An unexpected side effect of being a Melburnian through Covid lockdowns is two fold:
- It's given me a further intolerance for uncomfortable clothing, and
- It's given me the urge to go riding more than ever before.
Motorcycle leggings aren't a new concept, but what made these a bit special was that it seemed to fit and flatter pretty much any body type with ease, all while being very comfortable. Most importantly, they kept the armour in place in a crash to protect against impact, and are lined with Kevlar to protect your skin against abrasion.
The Sherrie leggings are a slightly different take to their very successful first line of leggings. I own both of them, so this article will be mostly a comparison between the two.
Don't wear yoga pants on the bike
My first crash was when I was riding home on my 2009 Kawasaki Ninja 250. I had decided to take a last minute detour and was going up a wide main road at about 70kph. I remember distinctly deciding not to wear my Kevlar jeans that day, instead opting for the good ol' yoga pants for comfort. Afterall, it was only a short ride home, and I hadn't fallen yet.
It was almost winter in Vancouver, meaning it got dark at around 4pm. The roads were pretty much empty, and always damp, as is standard Vancouver weather. As I was riding up, out of the corner of my eye I see a pair of headlights coming straight across at lightning speed. They clip my front tyre with their bumper, I go down sliding. As I looked up, I saw their brake lights turn on. Thank goodness they stopped.
As I was picking myself back up, I heard the roar of their engine starting back up again as they disappeared into the darkness.
Traffic caught up to me and some good samaritans made sure I was ok. I went to the hospital, but not before the police told me I shouldn't be riding at night. (Thanks!)
I came away pretty lucky that day. I was wearing boots, a helmet, gloves, and a leather jacket. I felt fine until I saw my own kneecap - that is, the bone itself - with a bit of it scraped away. It's funny how tremendous pain 10 years ago will still tell you to wear proper gear now.
Sherrie Leggings Review
Fast forward to today, I'm a grateful owner of Sherrie armoured motorcycle leggings from MotoGirl UK.
These leggings come with a set of CE Level 2 knee armour. The reason this is particularly important is because you never, ever want to see your own kneecap, which is often a result of inadequate protection from impact and abraison.
The leggings also feature total coverage of Kevlar throughout the pants, not just in dedicated "crash zones". If you think about the last time you crashed, how much control did you have when you were sliding on the ground?
With my, for lack of a better word, shrimpy physique, it can be hard climbing aboard my beast (with a 824mm seat height) without having some assistance from the pants itself. Leather is notoriously awful at allowing short people to throw a leg over.
I've been able to ride for 8-10 hours comfortably in the Sherrie leggings with little discomfort other than my two cheekbones, and I'm not talking about the ones in the helmet.
The only thing I'd consider is if you have sensitive knees like mine, the knee armour may put pressure on your kneecaps, making it sore after long days in a bent position (such as a sportbike). That's a very specific issue but thought I'd put it out there.
MotoGirl UK seemed to have taken onboard the feedback about the slight fading in their first version of leggings. Now, as someone who uses black textiles in literally every product, I feel their pain when trying to use a material that doesn't fade in the Australian sun. It's difficult. So it never bothered me. But so far, it looks like the dye in these pants are a lot more UV resistant. They also have a bit of a shiny look to it and the texture is smoother. Unfortunately I burnt a small swatch of fabric on my inner left knee from riding my very hot sportbike, so just keep that in mind.
The inside mesh is probably the most annoying part of the whole pant, however, I know why they did it. Mesh allows a bit more airflow and breathability than skin-to-Kevlar, and it allows for the pant to slide across your skin when you walk or sit. The mesh needs to be relatively free to move about. So while I get it, it's still a bit of an effort to peel the pants off after a good long day riding in the sun.
The stretch Kevlar itself is great. Kevlar tends not to be very breathable so the fact that they made a pant this cool while still maintaining their protection rating is impressive. I'd still recommend this gear regardless of the mesh inside.
Size wise, being a self proclaimed shortass, they fit me perfectly. 'Normal' Sized pants usually bunch up around the boot, making it harder to zip them up. The Sherries also lead to smooth thighs, something 'Normal' sized pants don't do (damn wrinkles) which is delightfully flattering. I found the pants true to size, though I picked the shorter version.
Because the pants are high waisted, even the largest of burrito bellies was no match for the shape-keeping properties of the waistband. The waistband was clearly designed by a woman who knows the feels of bending forward comfortably after a big meal. Curves across the world thank Moto Girl for this. The pants do stretch so I found the fit nice around the thighs and calves as well.
The Sherrie leggings are single layer, which helps with allowing air to travel through the fabric rather than trap it. The result is a cooler ride, though I did feel the warmth of the exhaust and engine through it much easier than I did with the original leggings.
The Sherrie also has pockets on the bum rather than in the front. I actually prefer them in the front but you can't please everyone.
Australia's sole distributor for MotoGirl UK products is Peak Moto, and at the time of writing, the RRP is A$339 for a pair of Sherrie leggings. (Updated June 2023)
Would I recommend this product?
If you've made it this far, it's clear that it's a resounding YES.
As a female rider of a shorter stature, I can appreciate the extra lengths (pun intended) that MotoGirl have gone to provide women's gear in Australia.
Good women's gear is hard to find without a splash of pink on it; trust me, I've been looking for nearly 10 years.
I would absolutely tell my riding mates to get on these leggings and see what the big deal is about - you might never go back to another brand.