Spidi 4Season Pants Review: Suitable For All Weather
I was once told by a very experienced rider that once you go with textile pants for long-distance touring, you will never want to go back to jeans. He told me that they are more comfortable than jeans, and more flexible in diverse weather conditions.
Well, I have been wearing Kevlar-reinforced riding jeans for 14 years, and they always seemed satisfactory to me. But, truth be told that jeans do not have any weather protection.
That might just be the important differentiator between my old trusty knee-armored Kevlar jeans and the state-of-the-art textile pants, such as the Spidi 4Season pants with the Italian company’s waterproof H2Out technology.
I have discovered that selecting textile riding pants is quite the learning experience. I spent hours combing manufacturers web sites trying to home in on what I want in a riding pant. Features I want include ventilation, waterproofing, warmth without bulkiness, all-day comfort, and I want them to look decent on me.
After a lot of research, I decided to give the Spidi 4Season Pants a try. The first thing was figuring out what size to order. Other riders’ reports said to go two (yes, two) full sizes larger than the Spidi size chart. I wear a 34 waist in jeans—Medium on the Spidi chart. Because I knew that I would occasionally be wearing a base layer under these pants, I started with the Large 35 3/8 to 37 ¾ and went up two sizes to XXL.
The Spidi 4Season pants have Velcro adjusters and belt loops, so I felt that if I overcompensated in the sizing, the Velcro and a belt would compensate. As it turns out, I have the Velcro at full adjustment on both sides, and that exactly takes in the waist to where I don’t need a belt.
With a 34-inch waist, I could have gone with the XL, which would have reduced the little bit of extra fabric I can see in the hip area. Fortunately, they fit just fine with the Velcro adjusters at maximum pull in.
They come with the breathable waterproof/windproof inner liner attached. As I was taking the pants off, I stopped for a moment to figure out the logistics of a bathroom break. I determined that a lot of inner liner has to be moved to get down to business, as it does not have a break in the material all the way to the top of the waist. I made a mental note to never have to be in a hurry to go with the inner liner in place.
I took off the Spidi 4Season pants and unhooked the numerous snaps and buttons to get the liner out. While taking out the inner waterproof liner, I noted the zipper on the outside of the back of the waist.
I know that a lot of textile pants and overpants come with that zipper, but I have never gotten water down my butt while riding in a touring position, so I have never used one to attach my jacket to my pants. I pulled the pants back on, put my boots on, zipped down the boot zippers, and walked around a bit.
One thing I noticed quickly was I wasn’t feeling the textile of the Spidi 4Season pants against my skin. I sat down and took the pants down to my knees and looked at the construction. There is smooth fine mesh down to the knees between my skin and the protective textile. That layer keeps the textile away from your skin, which I discovered is good for both heat and cold. While my pants were down, I reached in to adjust the CE-rated knee armor and realized it could only be adjusted from the bottom.
Off came my boots and pants, and I adjusted the knee armor as high as they would go in their pockets on the provided Velcro strips. Pants back on, boots back on, two zippers pulled down, and one zipper pulled up, I started exploring some again.
There are only front pockets on the Spidi 4Season pants. They are similar to regular jean pockets, though not as deep as I would like to see them for keeping a wallet and cash. There is a waterproof zipper about 14 inches long on the front of each thigh.
These zippers expose a mesh triangle that opens like a tent fly, and each has two snaps to hold the flap open. That is the ventilation I wanted to test and hoped worked. The only ventilation I have on my riding jeans is lifting my boot up to the freeway wind to blow up my pants leg—not as convenient as the 4Season’s vent flaps.
As it turns out the vent flaps are easy to open with summer riding gloves, and the snaps were easy to click in. The hottest I rode in so far was about 86 degrees, and the ventilation at the thigh was welcomed. The inner mesh keeps my skin from touching the textile, so there is a bit of an air barrier between the temperature of the material surface and my skin.
When I took my glove off and felt the material on the thigh, it was hot to the touch due to being black in the direct sun, yet the sensation of the skin on my thigh was comfortable. I distinctly remember my jeans in summer riding passing most, though not all, of their surface temperature to my skin.
I went to check myself out in the mirror and noticed the fit looked good—certainly not tailored, but what I would call a very relaxed fit in the waist area and comfortable in the legs. I also noted that I liked the overall look of the Spidi 4Season pants because they don’t have the accordion ribbing at the knees that so many textile pants have.
There is a four-by-half-inch reflective strip on the outside of each knee and two solid snaps to hold the waist in place. Inside the waistband, there are 13 snaps to keep the back of the waterproof liner in place, plus several loops for attaching it in place in the trunk area and down the legs. Even knowing where they are, I couldn’t feel them.
I took a two-hour warm-to-hot ride, and a four-hour drizzling cool-to-warm ride. It is hard to notice when something is missing, but on the four-hour ride, I realized that my ‘man parts’ were not being crunched. I am of average male endowment and I have always needed to have all my riding jeans altered with a diamond shaped patch added to the crotch to be comfortable in that area for all day rides. So, I noticed that I was comfortable in that area without any alterations.
The two-hour hot ride proved the value of thigh vents and the lack of heat transfer from the outer layer to my skin. Other than that, I didn’t notice any material flap from wind turbulence or the pants riding up my boot which occasionally happens with jeans on highway pegs.
There was no harshness in the waistband area, with nothing digging in or being even noticeable. They felt like they were doing their job and, as always, I hope for you and for me that we never have to test their abrasion resistance!
The four-hour ride started out at 62 degrees on the freeway. The Tenax fabric has such a tight weave that I did not feel any of the 62-degree air getting to my skin. Wearing jeans at 62 degrees, I would have worn an underlayer to stay warm. As the day warmed, I simply reached down and opened the vent flaps and found additional comfort.
There hasn’t been any rain where I am, so haven’t tested the waterproof liner yet. However, I have no doubt it is waterproof. I did make like a hand puppet with the lower leg section of the pants and ran my kitchen faucet on full blast two inches from the Tenax fabric for five minutes, and never felt any moisture come through. I reached out to Spidi to understand about the water-resistance of the Tenax pants fabric, and they replied that it is waterproof, but the seams at all the sewing points are not watertight. They advised that water will eventually seep through the seams. That is where the inner liner comes into play.
In my 15 years of street riding, I have always known ahead of time if I was going to run into a continuous downpour or just showers. With these Spidi 4Season pants on I wouldn’t feel the need to don my rain gear, as I would with jeans. As a quick aside, I always carry a compact umbrella within quick reach in case I get surprised by rain that I thought was farther away. Getting rain gear on under an umbrella is much preferable to rushing, stumbling, and dropping stuff as the wind picks up and the raindrops get harder.
As an “all gear all the time” type of rider, I am always seeking the best and most versatile gear for my style of riding. Spidi 4Season pants check all the boxes for rideability, comfort, weather resistance, looks, safety, and durability. They are designed for motorcycle riding, so I think for the times I am off the bike I can get used to hearing my thighs rub as I walk around in them.
Spidi 4Season Pants Fast Facts
- Sizes: S-4XL
- Colors: Black; Black/Grey; Yellow Fluo
- Spidi 4Season Pants Price: $400 MSRP