I have been impressed with my Merlin Mahala Pro jacket so I decided l will get the matching pants.
I already had a good pair of riding pants in the Resurgence Gear cargo’s but they were a little lighter style of pant than what I had hoped for. The Mahala Pro pants are 12 ounce Cordura and have exactly the weight I liked in my former BMW City2 Pants.
To recap what I talked about in my Mahala jacket review, in replacing my gear that was lost when shipped from Japan I wanted to move away from nylon. The most versatile item I previously owned was my BMW City2 pants which were heavy weight Cordura. They could breath and regulate temperature on hot days and still handle a cool change in the mountains.
In Japan my nylon jackets and pants would have me perspiring when it was warm, even on cool days when I was stopped at the lights, then I’d ride up a mountain where the air was cold and I’d be shivering as I was wet inside the nylon still from down below. Nylon does not breath at all. It only worked for me in the cold and wet Japanese Autumn where temps are single digit all day. So I wanted to divorce nylon.
If you are looking at the Merlin Mahala pants then be aware there is a lot of confusion regarding the description and photos on Australian websites for the Mahala Explorer and the Mahala Pro (also referred to as Mahala Explorer Pro).
Listings might say Pro but show the Explorer pants and actually that is what you will get if ordered not the Pro. The regular model has only one pocket and the rain liner is not removable and the construction varies in other ways too. Above my photo is the Pro model pants which has four pockets and removable rain liner and removable thermal liner.
It is 12 ounce Cordura CE AA rated and has a DWR durable water resist coating with D30 knee and hip armor factory installed and comes with a 2 year warranty like the Merlin jacket.
There are air vents in the legs that have a pull out and clip on flap to hold them open. This works very nice in pants that already can breath vastly better than any nylon pants. The vents flow air to ones upper leg and private parts ha-ha, so well I have to close them in morning even up here in the tropics.
Riding up to the Atherton Tablelands the temperature falls like a roller coaster from mid 20’s at seat level (in winter) to mid teens on the highlands. The pants regulated these temperatures perfectly without me installing either the rain or thermal liner.
The lower leg unzips for boots but there is no gusset or inner section when this is unzipped so this to me is a bit of a design mystery. There should be a inner that can expand when unzipped around big boots or fold inside when zipped, this as it is makes little sense to me. If you attach the velcro strap and open the zipper then ok more air can flow up – this might be what the designers had in mind.
There is a Ressia active rain liner (like Gore-tex) and a 125gm thermal liner. I found a test of the Merlin rain liners on another site and it was given a very high rating. I’m not seeking to confirm that for a long time obviously but once I encounter rain on tour will let you know. (Update – the split in the rain liner is a design flaw and lets water in, see below for more info)
On the road these pants sit in place well like the BMW City2 pants I had did. The 12 ounce Cordura just sits nicely and does not flap around like my Resurgence cargo’s. There is ample storage with the 4 pockets although the hip pocket is a little tight for my iPhone 12 Max Pro so I use the lower pocket.
The side adjustment straps mean no need for a belt which is an excellent feature, I think all rider pants should have that design. There is double push stud fasteners at waist and big sturdy YKK zipper.
I would have liked a touch more leg length but that is just me I am long in the arms and legs for my waist or chest size. The pants all but touch the ground so are definitely motorcycle pant length longer than regular pants, I am just a difficult fit. The only pants that fitted my legs perfect were my Macna pants which dragged on the ground when walking but then sat as I liked when on a bike.
The quality everywhere I look is of a high level same as with the Mahala Pro jacket. And so it should be this was not a cheap item by any stretch of the imagination but I did score a big discount thanks to a eBay promotion in May and a retailer there providing free express shipping which proves always best to compare every possible purchase option as I never considered looking on eBay which I rarely buy from anymore but in this case I saved quite a bit.
The Merlin pants with their DWR coating are carefully hand wash only with tech wash no machine wash or dryer so not as easy to care for as my Resurgence cargos.
Summary. I like these pants a lot and the Mahala pro jacket too. Very impressed by the comfort and quality of the Merlin gear so far.
Update: Rain Test.
There is a design flaw in the rain liner.
You can see above there is a split in the front part of the rain liner, perhaps to allow for ease of getting pants on but this needed to be expandable but sealed. As it is water can come straight through here and does so very soon in rain.
I may try to seal this seam somehow, then the rain liner might work but as it is the liner is useless.