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Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Four Season Riding Pants

I ran into a dilemma a few years ago when planning my summer trip to Colorado.  I knew we would start some mornings in the mountains with temperatures in the 30's and by afternoon I could be at riding at lower elevations with temps pushing the high 80's.  I also knew that rain was a certainty.  It rains every afternoon somewhere in the Colorado Rockies and I would end up riding in the rain at some point.

The dilemma was how to pack for the varying weather and temperatures within the capacity of my luggage (I also had to pack for my son who was 8 at the time).  On that particular trip I ended up pulling a trailer behind the  VStar 1100.
Waiting on construction on US 24 south of Leadville
The next two summers our trips took us to South Dakota and Kentucky/North Carolina respectfully.  I did not need to pack for colder temperatures on those two trips.
Sunny day at Mt. Rushmore, 2007
About to ride the Dragon - July 2008
The summer of '09 we rode to Colorado and Utah.  I once again had to figure out how to be prepared for the temperatures and rain/sleet/snow.  I decided to leave the chaps at home and take thermal underpants, thermal undershirts, and rain gear.  I would layer as needed.  That worked OK, but was still a little bulky and it required stopping in locations where I could either take the thermals off or put them on and this method added to my laundry.
40 degrees on top of the Grand Mesa in Colorado - June 2009
Last October, at the recommendation of a friend,  I decided to put up the money and purchase a pair of Tourmaster Flex Pants.  I found out during the winter months that the 4 layers will keep you very warm.

Four layers?!  Yes,  The Flex pants has a rainproof liner, a insulated liner, a mesh shell, and zip-on rainproof material.  Reflexive piping on increases night time visibility, thigh high zippers on the outside of the pants makes dressing easy, and adjustable waist belts and elastic waistband makes fitting customizable.
The pants come with removable knee and hip armor.  The knee pad pocket allows for three different heights for the armor so that a rider can adjust the pad to fit his/her knee.  There is also stretch material in the knees, inseam, and calf that provides a comfortable fit.  You can read more about the features on the Riders Discount page
Reflective piping works extremely well.
My favorite feature is the zip on/off rainproof material.  The crotch area is made with the rainproof material so only the leg portion of the pants zip on/off, but when off there is sufficient airflow.
The rainproof zip on/off portion of the Flex pants
 The rainproof shell is secured with three zippers.  After removing the rainproof zip-on/off and putting it back on a couple of times it all makes sense and is easy to use.  The pants with the rainproof shell provides a great deal of wind protection and is warm enough for late spring and early fall riding.

Insulated lining
Rainproof lining (note the different colored snap loops on the bottom on the pants.)
Adding the thermal liner made the pants plenty warm for 98% of the North Texas winter.  It would need to be very cold (25 degrees or lower) to warrant adding the rain liner with the thermal liner.  The first time I rode in the colder weather I had both liners in and the rainproof zip-on/off - I was quite toasty!

The rainproof liner and the insulated liner are easy to add to the shell.  Both have a white snap loop on the bottom of the left pant leg and a gray snap loop on the bottom of the right leg.   The snaps are used to secure the bottom of the pants and the color of the loop matches the loop on the inside of the shell - this is to help those of us that have difficulty putting things together.  :)

I took the pants with the rainproof zip-ons on my 2010 trip to Yellowstone and had all the weather protection I needed.  When crossing the Powder River Pass (9,666ft)  in Wyoming, riding the Beartooth Pass 10,947  in Montana & Wyoming, or when sleet got us on Mt. Evans (14,264) the pants worked perfectly.
July 2010 and it is sleeting on Mt. Evans! (Tourmaster pants 2nd from the left)
The pants rolled up and packed easily.  I used a small strap to keep the roll tight which made it packable and accessible. The pants are sturdy, well-made, versatile, and usable year round. I highly recommend the Tourmaster Flex Pants for riders that enjoy riding year-round.
Beartooth Highway - looking west.


  1. Interesting read, not sure if they are available in New Zealand. I know what you been by packing for the conditions, it can be very diffucult. Rode into Christchurch one afternoon and it was 32degrees celsius(89Fahrenheit), left the next morning and it was -2 (28f)!

  2. Research and hopefully you can find them. I think they are one of the very best riding pants you can get. Good for the weather and the armor is nice, but you can take it out if you need to.