A recent tumble on a mountain road gave me the unfortunate opportunity to test the abrasion resistance of the Express Overpants from Alpinestars. With the thermal liner removed, these pants have a two-way zipper that goes almost all the way to the hip, meaning they slip over a pair of jeans pretty easily even with boots on. There is a bit of hip padding, CE certified knee/shin armor, and a Drystar membrane that Alpinestars says is waterproof.

I fell off the left side of the bike, hitting my knee first and then sliding on the seat of my pants at around 35 mph. The jacket and backpack I was wearing got a little scuffed, but the pants took most of the impact. At the seat of the pants, the 600-Denier fabric blew open, both at a seam and smack-dab on the reinforced section of the right side. The asphalt made it through to my jeans, but no damage was visible. The fabric on the knee also split open but revealed only the armor, which held up admirably.

We were disappointed to see the fabric tear open so easily and agreed that a crash at twice the speed probably would have chewed up some denim (or worse). In defense of the Express Overpants, I didn't feel a single after-effect from the crash. Most notably, my left knee was completely unharmed, while the pants are toast.

The safety features served me well, and the "European" cut suits my slim, 6-foot-2 frame, fitting snugly while still being long enough that the cuff doesn't climb halfway up my shin when I sit on a bike. They might not be built for speed but would be a good city garment. The "Henry Ford" color option (black only) means they are bound to match your outfit, and the piping down the side is reflective for added safety.

Alpinestars Express Overpants
PRICE: $230
Verdict 3/5
Comfortable and well built but best for low-speed crashes only.