Putting The Motonation Cappra Vented Textile Pants To The Test In The Desert: Hands On Review
Cappra Vented Textile Pants Review Summary
The Mononation Cappra Vented Textile pants quickly won me over after a lifetime spent riding in jeans. And, to be completely honest, I didn’t really have high hopes for a pair of pants that was going for just $99. I expected kind of a boxy fix and an abrasive sandpaper like feel to the vented mesh areas. I also imagined that the mesh ventilation was going to be minimal and that the nylon fabric of the pants was going to be lightweight and flimsy. But when they arrived I was still quick to unbox them for a test fit. And even before I was on my first ride in the Cappra’s, I was pretty sure that I was going to end up being a convert.
At only $99 the Motonation Cappra Vented Textile Pants are an outstanding option for hot weather riding pants. Most other options are in the $150- $200 range such as the Cortech Sequoia XC Air which Revzilla offers at a regular price of $179.99.
The comfort level of these pants was not at all what I was expecting. It was a very pleasant surprise as was just about everything regarding the fit of these pants. Starting from the top, the waist is sized very true to the numbers. There is an elastic insert on each side of the waistband that can stretch to add a total of 4 inches to the waistband making them pretty flexible. But without stretching the panel the medium fit my 32-inch waist very well. I had never tried on a pair of Mononation pants but by following the sizing guide in the catalog I got exactly what I needed
The closures on the waist of these pants far exceeded my expectations. The heavy-duty YKK zipper is very durable and easy to use even when wearing gloves thanks to the rubberized tabs on the zipper pulls. The ¾ inch wide strip of hook and loop closure keeps the weatherproof flap closed to protect the zipper and keep out any rain. And the dual metal hooks instead of what looks like two snaps is an awesome idea. The hooks are easy to secure and are made from a very heavy gauge metal. There is no chance of leaning forward and having the hooks pop open the way a snap can when there is pressure placed on it from the inside of a waistband.
The two hook and loop adjustment tabs at the waist are about 1.5 inches wide and let you create a truly customized fit making the waist very secure even when you are leaning into the tank in a tight crouch for some fast turns or to become a little more aerodynamic for just a tiny boost of speed. And the accordion panel that is inset at the back of the waistband provides just enough flexibility that the back does not sag when you lean forward. The pants have an 8-inch YKK waist connection zipper to pair with a Motonation jacket to create a full riding suit. These pants were designed to be paired with the Motonation Diablo vented jacket as that is the warm weather jacket. But the Bandido, the Campera and the ladies Metralla all offer the same waist connection zipper to attach to these pants.
The Legs and Seat
The legs also fit very well being a true 32-inch inseam. The pant legs looked a little large but as I slid into them I found that the inner liner is a bit smaller. The outer shell is just cut a little bit larger to accommodate the protective gear. It wasn’t until I was sitting on my bike that I really appreciated the Spandex panels in the crotch and along the inside of the thigh. It offers great flexibility and there is no bunching of bulky fabric in the crotch or between the seat and your rear end.
The seat of the Cappra pants provides a good grip on the bike seat which was a little new to me after so many years riding in slippery jeans, but I quickly learned to lift slightly to be able to hang a leg off for better cornering at speed. But once I had a leg and a cheek hanging off of the seat, I still felt like I had a secure grip on the seat which was nice. The accordion inset above the knee provides great flexibility and also makes these pants very comfortable when seated on a bike. This is also the location of the reflective safety piping for maximum night visibility for approaching traffic.
The ventilation provided by the poly mesh fabric on the front of the thighs as well as in the seat area provides very good airflow. I was able to elevate slightly off the seat while riding and keep the cool air circulating around my thighs and rear end. I also discovered that I could increase the airflow even more by leaving the two front zipper hand pockets open. They are mesh lined, allowing even more airflow when the temp was reaching 100 degrees. All of the mesh used in the pants and the pockets is 100% polyester and are also anti-bacterial.
Even though the knees and lower legs are reinforced with abrasion resistant ballistic nylon, they are still very flexible and comfortable. And having the 10-inch side calf heavy duty YKK zippers go from the knee to the cuff makes these pants easy to put on and take off even when hot and sweaty from a long desert ride. The reflective safety piping for maximum night visibility is also inset along the zipper cover to promote visibility from a side angle. The cuff of each leg has a durable rubberized strip that helps to maintain the shape of the leg opening and also grip riding boots. A hook and loop closure tab also ensures that the zipper cover remains in place when riding.
