the knee armors fit perfectly over your knees. They should be snug-fit and you should not be able to easily move them around. This is important because the armor should not move away from your knee on impact. Also make sure that you feel comfortable and ensure that the armors do not pinch or hurt you in any way.
Materials used/Types of Pants:
- Synthetic textile: Synthetic textile materials include polyester, nylon, cordura, Kevlar, mesh and other fabrics. Riding pants made up of these fabrics are comfortable in hot to mild weather conditions and are intended for casual riders and long distance tourers as well. These type of riding pants are generally more comfortable than leather ones, especially in hot weather.
- Leather: Riding pants made of leather are primarily intended for track days or aggressive riding, or for short runs in relatively cold conditions. Leather being the most abrasion resistant material apart from Kevlar, provides maximum protection in case of a fall (Note: Leather pants also need to have protective armors to protect the impact points). However, leather requires more care vis-a-vis textile based ones, and is generally best avoided in hot summer conditions.
- Denim: Some motorcycle riders do not like to wear riding pants all the time while riding. For them, denim style pants are the best bet. However, denim is not abrasion resistant at all, so I do not recommend using denims as riding pants. That being said, there are denim riding pants which have protective armor and also come reinforced with Kevlar at the impact points, which should provide decent protection( Still not as much as leather or textile based ones ). Denim styled pants are best suited for short city commutes where you would not be riding too fast.
Some important features of most jackets are:
- Pockets: Most pants come with two front pockets, which should fit in a wallet and a mobile phone.
- Adjustable straps: Most pants have adjustable waist straps. These are important to provide a snug-fit.
- Slit ankle cuffs: Most riding pants are equipped with adjustable ankle cuffs, which allow you to wear them over or under your riding boots, as per your convenience.
- Adjustable armor: Some riding pants have adjustable positioning of the armors that ensure a perfect snug-fit.
- Weather proof: Most textile based pants come with a detachable rain-liner/thermal liner. Others are multi-weather ones whose construction material is waterproof, breathable, and windproof as well( like Gore-tex). Some pants are equipped with cooling vents which help in further ventilation.
- Further safety: For further safety, many riding pants are reinforced with abrasion resistant Cordura or Kevlar at the knees and/or hips, and most come with reflective material on the back of the lower leg or on the outside of the thighs, which enhances visibility at night.
- Cleaning: For cleaning, textile based pants can be washed in a washing machine as well, after removing the armors.
Riding pants are often one of the most ignored piece of protective riding gear. This is one of the biggest mistakes you should avoid. During a fall, your knee is the first/second impact point along with your palm. Now if you do not have riding pants with protective armor on, chances are: you will most likely end up with a fractured knee that will probably never fully recover a 100%. With riding pants on, chances of having your skin scrape the road are very less owing to the abrasion resistant materials used to fabricate the pants. So I strongly urge all motorcycle riders to wear riding pants along with all other protective gear, you shall not regret it. Moreover, riding pants are comfortable and most are well ventilated too. Do remember that the armors and other protective features only help reducing the impact of a crash, so one must still ride sensibly. The price of riding pants can be as low as INR 4000 ($65) and as high as INR 50000 ($850) or more.
To know about the importance of a helmet, click here.
To know about the importance of a riding jacket, click here.
To know about the importance of riding gloves, click here.
For a detailed and unbiased review of the INR 6300 Aspida (Spartan Progear) Proteus riding pants, click here
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