RRP: £219.99 / www.difi-mc.co.uk / Tested by: Ciaran Baker
Touring on a motorbike means packing light. Panniers will only stretch so far and, without bolting some wheels to it, you can’t really bring your entire wardrobe with you. Having a single pair of adaptable trousers which cover all riding conditions is one way to leave space in your panniers for the essentials like biscuits. With that in mind, I got my legs in to a pair of Difi Desert Ride trousers and took them for a spin… to France.
These trousers, with their tough polyamide and polyester outer, have a combination of removable thermal and waterproof layers, so I didn’t have to worry what the weather was doing. With a heatwave forecast for the duration of the trip I wasn’t sure if I’d get opportunity to test their waterproof capabilities, but the trip south had me covered; drenched to be more precise. Ambushed by a freakish downpour on route, the trousers held their ground impressively, even when the rain pushed through my cheap old jacket and ran south to invade the Netherlands. Thankfully the rain was only brief and the Difi’s clever breathable layers meant the trousers were dry in no time.
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The fit and feel of these trousers is excellent. They’re snug without being restrictive, and elastic textiles throughout allow free movement in all the important areas. Being quite slim I often struggle to find good gear that fits properly, so I was pleased with the sizing. The waistline can be adjusted precisely using the velcro strap on each side. The trousers even include some sturdy loops so you can throw on a set of braces if you want to. However, there’s no option for a traditional belt if that’s your thing.
Any pair of adventure trousers needs plenty of pockets, and the 4 zipped pockets on the front of these Difi’s are very practical in size and location. They’re a sleek, smart, and capacious design with no superfluous flaps or fasteners. Getting larger boots inside the legs is no problem either. Simply reach down to the zip by your ankle and deploy the instant 1970’s flares look.
The height adjustable knee armour that’s included with the Difi’s is chunky but flexible. On the odd occasion it would sit, a little uncomfortably, somewhere other than my knee: Perhaps due to that inbuilt adjustability. There’s also space built in to the trousers for additional hip protectors but they aren’t included in the asking price. Reflective patches around knee made me easier to see at night, but after just a couple of weeks on tour one of them has started to peel off.
Unseasonably hot weather during the tour meant that the zip opened, mesh lined vents on the legs were a God send. They allow a really good amount of air flow around the legs when riding. They aren’t quite as effective once you stop for coffee and croissant, or get delayed in a queue for the eurotunnel, but otherwise very impressive!
All things considered, these trousers a solid mid-range bit of kit, far better suited to riding in British weather than where their name would suggest. If you’re looking for one pair of trousers to cover pretty much all of your riding, you can’t go far wrong with the Difi Desert Rides.