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Rukka Armas Pants Review

Rukka Armas Pants Review
Rukka "Armas" Pants Review
by Rick K. for webBikeWorld.com
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Also: Rukka Armas Jacket Review

Summary

The Rukka Armas pants are the perfect match the Rukka Armas jacket (review) but they could also be worn with other Rukka jackets or with other brands.

The pants incorporate most of the same high-tech ingredients, including the Gore-Tex Pro Shell with Armacor exterior.

A removable suspenders system and a nearly full-length zipper attachment are also included.

There's a special Schoeller Keprotec abrasion-resistant "AirCushion" and the "Rukka Antiglide" system in the seat of the pants for safety and extra comfort.

The Armas pants feel rugged and durable and, like most Rukka gear, the list price is rather steep.

Background

Manufacturers and retailers have a hard enough time convincing motorcyclists to buy basic protective gear. This is true at all price levels, confirmed with the manufacturers of inexpensive mass-market clothing who said they have to make the same convincing arguments as the manufacturers of high-end gear.

Actually, in somewhat of an ironic twist, it can be easier to sell high-end motorcycle clothing than the cheap stuff. That's because the low-end buyers are looking for basic protection and they're very price sensitive. Put out a product that looks like it will do the job, price it right and it's a (relatively) easy sell.

Contrast that with the motorcyclist who understands the importance of high-quality clothing and who also knows that it doesn't come cheap. Let's face it: a motorcycle rider considering Rukka, Klim, BMW, Dainese, Richa or some of the higher-end Rev'it or Alpinestars gear isn't going to be looking at Tourmaster, Fieldsheer or Joe Rocket. So we're really talking about two completely different markets here.

Granted, the number of Rukka or Klim buyers is small -- even miniscule -- in the relative scope of the overall market. But believe it or not, price may not be the most important criteria with them.

I have confirmed this many times by talking to experienced riders who purchase this type of gear and also to manufacturers, distributors and retailers. There is a definite core of motorcycle riders who want only the best gear money can buy and they're not afraid to pay what it costs.

Still, making the argument for why one product is better than another is difficult. This is especially true when it comes to motorcycle pants. Pants occupy something of backwater wannabe world in motorcycle protective clothing. Not many riders think all that much about pants and it can be hard to differentiate between features, types and brands.

Rukka Armas Pants Front

Rukka Armas Jacket - wBW Lightbox - Click a photo to start the slideshow.
Rukka Armas Pants Front Rukka Armas Pants Side Rukka Armas Pants Rear Rukka Armas Pants Waist Rukka Armas Pants Jacket Attachment
Front Side Rear Waist Jacket Attachment
Note: Photos are 800 pixels and 1000 pixels wide.
Rukka Armas Pants: Decisions

So, what makes the $899.00 Rukka Armas pants special? I'll be honest, justifying a pair of motorcycle pants at this price level is difficult. But, I'll try! the Rukka pants are selling and they have been for some time, so there's obviously something to it.

At this cost-no-object level, potential customers are probably comparing the Armas pants to the Klim Badlands Pro pants (review) at $650.00; the BMW Rallye 3 pants (review) ($549.00) and others. But once again, I do feel that the Rukka product is more or less in a category of its own.

Like the Rukka Armas jacket, the pants aren't as off-road oriented as the Klim pants -- yet they're more universally adaptable than the BMW pants. The Armas pants are as useful for off-road Adventure Touring as they are for street or sport riding.

In this regard, a more appropriate comparison might be the Rev'it Everest GTX pants (review) ($740); the Rev'it Defender GTX pants (review) ($600) or the Richa Spirit Pants (review) ($580).

Rukka Armas Pants Rear

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The Rukka Armas Pants: Gore-Tex Pro Shell With Armacor

The Armas pants have many of the same high-end, high-tech features as the Armas jacket. This includes the use of the top-of-the-line Gore-Tex Pro Shell outer skin, with the cross-hatched rip-stop Armacor variant in the wear areas like the full seat and front of the legs and shins.

The use of the Gore-Tex Pro Shell (report) probably constitutes the main reason for the cost of the Armas pants (and jacket). This is a three-layer Gore-Tex product, with the breathable membrane bonded (laminated) to the external "skin" and combined with Kevlar and Cordura for the Armacor variant at the critical areas to provide water resistance at the outermost boundary layer.

