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Great Alpinestars style, with fiddly liners, useless pocket, shifty armor
I purchased these pants recently to mate to my AStars Frontier jacket that I'd purchased earlier. The Size SM fits me perfectly (I wear 30 waist, 32 inseam Levis, Arcteryx, etc), and the pants are all day comfortable -- on and off the motorcycle. Velcro hip fasteners allow easy adjustment of the waist so with or without the two liners (one Gore-Tex, one quilted thermal), the pants fit me fine. Plus, they *look* great!
Unfortunately, the knee/shin pads shift around quite a lot inside their pockets, so they rarely stay in the right place. If I'm walking in these pants, the pads fall below my knee. When I'm first getting onto my motorcycle, I have to "wiggle" the knee pad up. Not good.
Removing the knee/shin pad from its internal pocket, it's clear why the pad never really stays in the right place. There's no connection between the armor and the heavy outer layer, and its pocket is made of an extremely light mesh, allowing the pad to float around inside the pant. There's no velcro or strapping holding the armor in place (like on my Kushitani pants, for example).
The pads do stay in place better when I'm wearing the pants with the liners zipped in. The liners, by the way, make the pants VERY tight around my thighs and calves, but the knees are still comfortable, as long as I shift the knee armor into place.
The outer pocket, which looks like it could be a useful cargo-style pocket, is too small for my low-profile wallet. Because it has a small, fiddly, water-resistant zipper on the bottom surface of a fold-down, velcro flap, the opening of the pocket is too small for my wallet -- and actually, too small for my hands to reach in! You can drop earplugs into this pocket, but good luck fishing them out!
The fold-down ventilation panels work okay. On hot days, I get a decent amount of air onto my thighs, but there's no ventilation for your lower legs, and without a corresponding exhaust for the air, I don't get much air at the back of my thighs or along my hips. But with that said, the ventilation these pants offer is better than non-vented pants, for sure!
And finally, as with the Frontier jacket that I purchased earlier this year (and also reviewed here at Revzilla), these pants have a very strong odor of incense. After thousands of miles -- dry and wet -- the odor has not gone away. My coat closet even smells like incense now.
October 26, 2011
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With the liners out, I've worn my Frontier pants over lightweight Arcteryx pants (Rampart) to attend meetings. But in general, I would not consider the Frontier to be overpants. With the liners in, it would be very difficult to get even lightweight trousers into the Frontier pants. The liners are so tight, it's difficult to pull a bare leg out of the Frontier pants!
The hip pads are in velcro-closed mesh pockets. You can pull them out. The hip pads that are included with the pants are completely useless pieces of lightweight open-cell foam. My previous AStar pants had high-density foam hip pads that would have offered *some* protection in a crash, but the Frontier's hip pads would offer absolutely zero protection.
I asked about an upgrade option, but was told there isn't any.
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