• FirstGear HT Air Overpants

    About a year ago, I purchased a pair of FirstGear HT Air Overpants. They're textile pants with mesh panels for cooling, and they come with a windproof/waterproof liner. Knee armor is foam, but I believe you can purchase CE armor as an upgrade. Hip armor is also available, but has to be purchased separately.

    The construction is fairly solid. The legs have sturdy zippers that go the entire length of the leg, and can unzip from the top or bottom. All snaps on the front of the pants are covered by rubber, to prevent scratching the tank or other parts of the bike. The fabric above the knees is gathered with elastic, so the knee joint is really comfortable. The cuffs and waist are adjustable with velcro, making it pretty easy to adjust the pants to different clothing underneath. There are a couple of front waist pockets where you can store small soft items.

    There are a couple of issues that I have with the pants. Since the pants are overpants, you purchase based on your regular pant size. The actual pants are sized larger, since they are designed to be worn over regular clothes. However, in smaller waist sizes, a "long" option is not available. Tall, skinny people will have problems getting an ideal fit. I chose to make sure the waist was snug, and the pants ended up a little too short. Also, the liner stops several inches above the cuff of the overpant. That, combined with the slightly too-short sizing, means that the liner can ride up above the tops of my boots, funneling rain down them on occasion.

    The zipper on the liner also runs the entire length of the leg, and works fairly well. However, I've noticed some leakage around the knee area after riding for a couple of hours in long rain. Also, the liner zipper has much smaller (and less sturdy) teeth, and has started malfuctioning after a year or so of daily use.

    Here's another thing you may want to consider if you're thinking about a pair of overpants with a waterproof liner as protection in incliment weather. The liner is inside the main pants, so the outer pant will get wet in the rain (along with anything in your pockets). It can take them a while to dry, and storing a heavy, dripping pair of overpants at work can be tough for some people.

    Overall, I'm happy with the pants. The provide a decent amount of protection, and are very convenient for the commuting rider. Without the liner, they are cool enough to wear in the 100-degree Texas summer. With the liner and some insulating pants underneath, they work fairly well for cold weather, too. If you plan on riding in a lot of rain, though, I would suggest getting a dedicated set of rain gear.
    This article was originally published in forum thread: FirstGear HT Air Overpants started by anthony View original post
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