Scoot Commute

Gear Review: Joe Rocket Ladies Ballistic 7.0 Pants

Posted in Gear Review, Pants by sbahn on 2009/04/13

From the Joe Rocket website:
“The ultimate touring pants. 100% Waterproof design helps keep the nasty stuff out. Constructed with heavy duty 630 HITENA twill nylon with melt resistant material on the lower legs, the BALLISTIC 7.0 PANTS are loaded with all the safety, comfort and convenience goodies you could ask for. ‘How far do you wanna go?’ is now determined by how much gas money you have.”

I bought these riding pants from a seller on eBay for less than half the retail cost with the condition stated as “excellent”.  These pants arrived with the original hanger and had never been worn.

The pants are intended to be worn over your street clothes. I’ve worn them both over pants and over tights with a skirt over the overpants and they’ve been very comfortable. The pants are well finished inside so nothing snags your clothes. The reverse zippers make it easy to remove the pants while keeping my boots on. I have also been keeping the waterproof liner in on colder days and I’ve been comfortable (read: not super toasty, but not a frozen icicle, either).

Sizing
One of the features that attracted me to these pants is the fact that they have several rows of snaps at the bottom of the leg so you can shorten or lengthen them to fit your height. I’m tall (5’11”) and my old rainpants would ride up over the top of my boots when riding and water would trickle down inside of my boots. Not a nice feeling. These pants are long enough to come over the top of my boots and down to my ankle when in a seated position on my scooter. I also don’t have to constantly tug at them to lengthen them at stoplights (no more Ants-in-my-Pants-Dance).

I wear a woman’s size 4 or 6 and I bought these pants in a Medium. Because I wanted to wear them over thick corduroy and fleece-lined trousers (it gets coooold in New England!), I thought the larger size would suit me better. I’m happy I got the Medium size because the velcro tabs in the back make it easy to cinch the waist smaller for when I’m wearing thinner trousers or tights.

There are two pre-sewn pouches to hold the knee protectors in place which allow you to adjust the height for a good fit. However, neither of the pouch heights work for me, making the knee protectors hit at a weird angle. It’s only off by half an inch or so, and I’ve tried to live with it. Part of the issue is I’ve been doing a lot of painting and my knees are bruised from kneeling on the hardwood floors, so the knee protector hurts a bit when pressing against my kneecap. Again, I’m quite tall for a woman, so I think the pouch heights are off for me. I’m planning on doing some sewing and setting the protectors a bit lower.

Wearing in the Rain
I have ridden in very heavy downpours and the pants (with the waterproof liner) have performed outstandingly well. My clothes were dry and no water leaked into my boots. My only complaint is that my butt felt wet when I was riding so I wasn’t completely confident I would arrive dry; however, every single time I did arrive dry.

The waterproof liner is easy to remove and easy to add in. It attaches on the inside with snaps that fit around loops attached to the main pants. It has a zipper at the top that zips all the way around into the main pants with extra fabric at the crotch that folds against the zipper. This extra fabric keeps any water out that might want to come through the zipper. The main pants zipper is also cover with a large fly. The liner also has elastic at the ankles to keep the fabric tight against your body.

The pants themselves dry quickly. I have been able to wear them the morning after an evening commute in a downpour and the fabric has been dry. To dry them I toss them over a chair that drips onto a waterhog mat or over the shower bar. My house is far from warm so if they can dry in my house, they can dry in yours.

Style & Looks
The pants are heavy and bulky so storing them can be an issue. They don’t look that bad when walking around, although you do have to walk a bit John Wayne-like to avoid the “swish swish” of the outer fabric. I’ve worn them to the pub and didn’t bother to take them off, and I don’t recall receiving any odd looks.

I wish there were some reflective pinstriping on the legs or cuffs to add visibility, but then again I do have a hi-viz fixation that others don’t suffer.

All in all I am very pleased with these pants and highly recommend them. For $75 I feel I will get years of 3-season use from these pants.

Features

  • Solid black color
  • Removable, flexible CE-rated knee pads
  • Removable hip pads
  • Thick, waterproof removable liner (zip in/out)
  • Height adjustable cuffs (snap shorter)
  • Zipper runs up or down the leg
  • Velcro tabs in back to cinch the waist tighter
  • Comes with attached back waist zipper that can zip to matching Joe Rocket jacket; if you don’t have a JR jacket, it comes with the matching zipper side that can be sewn into your jacket; I personally think this is a brilliant move by JR, but I’m not sewing anything into my vintage racing leather jacket
  • Zip up the front at the crotch it easy to use the facilities
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