Often overlooked when considering protective gear, your legs are actually quite vitally important in terms of controlling the average motorcycle. Stop and think for a moment about just how many things about a bike need your legs: balance during cornering, providing enough stability to press on levers operated by your feet, and a whole slew of other things that happen naturally as part of riding.
It is amazing, then, that many riders don’t protect their legs. We’ve all heard the excuses of “it’s too hot where I live,” “I don’t plan on crashing,” and “I can’t find anything that’s comfortable.” For those in hot regions, mesh pants. For those that can’t find anything comfortable, there are ranges of overpants and/or custom fit motorcycle gear that can be ordered. For those that don’t plan on crashing, well, no one plans on crashing, but it still happens!
To keep your legs safe, as well as keep you looking your best on the bike, here are the top ten motorcycle pants currently on the market. These are all either highly rated and reviewed, have special features about them, or are just damned good deals when it comes to the value-to-protection ratio. If you’re looking for more size options, check out our guides on Plus Size Jackets and Plus Size Pants for female riders.
Rokker is one of the more premium motorcycle clothing brands out there, with a history of moderately-expensive-but-worth-it protective gear. This holds true with the Rokkertech High Waist Slim jeans, a new introduction to their motorcycle pants lineup.
The Tech part of RokkerTech comes from the usage of in-house developed Ultra High Molecular Weight Polyethylene, or UHMWPE, which has a pure fiber tensile strength twice that of steel. Around those fibers, Rokker weaves in cotton so as to form a denim feel and look, but which is, when finally sewn into a full garment, 15 times as strong as steel in abrasion resistance.
This is backed up by full D3O knee and hip armor, both of which are included. As well, the use of UHMWPE allows for the jeans to be sewn and bonded, instead of riveted, meaning there is no metal on the outside of the jearns to scratch and ding your bike’s paint job. Definitely designed for warmer weather, these riding jeans are one of the few that are single layer, so apart from the slight bumps where the armor is, they could pass for everyday fashion jeans without worry.
Spidi is often considered as a bargain brand, which is not saying anything bad about them. They are simply like Scorpion, making good gear available at lower-than-average retail prices. A perfect example of this are the Moto Pro leggings, a mix of high tech textiles and a low price.
The leggings are designed, as the name suggests, to fit tightly to the leg, much tighter than many riding jeans would. This is made possible through Spidi’s TEXTECH fiber, a blend of cotton and elastane. This blend means the leggings will stretch with you, while the cotton is of a high enough grade that it replicates Cordura levels of protection, without needing to license the name. That is, quite possibly, where most of the savings are on these riding pants.
Protective armor comes in the form of knee armor at CE level 1, and pockets inside the hip for optional hip armor. The leggings are single layer, and are highly abrasion resistant, so they can be worn either on their own, or if you wanted extra protection, could be worn under a pair of regular jeans, riding overpants, or with aramid/kevlar undergarments.
The Scorpion EXO Maia pants are a bit of an oddity, in a good way. To explain what is meant by that, we first need to look at what type of riding these pants are designed for. That style can simply be described as “touring.” It could be sport touring, cruiser touring, continental touring, it’s built for them all.
This is demonstrated by the way the pants are designed to protect the rider. Most of the protective polyfabric, which is rated at 600D, is in the seat, knees, and lower legs, all common sliding and impact areas. The other areas of the pants are then fitted with poly-mesh panels, which while not major impact areas, are still rated at about 300D. This is backed up by Sas-Tec CE level 1 knee armor, and pockets for Sas-Tec hip armor.
The pants are odd in that instead of focusing on making the whole thing out of full 600D, Scorpion put the heavy duty protection on slide and impact areas, and used the other areas to benefit ventilation and comfort. That is the odd bit about these pants. They’re heavy duty, but lightweight, meant to keep the rider comfortable for long or short rides, and above all, protected.
Dainese is one of the two major suppliers of racing gear for the MotoGP grid, and it shows with trickle-down tech that makes it into the latest and greatest of their consumer track and riding gear. The Delta 3 Perforated leather pants are just one more example of the top class of motorcycle racing impacting every day riding comfort and protection.
Using full tutu cowhide leather at 1.2mm or greater, the pants are heavily perforated on the thighs to allow for the most airflow to the hottest part of the legs. S1 bieleastic polyamide stretch fabric allows for comfort and protection in high movement areas such as the groin and knees. There are no adjustable vents on these pants, however, as they are considered race-grade.
In line with that powersports grade ideal, the pants come with full composite armor on the knees and hips that both meet and exceed CE level 2 requirements. The knee pucks are fully replaceable and are highly durable. The pants as a whole meet and exceed CE – Cat. II – 89/686/EEC Directive ratings, which translates to full track and race certification, although most race series will make you have a full one piece suit. It just shows the level of technology and detail Dainese is bringing down to the everyday sport rider.
Whereas the other racing fit pants on this list are pretty much a women’s version of a men’s set of pants, the Alpinestars Stella Missile pants are a completely different beast than the men’s Missile V2 leather pants. This is through both research and development with women that partake in racing championships, and feedback from everyday riders.