Mix und Match

One of the secrets that the manufacturers don't want you to know is that you can easily mix and match a pair of motorcycle pants with any brand or type of motorcycle jacket.

Perhaps the zippers won't match (it's a shame they don't standardize on this safety feature), but it's easy enough to have a matching zipper sewn to your pants or jacket or both.

I've done it more than once and it works just fine. Or, if you're not concerned about attaching the jacket to the pants, you're good to go.

So you can match the Rukka Armas pants to any other jacket, or buy another pair and use them with the Armas jacket.

But I'd argue that the Rukka Armas pants have nearly all of the key ingredients you want for your universal motorcycle riding pants and they make the best choice for this hypothetical mix-and-match than any of the others.

Stitching and Construction

The stitching on the Armas pants is the same outstanding quality double rows found on the Armas jacket.

I realize some motorcyclists may not care for the contrasting white double-row stitching, but it does give the Armas outfit a rugged, no-nonsense Adventure Touring look, and it's also a signature Rukka styling feature.

So it's a good thing that it's applied just as carefully to the Armas pants as it is to the jacket. I guess if you have the good stuff and your proud of it, why not show it off?

Outlast Liner

As I described in the Rukka Armas jacket review (and repeated in portions here), Outlast is an interesting and useful technology that has been occasionally found in motorcycle gear.

It's one more high-end item that adds to the cost of the Rukka pants. Outlast was introduced in 2005 and featured in the Roadgear Adaptive-Tech Outlast jacket (review)..

I'm a big Outlast fan and I have found it to perform as described. Outlast was originally developed for NASA, according to legend.

It is a "phase change material" that is used to form the lining of gloves, jackets or pants. The fabric has something called "Thermocules", which are some type of proprietary material that actually can absorb, store and release heat; in this case, body heat.

Outlast isn't just a cold-weather technology; it works in the summer also. When you get warm, the heat is absorbed into the Thermocules, and when heat is transferred away, you become cooler. When the skin becomes cooler, the heat in the Thermocules is released for warmth.

No, it's not the type of instant heat you'd experience from an electrically-heated garment. And it's not like wearing one of those water-absorbing cooling vests in the summer either. The effect provided by Outlast is more subtle and the end result is that you can wear fewer layers with less bulk, yet remain just as comfortable in a wider range of temperatures.

You don't really notice it, other than you'll feel more comfortable in the ambient temperature than you probably would wearing -- or removing -- base layers.

The Outlast liner in the Rukka Armas pants works. I have purposely worn the pants during my evaluations over the last several weeks wearing only a pair of cotton undershorts underneath. By the way, the Outlast liner in the pants attaches with a full-length zipper at the waist and zippers, not loops, at the leg cuffs (a very nice feature).

Normally, I would wear a pair of winter motorcycle underwear (reviews) underneath any pair of motorcycle pants during winter riding. I don't need to, however, with the Rukka Armas pants. The Outlast keeps me warm and regulates the temperature in the varied ranges of temperatures we've experienced so far this early winter.

So that's one more tick in the Rukka Armas pants column, and one more justification for the cost.

Rukka Armas Pants Jacket Attachment
Nearly full length zipper attachment for the jacket and front waist belt system.
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Rukka Armas Pants: Fit and Sizing

As I described in the Rukka Armas jacket review, the first Armas outfit I tried was a size 50, but both the jacket and pants were too small, fitting more like a size medium than a large.

I usually take a U.S. men's size large, although I'm in between a size 52 and 54 (roughly comparable to a U.S. size M and L) and I will choose either, depending on the cut. Last time I measured, I had a 43" chest, 35" waist and I usually wear a 33" or 34" dress shirt sleeve length. My inseam is about 30.5" for street pants.

Although I could squeeze into the size 50 Armas jacket, the 50 Armas pants wouldn't fit over the top of my thighs, so they were out. The size 52 pants have the same type of compact fit as the jacket -- much more of a sportbike type of fit than, for example, the deliberately loose fit of the Klim Badlands Pro outfit.

With the Outlast liner installed, I have to pull the Armas pants up and jiggle around a bit to get everything situated, if you know what I mean. The leg fit is snug also; probably many motorcyclists would at first think that the pants and jacket are too tight, but as I mentioned in the jacket review, my feeling is that too many people are wearing their motorcycle riding clothes one size too big.

