Best Summer Motorcycle Pants: Say Goodbye to Sweaty Legs
Enjoy hot weather riding without sacrificing protection.
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It’s unbelievable how overlooked a good pair of summer motorcycle pants is amongst some riders. Often it is the case that motorcyclists realize the importance of said pants when they’re halfway into a multi-hundred-mile summer trip and find it hard to move freely because of how disgustingly sweaty and sticky their pants have become. And without going into too much detail, spending hours in the saddle in sweltering heat with no way for moisture to escape presents hygiene problems. Don’t let this be you. Pick up a good pair of summer motorcycle pants before you need them, and finish your first big adventure of the summer as fresh as when you threw a leg over.
Klim Baja S4 Pants
- Karbonite Micromesh
- Goat leather inner lining
- Mesh antimicrobial lining
- Superfabric reinforcement
- D30 CE level 1 armor at knee and hip
- Won’t fit over large boots
Rev'it! Eclipse 2 Pants
- CE level 1 Seesmart knee armor
- Huge mesh panels
- Deep front pockets
- Hip armor pockets
- 600D polyester in impact zones
- Hip armor not included
- No cuff adjustability
Rev'it! Airwave 3 Pants
- PWR Mesh
- Seesmart CE level 1 knee and hip armor
- Stretch ripstop
- PWR shell stretch
- Adjustable waist and ankle straps
- Ankle adjuster faces inward
To choose the best motorcycle summer pants, I employed The Drive’s comprehensive research methodology and evaluated dozens of gloves before choosing the top contenders. Although I haven’t personally tested these products, my selection is informed by consumer testimonials, expert reviews, discussions on relevant online forums, and my institutional knowledge of the motorcycle industry.
Best Summer Motorcycle Pants Reviews & Recommendations
These pants may be an investment, but Klim is known for making virtually indestructible gear. There are also many color options, which is a breath of fresh air from the typical black option. Sure, there are four-way stretch mesh panels, Cordura impact zones, and breathable Superfabric constructing the pants. But what makes them stand out are the adjustment straps all over, making it possible to have a truly custom fit from waist to ankle.
As expected at this price level, CE-approved armor is included at the hips and knees. A high-end feature is the goat leather inner leg lining for better grip and heat protection. There is also an antimicrobial lining, helping to improve airflow and prevent that funky smell from developing on a hot weather ride. If you do plan to wear these off-road, be aware that the road-friendly slimmer cut can make them incompatible with knee braces. The bottom of these pants will not fit over your boots. Those external adjustment straps can also be a safety hazard if you are off the trails.
Karbonite Micromesh four-way stretch zones
Goat leather inner lining
Mesh antimicrobial lining
D30 CE level 1 armor at knee and hip
Won't fit over large boots
Get the Rev’It! Eclipse 2s, and add a pair of perfectly capable summer pants to your wardrobe without breaking the bank. These pants were made with the same ethos as the Eclipse 2 jacket, whereby they’re great value, are extremely breathable, and offer adequate protection. Breathability comes in the form of huge polyester mesh panels spread throughout the pants, which channel plenty of airflow. The rest of the chassis is made from 600D polyester in the impact zones, which has already proven itself a worthy protectant on the Eclipse 2 jacket
There are pockets for knee and hip armor, and CE level 1 Seesmart knee armor is included in the sale. Unfortunately, if you want hip armor, you’ll have to pick that up separately. There are two large chino-inspired front pockets and two regular rear pockets. One thing to be aware of is that there’s no adjustability at the cuff, so make sure it fits over your boot comfortably before purchasing.
CE level 1 Seesmart knee armor
Huge mesh panels
Deep front pockets
Hip armor pockets
600D polyester in impact zones
Hip armor not included
No cuff adjustability
Rev’it!’s Airwave 3 pants are essentially a step up from the Eclipse 2s in just about every way, but with only a small price jump. This model uses PWR mesh, which is knitted in an open structure to provide even better breathability and flexibility. The rest of the chassis is made from high-density polyester 600D in high-impact areas, stretch ripstop, and PWR shell stretch. The PWR shell stretch is a great addition at this price, as it adds tons of flexibility to the rider via stretch points that are impact resistant.