The same 1.3mm full cowhide leather is used, however the legs are tailored for smaller diameters, and the hips section has been widened, with adjustable straps for a perfect fit. The Stella Missile’s also feature the same GP-R knee slider pucks as the men’s pants for lap after lap on a track day without worry.
Armor comes in the form of Alpinestars Bio knee protectors, and there are pockets for hip armor as well. If you have a Stella Missile Women’s racing jacket, there is a full surround zip at the waist to connect the pants to the jacket to form a full suit.
Rev’It has been working day in and day out since their inception to include women into their gear lineups. This is because the Netherlands has a large cycling population, which has led to a higher number of female riders in the European country. And as all women are not built the same, Rev’It also has many styles of riding pants.
The Maple jeans are for those women that do not want a regular or relaxed fit, but also don’t want the jeans to be totally tight on their legs. Using a skinny fit, these jeans are made of 13oz Cordura denim, which has a minimum abrasion protection rating of 500D. Rev’It also includes their CoolMax lining, allowing sweat and heat to be wicked away and carried off by the air passing through and over the jeans.
For protection, there is a double layer of PWR polyester fabric in the seat and at the knees, to keep the Seesmart CE level 1 knee armor in place even during a slide. There are pockets for hip armor, and the jeans are certified CE 17092-4:2020 Class A, meaning street and regular commuting protection.
As we just mentioned in the Rev’It Maple overview above, not all women are built the same. The Rev’It Moto Jeans are, much like their men’s counterpart, designed to replicate the look and feel of a leather-based pant, but made using fabrics.
As with the men’s version, Rev’It used heavyweight 12.5oz Cordura denim for the exterior, which gives an approximate 600D abrasion resistance rating. Underneath that, Seesmart CE level 1 knee pads are included with the jeans. The inner lining is made of Rev’It’s own PWR Shield polyamide mesh, which adds another 600D of abrasion resistance.
Combined, the outer and inner layers provide 1200D of total abrasion resistance, or about 10 seconds of resistance at 50 MPH. Of course, the faster you start the slide, the less time it will take to wear through, although these jeans are meant to give enough resistance that you will either start to tumble, or have enough time to slow down through friction to prevent the worst of road rash.
The masters of off-road ADV and exploring gear, Klim shifted their focus when it came to the Artemis gear. Using their expertise, they made the Artemis line of protective gear for women, without a men’s gear equivalent. This makes it, in the space of motorcycle PPE, one of the very few model lines that is specifically and only for the ladies of two wheels.
The Artemis are named appropriately, as these pants are designed to protect against almost any situation you could find yourself in while travelling off-road. Made of Klim’s exclusive Karbonite textile, the pants have a slide and ripstop rating ranging from 600D to 750D, depending on which part of the pants you are looking at. This is backed by full GoreTex, allowing the pants to be 100% waterproof while also breathable.
In making the Artemis line only for women, the ventilation mapping of the pants is oriented towards keeping the air flowing through and around the warmest bits. Two angled thigh vents, and two lower thigh exhausts, allow for cooling air to flow around the legs and wick away moisture and heat in equal measure. The inner mesh is also Klimatek, a specific mesh that helps carry that heat and moisture to the vents.
D3O CE level 1 armor protects both the knees and the hips, and can be replaced if needed with other CE level 1 armor, or optional CE level 2 versions. All in all, by keeping their focus on the woman rider, Klim has made a stellar product that is highly recommended and reviewed.
Rev’It themselves have the best statement about what makes the Ignition 3 pants so special: “Leather and mesh go together like salt and caramel.” Designed for the rider in hotter climates, the Ignition 3 pants are some of the best pants, of any type, you can buy for riding.
The outer shell is a combination of Monaco performance cowhide leather with a minimum thickness of 1mm, combined with high-strength Dynax mesh, 500D polyamide stretch zones, and Lorica fabric with waxed polyester for airflow. The leather is, of course, on all the high-abrasion zones should a slide occur, with the 500D polyamide allowing for both protection and stretch on secondary slide zones.
In adapting the Ignition 3 pants for women, the fit was made tighter in the legs and expanded a bit in the hips. As well, the knee protectors are still CE level 2 Seeflex, while the larger CE Level 1 Type B hip armor is provided. Apart from those changes, the pants are almost identical to the mens version, and the Hydratex fully removable waterproof liner is also included.
If you want to talk about over-engineering a set of pants, then you need to talk about the Rev’It Sand 4 H2O ADV and off-road pants. As the name suggests, this is the fourth iteration and evolution of the pants, and they came out just before the calendar flipped over to 2021. When it comes to four season riding capability, Rev’It’s Sand line-up is well worth looking at.
So what makes them over-engineered? Firstly, the outer layer is made of full 1000D polyester ripstop, which is enough protection for most other pants to get by with. But Rev’It wasn’t satisfied, and then put a Hydratex liner behind that, for waterproofing and breathability. Then, still not satisfied, they put a combination polyester and polyamide internal mesh liner, with a removable extra thermal liner, inside that is puncture and abrasion resistant.
Add in that the pants come with Seeflex CE level 2 knee and upper shin guards, and SeeSmart CE level 1 type B hip guards as standard, and you have a set of pants that is waterproof, can slide down the side of a mountain and not tear, is comfortable, can be worn in four seasons, and also can be adjusted via several straps and snap-tabs to fit perfectly.