Whether you are a novice motorcycle rider or an expert endurance enthusiast, body armor has got to be your most important asset. Over the years, the industry of motorcycle body armor has expanded and introduced a variety of products.
Most of the riding pants are skin-tight and made of tough leather which can be a real pain during summer. This is where armored motorcycle shorts come in. In this guide, we review five of the greatest armored motorcycle shorts available and provide tips on how to choose the perfect one to wear!
The 5 Leading Armored Motorcycle Shorts
1. Klim Tactical Shorts
Our Top Pick – Most Breathable
Best for simple cruises down the city on the motorbike, the Klim Tactical armored motorcycle shorts are sure to impress every onlooker as well as the wearer.
Constructed using an advanced perforated Poron XRD fabric, the Tactical shorts not only protect against high-impact abrasions up to the tailbone; they also enhance ventilation and cooling. Even the pockets are made of mesh pads!
The Klim Tactical Shorts truly redefine the look of motorcycle body armor with its superior construction and exceeds its competition on breathability.
2. Leatt 3DF 5.0 Impact Shorts
Editors’ Choice – Best Impact Protection
Outfitted out of strong 3DF fabric, the Leatt 5.0 armored motorcycle shorts are actually quite lightweight for the impact protection they promise. The armor material is high quality and pretty versatile in terms of comfort — even on a cold day.
The CE certified armored motorcycle shorts are padded around the hip, thighs and tailbone with cooling, moisture-wicking and odor-resistant mesh liners. The cuffs around the leg are elasticated, maximizing the stretch ability of the 5.0 shorts. Safe to say, the lower body will be fully protected on a hot day.
The Leatt 3DF 5.0 impact shorts are the perfect pick for endurance high-speed motorcyclists.
3. Alpinestars Bionic Freeride Shorts
Convenient Choice – Most Comfortable
If you’re looking for a pair of armored motorcycle shorts you can wear under denim as extra protection, then the Alpinestars Bionic Freeride shorts are your best pick.
They are made of a light, cooling fabric that makes summer riding a joy and hard PU armor pads on the hips and tailbone for comfort and good protection during impact.
The Alpinestars Freeride waistline is easy to adjust, the fitting is great and the shorts are flexible.
The Alpinestars Bionic Freeride shorts are a great way to add an extra layer of protection, perfect for racers and motocross riders.
4. Dainese Hard Shorts E1
Reliable Choice – Best for Off-Roading
Rated CE level 2, the Dainese Hard Shorts E1 are a great pair to line under denim and riding pants as an added protection layer against impact.
They are made out of sturdy Kevlar to prevent road burns, a mesh elasticated chassis for breathability as well as soft foam padding on the rear for increased comfort.
The Dainese Hard Shorts E1 are your next best find if you’re looking for a good leg armor that is breathable, rated CE level 2 and costs less than $120.
5. Moose Racing XC1 Guard Base Armour Shorts
Value Choice – Most Stretchable
Perfect for everyday wear, the Moose Racing XC1 Guard Base Armor riding shorts are crafted out of nylon and spandex offering protection in the event of a crash and wonderful stretchability to ‘break in’ easily.
The lining is quick-drying, the foam padding on the hips and tailbone is narrow to remove the bulky feel and has a low profile design.
The Moose Racing XC1 Guard Base Armour shorts are perfect for beginner riders.
How to Choose the Best Armoured Motorcycle Shorts
Before getting on the motorcycle, it’s more important to prepare for the slide than it is to prepare for the ride. So, take some time out to look for a good quality pair of armored shorts before investing. Here is what you should look for when buying motorcycle shorts with protective armor.
Armored motorcycle shorts come in two different types of fabric: leather and textiles.
Leather is considered one of the safest types of fabric for moto pants because of how sturdy and durable it is. Leather motorcycle shorts safeguard the hips and pelvis by preventing impact abrasions and gravel rashes. However, they can be quite painful during the summer as leather isn’t breathable.
For breathability, look for motorcycle armoured shorts made of textiles or Kevlar fabric. Kevlar jeans handle impact well, lasts long and is quite flexible. Textile armored shorts are also more cost-effective than leather MX pants. However, they aren’t as abrasion-resistant as leather.
When in the market for armored shorts, you’ll come across a tag indicating a CE rating. It, basically, indicates how well the armor is going to protect you on the highway.
CE stands for European Conformity and it is used as a guideline of safety measures rather than a standard all around the world. There are two types of CE ratings: 01 and 02. Each dictates the performance level of the armour whereby 02 has the upper hand.
Although CE rated armour isn’t mandated in the US, it’s nice to be informed of the quality of the armour you’re wearing as it is going to protect you in the event of a crash.
When it comes to choosing the size of armored shorts, all that matters is the length.
The general rule of thumb is that the shorts should be a few inches longer than your usual size so when you sit on the bike, it’s easier to pull up and still manage a good level of protection on the knees.
Since armored shorts are usually skin-tight, choosing a longer length also allows a little more ‘give’ for ventilation and lets the rider change positions easily.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is CE level 1 or 2 better?
Both CE level 1 and 2 motorcycle armor perform well in reducing impact and preventing abrasions but CE level 2 does a better job at it than level 1 armour. It can handle a lot more force, is more durable and maintains well even after a crash.
Are jeans good for motorcycle riding?
No, jeans aren’t good for motorcycle riding. They offer a certain level of protection against impact abrasions but most denims cannot handle the force that CE level motorcycle armour can take. Also, they aren’t as flexible which restricts movement in the event of a crash.
Now that you know how to choose the best armoured motorcycle shorts and five of the best ones available on the market, there’s nothing stopping you from being 100% safe on the street while enjoying high speed riding and hilly climbs up the mountain. Make sure the armored shorts match the CE level!