First off let’s take a brief look at the practical applications of chaps in general. One is for protection when horseback riding through brushy terrain. We’ve all seen that in cowboy movies. But also forest workers sometimes wear chaps-like protection when operating chainsaws etc. There’s likely a few more practical applications for chaps than that, but none of them involves motorcycle riding.

There’s only one argument for wearing chaps riding a motorcycle, and that is if you think it’s cool. Everything else is just nonsense. They offer little protection in a crash situation and I’ll bet you that bikers wearing chaps don’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. It’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.

Copy of IM000253

Let’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.

wet-pants

As you can see the legs are dry, so you can’t blame the Rain Chaps for not keeping out the rain. But it also looks like I seriously wet my self, and we’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.

Verdict.
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 let’s face it. If you’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 that’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”.

Not recommended: Verdict: 1/5 helmets

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26 Responses to “Biker Rain Chaps invention tried and tested”

  1. buebo  September 14th

    I don’t think I could have made that point more diplomatically…

    “Thanks for sending me stuff to check out, but your chaps are just a stupid idea” might not cut it. :)

    Waterproof chaps: Sounds like a half sharped pocket knife, a dried watermelon, a sad joke…

  2. Dan  September 14th

    Awesome review.

    I once had someone ask, “how do you tour without chaps? Don’t you get cold? Wet?” (“uh, i have MC pants…”) And this was from a Triumph rider. So there is a perception that chaps are practical accessories, or necessities, to the motorcycle experience.

    That doesn’t change the reality that in all their guises they are pretty much useless for anything on two wheels.

  3. Gus  September 15th

    Chaps were made for equestrienne uses, brought along for motorbikes. The speed of the bike and water impact of the rain does change the equation.
    I am a water resistant suit wearer, 100% of the time. Then there are fewer reasons to stop for, like fuel, pictures and personal needs.
    Thanks for re-selling me on chaps.

  4. Sean K  September 17th

    I wear (not affiliated) Colorado Chaps Heavy Duty Motorcycle chaps. I’ve added reflective piping, leather pipe patches and Knox armor as they have it available. These are Cordura with a high denier and protect well from wet roads, rocks, and the occasional dog which has gotten too close. In heavy rain, the top also gets wet, but on a colder day, I’ll take them over just jeans any day.I went down two years ago on the super slab and was able to walk away thanks to my gear. The chaps were worn down and torn, but all that happened to my jeans under was a mark from the melted nylon. Not hardly a bruise on my legs, even after flipping head over heals 5 or six times. I instantly ordered another set.

  5. Jennilynn  September 18th

    I agree with you “Sean K”. Since I am a horseback rider and have a passion for the road as well, I totally agree with you as to the value of protective riding gear. You can’t beat high quality leather in the bitter cold or when when “hopefully NOT” you flip head over heals. I have never experienced a crash, however, nothing like being prepared against the worst possible outcome. Great insurance! Enjoyed your comments.

  6. Jesper  September 18th

    I don’t think chaps counts as preparing for the worst possible outcome. Unless of course you wear them over full protective motorcycle pants.

    Granted that wearing chaps with knee cap protection is more protective than just jeans. But if protection is the argument there’s really no excuse for not wearing a proper riding suit. Either a full suit, or a set where jacket and pants zip together.

  7. Pan Chopper Man  September 20th

    I agree with you on these chaps Jesper, …if you’re gonna wear chaps, wear the good ole leather chaps that you’ve been wearing faithfully for the past thirty years. Besides, old leather looks cool.

    Pan Chopper Man
    Maine, USA

  8. Places 2 Ride  September 23rd

    Bravo! I think chaps are damn near the silliest thing anyone ever wore on a motorcycle. Maybe next to fringed… um… anything.

  9. Jennilynn  September 23rd

    I think the great thing about riding is the freedom of the road. We can go where we want, when we want and wear what we want. We have a lot of choices out there and one of mine is leather chaps – silly to some but it makes sense to me.

    Ride Safe!

  10. Jesper  September 23rd

    You are absolutely right Jennilynn. I totally agree that you should wear what ever you like.

    The point is practicality vs. style. Chaps fall mostly in the style categori. Like eg. open face helmets. I wear an open face helmet all the time. But I’d never argue that it is just as safe or practical as a full face helmet.

  11. mitch harris  September 28th

    Jesper,

    Thanks again for your review of Biker Rain Chaps. I do have to say though that I believe you missed the point on our $19.99 “first line of defense” rain product.

    In the USA, most riders wear NO gear, protective, rain, or otherwise. This is simply a low cost, functional alternative to wearing cumbersome, heavy, sweaty full gear 100% of the time. Many who love these do so because they CAN be worn as at least an initial alternative.

    Sean K noted that he wears Colorado brand Chaps. These are actually very similar to Biker Rain Chaps, except you can, for an extra price, add features to their $70 PLUS base price.

    Pan Chopper Man commented that he uses leather chaps. Hmmm. Me too, except that when it’s 90 degrees with 85% humidity, he’ll likely be soaking his leathers from the inside out! Also, leather is generally NOT waterproof and once soaked, a rider is likely carrying at least an extra 50 lbs. of wet, cold, spongy baggage on their legs. I don’t think this is what Mr. Pan Chopper Man had in mind while (as he stated) trying to look cool in his vintage leathers.

    Practicality vs. style? We have PAGES of testimonials of many that LOVE their $20 investment, and not a single one of them mentioned how great they look in front of a mirror (although they are form fitting as well as comfortable).

