Available in sizes 28-44 the Icon Anthem Pants receive a hearty thumbs up from our panel of resident testers, due to their comfort, style, and protection.
When it comes to riding gear, the legs often get the dirty end of the stick, with many riders opting for just plain old blue jeans for casual rides about town. Leather or textile overpants can be a hassle to put on and take off and also get roasting hot when you have your regular threads on underneath. Specialty riding jeans can be a happy medium between the overpant route and your regular, not-very-protective Levis. The Icon Anthem Pants are loose-fitting denim riding jeans which feature Aramid-reinforced hip and knee panels, as well as oversized pockets and articulated knees for better mobility. We at MCUSA have had a couple pairs of the Anthems hanging around the office and found them to be a pretty good option for our riding purposes.
Like most riding gear, the initial fit of the Icon Anthem Pants seems somewhat awkward and isn’t fully appreciated until riding. The Anthems I tried on rode up high on my hips, almost to my belly button, and made me feel like I needed to a pair of goggle bifocals and a walker to take a stroll around my retirement community. Once on the bike, however, the higher fit on the pants felt comfortable and kept my plumber’s crack from airing out due to a hunched-over riding stance. The same goes for the cavernous back pocket. It felt strange to have my wallet stowed away somewhere down near mid-thigh, but on the road it makes the probability of an overburdened wallet bursting out on the highway in a Costanza-like receipt explosion a high improbability. The long and wide rear pockets also provide an extra layer of denim for the rider’s posterior in the event of an unexpected get off.
Articulated knees provide for a wide range of leg movement and accommodate the aggressive bent-knee riding position of a sportbike. Although making the knees feel a bit bulky, the extra fabric pays off when the bending of your knee is not accompanied by the front of the pant leg pulling up to mid-shin and flapping the in the wind.
The Anthems utilize 14-ounce denim (Levis 501s are 13.25 ounce) which provide the comfort of regular jeans but give the impression of sturdiness. The pants’ resilience is aided by the use of Aramid-reinforced panels at the hips and knees (Aramid fiber, of which Kevlar is a particular kind, being a strong synthetic material used for protective material like bulletproof vests). While the Anthem pants aren’t bulletproof, they do provide a measure of protection above and beyond your regular denim. The Aramid panels add some bulk to the overall feel of the pants, so they feel like a pair of heavy work jeans, but overall they are quite comfortable.
Ken Hutchison, MCUSA’s Editorial Director, is the biggest fan of the Anthem pants in our office. In fact, we have a hard time getting Kenny to wear anything other than his blue Icon Anthems, which you may recognize him sporting in many of our recent street tests.
The Icon Anthem Pants are a solid option for riders looking for comfortable protection on casual rides. The Anthem’s articulated knee offer a wide range of motion for the aggressive sportbike riding position.
“This is where the squid meets the road,” said Ken. “Personally, I have come to enjoy two-piece riding gear and, frankly, leather pants are just not the most desirable digs to sport when you’re in a restaurant or at the coffee shop during breaks on your rides.”
Although one of the strengths of the Anthems is the comfort and ease similar to your regular 501s, the pants also share some of the same weaknesses. The main one being the Anthem pants are not immune to adverse weather conditions. The lack of waterproofing can be attested to by Hutch again, who got caught up in some blustery weather during a recent test.
“My main complaint/suggestion is that they are not waterproof – but Icon doesn’t say they are either,” explained Ken. “So, it is imperative that you waterproof them if you have any notion of riding in the wet because they only absorb water – as I discovered during my ride home from Borrego Springs during our Superbike Showdown. My bad.”
Available in sizes 28-44 the Icon Anthem pants get a hearty MCUSA recommendation for riders seeking a pair of casual riding pants. Those wanting the safest, highest-quality protective equipment would do well to steer clear of any denim-based products (and at $110, the Anthem Pants could be substituted for a quality pair of overpants). However, sometimes leather and textiles just don’t jive with a hot day and an afternoon of canyon carving. For your everyday, average relaxation rides, the Icon Anthems will fit the bill just fine.
“There is nothing to complain about with the Anthem Pants,” sums up Hutch. “I really like them and suggest to any street rider that they go and get a pair for casual riding.”