INFORMATION YOU NEED TO KNOW BEFORE BUYING LEATHER MOTORYCLE CHAPS.
Leather Motorcycle Chaps come in a variety of styles, colors, qualities, and options.
Always look for solid leather chaps, not the patched style chaps, as they are usually always made in China and are of lower quality. Solid leather chaps are much tougher and will last longer, look better and hold up over the years.
Most of the Higher Quality leather chaps for motorcycle riding is now coming in from manufactures and tanneries in NE Pakistan. There are over 100 tanneries/manufacturers in one city alone, Sialkot Pakistan. The quality of leather coming from these tanneries is good to Premium, but each tannery has their own quality control, and it depends on the individual company manufacturing the chaps or jacket. Some of the best make good to Premium quality, while others make marginal to good quality garments. Some of the top and best producers now have wholesale outlets here in the US. Many Retailers & E-tailers buy from those manufacturers, as well as having some products made up to their higher quality specifications & shipped directly from Pakistan to them in the US. One of note is http://www.bigfootbrownleather.com/ . They carry very good to Premium quality in their leather motorcycle Jackets and chaps.
Solid motorcycle leather chaps come in several different leather qualities. I have listed them from the best to lesser quality. More on quality later...
1. Cowhide or Buffalo Naked Leather
2. Buffalo Premium Grade
3. Cowhide Top grade
4. Cowhide split grade
5. Lightweight leather (usually thin, less than 1mm.
6. Patched leather chaps
For real protection avoid 5 & 6 above.
Motorcycle leather chaps also come lined or unlined. The lining can be solid or mesh textile material. I suggest you buy the lined, as the unlined tend to bleed dye on your jeans or riding pants the several times they are worn and get wet.
Features in leather chaps vary greatly, you can pick and choose what you want, however the more features, the more expense you add to the chaps.
Here are some features to look for after you have decided on quality of leather:
- Lined or unlined
- Brass or steel zippers (Both are good but look for YKK zippers only.
- Leather flap covering the zipper vs no leather flap. (Flap looks better and protects zipper.)
- Elastic in the Thigh area vs solid leather. (Elastic adds to overall comfort).
- Zipper on back of leg for expansion
- Braided or non braided leather along the leg. (strictly for looks if you like braided look)
- Laced Back for sizing purposes (This is a must)
- Colors (regular, distressed look, Retro, sanded or antique look)
- Pockets, chaps range from
- no pockets to
- small hip,
- regular zip pocket,
- jeans style front pocket or
- cargo pockets.
Finish on the leather chaps also vary and include:
- Naked Leather which is only drum dyed best for natural leather look over life of garment.
- Napa finish, Best for areas where the rider is riding in rain or wet conditions.
- Distress or Retro finish, (Multicolored dyes are used to make a nice look.)
- Antique or Sanded finish, (Made to look older sooner & age sooner than the above finishes.)
Thickness of leather chaps can also vary from one manufacturer to another. Try to buy leather chaps that are at least 1.5-2 mm thick, if you want protection from the pavement and the elements. Quality wise, naked leather, and usually premium Buffalo leather will tend to be made well and have a softer feel. Napa & Distress finishes can vary from soft to a more firm leather feel. Split leather usually tends to be a harder or firmer leather than the others, but can be a good deal for what you get vs the price you pay.
In Features, most women like the expansion elastic in the thigh area, as it tends to make the chaps more comfortable. Many men on the other hand like regular leather in the thigh area, as they tend not to buy their chaps as often, & eventually the elastic will lose its stretch.
The most important thing you need to know about ordering leather chaps is first and foremost to order them by your UPPER THIGH size. Measure you upper thigh and order that size. The waist on the chaps can be adjusted by the front belt and by the LACE in the back of the chaps. Between the two, that makes for a lot of adjustment. You can also buy a leather chap extender to increase the size of the waist if you have a large waist or thighs.
Colors of leather chaps come mostly in Black, several different shades of Brown, (most popular is Retro Brown). as well as pink, white, and variations of black & pink, or black & orange for you Harley fans.
Another option that you might consider is full Waterproof, Armored pants. They will fit over your jeans and cover your entire legs and bottom. They can also feature soft armor for protection and come in a variety of waterproof styles from mesh to solid Duratex. The can also be found at; http://www.bigfootbrownleather.com/
Above I have included just 3 styles of leather motorcycle chaps. There are many that are available.