    Again, thanks again for your personal review. I did feel it needed one more response to address some of the comments posted.

    Peace,
    Mitch Harris, President
    BRC Ltd.

  12. Jennilynn  September 28th

    Actually when you put it that way – I think you are right!

    Best,
    Jennilynn
    “Leather on the Outside”

  13. Jesper  September 28th

    Thank you for participating in the debate Mitch.

    I don’t see much variation from your initial response though.

    I’m thinking that you hang on very much to the concept of your product. Which is of course understandable.

    My opinion is that the practicality of chaps on a motorcycle is demised by their style statement. I believe that there’s no sensible argument against that.

    I do not agree on your statements about the hassle involved with riding gear or even an average rain suit. I believe that leather is more water proof than you imply.

    I believe that a regular pair of leather chaps is protective against rain to the same level as your rain chaps. The only difference being the amount of awkward wetness when the two types of garment reach their limit of use.

    I have ridden all kinds of motorcycles in all kinds of weather, wearing all kinds of clothes, all kind of distances, in all kinds of different countries.

    I have experienced no situation where I would rather have been wearing rain chaps instead of what I was wearing.

    Granted rain chaps are likely cheaper than leather chaps. But not necessarily cheaper than regular rain pants.

    Basically I believe it all boils down to if you think rain chaps are cooler than rain pants and are willing to sacrifice some practicality for that coolness.

    If you do, I have no problem with that what so ever. I don’t.

  14. Philscbx  September 30th

    I don’t think most of you have a real clue what Chaps are for.

    Look what date it is today, and then head to the back roads of Minnesota at night when the temps drop down to mid forties.

    I’ll bet 5K those same people will turn around whining they didn’t have their Chaps with to put on.

    Your knees will be so frozen from the damp cold air cruising 70 mph, you won’t be able to get off the bike or walk when you get to the bar 30 miles later.

    I could care less what the heck they looked like.

    Plus if they pack in 1/2 the space normal riding pants do, but we don’t get that view. That’s hardly a review.
    We get views of the biggest jeans I ever saw.

    Real riders that ride all day in the rain & cold, and not bat an eye like most who ride BMW’s, and a few hard core types that ride a 1800 Neo VTX 1700 miles with no windshield non stop like myself, we’ll take Em.

  15. Jesper  October 1st

    If you ride all day in the rain and cold wearing jeans and rain chaps. I hope for you that you’ve had the kids you want. Because there’s no doubt your balls will be frozen stuck to the seat when you reach your bar after 1700 miles (nice millage btw.).

    On the other hand. Had you been wearing regular rain pants, which packs just as small as the chaps, you’d probably be just fine.

    You said it Philscbx. I don’t think it can be put more clear than that.

  16. Philscbx  October 5th

    Sporting a tank bag is nice addition, but yea, pouring rain is the pits and no warm refuge in the middle of no where? I’ll keep cruising till hotel comes into view, and bar maid peels me off with warm spatula.
    Cheers

  17. easyRiderED  October 17th

    I use my tried and true Frogg Motorcycle Rain Gear – it keeps everything dry. Chaps are for making the ass look good, not for functional use.

    -E

  18. BikerThomas.com  October 17th

    About time someone took this up! I don’t see why anyone would pay for chaps when they could get waterproof pants instead. It’s like buying a rain jacket with short sleeves…

  19. MotoViews.com » Biker Rain Chaps invention tried and tested » Your guide to motorcycling - biking news, database, latest models and related information  October 29th

    [...] Read full post at Jesper. [...]

  20. Dominique  March 24th

    Chaps do look colll but they also protect you. Here in Quebec you need your chaps while riding especially at springtime or early autumn.

  21. Johny Quick Seat  May 23rd

    I actually have a pair of these bad boys. I picked them up at an All American Rider Rally when some ass poured a beer on my pants, I bought them from a vendor there. Now I cant take the damn things off they are great!
    Thanks for the awesome product.

  22. Renz  June 18th

    Thanks for sharing. At first, I was thinking if someone is selling the same stuff here in Manila but after reading the whole article, it doesn’t matter anymore. I don’t want to go to office looking soaked although not really wet on the inside.

  23. andar  July 3rd

    I think chaps are damn near the silliest thing anyone ever wore on a motorcycle. Maybe next to fringed… um… anything.

  24. Buy Leather Biker Chaps  July 15th

    Hi,Blogger I visited your blog recently and found that so interesting..really driving bike is the greatest fun ever..thanks for the job done,,cheer up!!

    Buy Leather Biker Chaps

  25. GLENN RUEGER  November 17th

    OK I know that chaps are silly when used as sole protection from injury or rain, but what’s wrong with throwing on a pair of chaps over your armored riding pants to provide some extra warmth in the morning, evening, or for going over high passes?
    I’m so sick of style-hatred among motorcyclists. Who cares what we’re wearing? And why does what I wear have to put me in your ridiculous pigeonholes?

  26. Philscbx  November 18th

    There’s a horrible incident on Youtube of traffic cam that caught the rider in Dallas as his strap from chaps came loose and got into the rear drive yanking him off in rush hour traffic.

    Luckily a Dodge truck dives into position to block cars from running over the guy.
    He survived the crash.

    Almost the same thing happened with the leather sling bag I wore one day when the waist strap came unlatched, and dragged on the rear wheel and exhaust, melting itself in place or I’d have been jerked off as well.

    A 820lb machine can do some damage out of control.
    If it’s got long straps, cut em.

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