by Brandon Jackson for webBikeWorld.com
The new Racer "Profile" D3O motorcycle shorts improve riding comfort and add some padding with their integrated D3O protectors and Lycra fabric.
Shorts and underwear.
These arenít the types of apparel we often have the opportunity to review here at webBikeWorld, but occasionally it does happen, as you can see in this list of motorcycle underwear reviews.
We haven't reviewed any in some time, but this is one of those times.
Last year I reviewed an offering from Moto-Skiveez (review), which is designed to increase comfort for distance riding.
The ďSkiveezĒ were designed from the ground (seat?) up to be motorcycle riding underwear and they did indeed improve comfort when in the saddle, especially in warm weather.
But now I have a pair of motorcycle riding underwear to review that have a bit of a different mission.
Instead of focusing on the comfort aspect of riding, the Racer Profile shorts with D3O protectors are here to provide extra impact "attenuation" (our term).
Comfort is still an important aspect of these shorts though, so letís take a look at how it all balances out.
The Racer Profile D3O shorts come to the U.S.A. from Racer France, a partner of Racer in Austria. The Profile shorts aren't listed on the Racer.at website (Austria), which is the which is the website for Racer Outdoor GmbH.
The Profile shorts are not listed either in the very extensive Racer 2015/2016 catalog (.pdf), so thanks to the French for providing these to American motorcyclists!
Iím not certain why this arrangement, but perhaps more Racer clothing fans in other parts of the world will have the opportunity to buy the Profile shorts someday soon also.
The Profile shorts have the appearance of bicycling shorts in that they are form-fitting and they run from the waist down to about two thirds of the way towards the knee, give or take depending on the size of the wearer.
Also, like bicycling shorts, the main construction is from Lycra elastic textile, so they will stretch quite a bit and still remain comfortable.
Unlike most cycling shorts however, the Profile shorts do not include padding designed for a bicycle seat, which is appreciated, as those types of pads are often not helpful for the motorcyclist.
Looking at the overall construction, it is mostly in order but there are a few not so obvious nits to pick.
The vent holes for the hip protectors donít really line up well (more on this later) and the fabric panels on the inside that hold the protectors are cut rather haphazardly.
Despite this, the stitching is well done and appears even and secure.
The Profile D3O shorts come only in black but they do get a small splash of orange color from the included D3O protectors.
There is also a Racer logo on the front and rear of the waistband and an additional one running vertical on the lower portion of the right leg.
Impact protection is the star of the show with the Profile D3O shorts and Racer went to one of the premiere motorcycle protector manufacturers for the impact padding used in the Profile Shorts.
D3O impact protection is used by many motorcycle gear manufacturers such as Klim, FirstGear, Rukka and more, and the company has a reputation for providing quality impact protectors that are thinner than might be expected because they're made from a proprietary material.
The Profile shorts use the D3O T5 EVO Pro XT Type A material and the pieces used in the Profile shorts are flexible but still reasonably dense.
The D3O compound works by allowing the material to flex easily when moved slowly, but when struck hard, the material will stiffen and dissipate the impact over a larger surface.
My unscientific tests striking it with a fist appear to corroborate the claim.
I have tried other impact protection previously in the form of back protectors that also used a polymer to achieve similar function, but these D3O pieces are softer at rest than those Iíve used in the past.
The Racer Profile Shorts use two pieces of the D3O material for hip protection and an additional piece is placed in the back to protect the tail bone.
There are two additional rectangular impact protectors on the front of the thighs (one on each thigh) that seem to be composed of some type of thin material that feels like it could be of the same type as the D3O, but it is not specified.
Each of the protectors in the Profile shorts is sewn into pockets on the chassis and there are no openings to remove them.
I would think one might want to remove the protectors when washing the shorts. The label does specify hand washing only and no machine drying, so that could be part of why they arenít made to be removable.
As far as placement goes, the hip protectors seems to sit a little farther forward than I would have expected. They do sit over my hip joints but not as centered over them as they could be.
Everyone is built differently though, so this may vary depending on the size of the shorts and the wearer.
The tailbone protector fit just where expected, however, and although it is small, it feels substantial which is desirable in that location. If youíve ever bruised your tailbone you know how important having protection in this often overlooked spot can be.
The Profile shorts fit as expected for their marked size. I have a 36 inch waist and I chose the size "L", which fits 34-36 inch sizes. Even being at the edge of the range, they fit comfortably thanks to the Lycra material.
Unlike some other ďdistance ridingĒ shorts Iíve seen, these are not seamless on the inside. There are lots of seams visible on the inside, not only from the overall construction of the chassis but also where an extra panel of fabric has been sewn over the back of the protectors to form a pocket.
Despite the seams being abundant on the inside, they do not create any noticeable rub when wearing them.
I recently wore them on a ride to my friendís motorcycle repair shop (about 30 minutes time). Then I stayed there helping out for about four hours before getting back on the bike and riding home.
During the riding time and the period spent at the shop, the Profile shorts never became uncomfortable or too tight.
Mostly I forgot about them until I had to reach into my front pockets of my jeans. When doing so, my fingers immediately bumped into the edge of the hip protector that was behind the jeanís pocket.
I have also worn the shorts while on a long ride of about 200 miles and they have been comfortable there as well.
The only issue I want to mention is that they donít breathe as well as some other riding shorts, such as the Moto-Skiveez (review) I reviewed last year. Part of this is likely due to the D3O protectors in the Profile shorts; the Moto-Skiveez have none.
The hip protectors take up the most space and these pieces do have holes in them for ventilation. However, the rear of the pocket that sits against the skin does not have a matching perforation.
Our example is an early production run and this is supposed to have been fixed in current versions.
The front or outward facing side of the protector pocket does have perforations for ventilation but this could be executed better. There are fourteen holes in the fabric but only thirteen holes are present in the protectors.
Also only four or five of these holes line up with each other to some degree.
This, combined with the lack of interior perforations, hampers overall air flow as well as moisture evaporation.
This is not much of a concern when temperatures are only ďwarmĒ or cooler but hot weather, such as what I experience here in the Southeastern United States during the summer, might not be the best time to wear the Profile shorts.
One item I want to mention is that the Profile shorts do not have a zipper fly opening in the front. This feature was removed after owner feedback from original versions of the Profile shorts.
The Profile D3O shorts make a lot of sense for riders who have riding pants or suits that do not include hip and/or tailbone protection.
My own Joe Rocket Survivor suit (review) is a good example of a piece of riding gear I really like but which doesnít include protection in these areas.
Likewise, if you wear jeans or other pants not specifically designed for motorcycling, such as the Carhartt and Cortech jeans (review) or the Duluth Trading Fire Hose Logger jeans (review), you might find that the Profile D3O shorts are a great way to augment your protection.
The Profile D3O shorts are comfortable for several hours of riding as well as when wearing them when off the bike.
Comfort goes a long way towards making sure one will actually wear them which in turn makes them an easy choice to use.
Pricing may seen a bit high for a pair of shorts, but when you consider the inclusion of the D3O protection, the cost seems more reasonable.