The crotch-to-waist distance seems a bit short -- I wouldn't mind another 25 mm or so -- but this may be due to my body shape, as I have this problem on most European-designed motorcycle pants. Once everything is situated, however, I'm fine. The leg length is proportionate for the sizing and overall the pants should fit a 35" waist, 30" to 31" inseam rider, give or take a half-size.

The Gore-Tex Pro Shell outer "skin" of the Armas jacket and pants feel a bit stiff at first, but have been breaking in over the last few weeks. Once I'm buttoned up and my body warmth charges up those Outlast Thermocules, the outfit feels more flexible and comfortable. But I think it's key to make sure the Armas jacket and pants fit correctly to get the most out of the protective features.

Belt and Suspenders

The waist adjustment system on the Armas pants is a very good design, in my opinion. I've had problems and comments about other brands and types of pants, but this system works well.

The adjustment comes from large sections of elastic on either side of the waistband, which also provide a lot of flexibility in this crucial area. There is a built-in strap on either side of the zipper, with hook-and-loop straps to give you the adjustment and to tighten the waist.

The strap on the right-hand side cleverly covers the zipper and it also forms the waist attachment, so no hook, button or snap is needed at the waist in front, which makes for a slim profile, yet adds the safety factor needed to ensure the pants will stay put.

A set of removable elastic suspenders help to keep the pants up. The suspenders are comfortable and once they're on and situated, I don't notice them, probably due to the elastic.

It might be nice if the Armas pants had a detachable higher waist in the rear, like the Richa Spirit Pants (review). In fact, because the Armas jacket is a short length, it would be nice if the Armas pants had a bib in the front also, to protect against cold air coming from underneath the front.

But otherwise, I think the fit and comfort of the Armas pants is excellent and the waist design is comfortable. By the way, the main entry zipper in front is a standard YKK type and the entry has a Gore-Tex fabric dart in back to ensure that it will remain waterproof.

Rukka Armas Pants Knees
Large Superfabric coverage on the knees. Note the shin protection zipper in the center photo.
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Superfabric

I described the Superfabric abrasion protection in the Armas jacket review. On the pants, large sections of Superfabric have been added to the knees.

To be honest, I think they may have overdone it with the Superfabric on the pants. The knee sections seem about 15% larger than they really need to be, and this makes the sections bulge out on the side of the knees. Apparently this has been a problem, because Rukka provides a large rolled tube of clear vinyl paint protection film to Armas pants customers!

I'm not sure that the best use of Superfabric is on the knees anyway. I'd prefer to see it on the outer part of the hips and maybe the outer part of the legs at the knees. I think those areas are more likely to need abrasion protection during a street slide, where the knees could use abrasion protection but with good and secure padding protection underneath.

Lower Legs and Cuff Adjustment

TThe Armas pant cuffs are similar in design to the Armas jacket sleeve cuffs, in that they don't have much of an adjustment. There's a 30 cm long vertical zipper on the outside of the leg to open the leg cuff for expansion to slip it over a boot top. A fabric dart in back keeps it water-tight.

The sport-type cut helps because the leg cuffs are trim enough to fit inside a pair of boots if desired or over the top, which I think is more appropriate for this type of pant. The Outlast underneath starts about 20 cm up from the end of the pants, and this allows room for a boot top to be placed inside, under the pant leg.

Rukka Armas Pants Superfabric
Close-up of Superfabric and stitching on the Armas pants.
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Schoeller Keprotec AirCushion and Rukka Antiglide

The Armas pants have a unique feature in the seat, behind the Outlast liner and the Gore-Tex outer shell. This is a section of Schoeller Keprotec abrasion-resistant material throughout the seat of the pants, specially designed to provide a slight amount of cushioning while also allowing some air to flow in this critical area.

This helps to maintain the comfort of the Armas pants while also providing an extra bit of abrasion protection.

Other Features

The Armas pants have no additional venting. The Gore-Tex membrane functions well at transferring moisture and I haven't noticed that the pants are uncomfortable, even when wearing them while standing in line at the Post Office, indoors, etc.

The absence of vents helps to ensure the waterproof integrity of the pants also.

