Pants to match the Speed and Strength jackets, but which could also be worn with other brands. Both of these pants feature a zip-off panel that exposes a mesh insert for ventilation and water-resistant removable liner.
I hope I don’t have to type the phrase “Speed and Strength ‘Coast is Clear’ and ‘Hell ‘N Back’ pants” too many times in this article. My fingers couldn’t take it.
The names have no meaning and they sure don’t say much to describe the gear and, on top of all that, the names are also very confusing. Even after wearing the pants for a few weeks, familiarizing myself with the individual features on the Speed and Strength website and writing this article, I could not tell you which is which by looking at them. In fact, right up until the last minute, as we were captioning the photos, we had to refer to the Speed and Strength website to figure it out.
When a name has too many syllables, has no meaning related to the product (or anything else) and is too easy to forget, you’re going to have trouble marketing the stuff.
Oh well…Unfortunate appellations aside, the bottom line is that these pants were designed to match the Speed and Strength jackets with the same names. This includes the Speed and Strength Coast is Clear ST jacket reviewed by Rick and the Hell ‘N’ Back jacket to be reviewed next.
But even though the pants are sold as a match for the Speed and Strength jackets, they can easily mix-and-match with either jacket or even with jackets of any other brand.
The basic difference between the Coast is Clear and the Hell ‘N Back pants pretty much comes down to color and price. The Hell ‘N Back pants are black and silver and they list for $50.00 more than the all-black Coast is Clear pants.
The Hell ‘N Back pants also have a short 20 cm attachment zipper that matches the zipper in the Hell ‘N Back jacket. Curiously, the attachment zipper is not included in the Coast is Clear pants, even though both jackets have an attachment zipper in the rear.
The coolest feature on both versions of these pants — literally — is the zip-off panel that exposes a mesh fabric underneath which actually provides some decent ventilation. Textile motorcycle pants are notorious for their poor ventilation, and most brands of pants pay lip service to venting with the use of those tiny zippered vents that do nothing but act as one more place for water to enter.
But the Speed and Strength designers thought outside the box to help solve this problem. The more expensive Hell ‘N Back pants have a diagonal panel on either side of the front that reaches from just above the knee to the upper hip. The articulated stretch panel in back of the waist prevents the panel from continuing around the back, as it does on the Coast is Clear pants. This matches the similar removable panel on the Coast is Clear ST jacket (review).
So another advantage of the less expensive Coast is Clear (the solid black pants in the photos) pants is having only the single panel, which means one less part to store — or lose. And since the panel on the Coast is Clear pants runs from above the knee to around the hips, back around the waist and back down the other side, the ventilation is better also. By the way — the Coast is Clear pants have an articulated panel in the back of the waist also, so go figure.
The outer shell on both of these pants are made from an undefined type of thick feeling nylon, similar to Cordura. It feels like the 600 denier material used in the jackets.
Both pants also feature a full-length removable “waterproof” (claimed) liner; each is fitted with a full-length waist zipper inside the perimeter. The liner used in the more expensive Coast is Clear pants is also claimed breathable.
The Coast is Clear (black) pants have a long zipper on the shell that runs up to the top of the thigh. The liner has a matching zipper length and elastic at the leg cuff but no attachment to the inside of the pant legs.
The leg cuff on the Hell ‘N Back pants attaches to the inside of the pant leg with a single loop and no elastic around the bottom. The zipper on these pants is shorter, running half-way up the outside of the lower leg.
They probably could have saved some time and money by standardizing on the liner. I’d suggest going with a hybrid, using the Coast is Clear version with the attachment loop at the bottom and no elastic, but with the shorter length zipper of the Hell ‘N Back pants. The elastic is a bit of a pain, as it must be stuffed inside the boot top or pulled around the outside and the absence of any type of loop to attach the leg to the bottom of the pants means the liner pulls out every time I pull the pants off.
