by Bill C. for webBikeWorld.com
Padded and armored pants offer protection when worn under jeans or leathers.
The Cool Air mesh provides good air flow and are designed for warm weather.
Is there a place for body armor in a world of motorcyclists whose riding gear consists of shorts and a T-shirt?
I'm continually amazed at the disregard most riders have for personal safety, indicated by their choice of clothing (or lack of it).
I've become more and more conservative and safety conscious over the years, wearing leathers, a full-face helmet, race boots and gloves on every ride, simply because I think it's an excellent part of my risk management strategy.
But I can't tell you how many times other motorcycle riders have stared at me at a stop light or made disparaging comments, simply because I was dressed for the occasion!
I'll never understand it, and I'll take a guess that some riders think they look "cool" by only wearing jeans to ride. My impression is just the opposite: it looks dumb.
However, there's not much that I can do to change things. So if you must ride in jeans, the least you can do is wear some protection underneath.
I'll bet that many motorcyclists don't realize that there is a product that's designed to be worn under jeans for added protection.
Bohn has been making various types of body armor, back protectors and more for as long as I can remember. These Bodyguard CoolAir Adventure Pants are specifically designed to be worn under non-armored motorcycle clothing, including jeans.
The pants have armor in the knees, shins, hips, thighs and tailbone. They'll fit under most jeans, as long as they're not too tight.
Most jeans have a looser fit than was the case not too long ago, and we had no trouble fitting the Bohn armor under several different brands of jeans. The Cool Air pants use a type of nylon mesh, which is definitely breathable and has good air flow.
Wearing these snug-fitting pants underneath a pair of jeans takes some getting used to, especially in warmer weather.
They also add to the time it takes to go riding, which may be one of the main reasons why more riders don't wear protective gear.
By the way, Bill is wearing the Bohn pants over a pair of long underwear in the photo above, for the sake of modesty!
The pants slip on like a pair of panty hose (not something I'm very familiar with!), and some care has to be used in pulling them up to waist height. The mesh is slightly fragile, due to its wider mesh, which offers more air flow in hot weather.
Combined with the snug fit, it's easy to pull too hard in the wrong place with the potential for a torn seam.
Bohn says that the Cool Air pants have nevertheless proven to be durable, even though they don't use the same heavy-duty Lycra material of the Adventure version of their armored pants.
The Adventure version is slightly less expensive and are designed for all-season use, but are not quite as cool as the Cool Air when the weather turns warm.
But if minimal care is taken, it's easy to pull them on and a few quick adjustments will locate the armor in just the right spots. The shin/knee armor can be moved up and down slightly to account for different leg lengths.
The pants also have zippers at the ankle to help with getting the on and off.
Once they're on, they all but disappear, especially when riding. The knee armor is noticeable when walking, and there's a snug feeling all around, but it doesn't seem to take long to get used to it.
The Bodyguard CoolAir pants also work nicely under non-armored leather pants. The armor in the Bohn pants is removable, and the pants are washable.
Jeans provide near-zero abrasion resistance and obviously have no padding.
The Bohn armored pants are about the only option for added protection if you must wear jeans. But the Bohn products are also appropriate for those motorcyclists who wear leather.
Padding and armor will only protect the rider if it doesn't move during a fall, so the snug fit of the Bohn pants can actually provide better performance than built-in armor in some looser fitting leathers.
|wBW Review: Bohn Bodyguard CoolAir Adventure Pants|
|Manufacturer: Bohn Body Armor||List Price (2005): $159.00 USD|
|Colors: Black.||Made In: U.S.A.|
|Review Date: April 2005|
From "LL75" (9/09): "This summer I wore a full set of Bohn Armor under my jeans and shirt. For the most part they're comfortable but as a previous writer mentioned, it's a good idea to include a product like Anti-Monkey Butt in the mix.
I have one major gripe about the pants though, they don't have a fly. When I returned from my 15,000 mile ride I called the manufacturer and asked why. To quote him exactly "We used to do that but it was so much trouble we stopped.".
Evidently none of the parties involved in manufacturing ride or if they do none of them are guys. Personally I think it's time for the Bohn Armor folks to take a refresher course in Anatomy 101.
From "S.S." (7/09). "I have been wearing these on every ride lately, averaging 100 - 200 miles per trip. My waist is 38 and my inseam 30, and since I fall right at the border of their sizing chart, I initially ordered the XL.
Had I read their chart more carefully, I would have seen their admonition for those of us who are "straddlers" to order the smaller size, and ordered the L, which I ended up doing after finding the XL too loose.
The size L pants fit me very comfortably, and I have worn them in cool damp conditions as well as very hot conditions during the past two weeks.
In both cases, I was comfortable, and did not find the pants to distract my attention from the road. In fact, I feel more protected with these on, and imagine myself riding more securely as a result.
The tailbone pad did take a bit of adjusting, as it can fall in an uncomfortable spot, but a little judicious tweaking remedies this quickly.
On the positive side, in addition to the armored protection, these pants also provide a cushioning layer between my ankles and my boot tops, which used to get sore from the chafing.
Also, I have gone back to crew height Smartwool socks and put the Nordic ski height pair back in my winter drawer, as the pants work beautifully with the lower socks.
On the negative side, I do think these are priced outrageously for what they are; not in terms of the protection they offer (which I hope never to test), but in terms of the materials involved in their construction.
I can't imagine there is more than $30 in raw materials here, so someone is making a fine living somewhere.
That being said, if these hold up well and last me for many years, I will be satisfied, and I certainly do feel better protected whenever I throw my leg over the bike.
As always, thanks for a great magazine!"
Also from S.S.: "I just wanted to mention a great improvement that I discovered while using my Bohn Adventure pants: Anti Monkey Butt Powder. The name is an attention grabber, but in this case, the product really works great.
As the temperature has climbed, the Bohn pants have been less comfortable because of sweating, and every time I get off the bike and back on, the material tends to stick to me.
This powder, which is available at many national chains, contains talcum and calamine, and it really makes my sweat prone areas feel much better. As well as your backside and the backs of your legs, a generous shot under the kneepad area makes for a lot more comfortable ride."
From "S.F.": "It's really scary how accurate your write up of the Bohn Body armor was/is. I purchased the Cool Air Pants because they fit all my needs perfectly. They added that additional protection, allow me to wear jeans/pants to the office, and are super easy to get on and off.
People have no excuse what-so-ever not to wear armor on their legs anymore.
When I get to the office I slip into the bathroom and in less then 20 seconds I'm out and tying my shoes (Yes I'm neurotic and actually timed myself).
My only constructive criticism is that the zipper for the ankle/calf rubs a little under tall boots, but it's nothing severe enough to NOT wear them.
They are nice and cool when moving but do get "warm" when standing still, and it's shocking how easy pants slip on and off. They make your legs look muscular.
Thank you you again for an excellent review and to anyone who reads this, "Go out now and get these!" You won't be disappointed and you'll you'll protect some vital areas."