When you go down–and sooner or later, all ADV riders go down–chances are your backside will end up making contact with the ground. If you’re lucky, you’ll roll ninja-style and dissipate your energy evenly, saving you from unpleasant bruises and aches. Or, if you’re like me, you’ll land awkwardly, with flailing arms and a great expulsion of breath…THUD! Some riding pants, like those favored by motocrossers, offer minimal protection for the hip/waist area beyond abrasion resistance. (I have a pair of MX pants, and attached to each hip are not thick foam pads but what appear to be feminine sanitary napkins. On rides, I remove them and attach the TF3 hip pads from my Aerostich Roadcrafter suit!) Others have foam or rubberized pads like those that line the knees, elbows and shoulders.
As I mentioned in earlier reviews of theAlpinestars Bionic 2 Protection Jacketand EVS RS7 Knee Braces, protection and versatility are often enhanced when dedicated armor is attached securely to your body rather than the liner of a jacket or pants. Bohn Body Armor Xtreme Armored Shorts are a great way to round out a set of ADV protective armor. They look like lycra bicycling shorts on steroids. Inside the shorts are pockets that contain dense foam pads located at the hips, side and back of the thigh, and tailbone. The shorts, which are also available in black CoolMesh, are worn beneath your riding pants; what you wear beneath the Bohn shorts in your business! The lycra is breathable, and elastic at the waist and each thigh cuff keep them from falling down or riding up your legs. Inside the shorts is an absorbent chamois crotch pad for comfort. (Has there ever been a sentence more deserving of a pun?) And after you get the shorts all sweaty and stinky, just remove the pads and throw them in the washer.
In addition to the added protection the Bohn Xtreme Armored Shorts offer, they can be worn beneath any kind of pants, giving you the option to wear lighter summer pants when it is hot and thicker lined pants when it is cold. You can also wear them under jeans, or on mountain bike rides as I’ve done a few times. There are a few downsides, however. One is the rubberized ribbing inside the thigh cuffs. It feels tacky like dried rubber cement, and it grips your legs to keep the shorts from riding up your thighs. Problem is, when I wore the shorts over bare skin, the ribbing attached to me like white on rice. After a long ride on a hot summer day, I peeled the shorts off and it felt like tearing off circular bandages from around my thighs. For the next few days, those rings felt like sunburns. And the marks stayed on my legs for 10 days! I recommend wearing a base layer under the shorts (see photos), which unfortunately limits breathability and adds a layer you may not want on a hot day.
Another downside is that the dense foam tailbone pad felt like a rock up my tuchus when riding a hard-saddled bike like the KTM 690 Enduro. If your bike has a soft seat like my KLR650, no problem. Otherwise you may need to do as I did and pull the tailbone pad out of the pocket a bit to give your nether region some relief. This probably says more about the seat than it does the shorts, but it warranted a mention. Lastly, the pads at the back of the thighs get twisted around easily into weird locations (see photo).
Bohn Xtreme Armored Shorts, which come in sizes S-XL, list for $79.99 (add $5 for CoolMesh). As of this writing, Bohn is offering a $10 off web special, or buy two pair as a combo deal to save $40 and get a free first-aid kit. For more information or to order, visit www.bohnarmor.com.