With the fantastic reviews of the GoGo Gear Kevlar Leggings, I was interested in taking a look at their offerings for men. Sure enough, I was contacted by Arlene Battishill of GoGo Gear, asking if I’d like to try a pre-production version of the Kevlar Base Layer and they arrived just in time for the transition from winter to spring. Arlene told me that with the success of the Kevlar Leggings, the equivalent men’s version was just a matter of time. “They fit great and offer so much protection, it’s something that we just couldn’t pass up” she continued. Battishill also said that “they turn every pair of pants that you have into armored pants, and that’s something that everyone can use!” She concluded with “But I’ll let you find out for yourself…” and that’s why we are here now.
The design of the Kevlar Base Layer is largely similar to the design of the ladies. These are snug-fitting dual-layer garments, much like long underwear. The are black and offer exactly zero pockets, since they will be under one’s pants, unlike the ladies versions which are sold as outerwear. There is also no “pass-through” like one might find on underwear. Speaking of which, they are “low-rise” so would probably ride under one’s belt line. There is extra materials in the knees, and internally, two grip-strip closed and included knee armor vertical positioning strips. Aside from a GoGo Gear tab on the right hip and the internal waist stitching (both in red) there are no other logos or details.
The base layer/leggings consist of two-pieces sewn together – the outer is a combination of cotton and 5% Spandex. The inner layer is 275 grams of Dupont Kevlar Abrasion Resistant fabric, itself 95% Kevlar with 5% Spandex. Interestingly, the Kevlar inner layer is a gray-black color, instead of the usual pale yellow. That change alone seems to make the under layer look like a premium product. Also included are 2 slip-in knee protectors that look suspiciously like elbow protectors. The have a strip of grip-strip fabric sewn into them that matches with the other half sewn into the knee pockets (themselves closed with more grip-strip). All together, the under layer garment weighs about 2 pounds, but even at that light weight, feels substantial and heavy-duty.
The fit of the base layer is snug and form fitting. It grips one’s legs and waist and all but disappears under most pants. The base layer fits like long johns, but is much thicker and just as soft. After just a few minutes, you will forget that you even have them on. So far, so good, but the knee protectors have a sharp edge that couldn’t be adjusted to get off my shin. I tried putting the pads at both their extreme upper and lowest positions with the grip strip attachments in their pockets, to no avail. After I told Arlene, she has instructed the pocket to be placed higher on the knee, essentially a compromise between the maximum that it can be placed and the need to keep some leg length/knee position adjustment room. I’m 5’11” and have a 34 inch waist and 32 inch inseam, so I’m almost the standard average size for the American male. Since this was a real-world test, I took the scissors to the pads. I cut the grip strip off the lower portion of each pad, leaving the top portion, sewed to the pad in two places. I tried two different ways of shortening the pads – a V-shape on one and just lopping off the very bottom of the other. The results were inconclusive, but I might try deleting the very bottom part of the knee pad altogether.
One puts on the Men’s Kevlar Base Layer one leg at a time, and very carefully, too. The idea is to step into one leg while you are sitting down, stopping just as your foot passes the armor pockets (whether you have the armor in or not. Then, carefully grab both sides of the fabric and slowly pull then up your leg. Repeat with the other leg and you are ready to put another set of trousers or jeans over the top of the base layer. Since the base layer is so snug, this is not a problem. Even with my slightly slimmer fit jeans, then went right over the base layer, even with the armor in. I also tried a pair of slim cargo-styled trousers and those too fit over the base layer and armor without problems. After putting on a shirt and your other protective gear (jacket, boots, gloves and helmet), you will have already mostly forgotten your Kevlar Under Layer. Jumping on the bike or scoot might make you notice them again for a moment (to adjust the low rise or perhaps the knee armor a bit over your knee), but then will forget them again. Underway, they are completely comfortable and allow air to pass unobstructed around your legs. Although we’ve yet to reach a warm day, even when the temperature was close to 70 degrees, the base layer was unnoticeable while on the road. Remembering that they are on will be a reassuring feeling if you even need them, though. If you ever happen to meet the road, the combination of armor and fabric protection may make your day by protecting your legs, knees, bottom, and perhaps even ankles with the highly abrasion resistant properties of Dupont Kevlar. That makes them good enough for a Detroit Scooter recommendation, but adding that the armor is removable and the base layer is machine washable just add to the good news.
For the very reasonable price of $129, they are a sound investment in your riding future, and will turn every pair of trousers that you own into protective riding pants. Although a fancy protective base layer probably isn’t the most discussed piece of protective gear, just buy these and wear them. No one even needs to know that you are covered, come what may.
Whats Next: Moped Mad in the Motor City