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What to Wear Under Motorcycle Pants

Riding a motorcycle requires paying attention to some key details, like what you wear under the pants. The undergarments will keep you comfortable, regulate your body temperature, and provide protection in the event of a spill.


  • Wear thermals or long johns under motorcycle pants in cold weather.
  • Compression leggings or shorts are best for hot weather.
  • Avoid jeans under pants as they restrict movement.
  • Leather pants resist abrasion but can get hot.
  • Textile pants are lightweight but less insulating.

The right base layers can make a huge difference in how enjoyable your ride is, especially on longer trips. So what to wear under motorcycle pants? Well, it depends on the weather conditions and climate you’ll be riding in.

What to Wear Under Motorcycle Pants: The Complete Guide to Base Layers

Let’s discuss the proper motorcycle base layers for all seasons.

Cold Weather Base Layers: Turn up the Heat with Thermals

When the mercury starts to drop, it’s time to turn up the heat – your body heat, that is! The right thermal base layers can help you stay toasty warm even on the chilliest motorcycle rides.

For retaining maximum body warmth, look for thermals specifically designed for motorcycling, like Fruit of the Loom Thermal Underwear. These use high-tech soft waffle fabric and construction to trap heat close to your skin, keeping you cozy without the bulk of heavy layers. Riders say Fruit of the Loom’s thermals add serious warmth while still allowing free movement.

If those are outside your budget, polyester long johns or thermal underwear made for winter sports like skiing can also do the trick. I have a buddy who swears by his Under Armour cold gear tights on those frosty fall rides. The key is finding a thermal that fits snugly; anything loose will just trap cold air and defeat the purpose.

You want to stay toasty warm on cold rides, but not so bundled up that you can’t properly control your bike. Restricted movement is downright dangerous, so be sure your thermals allow full flexibility. After all, it’s kinda hard to look cool riding if you can barely bend your knees!

The bottom line: form-fitting thermals keep your natural furnace stoked while letting you move freely. So get your heat on and stay warm on those chilly cruises!

Hot Weather Base Layers: Stay Cool with Compression

When the temperatures really start to spike, staying cool and dry on long rides can be a challenge. The secret lies in your base layers. Moisture-wicking compression leggings or shorts are the best bet for keeping your cool when the mercury is on the rise.

Compression briefs works its magic in a few ways. The tight fit spreads sweat evenly across the fabric so it can evaporate more efficiently. And that airflow from your vented riding pants helps speed evaporation to cool you down. It’s like a built-in AC system!

Compression also reduces fatigue and muscle damage on those marathon rides in the summer sun. Increased blood flow gives you more stamina to keep cruising in comfort.

If compression’s not your thing, moisture-wicking polyester or polypropylene fabrics work too. The key is avoiding cotton because once it gets wet, it stays wet. Nobody wants damp, heavy skivvies chafing them for miles.

So beat the heat this summer with some high-performance base layers under those riding pants. Compression gear keeps you cool, dry and chafe-free so you can enjoy those long hot-weather rides.

SEE MORE: Best Motorcycle Pants for Summer: Top 5 Picks

Denim vs Leathers vs Textiles

There are a few style options for motorcycle pants. Let’s compare.

Leather pants are the classic choice. They resist abrasion nicely and provide great protection from the elements. Water-resistant and rugged, leather withstands the road rash. The trade-off is breathability as leather can get hot and stifling in summer.

Synthetic textile pants are a lightweight, flexible alternative. Made from tough fabrics like Kevlar, these offer abrasion resistance on par with leather. They also breathe better in the heat. The downside is less insulation for cold weather riding.

For comfort and style, denim riding pants are popular. They look and feel like your favorite pair of jeans. Many add armor for impact protection too. The cotton fabric itself though doesn’t prevent abrasion as well.

Now for what you wear under your pants, steer clear of jeans and regular shorts. They tend to ride up and restrict movement.

So consider the climate and your riding style when picking motorcycle pants and base layers. Choose underpants that balances protection, comfort, and functionality.

The Takeaway

When it comes to what to wear under motorcycle pants, the key is temperature regulation and protection. Choose base layers to suit the climate – thermals for cold weather, moisture-wicking compression for heat. Proper underwear keeps you comfy in any conditions.

FAQs about Gear to Wear Under Motorcycle Pants

Why is cotton a bad choice for hot weather?

Cotton absorbs sweat and stays wet rather than wicking moisture away. This can lead to chafing.

How does compression clothing help in warm weather?

Compression evenly distributes sweat across the fabric so it evaporates quicker, cooling your skin.

Should I wear shorts under motorcycle pants?

Yes, but avoid regular shorts which can ride up. Compression shorts or cycling shorts are better options.

Will motorcycle pants alone keep me warm in winter?

Probably not – you’ll need to layer thermals or other base layers underneath for additional insulation.

What should I wear under leather motorcycle pants?

In warm weather, moisture-wicking compression leggings. In cold weather, thermal leggings or long johns.

Why are base layers important for motorcyclists?

They regulate body temperature, wick moisture, reduce chafing/irritation, and provide an extra layer of protection.

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