A few weeks back, 1down4up.net presented the BOWTEX kevlar-leggings (read the article here). These leggings allow you to wear any kind of trousers on your bike without renouncing to the safety of abrasion-proof kevlar fiber. They are available either in yellow or black and allow you to slip knee and hip protectors into designated pockets. BOWTEX provided me with a yellow model and below, you can read about the experiences I made with this product over the last few weeks:
At first glance, the yellow color isn’t very hot but you couldn’t care less, no one’s going to see it under your trousers anyway. Theoretically, they should even do their job without wearing anything more but trust me, dressed up like that, you won’t hook up with that girl you’re stalking for weeks in your favorite bar.
I’ve tried the leggings in size L, which compares to a 32-32 in Jeans or a 42-44 size in chinos. Mother Nature decided that I should have legs of the shorter kind but the length of the BOWTEX-leggings is impressive. This probably comes from the fact that they are sold as unisex leggings and as we all know, the same Mother Nature decided some specimens of the female gender should be equipped with very long legs. Further, I have no prominent bum but I have to say that size L was a bit constricting around the hips. Altogether, trial fitting the leggings came with mixed feelings but after some tearing and pulling around the leggings finally found their position and surprise; they suddenly fit like a glove!
The fabric, like promised by BOWTEX, is pretty soft and permits great mobility. But this thing is meant to be worn underneath so time to slip into your regular pair of jeans. BOWTEX didn’t provide me with a set of protectors but if you wear properly fitting trousers I can’t imagine how you’re going to button up your jeans with that additional bulk on your hips. Due to the mentioned length of the leggings, the pockets for the knee protectors are dangling below my knees, but this may vary from different people’s shapes so pulling up this part of the leggings allows you to bypass this issue. But once you’ve stepped into your jeans the initial mobility fortunately remains. And after wearing them for a while they seem to adapt to your shape and the initial tightness vanishes.
But now, let’s have a look how it feels on the bike.
I’ve had the opportunity to try these leggings over several weeks and have worn them in temperatures ranging between 4° Celsius to 28° Celsius. In combination with jeans they insulate quite reasonably in cold weather and although surpassing any regular kevlar-lined jeans they do not outperform any thermal underwear. The aforementioned length of the leggings is a treat if you ride forward-controls in chilly conditions. Stuff the leggings into your socks and forget about the cold breeze from below.
At high temperatures, just as promised by BOWTEX but questioned by me, the leggings somehow manage to let some fresh air slip through. No heat shock while riding or at the traffic lights. A little stroll at high 20°s was no problem but unfortunately I’m not able to tell you how they feel at 30°and above due to a lack of spring in Europe. Wearing the leggings at work or in the evening for a drink is no problem but if the temperature rises, every additional layer is an ordeal.
Bottom line: All in all, the BOWTEX leggings are a convincing alternative to your regular protective gear. Although better off with thermal underwear when temperatures drop below zero and probably too hot if they rise above the 30°s, they can be worn at any situation between these extremes and should meet most of people’s needs in terms of comfort. And remember you can wear every trousers you can think of in combination with these leggings and still feel safe.
The yellow fabric might become a bit discolored from wearing regular denim above but you can wash them so this should be no issue. Unless you obey your mum and always wear fresh underwear on your bike in case you’re having an accident. Then, you should probably consider buying the black model.
Available here, on BOWTEX’s website, starting at a price of 159€.