Nothing fancy about them, but they were cheap, they work without fuss and they keep going and going and going…
I like their honest simplicity — and that I can quickly throw them on over a pair of jeans and 30 seconds later I’m ready to roll.
So when new or returning riders or anyone on a budget asks for a advice on a good quality, reasonably priced jacket or pants, you could do a lot worse than recommend a look at the Tourmaster lineup.
In 2011, that product line — and that recommendation — should certainly include the “Flex Textile Pant”, the subject of this review.
“Flex” is short for “Flexibility”, and that is a definite understatement with these pants, which are a perfect match for the Flex LE jacket (review) or its civilian counterpart, the Flex Series 2.0 Jacket.
And of course, the Flex Textile Pant (as they are referred to by Tourmaster; I’ll refer to them as the Flex Pants) also works with any other brand or type of motorcycle jacket.
The construction and build quality of the Flex Pants is nearly identical to the rugged Flex LE jacket described in Part 1 of this review and that’s a definite plus.
The Flex Pants, like the Flex LE jacket, have an interesting design.
They are actually a heavy-duty pair of mesh pants, which serves as the foundation. A solid textile outer shell is attached to the outside with zippers, and it can be removed to expose the mesh underneath when the weather heats up.
The outer shell material is moderately water-resistant, but the real water resistance in the Flex Pants comes from the Tourmaster dual-layer “Aqua-Therm” system.
It consists of a removable waterproof liner and a separate removable insulating liner, either of which can be attached to the pants as a mix-and-match.
This differs from the Flex LE jacket, which has a water-resistant lining bonded to the inside of the outer shell and no separate waterproof removable liner.
The removable outer shell of the Flex Pants covers about 3/4 of the pant legs, from the cuffs up to the top part of the legs. This can be seen in the photos below; the angled zippers on either side mark the spot where the outer panels are removed.
Once the panels are removed, you end up with a nice pair of heavy mesh pants for warm-weather riding. Tourmaster designed a series of zippers around each leg at the thigh and up the side, which makes removal pretty easy.
Replacing the panels is slightly more complicated, but not a problem once the procedure is learned.
The combination of the removable panels and the Tourmaster Aqua-Therm liner system consists of the separate detachable waterproof liner and the separate and removable insulating liner.
Full-length zippers are used for both liners. This is what gives the Flex Pants their name — flexibility.
It means that the Flex Pants can be worn with both the insulating and the water-resistant liner or with the insulating liner only.
Or, with the water-resistant liner only or without either liner but with the outer shell panels installed and finally, as a pair of mesh pants with no liners.
Add this all together, including the ability to mix and match the liners with the pants in either the mesh or solid mode, and you can see why they call them “Flex Pants”.
Flex LE Pants vs. Flex “Civilian” Pants
The pants shown in these photos are called the Tourmaster Flex Pant and they are significantly different from the Flex LE pants that are designed for Motor Officer (motorcycle) Police Units.
We originally wanted to review the Flex LE Pants to match the Flex LE jacket, but only the non-LE version of the pants was available at the time and we didn’t realize there was a difference until recently.
But, as fate would have it, the civilian version of the Flex Pants is actually the better choice for street riding and, one could argue, perhaps better than the Flex LE Pants for Motor Officer duties too.
The biggest difference is the removable panels.
As far as we can tell, the Flex LE pants do not have the removable leg panels, which expose the mesh pants underneath, and this is one of the features that extends the usability of the pants in a wider variety of weather conditions and makes them especially comfortable in hot weather.
Riding a Police motorcycle in the summertime sun must be hotter than a blast furnace with all that gear, a bulletproof vest and the black Flex LE jacket.
It would seem that a nice pair of cool mesh pants would be just the ticket (sorry!).
Although the Flex LE pants are available in a choice of black, Navy blue and olive green, and they do have a more tailored/formal uniform appearance, the civilian version of the Flex Pants also look good and I doubt that a speeder pulled over on the side of the road would notice the difference!
The piping on the Flex Pants consists of two narrow reflective strips of a typical silver/white color, compared to a single wide stripe on the Flex LE pants. Either way, the Phoslite reflective material is highly reflective, as illustrated in our photos.
Other differences include the cargo pockets on the outside of the thigh of the Flex LE pants; a sap pocket (if you don’t know what a sap is, you don’t want to find out!); and a slightly different waist and belt arrangement. More formal detailing around the front of the knees completes the differences.
But otherwise the basic construction of the Flex Pant and the Flex LE Pants are similar, with double stitched panels throughout.
To summarize the differences between the Flex LE pants and the Flex Pants:
The Flex LE pants have a wide reflective Phoslite stripe down each leg; the street version has two narrow strips of reflective piping in a silver/white color.
