September 14th, 2009 26 Comments » | View blog reactions
First off letâ€™s take a brief look at the practical applications of chaps in general. One is for protection when horseback riding through brushy terrain. Weâ€™ve all seen that in cowboy movies. But also forest workers sometimes wear chaps-like protection when operating chainsaws etc. Thereâ€™s likely a few more practical applications for chaps than that, but none of them involves motorcycle riding.
Thereâ€™s only one argument for wearing chaps riding a motorcycle, and that is if you think itâ€™s cool. Everything else is just nonsense. They offer little protection in a crash situation and Iâ€™ll bet you that bikers wearing chaps donâ€™t go riding much through brushy terrain.
Chaps and motorcycle riding is purely a question of personal style and serves no practical purpose compared to real protective riding gear. Itâ€™s just a bandana for your legs.
Then there is rain trousers which only serves a practical purpose and actually subtracts a bit from your personal style. Nobody looks cool in rain trousers but they have this great ability to keep you dry in the rain, and that is worth sacrificing a bit of coolness for.
Now someone had the brilliant idea of mixing the two and invent… Rain Chaps.
Letâ€™s consider this for a moment. We have one garment of purely practical purpose, and we have one garment of purely stylish purpose. We mix them both together, removing the practical from the practical garment, and the stylish from the stylish garment. Then what do we have?
The company who manufactures these Biker Rain Chaps was kind enough to send me a pair for review. Yesterday when it was raining I went for a 45km ride wearing the chaps. The photos below shows my pants after the ride.
As you can see the legs are dry, so you canâ€™t blame the Rain Chaps for not keeping out the rain. But it also looks like I seriously wet my self, and weâ€™re talking not taking a piss for days relief here.
So if we totally remove rain trousers and rain proof riding gear from the equation. In which way would you rather arrive, to say your next motorcycle rally, after a rainy trip. Totally soaked or looking like you seriously pissed yourself?
I say totally soaked, and… then you can even piss yourself without anyone noticing.
Rain Chaps is probably good for keeping dirt and the occasional splash of water off your pants. I know I could have used them one time when I blew a gasket and there was oil hissing out on my pants the entire trip home. But letâ€™s face it. If youâ€™re going to spend time putting on something to protect you from moist. Put on a pair of rain trousers and then be protected from all kinds of wet. You can easily get rain gear with a small packing size if thatâ€™s the issue. In terms of quality the chaps are pretty good. Easy to put on and all. I’m just not sure “rain” chaps is the best idea.
I told the manufacturer that I would probably choose regular rain gear over their Rain Chaps. This is their response to that:
At least here in the U.S., most riders do NOT stop to put on gear until after they are already drenched! We strongly advocate that riders prepare for as many conditions as permitted by their luggage capacity. Biker Rain Chaps are an excellent ‘first line of defense’ against the elements. Wearing them AHEAD of a change in the elements allows you to safely assess and get off the road while you stay dry, to determine whether you need to ride through severe conditions, in which case, the more comprehensive but cumbersome gear would be advised. This is statistically the lowest probability outcome, as most rain is in the form of a shower that passes, and the wetness of the road spray that’s left behind, or, rain that simply doesn’t last in any heavy way. Anyone that has the luggage space for a full rain suit will certainly be able to keep their Biker Rain Chaps handy too. We advocate the use of the Rain Chaps as a tool that will keep you dry while assessing, and in most cases, the full gear is not necessary.
Apparently you’re supposed to wear them all the time so that you stay protected from showers, and in the unlikely event of heavy rain you stay dry until you can pull over and put on your rain gear. Sorry guys. But if a shower just gets my pants wet from the knee down, they will dry again in 10 minutes. No way I’m wearing Rain Chaps just to avoid that. Of course, if you think Rain Chaps are cool, then it’s great. Go ahead and stay protected from light showers and road spray. Although I’m pretty sure that regular leather chaps performs these tasks as well, and they may after all be a bit more “street”.