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GEAR REVIEW–Klim Dakar Pant

March 14, 2013

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I’ve been looking for a “causal” set of riding pants.  When I ride long distances I wear my leather Alpinestars V-Twin pants.  While they offer superb protection they are unvented, not waterproof, hot, too long to walk around without wearing riding boots and really only suited what I’d consider serious high-speed riding.  So, I’ve been in the market for something a bit more protective than jeans or khakis.  I think I’ve finally found the perfect all around riding pant.

Klim’s Dakar pants are being sold as a closeout and offer a superb value!.  While supplies last they are available from several of internet suppliers.  I got mine from Rocky Mountain ATV for $99.99 including three day shipping.  Here are links to some of my favorite suppliers:

$99.99 from Rocky Mountain ATV

$101.00 from RevZilla (they also offer the pant in long sizes)  Revzilla has a video about the pants on their website.

Klim makes some absolutely fantastic products that seem to be mostly oriented towards adventure or enduro riding.  However, I think they are fantastic for just about any type of riding.  Let’s take a look at the pants in detail:

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Details from Klim on the Dakar pants:

  • CONTROLLED VENTILATION CHASSIS 
  • DESIGNED TO BE WORN OVER THE BOOT 
  • 2 ADJUSTABLE 20” THIGH MESH- LINED VENTS WITH DUAL ZIPPER HEADS 
  • 1682 DENIER NYLON BALLISTIC PANELS IN HIGH-WEAR AREAS 
  • REMOVABLE HIP & KNEE PERFORATED PADS 
  • 840 DENIER CORDURA® FABRIC 
  • POLYESTER RIBBED STRETCH CROTCH GUSSET & ABOVE KNEE & SEAT AREA TO ALLOW PANT TO MOVE WITH RIDER 
  • ADJUSTABLE VELCRO PANT CUFF OPENING DESIGN ALLOWS RIDER TO ACCESS & ADJUST KNEE BRACE, SOCK AND BOOT
  • VELCRO WAIST ADJUSTERS
  • AUTO-LOCK & HIGH DURABILITY YKK® ZIPPERS 
  • STORM FLAP ON FRONT FLY 
  • MESH-LINED REAR LEG VENT
  • TWO LARGE-VOLUME SIDE LEG VELCRO CARGO POCKETS 
  • WICKING POLYESTER MESH LINING WITH LYCRA STRETCH PANELS & KNEE BRACE REINFORCED CORDURA® INNER KNEE PANELS
  • LINER STRETCH PANELS MATCH STRETCH PANELS ON SHELL OF PANT SO LINER MOVES WITH SHELL OF PANT 
  • HIGH-BACK SELF ADJUSTING ELASTIC YOKE TO HELP PREVENT PLUMBER CRACK DIRT SCOOP 
  • HIGH QUALITY EMBROIDERED GRAPHICS 
  • REFLECTIVE INDUSTRIAL-GRADE 3M™ PIPING ACCENTS 
  • IMPROVED HIGH-TENACITY STITCHING THREAD WITH DOUBLE-STITCHING & BAR-TACKS
  • DWR COATED TO SHED WATER 
  • D-RING

WHAT WE THINK:

I really like these pants.  They are fantastic quality.  The 20” side zips on the thighs look like they will flow a ton of air on hot days and there are small exhaust vents on the back of the pants.  The construction is fantastic and the leather on the inside of the knees runs all the way to the bottom of the cuff.  The cargo pockets are large and very secure.  

Perhaps the most interesting thing is the “riding” construction of the pants.  That’s loosely described as bent knees sitting on the motorcycle.  On many pants the designers compensate for length by making the pants have an arbitrary 35” inseam.  That’s great if you are 6’4” or taller but too long for most of us.  On the Dakar’s the pants fit properly and have a the cuff length is just right.  It’s so perfect that I was virtually certain when I got on the bike they would ride up significantly.  But they absolutely did not.  They were in the same position on my ankle as when standing – that’s really cool and a great design idea.

The interior lining is fantastic and comfortable with riding shorts.  I usually ride wearing shorts (LD Comfort shorts) and some liner only pants can be rough on bare knees.  Not so on the Dakars.  The waist adjusters are fantastic and sit right in the middle of the adjustment range.

WHAT ABOUT THE PANT SIZING? – in a word, PERFECT.  Whatever your jeans size, the Dakars are an excellent match.  It’s refreshing to order riding gear that does not fit “Euro sized”  Any average size American male who has ever tried to squeeze on a pair of Italian designed riding pants knows what I’m talking about.   

