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Ixon Ambitious Pants

Ixon "Ambitious" Pants Review

Ixon Ambitious Pants Review Summary
Review Summary
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Ixon’s Ambitious pants have a great name, but do they live up to the moniker?

Ixon is a French company that has been producing motorcycle-specific gear for several years.

webBikeWorld has reviewed some of their products before, namely their X-Pand tank bag, and found the company’s products are innovative and well-made. The Ambitious pants have their innovations, but some of the fine details are lacking.

Ixon splits their clothing into three categories on the company website:  “Performance” (high-end), “Active” (middle range) and “Essential” (entry level).

Given that most riders need flexibility in their choice of clothing and gear, and may not have the budget to own a collection of the more technically advanced outfits, the availability of the three categories is helpful.

The Ambitious pants are in the Ixon “Active”, or mid-range pants category.  They are designed for all-season riding, with a tough, Cordura-like polyester exterior (which Ixon calls Riplan) that is punctuated by multiple mesh panels for ventilation in summer.

They have small vent panels on each shin, with larger mesh panels across the middle of each thigh and the back of each knee.  The pants are also equipped with a removable waterproof lining for those wet, cold days.

They have CE-approved armor in the knees, reflective piping on the shins and the outside of each leg, and a reflective badge on each calf, with lengthy zippers at the ankles that make putting boots on very easy.

The Ambitious pants also have more pockets than any pair of pants really needs, with a pair at each hip (secured by Velcro), a zippered pocket on each thigh, a pair of pockets that snap closed on the rear, and another snap pocket on the left hip.  Seven pockets — who the heck needs seven pockets on a pair of motorcycle pants?  Ah well, the pockets are there, and the thigh pockets are surprisingly useful.

The removable liner zips into the waist, and each ankle has a snap on either side to keep the liner attached at the hem.  The liner is fairly tight at the ankle, which means the pants keep their slim profile, but does make it somewhat awkward to put on tall boots.  The pants ride fairly high at the waist, and have a stiff internal padding that helps them maintain their shape.

The Ambitious pants are designed to attach securely to the Ixon Furious jacket (and possibly others) which is done via a zipper all the way around the waist.  The pants also come with a second, shorter zipper across the small of the back that hopefully will zip into another jacket the rider already owns.

Unfortunately for this reviewer, the zipper didn’t match with any of the other brands of jackets I usually wear: the short zipper goes from left to right, and all my jackets with zippers go right to left (Editor’s Note: A tailor can sometimes fit matching zippers to favorite jackets and pants).

Ixon Ambitious Pants - Front ViewIxon Ambitious Pants - Side View


Ixon’s website has a sizing chart for its clothes, and it lists the absolute upper limit waist size for a motorcyclist.  Anyone who normally wears clothes with, say, a 30 inch waist, would have difficulty squeezing into the XS-size pant Ixon recommends.

Even with the adjustable Velcro straps on the waist, it’s probably best for riders on the bubble, or up to an inch smaller than what Ixon says will fit, to go up a size and crank down.

That being said, the pants are sized to someone wearing them with the liner, and are snug without being tight.  It can be a bit of a bother to get the knee pad properly adjusted when pulling them on, but that’s fairly normal for lined motorcycle pants.

With the liner removed, they are looser and can accommodate  a pair of jeans underneath without too much trouble. It’s not necessary to wear the Ambitious pants with street pants underneath, but riders who commute will appreciate not needing to remove and carry their office pants before getting dressed for the road.

There’s no question that it would be easier to put on the Ambitious pants over workpants if they had a full waist-to-ankle zipper, but that would undoubtedly increase the price.

Ixon Ambitious Pants - Waist Close-up

Ixon Ambitious Pants - RearIxon Ambitious Pants - Leg Cuff

Venting, Rain & Cold

The Ambitious pants are intended as all-season wear, and do a very good job of coping with the elements.  In early spring, during the cold season, the liner does an excellent job of keeping a rider comfortable in temperatures as low as 10 Celsius.  Below that a pair of long underwear is in order.

Water resistance is a different story.  Like manufacturers such as Joe Rocket, Ixon has opted for making a removable waterproof liner to ensure the rider stays dry.

This has several drawbacks, the most obvious of which is that the contents of pockets will get soaked, which seems somewhat silly.  Why not make sure the pockets are waterproof?  Manufacturers already have the waterproof material on hand, so just use some to make the pockets, and make sure riders don’t have to stick their wallets in plastic bags to keep their cash and registration papers dry.

Now because the Ambitious pants have mesh inserts along the shin and the thigh, the pants will not keep riders dry unless the liner is worn, and that makes a fair amount of sense: in hot weather, a rider will want that ventilation, and having some leakage come through the mesh during a brief shower won’t really be a problem.

In any case, the waterproof liner does an excellent job of keeping the rider dry in heavy deluges.  It’s not that bulky, but it is at the limit of what will easily fit in an under-seat compartment.

Anyone expecting to ride in rain will want to toss it in a tank bag, but if the forecast is only calling for showers, go ahead and leave it at home.  The outer shell can handle a light sprinkling without too much difficulty, and at highway speeds, odds are that not enough rain will percolate through the mesh to bother anyone other than the most meticulous rider.

The vents are where these pants really shine.  Small vents on the shin, larger vents on the inner thigh, and great big mesh panels on the upper thigh and back of the knee do a great job of grabbing air and cooling off riders in the heat. In temperatures in the mid-20s some riders may find they provide too much cooling.

On scorchers with high temps and high relative humidity the vents are a much-needed and much-enjoyed blessing.

Overall, the Ambitious pants succeed at being versatile all-season pants, with the liner making the pants much more waterproof and warmer than leather, while leaving the liner at home means a rider won’t wilt on a scorcher of a summer day.

Ixon Ambitious Pants - Leg Pocket


Unfortunately some of the finishing touches on the Ambitious pants are not up to snuff.  During the evaluation period the first problem cropped up with the snaps that attach the liner to the ankle of the outer pant.

Each leg has two flaps of cloth that feed through a loop and snap onto the liner.  But on the pair of Ambitious pants shown here, one flap on each leg ripped off.  This isn’t a huge drawback, since the pants are still fully functional and the tear can be sewn up in a matter of minutes, but because both flaps came off exactly along the seam, it shows that the sewing of those snaps was not up to snuff.

The other finishing detail that failed was a snap on one rear pocket.  After a month or so of use, the rivet holding the snap in place broke.  Again it’s a cosmetic failure, but one that’s not so easily fixed at home.

Thankfully no other zippers, snaps or Velcro failed during the rest of the spring and summer.  Everything else held up leading this reviewer to believe the flaws were isolated, but they still should be verified by Ixon.


The Ambitious pants are incredibly versatile, and work very well as a year-round motorcycling pant.  They perform well in cold, wet weather, or stifling summer heat, and at the end of the day, the quibbles about not being totally waterproof in summer-mode are easily dealt with.

Having three snaps fail during testing is a nuisance, and a sign that Ixon should double-check its quality control testing.

wBW Ixon Clothing Reviews:  Ixon Courageous Jacket  |  Ixon Climber Pants  |  Ixon Ambitious Pants  |  Ixon RS King Gloves Review  |  Ixon Los Angeles Children’s Motorcycle Jacket  |  wBW Reviews Index

Product Review:  Ixon Ambitious Pants
Available From:  Ixon
UK Distributor:  Thunderchild
Canadian Distributor:  Clary Sports
List Price:  149 € (~£115; ($289.00 CAD; ~$196.00 USD)
Colors:  Black  Sizes:  XS to XXXL Made in:  China
Review Date:  October 2008

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