How Should Motorcycle Pants Fit

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As an item of safety gear, your motorcycle pants need to fit properly and comfortably in order to offer you the best protection and ride experience. In addition to this, you should ensure your motorcycle pants are CE certified (or UKCA equivalent) to the PPE Regulation 2016/425 in accordance with the  EN1621 series of standards, as it will lower the risk of injury whilst riding. 

However, unlike a helmet or jacket, where riders often take a great deal of time and care to make a decision and find the perfect fit, motorcycle pants can be a bit of an afterthought when it comes to purchasing a great fitting pair. 

If you currently ride in just a pair of regular jeans or pants, while they might be more practical for hopping on and off your bike, these won’t offer you any protection in the event of a crash or fall. This could result in serious injury from impact, as well as abrasion damage. Everyday pants aren’t designed for the trials of motorcycling and offer little to no protection. As they’re not designed to be worn on a motorcycle, the cut is likely to be quite different, so you might be creating a more uncomfortable ride for yourself in addition to not being protected.

Choose motorcycle pants from the world’s best brands for the best fit, and always look for D3O® impact protection to guarantee a high level of safety. There are a few key things to look for when looking for the perfect pair of motorcycle pants.


Just like everyday pants, motorcycle pants come in a variety of lengths to suit almost every height. Whether you’re over 6 feet tall or on the petite side of things, you can be sure to find motorcycle pants that will work for you. 

Many motorcycle pants include details about leg length and inseam so you can take exact measurements to get the right fit. Motorcycle pants should look a little long when you are standing and wearing them. This is because when on your bike, your knees are bent, pulling the material up. Leave a little extra spare at the bottom so that when riding you’re not cramped into an awkward position and can stay comfortable all day.

Check that your impact protection is sitting in the correct place on your knees and hips when you are in a riding position. It should be fully covering the joint and not slipping or sliding up or down. Proper length pants that sit correctly when in riding position will help keep your armor in the right place. 


Motorcycle pants come in close or more relaxed fits, but generally are cut relatively close to the body. This is to stop them flapping about while you’re riding and potentially causing a serious hazard. You can think of pants as coming in skinny and straight leg fits, as opposed to wide leg or bootcut. 

Waist sizes are typically measured in inches so you can get an accurate fit. Consider your riding position too. If you ride more forward (such as on a sports bike), choose pants that don’t dig into your stomach as you ride, and size up instead with a belt or braces to compensate. On cruisers, you can probably get away with a similar waist size to your everyday pants. The last thing you want to be distracted by when riding is feeling suffocated in your pants, so be pragmatic with your sizing. 

As motorcycle pants come in many varieties, the fit of each may vary. Sportbike leathers will fit much closer than casual bike jeans, and touring pants may be looser and more lightweight. Try on lots of different brands and visit a dedicated shop if you can, especially when buying your first pair, so they can assess the right fit for you. Last but not least, check that your impact protection is sitting in the correct place without being too tight or restrictive. 


You can choose from two main materials when it comes to motorcycle pants: leather and textile. Textile covers everything from technical touring gear to Kevlar-reinforced denim riding pants. Leather is typically seen as the reference for motorcycle pants, and while it offers excellent abrasion resistance and is hard-wearing for years of riding, it can be expensive and hot to wear. Textile pants, including touring pants and more casual bike jeans, can offer more comfort and technical features to riders, such as mesh ventilation, waterproofing, and insulation, depending on the conditions you ride in. 

Whichever material you opt for, always look for pants that come with D3O® impact protection included, or at the minimum have pockets to insert impact protection armor at the knees and hips. 

Rider Comfort Features

Being comfortable while you ride can make or break your experience out on the bike. Pants that are too tight or too loose aren’t just irritating, they can be a hazard if your attention is diverted while riding. Look for motorcycle pants that provide a comfortable fit around the waist and legs when on the bike. You can also explore pants that have extra rider comfort features such as stretch panels, moisture-wicking materials, thermal insulation, waterproofing, and ventilation via zips or mesh panels. Safety features like hi-viz strips and reinforced seams are an added bonus when buying pants. 

Impact Protection

The fit of your motorcycle pants should allow your impact protection to sit in the correct place to offer maximum safety in the event of a fall or crash. In motorcycle pants, knee and hip protection is what you should be looking for. Impact protection should fully cover the joint without slipping down or riding up while on your bike. It should not distract you while riding or restrict your range of movement.

D3O® impact protection is soft and flexible, molding comfortably around the joint while riding, and stiffening on impact to disperse its force. This makes it a fantastic choice for motorcycle pants. For added ventilation, choose from D3O® LP1 or LP2 Pro knee and hip protectors - the latter are ideal for higher speed riding or where the likelihood of falls and crashes is higher. If you’re a casual rider or everyday commuter, D3O® Ghost™ armor is ultra-flexible providing rider comfort like no other - a tried and tested ‘fit and forget’ solution for impact protection.

Safety Certification

You’ve sourced the perfect fitting pair of motorcycle pants, but don’t go jumping on your bike to test them out until you know they meet the right safety criteria. D3O® motorcycle impact protection is CE/UKCA certified to Level 1 or higher, and the whole garment can meet certain standards as well. Look for AAA-A classification, and a CE/UKCA certification according to EN17092-2:2020. As a general rule, A class pants are fine for commuting and casual riding, as these are tested at speeds up to 45 km/h for abrasion resistance, and tear and seam strength. These are often referred to as ‘lightweight’ in comparison to AA (‘middleweight’) pants. AA is generally more suited to touring and general riding as it’s tested for the same measures as A but at 70 km/h. The highest possible class is AAA, which is for pants tested to hold up at 120 km/h. The materials used to produce these pants are typically of better quality and more durable, making them most suitable for racing.

Why choose D3O

Whether it’s AAA or A, make sure you use D3O® impact protection in your pants for the safest ride possible. When shopping for motorcycle pants, the two main things to keep in mind are that they fit well and will keep you safe. All motorcycle gear has a safety element to it, and it’s worth investing in proper pants with impact protection included to help stay as safe as possible when riding. 

D3O partners with some of the very best motorcycle brands out there to deliver world-leading impact protection for riders. Explore the range of D3O partner brands today and benefit from market-leading impact protection.