Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Crash and Burn (Part 6)

Frank Thomas Strike Pants Reviewed

No stock photo this time.  These are an older model and really just being reviewed in the interest of being thorough.
I found these on sale at our local Cycle Gear a few years back.  I already had a full one-piece suit and a couple different jackets.  These pants opened up my comfort options for long rides with a fair number of stops.

Riding Impressions

My budget two piece setup was great, if only because it kept me from ever cutting the corner and riding in jeans.  It's a lot nicer to stop for lunch when you don't have to have your jacket dangling behind you!

Here's why I like them:

  • Comfort:  The pants have a nice liner and are cut for comfort rather than racing. 
  • Ventilation:  Large perforations in the thigh panels help keep things if not cool, at least reasonable on hot North Carolina summer days.  If wearing black leather can be described as "bearable" in the summer here, you are winning.
  • Price: I think I paid $169 for these.  That was quite inexpensive at the time.  There are more options today.
  • Pockets:  I was able to carry my wallet and keys comfortably in the pockets.  I could have put my cell phone in there but have always opted to keep it in my jacket.  For a piece of street-only gear, this is a big plus.

Here's what I don't like quite as much:

  • Knee Slider Velcro Location:  Too far to the side for my riding style.  You can see on the right knee where I have scuffed the leather.  This wasn't from the crash.
  • Slightly Baggy Fit:  This is a pro for comfort, but not as good for safety.  If the leather can roll, it's more likely to tear or break a seam.
  • Lightly Armored:  Flimsy knee armor and very limited padding.  That's all you get.
  •  Jacket Attachment:  As far as I know, the only jacket that could be attached with the zipper in the rear without a bit of custom tailoring is a Frank Thomas made jacket.

After the Crash

The back of the pants.  Almost unscathed.
The pants took the least abuse in the crash.  I wonder if they touched down at all until after I left the asphalt.  The impact they did take was focused around the left knee.

How I Fared

No road rash on any part of me protected by the pants.  My left knee took some pretty significant impact trauma.  There was quite a bit of swelling and bruising at the top of my knee.  While this was all a bit unpleasant, there doesn't appear to be any damage that will not easy heal on its own.

How the Pants Fared 

Let's look at a few of the detail shots to see a bit more.

Seam failure at left thigh,  I believe this was caused by both the slightly loose fit and the fairly basic stitching.  Not much redundancy in the seams on these pants.  Luckily, the failure was in a location not subject to much impact or abrasion.
I had just replaced the knee pucks, so they show how minimal the contact was.  There is also a tiny bit of abrasion at the bottom right where the Velcro ends.  Note: Dainese sliders were all I could find locally.  Feels a bit like the an AMG badge stuck on a base C250. :)
More of the left knee.  Only slight abrasions on the stretch panel.  Lots of dirt, little damage.
Cheap knee armor with big crack.  Not CE rated, I feel like my knee would have been better protected by armor like what was in my AGV jacket reviewed in Part 4.
Cheap knee armor inside.  Is that made from recycled packing peanuts?


These pants were not great, but they were cheap, comfortable, and a hell of a lot better than jeans.  Given that when I bought these I was broke, and they were the best I could afford, I don't really have any regrets.  They were on my list to replace, but I needed to do my helmet, jacket, and gloves first.  I will definitely be moving up market with my next pair, probably to a custom two-piece suit.

Thanks for reading, and safe riding to you all!

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