The Flex LE pants have cargo pockets on the outside of the thigh and a pocket for a sap or baton; the civilian version of the Flex Pants feature two horizontal zipper pockets at the upper waist in front.
The Flex LE pants have a narrower, more formal waistband and belt arrangement. More formal detailing around the front of the knees completes the differences.
Both pants have a connector zipper for the Flex LE or Flex Series 2.0 jacket.
The Flex LE pants are available in the Police uniform colors of black, Navy blue and olive green. The olive green Flex LE pants have a nice gold reflective stripe down the side of the legs, while the black and Navy blue pants have a dark (nearly black) reflective stripe.
The Flex LE pants have a more formal Police uniform look and the Navy blue and olive green are especially good-looking.
Tourmaster Flex Pants Sizing, Fit and Comfort
The Flex Pants (civilian version) are available in an expanded size range, from XS to 4XL Regular; M to 3XL Short; and M to 3XL Tall.
We had to settle for slightly different sizes than we usually order, due to the stock shortages as the pants were just entering the retail network.
The pants shown here are a size large short, while the jacket is a size large long.
It was as close as we could get at the time the order was placed and the timing was right, but just to note that the fit of the clothing may look too big on the model in the photos as a result.
The size Large Short fits as expected, with slightly short legs that could probably be about another 2″ longer to fit correctly in the riding position.
Like the Flex LE jacket, the combination of the outer shell, dual liners and mesh pants make a pretty thick arrangement, so the pants lose about one size with the liners removed.
Thus, the pants should fit as tight as possible with the liners inserted, while still remaining comfortable. This way, when the liners are removed, the pants should at least look reasonable and not like they’re two sizes too big.
By the way, information about the Flex LE pants is difficult to find, as they are not currently listed on the Tourmaster website. But the sizes apparently range from a 28/30 waist Regular all the way up to 40/42 Tall.
Short lengths are available in sizes ranging from 32/34 to 40/42.
I will admit to some skepticism when the Flex Pants first arrived; I usually have a heavy dose of it for these “all-season, all-weather, all-purpose, all-in-one” outfits.
But the more I use them, the more I like them. They do provide a huge amount of versatility.
The Spring weather has been highly variable, so I’ve had a chance to wear the Flex Pants in everything from cold to wet with a few warm days thrown in for good measure and I can attest to the versatility, comfort and usefulness of the design.
The Flex Pants have removable CE-approved knee armor in an adjustable pocket. The armor can be adjusted up or down in three positions.
The removable liners use full-length zippers around the waist, a nice feature. The pant legs attach at the bottom with two snaps.
Tourmaster isn’t specific about wearing the Flex Pants as overpants but the configuration seems to indicate that these are not overpants.
Since the outer shell sections cover the legs only, there is no outer shell that could be worn as an overpant, although I suppose if the chosen size was loose enough, the mesh pants could serve as an overpant with the liners removed in some situations.
The mesh base pants provide excellent ventilation with the liners removed, although obviously it isn’t easy to replace the waterproof liner if it starts raining on the road.
In that case, a pair of soft cotton walking shorts is recommended, so at least you’re somewhat covered during quick roadside changes.
Since the removable panels start around the top of the legs, the waist and upper part of the pants remains in place when the panels are removed to uncover the mesh pants underneath.
This means that the two horizontal pockets are still usable, as is the adjustable waistband.
The pants have a dual snap at the top, but like many other motorcycle pants, could use a hook instead or in addition for added security.
The Flex LE jacket in size Large Tall weighs 4 lbs. complete and 3.5 lbs. with the outer shell removed. The Flex Pants in size Large Short weigh 5 lbs. with both liners and the outer shell attached.
The wBW Opinionator: Tourmaster Flex Pants
Substantial and rugged feel.
Highly versatile for all-season use.
Street styled but should also work with a Police uniform for Motor Officer Units.
Wind and waterproof with removable liner.
Very comfortable and warm insulating liner.
Includes CE-approved armor and padding.
Black is the only color currently available.
Pants lose at least one size with liners removed.
Snaps at waist rather than hook.
The Tourmaster Flex Pants live up to their name with all-season flexibility.
Something about these pants and the Flex LE jacket just seems to offer a more rugged and heavy-duty feel than other “convertible” jackets or pants we’ve reviewed.
The pants are very warm when the outer shell is in place over the heavy mesh pants. The liner seems extra thick and it’s very comfortable.
The weather hasn’t been warm enough to really give the mesh a workout, but trials in relatively warm weather indicate that the mesh provides excellent air flow.
The wind- and water-proof liner does work as intended and these are one of the few items of motorcycle gear that will work in all seasons, including the coldest of winter weather. That’s pretty amazing, considering the low price.