Soft tissue damage to the legs is the most common riding injury. Purpose-designed motorbike or scooter pants are worth the search and money.
What to look out for when buying motorcycle pants.
TOP GRADE PANTS
AS IMPORTANT AS JACKETS
Protective pants shield skin when sliding across asphalt, guard against cuts and gashes on impact, and reduce the risk of burns from the engine and exhaust pipe. Standard denim jeans last 0.6 seconds in contact with road surface, compared to the four seconds minimum in CE-approved pants.
Top grade pants now come in textile fabrics as well as leather. Know how to spot quality materials to get the abrasion protection you’re expecting. Look for CE approval when shopping for styles. Kevlar lined jeans offer extra protection. For more information on which styles of pants protect you the most, head over to the MotoCAP website.
DESIGNED TO PROTECT
Big panels of materials are best. Seams can split or burst under crash conditions, which are the most common reasons for gear failing CE testing. Beware of straps or external pockets which can tear or snag on the road. Avoid buttons, buckles or studs.
SHIELD HIPS AND KNEES
Impact protectors for vulnerable hips and knees are effective if the guards stay in place. Straps holding the protectors in place are good as long as they aren’t too tight or reduce blood flow. Knee guards are just as common as neck braces among off-road riders.
KEEP PANTS UP
Hipsters or elasticated waistbands can get pulled down when sliding across a road. Ankle straps prevent pants from riding up in a crash as long as they are fastened on the inside of the ankles. Stretch panels and ventilating mesh are best in the inside leg, not on thighs, hips or exposed areas.
Blending colours is a no-cost trick, and can increase the likelihood of other drivers seeing you. However, it is less critical to have lighter coloured pants if your jacket and helmet are highly visible. Some matching sets feature sections in light colours.
Worth every cent, a good pair of motorcycle pants have their work cut out. They shield skin from grating across asphalt, guard against cuts and gashes on impact, and reduce the risk of burns from the engine and exhaust pipe.
01 - Bang for buck
European CE standards are a useful guide when judging motorcycle pants made here or outside Europe, where EU standards are not applied.
02 - Comfort control
It’s worth the hunt to buy comfortable pants. Recent testing shows some pant types, including jeggings, perform poorly in crash conditions. Instead consider protective denim designs, which can now be as effective as leather.
03 - The sandpaper factor
Know what your pants can withstand in a crash. CE-approved pants will state the number of seconds the material has lasted when tested in the lab. For more information head to the MotoCAP website.
04 - Clever design
Be wary of common design flaws, including low cut pants and fasteners in high impact areas. Good designs require very few seams and joins.
05 - Guard knees
On or off-road, chose impact protectors to give your hips and knees protection from injuries that can stop you riding in the future.
06 - Final check
Make sure you can sit on your bike easily, walk around freely and crouch down without constraint.
TYPES OF PANTS
Use MotoCAP to check the safety features of motorcycle pants. If you’re not sure where to start, the site helps you search for the safest options.
BUYING SECOND HAND
Buying second hand can be a good option for the budget conscious rider wanting the safest gear. When shopping for second hand gear, use the information below check the safety features to look out for and search the safest options for jackets, pants and gloves.
01 - Test the fit
Try the gear on with clothing you normally wear while riding. Check that it is snug and comfortable in your normal riding position.
02 - Impact protectors
Impact protectors must remain securely in place to work effectively. Check your protectors fit with the gear, especially over your shoulders, elbows, hips and knees.
03 - Seams and stitching
Make sure there’s no splits at the seams. They should have two or three lines of stitching to prevent seams bursting on impact.
04 - Shop local
Gumtree and Facebook Marketplace are good places to snag bargain second hand gear. Use their filters to search locally. Always try the gear on before you buy.
FIND A STOCKIST
We’ve compiled a list of Victorian motorcycle retailers where you can buy the latest and safest gear. If you decide to buy gear online, it’s a good idea to shop around and find gear that fits you best first. Most online retailers have physical stores and the larger retailers offer all popular motorcycle gear brands.