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MX pants have come a long ways from the days of full leather construction, to giant air vents and big patches of protection, to now going after the slim and flexible designs that today's top riders use. The price range of motocross pants varies heavily, and we see most riders wear a bit of everything from a gear company, so what's the real differences? Check out our guide to help you decipher what's what in this area.
Depending upon what quality of materials you're looking to get, almost every gear company has a low, mid, and top level price point. With this the pants can range from $100-$170 on average, but these recent flagship models are going above $170 and topping out at around $220.
At the bottom of the price range, you'll find a basic pant equipped with less stretchable materials in more panels to create the rider's range of motion. You'll also find a reduced quantity of leather (or fake leather) in the knees to wear against the bike. Also, these pants will have a more basic closure system—typically a strap and zipper. These pants will do the job, but are typically heavier and don't vent as well as the higher end options.
As you move up the price range, you'll find the materials getting lighter and more stretchable, which allows the manufacturer to use fewer panels of material to move with your body. These materials are usually designed to maintain their wear resistance at lighter weights, while also offering better air flow and cooling, especially warm weather/vented versions.
At the top of the range you'll move to pants that have even less panels and will begin to remind you of workout/stretchy pants in areas. They're more athletic in cut, but more flexible to move with the body, allowing just enough extra room for knee braces. Adjustments to the waist area can be found in this range and other special materials which boost the price, but give you the best-of-the-best for comfort, wear resistance, cooling, and action on the bike.
Almost all moto pants are constructed from a variety of polyester materials, and forms of leather, with different quantities of stretch materials to create the action and movement you need. Some high-end pants are even trying nylon, which breathes and flexes more than polyester.
The largest differences in price jumps come from the quality/grade of polyester and leather patches, and the amount of stretch panels throughout the pant. The higher quality of materials used, the less that is needed to maintain durability, thus making high end pants lighter. Beyond that, the closure system and the waist adjustments increase in quality and range on higher end pants. Some pants feature more movement in the yoke of the pant, along with some having velcro or other straps along the sides of the waist to adjust the pant up and down one size over the advertised size. Some pants even feature more individual designs, such as the BOA real system Fly uses to adjust their pant via a small cable. Unless you're on one heck of a diet and regiment, this can come in handy with the ever-changing body.
At this higher level, even though the materials are typically of a higher quality, durability isn't always guaranteed. Some higher end pants will thin this material so much for lightweight, they can cost themselves in the long run. At this point, other people's experiences and reviews would be a good bet to base your decisions off of. Another thing that will effect the durability is how you wash and care for your pants. In most cases, it's much better for the durability to let it air dry and keep them away from a hot, mechanical dryer. Also being cautious of what chemicals you let come in contact with the the leather and other vital materials in the pants.
Before buying, be sure to do your research and read product reviews. Reviews are a great way to find out specifics about a particular model, user impressions, and things to watch out for. After you've purchased a product and had enough time to thoroughly test it, we encourage you to leave a review for other people to see when they are researching bikes and parts on the web.
We hope you've found this information to be helpful. If you have a question that isn't answered in this guide, the Vital MX Forum is a great place to get advice from knowledgeable riders.