by Gen Wright
Leather chaps have been around for longer than motorcycles have been. They were originally worn by cowboys to protect their legs from thorny bushes when out riding. Today they can be bought for use when riding your motorcycle. Chaps can provide you with a lot more protection from road rash than a pair of jeans can. Since chaps are worn over your pants, they make more sense then just wearing leather pants since leather pants can be hot and you can easily take the chaps off if you decide to stop for dinner while out riding.
There are many places you can buy a quality pair of chaps, but you may get a better deal if you look for them out of season. It’s very important to get the proper fit when buying chaps. Since they fit directly over your pants, you need to make sure you allow enough room so that they aren’t too constricting when you put them on. You also need to make sure they fit over the thigh, as well as make sure the overall pant leg length is appropriate for you. If the length is too long, it’s easy to measure them and cut off any excess.
There are three main types of leather that your chaps can be made from: buffalo, heavy naked cow hide and split cow hide. I’ll go over some of the pros and cons of each type:
1. Buffalo hide can be a good choice since it is cheaper than naked cow hide and it isn’t as heavy. It also doesn’t need to be treated with a leather treatment. The disadvanatage is that it can be slippery and not everyone likes that feeling.
2. Heavy cow hide is very soft and pliable, it feels like ‘butter’. Since it is so thick it can give a lot of protection for you in the event of an accident. You will need to treat this type of leather to protect it and since it is so heavy it can be very hot and uncomfortable in the summer. This is usually the most expensive option of the three types of leathers.
3. Split cow hide is the leather made from the lower (inner or flesh side) layers of a hide that have been split away from the upper, or grain layers. Split leather is more fragile than side leather or full-grain leather. This type of leather is stiff but if good finishing treatments are used it looks almost near to a quality leather. This is the least expensive option of the three and may be a good idea if you have a limited budget.
Leather chaps are a great piece of safety equipment for when you go out riding, and they even look stylish. To get the most out of your chaps use the guide above to choose the right pair for you, your riding habits and your budget.
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