"You say to(may)to and I'll say to(maa)to....." You say Chaps, as in chapped lips, and I'll say Chaps, as in chapperone. Who's right? Does it matter?
Some folks get down right testy over the prounciation (usually the purists who insist on SHaps).
According to Merriam Webster Online, either version is correct. It probably depends on where you're from and the dialect you speak. In a recent online poll, over 70 per cent preferred CHaps. But different strokes for different folks, right?
Regardless, of how you say it, motorcycle chaps are direct descendents of the cowboy chaps of the old west, worn to protect the horseman from the thorns and brambles the longhorns like to run into when being chased.
Cowboy chaps were of three major styles, shotgun, batwing, and chinks. Shotgun chaps were the simplest design, and had a shape that reminded one of a double barrel shotgun. They were basically leather pants, and were usually very tight, making them hard to put on and take off while wearing boots and spurs.
Batwing chaps were an instant hit when they appeared in the early 1900's because they snapped together and could be easily removed. They came to just below the knee.
Chinks are a cross between shotgun and batwing. They are knee-length chaps with two fasteners high up, and usually are very decorative, having long fringe and conchos.
Motorcycle chaps are essentially shotgun chaps. They fit fairly snug and go all the way to the ankle. Chaps have become an essential element of motorcycle apparrel. Not only do they look classy, but they protect from cold, rain (if treated), flying objects, and keep us from leaving our skin on the pavement should we go sliding along at a high rate of speed.
At Old Dog Leather we have chaps for everyone, from kids size 4 to adult size 12. Never owned a pair? Here are a few considerations for chap shopping from MotorcycleIntelligence.com:
Check out the size of the pockets (Deep pockets are a plus)
Determine if you want chaps that have a liner, or not, for cooler weather
Are the chaps waterproof? (Untreated leather doesn’t like rain)
And for some riders, braids and fringes are an important consideration
Color? Alas, purple biker chaps won’t work for me, but they can be fine for other riders
When trying on chaps be aware that the fit around the thigh is the key. Not too tight, not to loose (if you're a hardcore year-round rider you may want to leave some room for a pair of sweats between the jeans and chaps). You need to be able to easily bend your knee without binding or stretching. Keep in mind that the waist is adjustable, as is the length. Chaps are made to be cut to length. At Old Dog leather we cut to length for free and stitch up the seam so it won't unravel.
We have a great selection, both new and slightly used, in a range of prices. Come and see us. We don't bark and our prices don't bite!
I'm busy working on my blog posts. Watch this space!