You get armor all around in the Airwave 3s, as they come with Seesmart CE level 1 protection at the knees and hips. The pants have a wide touring fit, and there are adjustable straps at the waist, as well as adjustment tabs at the ankles. A short connection zipper at the rear allows you to join these pants to compatible jackets from Rev’it!. The only real complaint with this model is that the velcro adjuster tab faces inside the leg cuff, meaning you can catch it on your foot peg when you come to a stop.
Seesmart CE level 1 knee and hip armor
PWR shell stretch
Adjustable waist and ankle straps
Ankle adjuster faces inward
If style is a top priority for you this summer, you might want to opt for the Bull-It Onyx Slim Jeans instead of their mesh counterparts. These jeans won’t offer as much airflow as mesh summer pants, but they’ll be better than heavy 3-season or leather pants. The styling, with the 5-pocket design, is as classically subtle as it gets. If you weren’t on a motorcycle, it’s unlikely that anyone would guess these jeans were intended for biking.
This model is made from cotton with about 10 percent Covec mixed in. Covec is a technical textile similar to Kevlar in that it’s engineered to be abrasion resistant and has low heat friction transfer. There’s also extra Covec around the knees for added impact resistance. These pants receive a AA abrasion resistance rating, but only when they’re paired with armor, which unfortunately isn’t included in the sale. But there are pockets for armor at the knees and hips.
AA abrasion resistance rating
Knee and hip armor pockets
Covec mixed throughout
Extra Covec at knees
Not as breathable as mesh pants
Armor not included
Our Verdict on the Best Summer Motorcycle Pants
the Klim Baja S4 pants take my top pick thanks to their durability, protection, and how much adjustability is on offer. If you're looking for the best bang for your buck, you can't go wrong with the Rev'it! Eclipse 2 pants.
Things to Consider Before Buying Summer Motorcycle Pants
Ride Style Fit
There are two basic categories for motorcycle pant fit: relaxed touring and sport. A relaxed touring fit is looser with a straight leg cut through the hips, thighs, and down to your feet. The wider leg opening at the bottom is designed to fit over your boots. A sport fit is slimmer, so the pants sit close to your body. The bottom of the pants are fitted to the ankle so that they fit inside your boots.
Armor and crash protection are what sets motorcycle pants apart from regular fashion pants. For the most protection, look for CE-certified armor over the knees and hips. Some manufacturers cut costs by using a foam alternative or skipping the armor entirely and only adding the pockets for it. Additionally, the textiles should be reinforced and stitched at stress and impact points. This makes the pants more durable and abrasion resistant. Finally, consider the textile used for the pants’ construction. Kevlar and aramid are traditional reinforcement materials. However, both are not very breathable. Modern textiles have reinforced fibers like Karbonite, ultra-high-molecular-weight polyethylene, and Cordura.
Leather is simply too hot for summer riding when there are other more breathable options. Consider riding jeans, mesh, and textile. While riding jeans are the least breathable, they are suitable for short in-town riding. Textiles are more breathable than riding jeans and offer more protective features. Finally, mesh pants are the most breathable and are ideal for riding in the hottest summer months.
You’ve got questions. The Drive has answers.
Q: Should motorcycle pants be longer?
A: Typically, motorcycle pants are longer than regular pants when in a standing position. This is because pants get shorter when you bend your knee. So motorcycle pants are longer to ensure they are not too short when you are in a riding position.
Q: Do I need to wear something under motorcycle pants?
A: Over pants are meant to be worn over your pants. Summer motorcycle pants are to be worn as pants. You can wear compression leggings for an extra layer of support, cooling, and protection. Just don’t go commando; you will end up chafed in places that are too sensitive to experience high friction levels.
Q: How do I wash my motorcycle pants?
A: Don’t machine wash your motorcycle pants, as this destroys the specialty fabric and any coatings it has. Ideally, you should remove the armor and wash your pants by hand. Use a pH neutral soap and never use fabric softener, as it gums up the fibers. Then, hang the pants up to dry in a cool, dry place that is out of direct sunlight.
Q: Are regular jeans good for motorcycle riding in summer?
A: Regular jeans aren’t a good choice for riding in general. They are not cut for a riding body position and lack the abrasion resistance necessary to protect you in the event of a fall. In addition, during summer, traditional jean material is not breathable and is slow to dry, making them hot and stifling.