The liner for these pants is made of a waterproof and breathable material called Reissa. The top of the liner zips inside the waistband of the pants and is also secured in each lower leg at color-coded loops. I did try the pants on with the liner in them and the fit was pretty much the same. But it is April in Phoenix and already in the 90’s so I have not been out to road test the liners. That will be an update to add to this evaluation in the fall/winter.
As a more seasoned/old rider, I tend to be very conscious of the protective capacity of most gear. I know that at my age it is going to take a lot longer to heal even after a slight mishap so I want all the safety features that I can get and still be comfortable. The Motonation Cappra’s do pack a lot of safety features into a very comfortable pair of pants.
Armor and Protection
The included CE armor in the knees conforms nicely when your knees are bent on the pegs and provide good protection. The armor is also vented to promote airflow. The knee armor is removable but it is so comfortable that it never even occurred to me to remove it for added comfort. Riders could also choose to upgrade from the included armor to a size or style that they prefer. The generous armor pocket size will accommodate most other designs and is easily accessed from the lower leg opening. A hook and loop tab keeps the pocket securely closed.
The hips have an added sheet of foam padding that extends almost to the knee and measures 9.5 inches by 6.25 inches and not quite a quarter inch thick. The pads are inserted into a pocket on each hip that has a hook and loop closure.
A few minutes online and I was able to locate several CE Level 1 hip protectors that could be added to greatly increase the impact protection of the hips and at a pretty reasonable cost as well. Most of the options that I looked at were running between $20 and $30 per pair plus shipping. Additional padding is also stitched into the extended back yolk of the pants for added impact and abrasion protection of the lower back.
The First Ride In Motonation Cappra Vented Textile Pants
My first experience wearing the Cappra’s was on a cool morning in Phoenix, Az without the liner. It was about 65 degrees and sunny. I wanted to see if these pants, without the liners, would be suitable to wear on a morning ride in the cooler weather as well as in the heat of the afternoon without the liner. I rode around on surface streets for a bit and then jumped on the freeway to see how they felt at 65-75 mph.
I was very happy with the amount of air circulation without the liner and with the front pockets zipped closed. I did stand up to get full exposure to the airflow so that I could clearly feel where the cool air was entering the pants and how it flowed around my legs. The thighs and seat area provide a great deal of air circulation as do the mesh panels in the lower leg. I was also happy with the lack of flapping from any part of the pants. Even though they are a more generous cut, the material allows the air to flow through the pantsand not cause the flapping that I was used to when wearing jeans.
Living in Phoenix, I never need to worry about the super cold weather but we do have mornings that are down around freezing. But I am certain that adding the full Reissa zip-in liner would provide the added warmth needed and eliminate any airflow through the pants.
Time To Turn Up The Heat
My second ride in the Cappra’s was just to check out the airflow and see if everything people say about mesh pants is true. The ride started at about 92 degrees and full sun. It was just a short 10-minute ride to the freeway and then a longer ride across town. Even in the stop and start traffic of the city I was amazed at how much cooler these pants felt than my trusted jeans. I ride a Ducati 959 and the exhaust pipe does a loop right below the seat so you definitely feel it when the engine is heating up. But the fabric of the Cappra’s handled that heat much better than any other pants I have ever worn.
Hitting the freeway in the heat I quickly appreciated that I could increase the airflow through the thighs and seat of the pants by elevating just slightly off the seat. That quick blast of air was enough to provide a cooling air exchange. I also found that unzipping the front pockets allowed a great deal more air to circulate while I was seated on the bike. And even though the sun was beating down on the black textile pants, I was noticeably cooler than I ever was wearing jeans. And most importantly, it was a huge increase in the level of protection that I would have in the event of an accident.
After about an hour walking around a store, I was back on the bike for the reverse trip. My one complaint about these pants was that the liner was sticking to my legs and especially my knees as I did begin to sweat. Granted the temperature was hovering at about 100 degrees and the bike was running at around twice that but it was a little annoying.
Being honest and realistic, you are going to get hot and sweaty riding when its 100 degrees and I’m ok with that. But I did notice a huge improvement when wearing the Cappra Textile Mesh pants. In years past, after every summer ride, I was dehydrated and a little miserable but that wasn’t an issue when I had the ventilation from these pants. I was also really happy to not have issues with the heat from the exhaust burning into my legs and seat area as it did in the past. And finally, I hope that I never need to test the protective qualities of these pants but I am sure that they are exponentially better than anything I have ever worn in the past.
