It’s been nearly half a year with our Jettribe Special Forces Moto Pants and we’re just coming to terms with them. The purpose of riding pants have always eluded us. Although they sometimes look cool in pictures, we don’t see how they actually are useful, if not sometimes a hindrance. In our mind, riding apparel should do two things: protect from the elements and potential injury, and be comfortable (ie. retaining body temperature and range of mobility); and most riding pants fail to do either well.
Jettribe’s Special Forces Moto Pants, on the other hand, try to make the best out of an otherwise bad situation. Made from a durable, Sato 420 D. and ballistic nylon that has been double coated with PU for wind and water resistance (nearly the very same material used for heavy duty canvas gear bags and backpacks), the Special Forces pants are not too thick that they don’t allow some breathability. In fact, several vents are sown into the pants’ pattern to allow air flow, which also reduces the ballooning/parachute effect at high speeds.
The seat, inner thigh, waistband and crotch are made from a very forgiving, breathable neoprene, providing superior agility over conventional riding pants as well. Large injection-molded plastic snaps cinch at the wait and along the shin guards that house Velco-secured pockets for the removable impact cells. Although sold separately from the pants, the impact cells are filled with energy-absorbing foam, and formed with impact-resistant ABS plastic and Polycarbonate, all within a EVA outer shell.
A four-pack of the Removable Impact Cells retails for $64.99, which combined with the $149.99 retail price of the Special Forces pants, totals a staggering $215 for the complete package we tested here. The pants (with the four inserts) are estimated at a total weight of 4 pounds, but when wet (which, they do retain quite a bit of moisture when soaked), tip the scales closer to 7 pounds, making them both uncomfortable while riding, and chilling when at speed. Worse off, the pants create a great deal of drag when swimming, and could dangerously weigh down a weak or injured swimmer.
Jettribe has imbued their Special Forces pants with some added features to ease the impact of the price tag, too. A rubberized eye hook is stitched into the beltline to hang up for drying, and large cargo pant-style thigh pockets can store gloves or sunglasses and feature drain holes to prevent mold growth. A wide boot-cut cuff fits over any sized riding boot, and large rubberized billboards adorn the hips. Silk-screened “Jet Grip” print covers the seat of the pants to provide some additional grip.
Despite the extra ventilation, the heavy duty material creates a great deal of wind resistance, and quickly chills the already cool water clinging to the canvas, particularly at speed. When all said and done, we were still left a little perplexed by the purpose of riding pants in general. Jettribe has done their best to make them equally comfortable and protective, but ultimately, the Special Forces Moto Pants are hefty both in weight and price.