Motorcycle Chaps (Purple, or Otherwise)

Purple Motorcycle ChapsDO 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?

7 thoughts on “Motorcycle Chaps (Purple, or Otherwise)

  • My chaps have fringe. 🙂 If I happened upon a purple pair, I would be tempted! I wear chaps mostly on the highway and in the cold.

  • I used to use chaps but graduated to leather pants when I rode to Alaska. I’ll never go back to chaps again. A wet crotch is not my idea of a good time in those small rains in the mountains.

  • I’ve been riding on the street for over 30 years and have been down twice. Once when I was kid, it was my fault. A product of too stupid to be riding, but rode anyways. Fortunately I calmed down with age and survived those first few years on bikes. Years later I went down while riding in the mountains. I went over a hill into a downhill left, unfortunately the temperature was dropping and the road was wet at the bottom of the hill. I road off the side of the road and launched myself over the handlebars, I landed on my head, so I had no real damage.

    I had chaps on for the second crash and just jeans for the first. Chaps offered no help when I had them on and probably would have helped when I didn’t have them on, because a piece of body molding from the car stuck into my leg, making a nice hole. So I now wear chaps whenever it isn’t just too hot and hope I never have to try them out to see if they help. I also just wear plain black no frills chaps. They are very helpful in cold weather also. I wear them over a pair of flannel lined jeans and have ridden down into the high 30’s without being too cold. The jeans keep you warm and the chaps block the wind.

  • I have a good pair of leather MC chaps that I have worn exactly three times. I found them to be a PITA to get on, as stated in the article , no weather protection for crotch/ass and they take up a lot of packing room. I now wear dedicated riding pants that are very comfortable, have armor at the knees and ass and are water resistant, water proof with liner. I dont have to worry about packing them into my panniers as I wear them all the time.

  • I’ve ridden motorcycles since 1965 and have worn chaps off and on for perhaps the last fifteen years. When I got my first Harley (having been used to liquid-cooled engines) I started wearing chaps in hot weather, slow traffic conditions to protect my legs from the engine heat. My newer Harley does not roast my legs but I do wear chaps in cold weather for protection from the elements. I’m not concerned about making any fashion statements, so my chaps are black with no frills or designs. I’ve not laid the bike down so I’m not sure what protection the chaps would give against road rash. I presume they would provide more protection than denim.

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