Perfect pants: Best motorcycle trousers as chosen by MCN

The best motorcycle trousers
The best motorcycle trousers
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Just like any other part of your motorcycle riding gear, choosing the best motorcycle trousers is crucial to make sure that you are properly protected but also, are as comfortable as possible. Your derriere is one of the key sensory organs when you are riding, and if you insulate yourself from the bike too much, then this can have a big effect on your feel for its behaviour as well as your safety.

And if you get it wrong, you can end up really uncomfortable, very hot or sopping wet, depending on the conditions. So you need to get the choice right.

The garment you choose will depend on the type of bike you ride and the kind of riding you do, and range from sporty designs that form the lower half of two-piece suits to riding jeans that look like normal denim.

The best motorcycle trousers at a glance:

Here is a selection of our favourite trousers and some ideas for alternatives to get you started…

Best budget textiles

Price: £79.99 (was £89.99)

Duchinni's Pacific textile motorcycle trousers may not have the very highest specification, but they are of incredible value and offer excellent protection from spills as well as the weather. They are CE AA rated and come with Level-2 armour in the knees and hips. They are waterproof and breathable, using Duchinni's Warm & Dry membrane, but they aren't quite as breathable as some. They also don't have any vents, but they do have useful pockets, and personal experience shows they are completely waterproof.


Read our full Duchinni Pacific trousers review

Pros

  • Excellent value
  • Superb protection
  • Completely waterproof

Cons

  • Can get a bit sweaty

Best mid-range textiles

Price: £149.99 (was £239.99)
These textile trousers from Weise use a polyester outer with a laminated waterproof and breathable lining for weather protection and comfort. They feature a removable thermal liner using Outlast technology to regulate the body temperature by absorbing or releasing stored heat energy. They are CE AA rated and come with removable armour, and feature two thigh vents for cooling air when the ride warms up, covered by waterproof zips.

Pros

  • Laminated membrane
  • Excellent protective rating
  • Vents for cooling air

Cons

  • Very plain-looking

Best race-style leathers

Price: £169.98 (was £249.99)

We really like RST's TracTech range of sports gear. These trousers form the bottom half of a two-piece set of bike leathers. You can buy just the trousers if you don't want the full suit and pair them with, say, a textile jacket for protection and versatility.

These best motorcycle trousers are formed in cowhide leather and are CE AAA rated and come with Level-2 armour in the hips and L1 at the knees, as well as the ubiquitous knee sliders.

Although now discontinued, you can still grab a pair in other colours while stocks last.

Pros

  • Highest CE protective rating
  • British brand
  • Can be worn as a leather suit or with other jackets

Cons

  • Only L1 knee armour

Best single-layer riding jeans


These single-layer jeans from Knox aren't cheap, but they are incredibly protective. I've dragged them down the road and know how well they will protect you. They are made from Spectra single-layer denim and achieve a CE rating of AAA, superb for jeans.

They are supplied with Knox' Micro-Lock armour in the knees and hips, but this could do with upgrading to Level-2 for ultimate protection. They are a relaxed fit and look and work well off the bike as well as on it.

Pros

  • Highest AAA CE rating
  • Relaxed, casual fit
  • Work on and off the bike

Cons

  • Only come with L1 armour

Things to keep in mind

When it comes to selecting the best motorcycle trousers, you need to work out what your primary style of riding is. If it’s sporty, then perhaps a pair of leather pants is the way to go; protective, snug-fitting and made for the job.

However, if it’s more urban or casual riding, then maybe a pair of riding jeans is more your style. For longer trips or commuting, then textiles would be the prime choice. The choice is yours…

When it comes to protection, the same principles that apply to jackets hold true for trousers as well. They will be CE-rated for abrasion resistance and build quality, from B to A, AA or AAA; AAA is the highest protective rating.

They should also include CE-approved armour, in at least the knees and ideally the hips as well, though anything that is AAA-rated must also include hip armour. Like jackets, armour can be Level-1 or Level-2 – L2 is the more absorbent of impact forces and hence, protects you more.

About the author: After qualifying as a mechanical engineer, Jim Blackstock began working on magazines in the early 1990s. He remains passionate about product testing to ensure readers know what products offer good value and why. He relishes torrential rain to see if riding kit keeps water out and an hour or two to tinker on a project bike in his workshop.

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