Aerostich AD1 Motorcycle Pants Review

This is the second part of a three part Aerostich review that ultimately started 3 years ago. I wanted to give all the gear from Aerostich a real-world review that put many miles on each component. The first review was on the Aerostich Combat Lite Touring boots. You can read about that here. The boots are one of my favorite pieces from Aerostich, but I have to be honest… I like these pants the best!

As many know, I am a ATGAATT guy (All The Gear Almost All The Time)… sometimes I like an old leather Navy bomber jacket, and some heavy jeans – but you’ll never catch me in shorts and a tee-shirt! That being said, these are by far the most favorite pair of motorcycle pants I own, and they are good looking too! I was on a tour just last week, and while filling up at a gas station, another motorcyclist came up to me to ask about my pants. He said, “where did you get those… they don’t look like ski pants!”… we talked for 10 minutes. Here is basically what I said (not really, but you’ll get the idea):

AD1 Pants

These are full seam taped, waterproof pants (3-Layer Gore-Tex) pant made from 600 denier Nylon. Full side zips along both the legs make them easy and quick to don or remove. In our hot and humid summers here in NC, I have also opened up the zippers a small amount to vent, but remember, an open zipper is likely the failing point of a garment subjected to a unwelcome reception by hot pavement. In other words, you reduce your level of protection some, when not wearing the equipment at its full potential – similar to riding with a convertible helmet open.

The fit of the pants can be adjusted with several snaps on the inside, and the pants come with an Aerostich Money Belt. I really like the belt, not to mention it has a zipper running in it where you could put some important documents, or a bit of spare cash. The knee pads are housed in pockets that are completely removable and adjustable. Adjust them so they give you the correct protection when in the riding position. Optional hip TF hip pads are also available that utilize hook-and-loop connections.

The attention to detail on this gear is fabulous, with wonderful stitching and great pockets. The two front slash pockets have Velcro closures. At first, I was not that crazy about them, as it made it more difficult to quickly stow things. That all changed, the first time I took them off at a restaurant and slung them over the chair. I immediately cringed, expecting the sound of change and keys hitting the floor, but that did not happen, the enclosure served its purpose. Now I get the feature! My Spyderco knife clips in nicely on the front pocket, and I am still granted access to keeping a money clip.

The pants also have a vertical zippered pocket on the right thigh, and a horizontal velcro pocket on the left thigh. The flap doubles over on the left pocket, offering a pretty waterproof pocket. Finally, hook and loop material is on the left thigh to add a map pocket. I initially did not order the map pocket, since I often use GPS/Phone for navigation, but I have since changed my mind to be able to keep a map handy and I can quickly jot down things (left-handed) with a mechanical grease pencil (also available from Aerostich). A single rear pocket (on the left) rounds out these practical pants.

Performance, these water-proof pants and wonderful. They have handled significant rain, with no intrusion. Granted, I was on either a Goldwing or ST1300, but I remained dry. The fly of the pants, also has additional gusseting/overlap to prevent a wet crotch. The only down side is that I don’t wash them as often as I would like (usually every 6 months to a year) – why, because I wear them all the time! Washing instructions are provided, and they can be line dried and then thrown in the dryer for 20-25 minutes to replenish / reactivate the DWR finish (Durable Water Resistant). You can re-treat the pants, but after many years and thousands of miles, I have yet to need to.

Going back to the fit, I ordered a size 36, since I did plan to wear them over pants. As my dad always said, “My waist is a 32, but size 34 feels so good, I buy 36s”. In all seriousness, I am normally a 33/34, but a winter or two ago, I got to a size 36 on my own (oops), the snaps at the hips accommodated my gluttony, but I got back on the right track and had to re-adjust the pants last summer. The pants fit more like a jean, but not too low. Another brilliant feature is the “V” shaped section of material that they sewed with elastic. This allows for more “give” when in a seated position, without compromising coverage (see attached photo). I typically open up the bottom 12 inches of the pants when putting them on, to aid in getting my boots on. If you use a boot cover, like what Aerostich sells, you can attach their pouch inside the pants near your feet (inside) on the provided hook and loop. Keeping gear where you need it is one of the first rules of adventure travel!

Temperatures of riding. I have worn these pants in rides in the 20’s, with patagonia capeline and a lightweight pant as lining. I’ve been just fine. When the temperature is in the 50-70’s these pants work their magic. They provide the necessary coverage and I usually only have a pair of shorts underneath. Remember Gore-Tex breathes! When it gets above 90, like it does so often here in NC, they can be a little warm. Growing up in the backpacking/cycling community, I utilize a simple tip, which may appear counterproductive: I wear either lightweight long underwear or a lightweight synthetic pant. This allows for a wicking component which helps get the trapped moisture to the next layer, and then the Gore-Tex can dissipate the water vapor. You cannot do this with cotton, it will hold the moisture.

Women’s perspective: My wife got the AD1 “Light” pant, but they feel as robust as the classic AD1. She has a bit more flexibility and loves that they do not fit like a pair of ski pants. She recounts many times stopping at coffee shop, only to get inquisitive queries: “why are you wearing snowboarding pants in the summer?” She likes how they fit, and says that she actually still has a “shape” with them and finds them extremely comfortable. The lighter version does seem to be a bit more tolerant to the hotter temperatures, and let’s face it: she probably is not going to ride when the temperatures dip below freezing.

Overall, I am extremely pleased with the AD1 pant. They lack some of the “fancy” colors and gimmicks that usually adorn motorcycle gear, and I am completely good with that. They are utilitarian, comfortable, and I think they have a very nice look. You can find cheaper motorcycle pants, but these are well worth the investment. And if even if you do gain too much weight, you can send them back to Aerostich for alterations. These really are the best motorcycle pant I have put on and put to the test. As with Aerostich products, they are well made and will stand the test of time!

NC Touring and I highly recommend these Aerostitch AD1 Pants. Potentially the last pair of motorcycle pants you will buy.

You can order the pants directly from Aerostich Here!

Line Dempsey

Line Dempsey has been guiding adventure tours for many years. Having been born and reared in NC, Line got his start in leading tours in the 1980's with unsupported bicycle tours of the state of NC, SC and Virginia. Line worked in the tourism industry for 10 years prior to leaving for graduate school. Line began leading motorcycle trips in NC, VA, SC, as well as a trip to the lower east corner of the US ( Key West ). For the last 14 years, Line's work has allowed him to travel throughout the state of NC at least once a week and he's seen most of the overlooked side roads of our beautiful state. Line has explored NC via bicycle, kayak, motorcycle, rock climbing, hiking and by sailboat.

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