Should my motorcycle pants be waterproof or not?

Shubhabrata Marmar Updated: November 07, 2014, 07:57 PM IST

Welcome back to OVERDRIVE's no stone left unturned guide to motorcycle pants. This is one of the sections of the comprehensive guide - you will find links to the other sections as they come online at the bottom of this page. And now let's get on with the guide. This time we're discussing why waterproof pants are usually not the end-all and be-all of pant buying.

We want waterproof gear for the rains. But I'd tell you two things from riding daily in India for over eighteen years now. Full-on waterproof pants just don't work in Indian weather as your primary or only option. They're too warm and slowly nudge you back into denims or worse.

Nelson-Rigg-StormRider-Rain-SuitThis is a rain suit meant for riding. You also get single-piece suits that are more effective but less convenient. Using these does mean you have to stop by the side of the road to put them on or take them off but it also means you and your kit stay dry in the rains. Cheap ones will make you sweat and better versions use breathable materials and vents to keep your relatively sweat-free. Image courtesy: Nelson Rigg

So what you should get is waterproofing from a layer and remember that waterproof is also usually windproof and ergo warm. Internal waterproof layers can be great but are hard to add or remove on the side of the road and more importantly, the exterior of the pant will get wet first, no matter what. This isn't a problem, just something to keep in mind in terms of your mental discomfort at the idea. External waterproof layers - like a cheap rain suit - can be cheap and useful but they're also usually fragile and not very good at lasting for a long time.

I prefer the latter for most things. I rode to Leh wearing mesh pants adding my rain suit bottoms for warmth and waterproofing when I needed it. They were more duct tape than pants by the end but it worked. Rs 300 well spent. But I'll happily swap to internal layers if I'm going to be on the bike the whole day with unpredictable but not very warm weather.

MotoPort_Dane_Strandy_LinerThis is the Dane Strandby Liner on sale at MotoPort. This is a waterproof pant that is supposed to go inside your regular motorcycle pants and insulate you from water. That's why it doesn't appear to have a waistbelt - it will use a set of zippers and snaps to attach to the motorcycle pant. These can be very effective although it does mean that your actual motorcycle pants will get wet on the outside in any case. During actual riding, that really isn't a big deal, mind you. Image courtesy: MotoPort Webshop

More from OVERDRIVE on motorcycling gear: -

Cheapest motorcycle boots in India

Top five cheapest motorcycle jackets in India

Top four cheapest motorcycle gloves in India

Denims on a bike

Materials used to make motorcycle pants

Motorcycle pants - normal trousers or overpants?

Buying guides: -

The motorcycle boot buying guide

Motorcycle jacket buying guide

Motorcycle glove buying guide

Helmet styles: How to pick a helmet that works for you


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