However there are a few small issues to consider.  At under a hundred bucks they had to save money somewhere.  So here goes:

The armor is pathetic.  The knee and hip armor are of the “foam with holes” type.  This stuff is absolute junk and should be tossed immediately for something more substantial.  Klim’s more expensive gear all is equipped with D3O armor.  The Dakar’s can easily be retrofitted with a few options.  I’ll get to my choices shortly.

On the plus side, this is the only riding pant I’ve ever owned where the hip armor is virtually undetectable.  I’ve had several pants where the hip armor was so bulky, it appeared I was wearing a diaper. Not so on the Klim’s. 

Replacement Armor:

For the hips I’m going with SAS-TEC pads ($25.99) that are drop in replacements (and a significant upgrade over even the D3O option).  For the knees I’m going with BMW’s NP armor . (under $12.00 a side!) This is similar to D30 but offers more coverage, has a left and a right (as opposed to universal) and wraps around the knees. 

BMW NP Armor versus brand zero (this photo is an example of the BMW NP armor, and does not represent what is included in the Dakar pant) :

How this will fit in the stock armor pocket is unknown and I imagine I will have to have a bit of custom tailoring to make them fit properly.  But no matter what, I’ll still have amazing pants for under $200.00

The other thing to consider is that these pants do not include a zip in insulated or waterproof liner.  From what I’ve learned on ADV Rider, the pants are fairly water resistant but will absorb water in the knee area and the crotch during a downpour.  It’s not an issue for me for a couple of reasons:

1: The idea of a zip in waterproof liner is stupid.  Let me get this straight, the pants will be completely and totally soaked but you will be dry under the pants………. Uhhhh, no.  You may actually be dry, but sure as death and taxes  you will be frozen and miserable.  Not to mention that the pants will weigh 10,000 pounds and anything in the pockets will be ruined.

I’ve ridden across this country in the worst weather you can imagine.  I’ve been cold and wet and miserable.  At this price point just buy a set of Frogg Toggs and toss them on over the pants if the weather is that awful.  Unless your pants are Gore-Tex you are going to get wet.

2:  Insulated liner.  I’ve never been cold enough to need an insulated liner.  On the few occasions where I’ve ridden a thousand miles or so in December, If I was cold I would put on a set of long johns and call it good.  I just don’t need or want the extra bulk.  In my experience pants that have  zip-in liners are uncomfortable when liners are removed.

Assorted photos of the Kim Dakar pants.

IMG_7304

The pants have 20” zippered front vents!  This is going to be fantastic for those super hot days.  There are exhaust vents on the backs of the thighs. 

IMG_7325

This the first pant I’ve ordered that does not appear too long when walking around.  My Alpinestars pants have a 35 inch inseam.  That’s just way, way too long for walking and they look awful without boots.

IMG_7326

Back view.  Check out the tabs on the side adjusters.

IMG_7327

Reflective piping shows up in a flash photograph.  Also this is a good photo of how the pants fit in the “riding” position. 

IMG_7328

Cargo pocket detail.

IMG_7309

Double snap closure.  In a perfect world these pants would include belt loops.  Also, I’d like to have one of the closures be a hook type.  But it’s not that big of a deal.  The cool thing about the pants is that they stay absolutely flat around your waist and never double over.  Good stuff.

IMG_7307

The color is black and sort of greenish black in the high abrasion areas.  You can see how high the inner leg leather goes.  The quality of the leather is fantastic. 

IMG_7308

The leg closures offer a ton of adjustment and make getting in and out of riding boots very easy.  If you have to wear knee braces there is plenty of room.  There has been some criticism from a few websites that the legs are a bit baggy and allow the armor to move around.  I have no opinion yet, as I have not completed the BMW NP armor upgrades.  Check back soon for more.

IMG_7310

SUMMARY:

We think this is a fantastic pant at a great price.  Although the stock armor is garbage it’s easily upgrades and at $99.99 they beat everything else on the market.  I’ll post a long term durability report later this summer.  If you are looking for pants – get going as these won’t last long at this price.

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. Frank Gorshin permalink
    March 14, 2013 2:59 pm

    Very informative review. But I am curious about what a “causal set of riding pants” implies. Could they suggest a causal relationship to something else, perhaps a higher plane of existence? If so, then I have an image of Jean-Paul Sartre on his bike, a cafe racer, thinking deeply about existentialism, and duality…

  2. James Springate permalink
    March 15, 2013 8:55 am

    Great review. I have a set that are very similar, but do have the rain liner. The pants are vented, and I use the liner to cut down the breeze so I can wear them in cold temps. My rainsuit also works to cut the wind.

  3. February 24, 2016 10:02 am

    Great review, thanks. What is your pick for jacket elbow armor?

  4. February 24, 2016 1:07 pm

    Sweet, thanks. They also seem to have tailbone armour, not sure how I feel about it yet.

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