Wearing standard jeans on a motorcycle often sounds like an excellent idea to new riders: Denim is generally seen as being a hard-wearing fabric that can handle almost anything we throw at it. But most riders don’t realise that coming off a bike at 60mph is the equivalent of holding an 18-foot wide asphalt belt-sander against your ass, and hoping for the best. You’ll have less than a second before the fabric is gone, and your delicate, lily-white bottom-flesh sliding across the tarmac is the only thing slowing you down.
Ask anyone who’s ever tried this and they’ll tell you that it doesn’t tickle and it isn’t much fun.
The solution to this potentially skinless scenario is a pair of reinforced, armored motorcycle jeans. They are designed to handle the extreme wear and high temperatures you’ll encounter when sliding down the road in an inelegant fashion on your posterior. Some of these jeans have the added benefit of looking almost exactly like regular jeans. So you can wear them around on laundry day and no one will be any the wiser.
Dainese D1 Jeans Dainese are well-known for making serious moto gear, and their Kevlar jeans are no exception. A pair of D1s cost $220: For that, you get CE-certified soft-armour and an almost bullet-proof Kevlar lining. From a style perspective, they aren’t going to fool anyone by pretending to be “normal” jeans, but then again, you didn’t want to be normal anyway. [Buy]
Icon Hooligan Jeans Icon’s latest pants boast a heavy-duty denim chassis, reinforced Aramid knees, and Field Armor knee impact protectors. You get the choice of two colors, and a neat touch is the additional of external zippers—so you can take out the knee armor before you walk into the bar. The fit is relaxed, and so is the price: a suggested retail of $120.00. [Buy]
Resolute Cruiser Jeans Resolute is an Australian company that produces single-piece DuPont™ Kevlar® lined jeans with full European CE certification. The single piece of Kevlar covers the backside, hips and knees, and removable CE armour is fitted into knee pockets. I’ve spoken to a few guys who own and wear the $160 Cruiser jeans and I haven’t heard a bad word from any of them. One of the guys mentioned that he tried to get married in them but his fiancée wouldn’t let him … [Buy]
Kyrano C6 Jeans Despite the somewhat Asian-sounding name, Kyrano is a British company owned by Hood Jeans. They started Kyrano as a new label to sell a highly advanced line of ‘Para-Aramid’ reinforced motorcycle jeans fitted with flexible D3O™ armor in the hips and knees. I picked up a pair of these £140 C6 jeans last year before a motorcycle road trip to Vietnam, and I have to say, they’re exceedingly well built. The added security of having D3O™ armor in common impact areas is a huge plus—despite the armor they look like a regular pair of around-town jeans. [Buy]
Draggin/Drayko Drift Jeans Drayko are widely regarded as one of the best motorcycle jeans manufacturers in the world. They submit all their products to strict European CE testing, and the company founder tests new models by being dragged on his ass behind a superbike. Additional knee armour is an option with the $180 Drayko Drift jeans and the boot cut fit is ideal for people with hefty protective footwear. [Buy]
Maple Jeans 1941 Maple has been stirring up a huge amount of interest in the US and European motorcycle communities. The company is relatively new on the scene, but has made a splash due to its focus on aesthetics. The £250 Maple 1941 jeans are fitted with DuPont™ Kevlar® over the knees, thighs and backside; there’s also the added benefit of Forcefield CE-approved knee and hip armour. Despite being motorcycle jeans, they look exactly like the jeans all the cool kids are wearing, and are made from 13.5oz raw selvedge denim. [Buy]