The liner in the Hell ‘N Back (silver/black) pants appears to be made from a breathable membrane type of fabric. There are no name brands used here of course, to keep the price low. But the liner in the Coast is Clear (black) pants appears to be a simple nylon or polyester taffeta-like material, while the liner in the Hell ‘N Back pants looks like a higher quality breathable type on the outside, with a polyester material bonded to the inside. The seams do not appear to be heat sealed, but both liners provide basic water resistance.
As always, if you’re really planning on riding in the rain, it’s wise not to take any clothing manufacturer’s word for it, because the general definition of “waterproof” will probably be quite different from your expectations. Buy a cheap rain suit and keep it handy to throw on over your clothes when it starts to pour.
Waist and Adjusters
The waist on both pants is wide and generous; more so than other European-designed pants, which tend to be tight on the top, at least for American shapes (generally speaking). It’s interesting to note that we almost never have waist fit problems with pants designed by non-European designers and almost always have sizing issues with European designs.
Both pants have a wide waist and basic but very functional side waist adjusters. The waist design is comfortable and the adjusters have a generous amount of range, which compensates for the roominess of the sizing when necessary.
The Hell ‘N Back pants have two snaps at the top, while the Coast is Clear pants have a single snap. Neither is adequate and we feel that all motorcycle pants should also have a more secure metal hook at the waist to help keep the pants on during a crash and slide.
The single snap in the Coast is Clear pants seems to pop open with the slightest provocation, such as bending over, kneeling, etc. and some type of hook or even a hook-and-loop system might help to prevent this.
Both of the pants shown here are size large, but the black Coast is Clear pants fit closer to the expected size. Both pair are rather generous in their dimensions and when the water-resistant liners are removed, the pants gain about another 1/2 size.
The black Coast is Clear pants fit closer to what I’d expect from a size large, and I may have been able to fit into an M. The Speed and Strength size chart shows the textile pants in size large as fitting a 34-36 waist; I’d say it’s more like 36-38, at least one size range different. The size large pants shown here would be way, way too big on a 34 waist, so I’m not sure what they were thinking.
In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that both of these pants were mislabeled and should actually be size XL, which is listed as a 36-38 waist.
The Hell ‘N Back pants seem to run slightly larger, if our example is indicative of the line. These are also a size large, but you can see how bulky they look in the Flash slide show above. To be fair, finding pants that fit correctly is, I think, the most difficult part of outfitting oneself in motorcycle gear.
None of the local webBikeWorld evaluation crew has been able to find pants that fit correctly and we’ve discussed this several times. This is compounded by the fact that most of the motorcycle clothing designed for or by North American focused companies is too big and riders almost always wear clothing that is too large, mimicking the loose-fitting street styling when snug is more important for safety reasons.
So you’ve been warned, and the answer is to make sure you try on the Speed and Strength pants first.
Both of these pants have two upper hand pockets in front, covered with unbranded water-resistant zippers. The pockets are lined and the Hell ‘N Back pockets are vertically oriented, while the pockets on the Coast is Clear pants are nearly horizontal.
The Hell ‘N Back pants have two additional pockets, located on the thigh for easy access when in the seated position. These pockets also use water-resistant zippers. The thigh pockets are 130 mm deep and handy for carrying keys or change or even a cell phone.
Armor and Padding
Both pants have basic knee padding but no hip or tail padding. The Hell ‘N Back pants have a section of perforated leather on the inside of each leg, presumably to act as wear protection when standing on the pegs of an adventure-touring bike.
The Speed and Strength Coast is Clear and Hell ‘N Back pants are a good match for the Speed and Strength jackets. The Hell ‘N’ Back pants are my first choice and I only wish the waist had a stronger snap or hook. The removable panel feature on both pants definitely helps with ventilation, often a problem with motorcycle pants.
I prefer the wrap-around panel on the Hell ‘N Back pants, which also seem to fit me better. But the color and pockets on the Coast is Clear version may better suit some riders. Either way, you can have a full Speed and Strength outfit for less than the cost of an expensive European jacket alone, so there’s value to be had here.