There is a soft rubbery-feel material sewn into the crotch, which adds "traction" when sitting on a motorcycle seat. Also, the pants have a nearly full-length zipper for attachment to Rukka jackets.

Rukka Armas Pants Zipper and Stitching
Close-up of Gore-Tex Pro Shell with Armacor rip-stop and water-resistant zippers on the lower leg.
Pockets

The Armas pants have one waterproof pocket, covered by a zipper and located horizontally at the upper left, just under the waist adjustment belt.

Safety and Protection

The knee and shin protection is accessible via a zippered pocket at the lower shin on each leg. The hip protection is accessed through pockets on the inside of the pants shell.

The Armas pants currently feature the Rukka "RVP Air" protectors in the knees, shins and hips. The protectors are molded with a very open weave that allows excellent air flow.

As I reported in the Armas jacket review, the RVP Air protectors are designed to work with the heavier Gore-Tex Pro Shell with Armacor used on the Armas pants and jacket. There is a separate d3o and Rukka designed protector kit as an option, but it is thicker, heavier and doesn't appear to flow as much air, so the standard protector kit is probably the way to go.

Reflectivity

The Armas pants have reflective strips bonded to the lower legs on the outside. The reflective material is excellent and it really "pops" whenever it is illuminated.

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webBikeWorld Opinionator: Rukka Armas Pants
Picks...
...and Pans
  • Excellent overall quality.
  • Top-drawer specifications and technology.
  • Absolutely waterproof at the outermost shell layer.
  • Trim waistband design also provides security.
  • Reduced bulk compared to other pants.
  • Noticeable difference from the Outlast liner.
  • Eye-popping reflective strips.
  • AirCushion and Airglide seat add comfort.
  • Price.
  • Limited external leg cuff adjustments.
  • Would like to have a detachable bib and lower back system.
  • No tailbone protection or padding.
Conclusion

The Rukka Armas pants feel rugged and reliable. The stitching and construction are as good as it gets for motorcycle gear and the pants feel like they will last for a long time while providing high levels of protection.

The trim fit has to be taken into account; or rather, the fit should be carefully chosen to make sure the clothing fits to take maximum advantage of the protective features.

The Gore-Tex Pro Shell and the Outlast liner are key features of the Armas pants and partly justify the cost. The Outlast liner is a technological marvel in the way it regulates the internal comfort level of the pants, and the Gore-Tex shell ensures that the pants are fully waterproof, which was proven to my satisfaction in rain riding.

Although not everyone cares for them, it might be nice to have a removable bib system for the front and for the rear of the pants, which would add a level of comfort for winter riding and also help to ensure better coverage when wearing the Armas jacket, which is not a 3/4-length garment.

Both the Armas jacket and pants have something not found on the competition that was cited in both reviews; that is, it looks just as good and performs just as well when used for Adventure Touring as it does on the street. This is no easy task and I'm not sure any of the other manufacturers have been able to duplicate this tricky formula. That fact also can be used to help justify the price.

Many motorcyclists will blanch at the thought of paying 900 bucks for a pair of motorcycle pants. I can't say I blame them, but what I can say is that there are many satisfied Rukka customers out there all over the world, so there must be something to it.

We also can't definitively prove one way or another that these pants will last longer and outperform anything else on the market. But based on our experience in analyzing, evaluating and reviewing literally thousands of motorcycle products over the last 13 years, it's pretty obvious that at this point in time, the Rukka gear is in a league of its own.

Like I wrote in the Armas jacket review, this gear isn't for everyone, but many serious, year-'round riders who need ultimate protection from the elements and the pavement understand the value of the Rukka brand and have been relying on it for years.

Also: Rukka Armas Jacket Review

wBW Review: Rukka Armas Pants
Manufacturer: Rukka (L-Fashion Group Oy, Finland) Suggested Retail Price: $899.00
Colors: Black. Made In: Unknown (not listed).
Sizes: 48-66 Short. 46-62 Regular. 48-58 Long. Review Date: December 2012
Note: Item was provided by a retailer, distributor or manufacturer with these Terms and Conditions.

Note: For informational use only. All material and photographs are Copyright © webWorld International, LLC since 2000. All rights reserved. See the webBikeWorld© Site Info page. Product specifications, features and details may change or differ from our descriptions. Always check before purchasing. Read the Terms and Conditions!

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