Since the advent of motorcycles, blue jeans have been the de-facto protection for a motorcyclist’s lower body. Although I’m able to convince myself otherwise upon occasion, I’ve always felt like a total idiot riding with non-blue jean pants once I get a block or two from home (or shorts…yeash!).
Oh, come on, you’ve done it too.
I simply don’t feel safe unless I’m wearing a good solid pair of jeans.
Well, lately we’re now seeing motorcycle-specific riding jeans come on the market, and their manufactures are making some really great points as to why blue jeans don’t really cut it for “protection” at all.
As I can personally (and unfortunately) attest to; even the heaviest single layer of denim offers little to no abrasion resistance in a fall.... at anything above a skateboarding speeds. Denim jeans are far better that nothing, but they pretty much vaporize upon impact with asphalt. On top of that, Jeans offer absolutely no impact resistance whatsoever. And we’ve been calling that protection?
Designers of riding jeans focus on two main goals: First, preventing road rash by utilizing abrasion-resistant materials that will give you some time and distance sliding on the pavement before your skin has to get involved. And second, protecting bone and joint damage by providing some cushion in areas susceptible to impact... like your hips and knees. Different manufacturers take different and varied approaches to find the right recipe of usability, protection and, of course, style. (Cause it’s no good to you if you don’t feel comfortable wearing it.)
Here are two different takes on riding specific jeans
Rev’it’s Brentwood Jeans take the approach of using an abrasion resistant fabric (Codura Denim- a blend of cotton and nylon fibers), along with an underlayer of PWR Shield in the seat, hips and knees. The combo of the Codura denim and PWR shield combine to provide a significantly improved abrasion resistance over regular cotton denim. There’s also CE Level 1 armor in the knees and pockets for adding hip armor as well. The Jean’s seams are triple stitched and have a redesigned the crotch to improve rider comfort. (no more bunching.. you know what I mean!)
Tobacco’s Riding jeans utilize a traditional cotton-based selvage denim (at a hearty 14oz) along with genuine Dupont Kevlar fiber lining in the seat & along the entirety along the front. No, they’re not bullet proof, but Kevlar is the “ish” if you are looking for maximum abrasion resistance. Surprisingly, the Kevlar lining actually feels smooth against the skin (I was expecting a wool like texture) and the jeans breathe fairly well. Tobacco’s done a nice job of protecting the rider, but not screaming “hey safety pants!”.
Other manufactures of note would be Pando Moto – They use a 12oz Codura Denim with an Aramid lining (similar to Kevlar) to provide a maximum skid time. Their jeans also feature knee and hip armor pockets and Kevlar stitching.
Ugly Bros Jeans use 11oz Denim with a Kevlar lining, CE approved (removable) knee and hip armor and have elastic panels in the knees and lower back for extra mobility. And they look pretty damn stylish as well.
Whatever take on motorcycle jeans you decide works for you, rest assured you’ll be much better off than wearing what you’ve (we've) been wearing.
Here's hoping you never get to use them!