DO YOU WEAR PURPLE MOTORCYCLE CHAPS? In the biker community, particularly among cruisers, not everyone can pull off this color with grace and dignity, especially if they should be desiring to reflect the most traditional of motorcycle fashions. As a side note, it could be argued that even though women have been riding motorcycles for as long as men, it seems that in the 21st century modern women riders are at the vanguard of expanding motorcycle fashion.
Leather motorcycle chaps have been around a long time. They are designed to provide protection for the legs, predating motorcycles altogether and going back to the American cowboy days when they were worn as leg protection for riding horses through rough terrain. Earlier than that, they go back to riders who herded cattle in Spain and Mexico. I wonder if 19th century cow-herders wore purple chaps? Alas, that was before color film was invented, so that would seem to be a debatable point.
And, by the way, for any motorcyclists who don’t also ride horses, chaps are still part of the equestrian community today. At least I’ve seen them at the rodeo. So, even though some motorcyclists might consider chaps as being uniquely a motorcycle apparel — well, that just ain’t so.
Putting the history of horse-riding chaps aside, they seem to have become more popularized within biker culture in the early 1960’s.
Leather motorcycle chaps are usually made with the smooth side out, and have side zippers to allow them to be put on easily. They do offer bikers additional protection from the wind and cold as well as some abrasion protection in the event of a fall.
Leather, leather-like or textile chaps are buckled over pants. But unlike trousers, they have no seat or crotch protection. If you want seat and crotch protection, you’re simply looking for leather pants. Again, as is quite obvious by design, the purpose of motorcycle chaps is to provide leg protection (and arguably, a certain “look”).
If you’re comparing and reviewing biker chaps for a purchase, here a a few details to consider:
- Check out the size of the pockets (Deep pockets are a plus)
- Determine if you want chaps that have a liner, or not, for cooler weather
- Are the chaps waterproof? (Untreated leather doesn’t like rain)
- And for some riders, braids and fringes are an important consideration
- Color? Alas, purple biker chaps won’t work for me, but they can be fine for other riders
What’s your experience with chaps?