It’s safe to say that December 2013 and the first couple of months of the new year, have been some of the wettest we’ve experienced in the UK, with widespread flooding affecting areas other than badly hit Somerset.
Perhaps it wasn’t ideal conditions for motorcycling, but as the Overland editorial office is split between Banbury and Swindon it was in fact very good weather to test my ARMR Moto Katsura riding trousers.
Thermally lined and made with heavyweight 600DN outer fabric, winter temperatures still meant that I wore my Kevlar jeans beneath and they were a perfect fit. I’ve now ridden in just the ARMR trousers, but not without the thermal lining and the extra movement is nice, but what’s more pleasant is the lining against my skin. Although the thermal bit is removable, I don’t think I’ll ever ride without it, as I am at heart a Kevlar jeans man and if the weather is really pleasant, that’s what I’ll be using. Similarly, the detachable Drytek liner; I’ve no idea why anyone would wish to wear an item of clothing like this and then remove the main waterproofing shield. As it happens the outer layer is certainly water resistant and may perform alright through a light shower, as the well-stitched seams are also ‘tape sealed’. Even the vents on the thighs operate beneath waterproof zips.
But does it all work? Well I’ve ridden a lot of miles across a lot of countries, wearing various garments and it’s rare that I haven’t ended up with socially embarrassing water marks after prolonged riding in the rain. This winter I haven’t had to endure more than 2 hours in one sitting, but the precipitation has been more incessant than usual and I have to report that these Katsura trousers do leak. But only marginally, and only – oddly enough – right in the middle of my crotch area. Imagine the point at the base of the zip on my jeans (well perhaps don’t); that’s where moisture seems to have gained access. I have not experienced the usual soggy crotch with watermarks that reach right round your bum and partway down the legs, which I think is admirable, especially considering there is a zip in these trousers. Perhaps it’s because that zip is short, has a membrane behind it and Velcro in front of it.
That YKK zip, like the ones on the lower leg and at the rear (to secure the trousers to a jacket) have chunky, strong teeth, to avoid either breaking or getting jammed by wayward folding material and I can see them lasting well.
I have not had reason to use the two outer pockets which use a zip and press-stud to close, so can’t comment on their waterproofing.
Continuing with fit, removable armour is often a pain, digging in awkwardly or moving around such that it’s effectively redundant. The CE certified knee protectors are height adjustable, but seemed to be set up perfectly for my shape, as I haven’t given them a moment’s thought.
There is Velcro waist and leg adjustment and if you aren’t a fan of braces they can be removed. I never imagined I would be as it seemed like another faff, but in the weather we’ve been having I’ve really grown to like the way they, combined with the high rear waist of these trousers, conspire to keep out drafts and to keep my kidneys warm.
The black colour is practical and there’s just enough strategically placed reflective material to really help at night. RRP is £109.99 but I’ve seen some dealers selling them for £89, so shop around.
Available sizes XS, S, M, L, XL, 2XL, 3XL, 4XL, 5XL often mean little, so it’s best to try them on, but at 5’ 11” and 12.5 stone, I’m using XL if that helps.