Joe Rocket Alter Ego 2.0 Pants: Epic Ride Review
I have to admit I am an Alter Ego fan. My everyday jacket has been a Joe Rocket Alter Ego for about 15 years. I choose the Alter Ego line because I like the flexibility of the same piece of gear working for me in four Pacific Coast seasons. When it is hot, I have air flow. When it is cold, I have a windproof and thermal lining. When it is wet, I don’t have to stop to put on a separate rain suit.
My first attempt at sizing the Joe Rocket Alter Ego 2.0 overpants was incorrect. Although Joe Rocket says they are sized to fit over pants, I had to go the next size up. They do have a bit of elastic in the waist, though that seems to be more for comfort stretch than sizing. I wear 34/30 jeans, and Joe Rocket’s Large 34/35 was too tight in the waist.
Next, I went with the XL waist and Regular Inseam (34). The 34 inseam gives plenty of length to keep the wind from blowing my pant leg up when my boots are up on my Yamaha Venture’s highway pegs. My riding boot soles are thick enough to keep the hem from dragging on the ground when walking around.
Preparations complete, I headed off at 7 a.m. for a 1200-mile, two-and-a-half day tour up the California and Oregon coasts. The second morning was a brisk 49 degrees, and I put the Joe Rocket Alter Ego 2.0 pants on for the first time on the road.
The Alter Ego 2.0 pants go on smoothly because the sides open up to the waist. You do have to unzip both the outer shell and the inner waterproof line separately, but we are talking moments only. It did take me a few tries to learn the technique of bringing up the outer shell zipper without snagging the inner liner.
Stepping into the gaping opening of the waist with boots on is effortless. Zipping the inner liner and outer shell is simple, with long zipper pulls down the full length of my leg. The zippers pull smoothly, though because they are buried for weather protection, you can’t open then with gloves on.
I liked the strap at the hemline for tightening the leg material around my boot. It’s not needed when warm, though appreciated when cold or wet. Two vertical snaps stay secure, with left- and right-side Velcro straps for fine adjustment on the waist.
The Joe Rocket Alter Ego 2.0 pants cinch higher than jeans—about at the belly button. I believe I have normal sized man’s hands and sliding my wallet into the left pocket is a lot tighter than I expected it would be. The side pockets are large enough inside for my iPhone 7, though the zippered opening to reach in to get it out is tighter than it should be. The pockets on each side are not waterproof. Remember, it is the inner liner that keeps the drenching water off you, so the pockets are on the wet side, not the dry side.
Swinging my leg over my Yamaha Venture does not require any crotch pull. There is ample room in the crotch and legs to allow me to swing my leg over and get seated.
I tested for being slippery on the saddle, and it didn’t seem any different than my riding jeans, although there is a bit more padding due to the liner. With boots down on the pads and up on the highway pegs, I don’t feel any need to adjust any part of the pants. They are simply a well-designed overpant.
In the cool morning air, I absolutely couldn’t feel any wind at all on my legs. I could feel the chilled air through my gloves and neck when I moved my head around, but my legs were feeling toasty. As the sun rose, it became evident that I needed to shed the Joe Rocket Alter Ego 2.0 pants before I overheated.
I was on a time crunch, or I would have stopped and taken out the waterproof liner and continued for a time, then unzipped the airflow panel that spans the upper thighs and wraps around the butt. That would have been true utilization of the capabilities of these pants, but this trip didn’t allow for that many extra stops, as short as they would have been. It couldn’t have been more than 65 degrees when I stopped to take them off.
That evening the temp dropped quickly from 60 to 50 to 45. I stopped as soon as I could to put the Joe Rocket Alter Ego 2.0 pants back on. What a relief! I Was warm and toasty immediately. The temp did drop to about 39 before I made it to the hotel, and I never felt any temperature difference in my legs.
The next morning it was cold and drizzling and on went the Alter Ego 2.0 pants—no worries about sitting down on a wet saddle! Although it was no downpour, no falling liquid, even being pushed by freeway speeds, penetrated the outer shell. Again, it didn’t take long for the morning warming up to get me out of the full shell with liner.
I am an All Gear All The Time rider. The Joe Rocket Alter Ego 2.0 overpants will give me the flexibility of wearing any comfortable pants or shorts while maintaining the safety that I appreciate thanks to the Rock Tex 600 shell and adjustable CE knee protectors. If you are like me and seek single pieces of gear to fill multiple roles, then the Joe Rocket Alter Ego 2.0 pants are for you.
Joe Rocket Alter Ego 2.0 Overpants Fast Facts
- Short (32-inch inseam): M – 3XL
- Regular (34-inch inseam) : S-3XL
- Tall (36-inch inseam): M-3XL
- From $200 MSRP