Before the Alpinestars Raider Drystar pants were unveiled to the public, they had already underwent over 3000 miles of testing in both touring and sport-riding situations by Ultimate Motorcycling.The touring occurred during a trek from Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in South Dakota to Northeast Pennsylvania. As you can imagine, from Midwest heat smelling of corn to chilly, wet weather around the mountains of northern Pennsylvania, we truly were able to test the quality and waterproofness and durability of the Raider Drystar pants.
[Visit the Ultimate Motorcycling Gear/Parts Page]That’s good to know, but these pants were also built for speed, and that’s where the other testing occurred—under seriously spirited sport rides. The genius of the Alpinestars Raider Drystar pants is that they provide the high protection of technical leather in comfortable textile with a sport fit. With nothing loose, if these had knee pucks, and textile was track-legal, they’d up the comfort ante at the track.Besides the abrasion- and tear-resistant textile, the key to comfort in sport situations is something jackets are known for—pre-curved construction. The pant legs are designed with a pre-curved fit, modeling the ergonomics of a sport bike.This was immediately noticed when piloting my Ducati 1198 Panigale, but didn’t change comfort when on riding the Moto Guzzi MGX-21 Flying Fortress back from Sturgis, or endless treks—both urban and backroads—on my Multistrada.The textile material is light and flexible, and the CE-certified knee and Nucleon hip protection wasn’t a bother. I’m usually the first to take out CE protection in pants, but not this time; it didn’t affect comfort whatsoever, even when leaning off the bike during aggressive cornering.The knee protection is adjustable, also, for a tailored fit. Further movement arrives from stretch panels built around crotch and knees.The Raider pants arrive with Alpinestars’ Drystar 100 percent waterproof and breathable membrane. I spent close to 400 miles in the rain, and remained completely dry throughout. The pants also provided further comfort due to breathing, allowing your legs and bottom side to remain non-sweaty during the hotter temps. Two zippered vents along the thighs aid in ventilation during the extremely hot days.When it gets cold, the Raider Drystar’s removable thermal lining will provide warmth. I’m a fan of underlayers, and only needed the thermal liners once below 50 degrees F; anything above and the warmth is too much, even on a sportbike with no wind protection for the legs.I wear a 34” jean, but always go to a 36” for riding pants for added comfort, especially when choosing textile gear. A large was the correct size for me, though they are snug like a sport-riding pants. If you’re not into the snug sportbike fit of leathers, go a size larger.The Alpinestars Raider Drystar feature a quality YKK zipper fly and snap enclosure, and further waist adjustment via Velcro straps. Down below, Velcro adjusters allow you to tighten the leg openings for a snug fit around your riding boots. Other features include hand pockets and reflective material for improved visibility.Finally, there’s the appearance—the Alpinestars Raider Drystar pants appear like perfect-fitting riding leathers, but with all the comfort of textile. It’s nice to finally leave the full leathers at home when the need for spirited sport riding arrives, and walk into lunch without constantly adjusting your parts.
This week we ride two genre-departing motorcycles from the established American manufacturers. Jess McKinley gives us his thoughts on the all new Harley-Davidson Pan America Special, and Ron Lieback gives his on Indian’s latest version of the FTR 1200 S.