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 Mid 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 jeans 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 everyday 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.
The Vika V2 is a classic piece of kit by Alpinestars Women’s Fashion team. A top-grain cowhide and stretch aramid fabric chassis is constructed to offer superb protection without distorting the female form. The propriety designs incorporate strategically positioned aramid stretch paneling to visually lengthen and enhance the female form while offering an optimized fit and maneuverability.
Pre-contoured legs and a high rear waist offer added comfort and plenty of stretch panels eliminate the need for adjustment tabs, these pants hug your curves smoothly. Lightweight, highly contoured and removable CE-certified knee protectors offer superb impact protection.
With the number of stretch panels around these pants expect to wear them as a 2 season option. There is enough stretch for a light layer underneath but expect the best comfort during mid to high temps.
Rev’It has been working day in and day out since its inception to include women in their gear lineups. The Netherlands has a huge riding population, which has led to a higher number of female riders in the European country. Not all women are not built the same, and Rev’It has designed the Maple 2 for women wanting style and movement.
The Maple 2 jeans are for those women that do not want a regular or relaxed fit but also don’t want jeans to be totally tight on their legs. Designed to have a tailored skinny fit, these jeans are made of 13oz Cordura denim and have stretch properties allowing freedom of movement when riding and walking.
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 triple stiched with loads of reflective elements to keep you visible on the street.
If you are loving the current trend of high-waisted denim, Rev’It has you covered and protected. Stretch Cordura denim mixed with PWR|shield material gives these jeans a high abrasion resistance that a regular set of jeans is lacking. CE rated armor at the knees and hips is slim yet protective so you can ride in confidence without bulky armor. There are also pockets to add in hip armor. Reflection tape at the turn-up of the hem can help riders who are on the road be seen in low light, inclement weather, and at night.
The Victoria 2 pair of jeans are likely going to quickly become your riding favorites, and if you already have a Rev’It jacket consider adding in the Safeway belt, and you’ll be able to zip the jeans onto virtually any REV’IT! jacket using the short connection zipper. Available in black, dark blue, and light blue just be sure to use the size guide when ordering.
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. Coming into 2022 Klim has updated the Artemis pants.
These pants excel in all the key areas, abrasion resistance, functional storage, excellent mobility and optimal ventilation. The shell is Gore-Tex with 630D Cordura twisted yarn overlays on every high abrasion zone. 4 vents keep the air circulating when you need it, and 2 big cargo pockets can swallow anything you need to keep secure. There are no seams in the crotch area to enhance saddle comfort, and Goat leather on the inner knees increases grip and protection. Can you tell, Klim kinda has this whole thing figured out.
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.
Olympia is renowned for making incredible multi-season riding gear. With an outer shell constructed in 1000 denier Cordura fabric with Ballistic Airflow mesh panels, there are full leg zips on both layers allowing for easy on and off even over boots. Did I mention these pants are known for being supremely versatile? The Olympia’s come with a removable waterproof rain liner that can be worn in the interior of the pant, over top, or by itself. Elasticized accordion panels on waist, sides, and bottom provide maximum comfort, and nice deep pockets with zippers keep items secure.
If weekend rides or long touring trips are in your future, these pants offer everything you need to stay comfortable regardless of the changing weather.
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.