A Couple Of Misses
The one issue that I found when riding in the hot weather was that the lining of the pants would become stuck to my legs and especially my knees. This was causing the pants to bind up at my knees and making it difficult to transition my foot from the peg to the ground for stopping and then back to the peg for a launch. Eventually, the pants had bunched up enough above my knees that they appeared to be about 2 inches shorter than when I got on the bike.
After a few more rides I decided to try wearing Under Armor Heat Gear leggings under the pants and it worked perfectly. The leggings were able to wick away the moisture and provide a dry enough surface for the pants liners moved freely over my knees. And there wasn’t really a noticeable difference in the temperature from the leggings.
I looked in the Motonation catalog and found the new Pro Pants base layer that offers breathable Be Cool fabric as well as well as hip, knee and seat armor. These are available in sizes small to extra large and are $259 with the 5 piece armor included or $149 without the armor. These would also be a great choice to eliminate the moisture issue at the knees.
My other area of concern was with the pockets and cargo storagein the pants. The front pockets are called zippered hand-warmer pockets and from that, I am thinking that they are not really meant for any cargo. They are also located somewhat lower than a traditional front slash pocket on jeans. I did try adding a few items to the pockets for a ride and learned that it was not a good idea. I placed an iPhone in one pocket but found that as it moved in the pocket it could prevent me from being able to lift my leg after a stop. I had to reach down and try to turn it in the pocket to recover full range of motion. I added some cash to the other pocket and had the same issue but not to the extent that I had with my phone.
I’m pretty sure that almost every rider carries a few small items on most rides. At minimum, I am carrying a phone and a license and it would be great to be able to put those somewhere in these pants. Ideally, a cargo pocket on the thigh would be nice. But that might have been vetoed due to the impact that it would have on airflow. Other options might includean inside pocket possibly at the back of the waistband or an exterior cargo pocket on the back of the waistband. There are always pockets in a jacket but having even one in these pants would be a nice bonus.
The Motonation Cappra Vented Textile pants are certainly very affordable at less than $100 which is a few bucks below some of their closest competition. The Joe Rocket Atomic is close in price but is really an overpant, whereas the Cappra is designed to be worn as a primary pant. The Cortech Sequoia XC Air is a fairly even match as far as airflow and the level of protection provided. But the price on the Cortech is 25% to 45% higher. This only serves to prove the point even further that the Motonation Cappra Vented Textile pants are filling a niche that other manufacturers have decided to ignore. Most well vented textile pants that offer good safety features are going to cost about double the price of the Cappra.
Overall, I could not be happier with the quality, comfort of the Motonation Cappra Vented Textile pants. I have gone through a number of big brand name motorcycle jackets because the zippers and the snaps just don’t seem to hold up to normal wear and tear. I have even bought the same jacket multiple times because I love the amazing armor but the snaps in the wrists were horrendous and kept tearing out of the fabric. In contrast, I have not had a single issue with these pants and I really don’t foresee any. The function and features that these pants offer for less than $100 seem very fair to me.
As far as the appearance of the pants I think that they are very functional and look fine for riding pants. My main goal was the ventilation and not selecting a more covert type pant that could double as a casual wear item. However, I would have liked to have more options than the traditional black which is the only option, which is to say there is no option. I’m not a fan of black gear and part of that is because I like some flashy colors now and then but also because of my geographic location.
You only spend a few months in Phoenix in the summer before you swear off wearing anything black if you can help it. So I would have appreciated the option to get grey, tan or maybe something as wild as a red pair. When it comes to the sizing options, the Cappra starts at a size small which corresponds 29-30 inch waist and goes up to an extra, extra large which accommodates a 37-38 inch waist so there are a number of sizing choices available. And fashion sense aside, the Motonation Cappra Vented Textile pants provide great airflow and protection which is all that I am looking for to enjoy my Ducati in Phoenix in the summer.
I would definitely recommend the Cappra’s for anyone who is riding in a hot climate.
This is a pretty small investment to make for the added comfort from the mesh ventilation. I have worn jeans when riding in everything from about 30 degrees up to about 115 degrees, until now. I am never going to suffer through the soaking wet denim again.
The Motonation vented textile pants have convinced me that there is a better way to ride in the extreme heat.