Information and reviews about the latest gear for your motorcycle adventures.

Nomad USA Leather Chaps - Review

Leather motorcycle chaps may be of marginal interest to many daily motorcycle riders, however they do enjoy a dedicated following among touring riders, so we decided to road test a set.

For the most part motorcycle riding pants seem to be about the second-to-last clothing article to accumulate in a new rider's wardrobe, after a helmet, gloves and a jacket and before the purchase of a good pair of boots.

How leather chaps became popular with motorcyclists is somewhat of a mystery. Nevertheless I can only surmise that it's an American tradition, doubtless a carryover from early horseback riding, where chaps are used to protect the rider from getting gored by brush and thorns whilst chasing down wayward heifers.

Presumably back in the old days some cowboy bought a Harley or Indian and using the only riding gear he had available inadvertently started the chaps trend for touring motorcycle riders.

To be brutally honest I must admit that I’ve never quite been able to wrap my head around wearing chaps, I mean with the front and back sort of highlighting a couple of personal areas that I'd just as soon leave unnoticed. And although I've never (knock on wood!) been in a serious pavement slide, I have this fear about getting what little butt hide I have scraped off, and chaps don't offer much protection for those nether regions.

Nevertheless after wearing this pair of chaps for a while, I can see why they're popular. They're comfortable, and once you get the hang of putting them on, they're fast and easy to wear. They surely must offer more protection than just a pair of jeans, and they can be slipped off and stuffed into pretty much any old saddlebag once you arrive at your destination, leaving you free to stroll around in casual denim.

And these aren't just any old leather chaps, these are light weight Nomad USA Leather chaps from Motorcycle House! They continue the Nomad USA Leather tradition (and our experience with their products) of high-quality materials and workmanship.

The leather used in their apparel has a soft buttery feeling that's comfortable right from the start. This has been our experience with the other Nomad USA Leather products we reviewed. Nomad USA Leather uses 1.6 to 1.8mm thick leather in these chaps, which is "race grade" thickness, just like the hide used in jackets and pants designed for motorcycle racing.

Finding the correct size for a set of motorcycle chaps includes measuring the waist diameter, leg length and thigh diameter. Nomad USA Leather offers their chaps in a wide range of sizing combinations, which means there's a fitment for just about anyone. Many different combinations of waist, length and thigh diameter are available, there is a size to suit everyone. Motorcycle House has an online leather chaps worksheet where customers can check their waist, leg and thigh diameters to come up with the correct fit.

Chap measurements should be taken over a pair of jeans or whatever type of pants you'll be riding in. The thigh measurements are taken from the widest part of your thigh while sitting down. I followed the instructions and my chaps came perfectly sized – they were a touch long in the leg, which was easily fixed when I trimmed a few inches off the bottom. The thighs are supposed to be a little bit tight, because they will stretch with use.

There's a trick to suiting up with a pair of chaps. Each leg on these men's chaps has a heavy-duty YKK brass zipper at the rear. I found that it's easiest to first secure the belt, then wrap one chap around one leg and start the zipper, then do the same with the other leg.

The zippers run about 3/4 of the length down the leg, leaving the lower portion of the chaps to be secured via metal snaps. The snaps allow some adjustability for different sized boots. It takes a few tries to figure out the moves to get the zippers started, because they're behind you so you have to get them started by feel and you can feel like you're playing a one-person game of "Twister" until you get used to it.

The zippers are covered by a "weather flap" that hides the metal and provides a seamless look. The front leg of the chaps is made from seamless leather, and the backs are made from two sections of leather.

Nomad USA Leather motorcycle chaps are available with either a plain or braided top The braids form a nice yet subtle decoration along the edges of the wrap-around attached belt. The backs of the chaps are connected using a leather lace tie with metal eyes, so there's some adjustability in the waist diameter.

Things can get a bit toasty when riding in hot weather, especially with jeans underneath.

If you're in the market for a pair of chaps, I suggest you give these a try. Motorcycle House has outlets in the USA and here in Australia for convenient and prompt local delivery. They stock only the top brands and quality leather apparel; they're focused on customer service; they have a wide selection of sizes; their products are made in the U.S.A. and all of their apparel carries a lifetime guarantee.

For Australian Customers
For USA Customers

July 02, 2016

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