Motorcycle Pants Buying Guide

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Motorcycle pants should be a key part of any biker's gear. To make sure you stay safe and comfortable on your bike, no matter what type of riding you’re doing, picking the right pair is essential. 

Motorcycle pants can really enhance the riding experience. Specifically designed for bikers, they can tackle the challenges of temperature, comfort, and safety all in one garment. Just as you’re highly unlikely to get on your motorcycle without your helmet or jacket, motorcycle pants should be a standard part of your kit to increase your level of protection.

Finding the right motorcycle pants doesn’t just help riders stay safe, but keeps them comfortable as they ride. To help riders find the right pair, here are some key features to look out for when choosing motorcycle pants. 

What are motorcycle pants?

Motorcycle pants are specifically designed to handle the unique challenges of motorcycling. They offer more protection, comfort, flexibility and safety than casual pants which aren’t designed for riding. 

Pants can be specifically designed for a number of purposes, including track racing, motocross, off-roading, touring and daily commuting. There are motorcycle pants to suit every need, body type, and style, and featuring varying levels of impact protection. 

Motorcycle pants can be categorized by the type of material used to make them:

  • Leather pants. For many bikers, leather remains the go-to choice of material. Hard-wearing and abrasion resistant, leather motorcycle pants usually feature impact protection around the knees and hips. The impact protection is generally removable and fitted in pockets, allowing bikers to customize the level and type of protection to best suit their needs, and remove the pads for washing. D3O offers a range of impact protection types from fit-and-forget D3O® Ghost™, to ultra-breathable LP1 pads.
  • Textile pants. Textile motorcycle pants have come a long way in recent years, and for riders looking for specific technical features they make an ideal choice. Textile pants often include aspects such as waterproofing and enhanced breathability with built-in mesh. They are also often more lightweight than leather, and may be cheaper to purchase. As with leather pants, impact protection typically comes in pockets and can be removed for washing or upgraded to be a more suitable type as needed by the rider, such as CE/UKCA Level 2 certified D3O® LP2 Pro pads.   
  • Denim riding pants. Also called motorcycle jeans, these pants are popular with more casual riders thanks to their lookalike style to ordinary jeans. Denim riding pants usually have abrasion resistant materials woven directly into the fabric, and can feature removable knee and hip protection. As they’re aimed at more casual riders, denim pants tend to feature ‘fit-and-forget’ impact protection, such as D3O® Ghost™, which offers thin and flexible protection without compromising on safety.  

Although these are the main categories of motorcycle pants that are available, there is a huge variety when it comes to the quality, level of protection and comfort that each pair offers. As well as thinking about the features you want from your pants, it’s important to check the specifications of each pair and ideally try them on to make sure they fit well before you buy.

What are the benefits of motorcycle pants?

The main reason for wearing motorcycle pants is the extra protection that they offer riders in the case of a fall or accident. Compared to normal pants, motorcycle pants are built to resist the abrasion and impact risk that comes with the territory. Riders who choose high-quality materials, and wear a minimum of CE or UKCA Level 1 impact protection such as that offered by D3O, are less likely to suffer major injuries during a crash. 

Consider what kind of riding you’re doing. If you just use your bike to commute to work, you might prefer lightweight impact protection that acts in a ‘fit-and-forget’ capacity. D3O® Ghost™ armor is the most flexible impact protection available without any compromise on safety. 

Bikers looking to head off-road or onto a track might prefer to choose from D3O’s LP range. The breathable knee and hip pads offer Level 1 or Level 2 impact protection (LP1 and LP2 Pro respectively), and are tested and trusted in the harshest conditions. 

Motorcycle pants usually come with impact protection pads included or pockets to host these, offering the option to swap or upgrade the protection type or level. 

Created with riders in mind, motorcycle pants put safety first, closely followed by comfort and practicality. Safety features, such as the inclusion of impact protection and hard-wearing materials, work best when paired with comfort aspects such as stretch panels, moisture-wicking fabric, or mesh layers. It’s important that riders aren’t distracted by sweat or uncomfortable seams when riding as this can also lead to accidents. 

How to choose the best motorcycle pants

When you’re looking for your ideal motorcycle pants, there are plenty of features you need to consider, including: 

  • Style and fit. Make sure you can ride and get on or off your bike with ease. Choose a style that fits comfortably, gives full coverage and isn’t restrictive. 
  • Comfort. Riding a bike can get very warm, wet, or muddy at times. Check pant materials to see if they’re waterproof, weatherproof, windproof, or breathable depending on your needs and the time of year you want to wear them in. 
  • Safety certification. Choose motorcycle pants that are rated A - AAA. A rating covers motorcycle clothing suitable for urban or casual riding when impact protection is included. AA is typical for touring gear - slightly tougher materials but still including impact protection as standard. AAA is the highest possible rating, and this covers motorcycle gear right up to race level standard. The ratings here mean that the pants themselves as a whole, not just the impact protectors, are rated to safety levels. Always look for highly quality D3O® impact protection when buying motorcycle pants.
  • Material quality. Checking the quality of the material and that it’s fit for purpose will ensure you’re choosing the most durable and protective option available. Textile pants may have features like Kevlar-woven fabric, while leather pants may include reinforced stitching and stretch panels.
  • Impact protection. D3O offers market-leading impact protection to the highest certification levels. Choose from CE/UKCA Level 1 and Level 2 impact protection, checked and tested to rigorous safety criteria. Having one of these marks is highly recommended to reduce the risk of severe injuries in an accident, whether riding to work or participating in a race. D3O has impact protection products suitable for every type of motorcyclist, all offering superior safety and soft, flexible protection.


As well as looking at the features, the best way to find your ideal motorcycle pants is to try them on. This is the only real way you can see if the fit and material are comfortable enough for you to move and ride freely. After all, motorcycle pants should keep you feeling good, protected and improve your riding experience.