March ride with Firstgear Kathmandu overpants

We had a rare, almost Spring-like sunny day over the weekend so I took advantage of the nice weather and gave my new Firstgear Kathmandu overpants a 130-mile test.

The first pair I ordered from MotorcycleSuperstore.com were size 32, and based on reviews, they were supposed to be true to size. They were. However, they were a little snug in my belly, which wasn’t the pants’ fault, so I sent them back and exchanged them for size 34s. They fit perfectly.

The Firstgear Kathmandu pants are meant for adventure-touring and have numerous features that are suited for that type of riding. They have a waterproof ripstop outer shell, which is far more convenient than pants using a removable waterproof liner. I don’t want to have to stop and do a hopping two-step trying to get a liner inserted inside my riding pants every time a rain shower passes overhead (which happens almost every day that I ride). I want gear that is waterproof on the outside.

They come with a removable insulated liner that is very effective, although riding in temperatures below 40 degrees would require the use of street pants. Anything below 30 degrees probably requires thermal underwear under that. This is standard, however, and something I’m used to.

The cuffs have a snap and elastic enclosure that fits around my boots. These are not meant to be truly waterproof but instead to prevent or delay the invasion of water into the top of my boots during heavy wet weather riding or during stream crossings. It takes slightly longer to put the pants on because of this but the added protection is a nice feature.

The knees and hips use D30 armor, which is lighter, thinner and more flexible than standard rigid armor found in most riding garments. This reduces the overall weight of the pants and the armor is barely noticeable when I ride. The D30 armor is supposed to become instantly rigid during an impact event and is the latest technology.

The Ride

After getting suited up, I left the house mid-morning and headed through Estacada and Molalla before hitting the highway south toward Silverton and Stayton. What was bright, warm sunshine at home turned into overcast and foggy cold weather once I left Molalla. The temperature dropped 15 degrees in a short distance and soon I was wishing I had another layer underneath my pants and jacket. By the time I got to Stayton and stopped at the Dairy Queen for a quick lunch I was eager to get inside and warm up.

After chowing down a chicken sandwich, I suited back up and headed north toward home through the chilly fog. The sun came out and the temperatures rose once I got to Molalla. A few twists and turns and another 40 minutes of riding brought me back home.

The Kathmandu pants proved to be the most comfortable riding pants I’ve ever worn (they are the first pair of Firstgear pants I’ve owned, my previous two pants were both Fieldsheer) and my cold ride was my fault for not wearing enough layers. I think if I had left in the insulated liner they would have been comfortable in both temperature extremes. I look forward to wearing them in rain as well as in warmer temperatures.

Update 3/7/2012: I rode to work this morning wearing the Kathmandu’s with the insulated liner installed. It was 25 degrees with clear skies. The pants worked flawlessly and I had no hint of cold nor were they too hot.

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