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Product Review: My Favorite Leather Motorcycle Riding Pants

Waterproof, protective and highly comfortable

By Genevieve Schmitt, Editor
8/27/2013


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All right, full disclosure upfront: Harley-Davidson’s FXRG leather overpants for women are more expensive than most riding pants and chaps. They’re also one of the most functional and comfortable riding pants I’ve ever worn, making them well worth the investment of four beans! Although some riders dismiss apparel made by Harley or other brand-name manufacturers, it’s important to realize that these companies do make quality gear that’s worth the investment, no matter what motorcycle brand you ride.

Harley-Davidson FXRG Leather Overpant Review
While the FXRG leather pants are considered “overpants,” meaning they’re meant to be worn over jeans or leggings, I wear them as I would regular pants (i.e., without jeans underneath). You can see they are very slimming. More on the sizing later in the review.

Harley-Davidson FXRG Leather Overpant Review Back
The FXRG pants are a combination of leather and stretch Cordura-brand fabric. The stretchy, breathable fabric is located in the places you need it, like the back of the knees and in the crotch.

Harley FXRG Riding Pant
The pants in action. I found them very comfortable, with no binding at the knees or in the hip area. I wore the Harley-Davidson FXRG pants while test riding the Suzuki Boulevard C90T B.O.S.S. last year. Yup—Harley pants on a Suzuki!

Harley-Davidson FXRG Leather Overpant Review Front
The soft and lightweight cowhide leather is treated with Cocona Technology, a windproof and waterproof membrane that allows heat and vapors to escape. That alone is worth the price. The stretchy fabric runs down the hips to the top of the knees, making these pants extremely comfortable, unlike pure leather pants that can be restricting. Google “Cocona” to learn more about the material.

Harley-Davidson FXRG Leather Overpant Review Vent
A vent on either thigh opens to a mesh panel, allowing body heat to escape. Here you can also see the reflective piping that runs down the length of the leg.

Harley-Davidson FXRG Leather Overpant Review Waist
Fabric stretches across the back of the waist, making the waistline very comfortable. An included zipper will attach the pants to a jacket (Harley-Davidson offers a matching FXRG jacket). Subtle FXRG badging is stitched across the back.

Harley FXRG Pant Fit
A tab on either side of the waist lets you adjust the fit.

Harley-Davidson FXRG Leather Overpant Review Waistline
The pants are fastened via a snap, clip, and zipper. The zipper is gusseted to ensure water doesn’t seep when it’s raining.

Speaking of rain, the FXRG pants are waterproof. I didn’t ride through any heavy rainstorms while wearing them, a few light rain showers proved that the Cocona waterproofing keeps the pants dry inside. To see if the pants would hold up to a serious downpour, I had a friend spray me with a hose while I wore the pants. The water bubbled right off of both the leather and the fabric.

One of the biggest complaints about overpants is that they are hard to put on and take off. Harley-Davidson addresses that with a zipper that runs the length of the side of your leg. This allows you to easily step into and out of the pants. The zipper is strong and sturdy and doesn’t get caught up in the fabric of the gusset. This has to do with the way the seams are sewn, such that the inner fabric stays angled in when you’re zipping and unzipping this zipper. 

Harley-Davidson FXRG Leather Overpant Review Side
A zipper on either pant leg runs to just an inch shy of the waistline, making it easy to put on these pants. A hard-sided tab on the zipper makes it easy to grip with gloves on.

Harley-Davidson FXRG Leather Overpant Review Side View
The orange gusset is a treated fabric that adds another barrier to keeping out the rain. A snap at the bottom of the pant leg secures the closed zipper.

FXRG is Harley-Davidson’s line of functional riding gear, meaning the pieces include armor and function as protective gear. What I love about these the FXRG pants—and the reason why they are the most comfortable riding pants I currently own—is that I can hardly tell the armor is there. The type 2 CE armor located at each hip and knee is the soft-sided kind, providing an extra barrier on areas of the body that typically take the brunt in an accident. Harley-Davidson knows most of its riders are not used to wearing armored jackets and pants, and so the bendable armor in the FXRG line is designed so riders will hardly know it’s there. 

Harley FXRG Pant Interior
The interior of the pants is lined with a comfortable mesh fabric. Here you can also see the hip armor peeking out of the pocket. All the armor is removable.

Pockets are the only item obviously missing from the FXRG pants. The description of these pants on Harley-Davidson’s website says there are interior pockets, but I couldn’t find them. None outside, none inside—not even a slit for lip balm. Oh well. I’ll just use the pockets in my jacket. 

Another thing I like about these pants is that they wear and look like leather fashion pants but are hugely functional, with all the protective and waterproof features built in. They wear like a pair of jeans, falling just below the waist and with a bit of a flare at the legs (they’re meant to be worn over boots, rather than tucked inside them). 

What was weird for me, though, was that when I tried to slip them over a pair of jeans, I couldn’t. Way too tight. I wear them as leather pants, which is fine by me. I love how they look and fit, and I love knowing that I can wear them as a summer riding pant and slip on pair of leggings underneath when the weather turns cooler. The lining is soft on my skin, and there are no annoying seams. 

Harley-Davidson FXRG Leather Overpant Review Fit
A lot of care was taken with the cut of the FXRG pants. They are slimming and hug in all the right places.

The Harley-Davidson website says to order your normal size, and for me these days that’s a size 2. Fortunately for all of us, sizing goes from 2 to 18. Perhaps the larger sizes will allow for jeans underneath. If that’s important to you, try on both your regular size and one size bigger.

You can order the FXRG leather overpant online at Harley-Davidson.com or at your local Harley-Davidson dealer. The part number is 98033-12VW. These pants have been available for awhile and have become a staple in Harley’s women’s collection. To reiterate the price, they’re a flat $400—and worth every penny, as you can forgo chaps and rain pants.

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Reader Comments


How heat resistant are they on the inner thigh? I have short legs and the heat exhaust from my Heritage really heats up my leg! I would gladly pay to combat that.

Paula Sword
McDonough, GA
Tuesday, September 10, 2013
Editor Response
The first thing I recommend is to spring for a set of heat shields. Harley offers them for various models, as do aftermarket companies like Kuryakyn, that I know of. As for the pants, they are certainly a barrier to heat, but because that inner thigh material is fabric and breathable you do feel some heat, but not a lot.
Genevieve Schmitt
How do you clean them?

MNelson
Barrington, IL
Friday, September 06, 2013
Editor Response
Great question! The label says professional leather dry clean only. And that is what I will do when they get really, really dirty. However, until then all I do to clean the leather and the fabric panels is take a damp cloth to wipe off dirt, road and bug grime.
Genevieve Schmitt
So how breathable are those pants? I hate after being in the saddle for a few hours, my jeans are wet in areas that are not good. I'm not a big fan of the fabric pants, so this might be an option for me. I think you hit a point where the price isn't important when you end up sitting in "wet" jeans through a great day of riding! I'll pay anything to be dry and still look good!

Deb Kleinfeld
North Vancouver, BC, Canada
Thursday, September 05, 2013
Editor Response
The stretch fabric panels are breathable. I know this because I can feel the air coming through the fabric areas when the temperature gets cooler. This tells me that my warm body heat can otherwise escape.
Genevieve Schmitt
OK, they seem functional but I am not sold on their looks. Sorry I'll keep my money.

Shellee Higgs
North Battleford, SK, Canada
Monday, September 02, 2013
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