Motorcycle pants come in a wide range of styles and materials. You can find motorcycle pants made from leather, textiles, or denim. Out of these three options, many riders prefer the casual look of denim jeans.
Yet, denim alone does not provide adequate impact and abrasion protection. If you want to wear motorcycle jeans, you need to know what to look for.
What Do I Need to Pay Attention to When Choosing Motorcycle Jeans?
Some of the main features of motorcycle jeans include:
Here is a closer look at each of these details.
What Kind of Jeans Are Good for Motorcycle Riders?
As denim offers less protection compared to leather and textiles, motorcycle jeans often include a liner. The first riding jeans were made of denim lined with Kevlar, but jeans are now available with a variety of lining options:
Kevlar is a brand of synthetic fiber owned by DuPont. It was originally used as a liner in motorcycle jeans to protect against abrasion damage. However, the material is heavy and thick, which made the pants uncomfortable.
Advances in technology have allowed DuPont to develop new material featuring a weave of Kevlar and denim. The blend of materials is lighter and easier to wear compared to a separate Kevlar liner. Yet, it offers less protection compared to denim with a removable liner.
Aramid is another strong synthetic fiber and a common alternative to Kevlar. In fact, Kevlar is made from aramid. Aramid liners are comparable to Kevlar but tend to cost less.
Armalith is a newer material made by blending aramid with denim. As with the Kevlar-denim blends, the Armalith fabric has the appearance and feel of denim but with increased protection.
Cordura is a durable nylon-based fabric. It was originally used as a tire liner in military vehicles and offers increased protection against abrasion damage compared to Kevlar and aramid. It also has more stretch, which can make it a little more comfortable.
Choose Motorcycle Jeans with Armor
Along with lining, many motorcycle jeans are available with padding called armor. The armor is often included to protect the knees, calves, and ankles from impact.
You can also find motorcycle jeans with removable armor. The jeans include pockets for easily removing and inserting the armor pads.
The armor is also rated based on the effectiveness of the material for absorbing impacts. In Europe, motorcycle pants need to include a CE rating. CE is the abbreviation of a French phrase for “European Conformity.”
The armor may include one of the following CE marks:
- CE Tested – the material was tested by the manufacturer to meet industry standards
- CE Certified – the material was tested at a certified testing facility
- CE Approved – the material was tested at a certified testing facility and accredited to meet or exceed standards
The CE mark also indicates whether the armor provides level 1 or level 2 protection. Level 2 armor is intended for high-speed motorcycle tracks and is likely to be more than the typical rider needs.
Along with the testing process and level of protection, the CE label lists the area of protection, such as:
- H – Hip
- K – Knee
- L – Front of leg
- K + L – Knee and upper and middle tibia
The CE mark has been used since 1993 and complies with European standards. However, most authorities and organizations in the United States follow the same guidelines instead of relying on a separate set of standards.
Finding the Right Fit for Motorcycle Jeans
The “fit” describes the shape of a pair of jeans. Motorcycle jeans often include the same types of fits found in regular jeans, including:
- Regular fit
- Relaxed fit (loose fit)
- Tapered fit
- Slim fit
- Skinny fit
Regular fit jeans typically have a little extra room around the thighs. They are also typically available in straight-leg styles. The fit is a little tighter compared to a relaxed fit, but looser around the thighs compared to the other styles.
Relaxed-fit jeans also tend to have straight legs. Yet, the relaxed fit offers more room around the waist and thighs compared to regular-fit jeans.
Tapered-fit jeans are relaxed around the waist and thighs but start to taper at the knees. Instead of a straight leg, the legs become narrower as they reach the bottom.
Slim-fit jeans offer a regular fit around the waist and a narrow fit around the thighs and lower legs. The fit is a little narrower compared to the tapered fit.
Individuals who want to show off their figure may prefer a skinny fit. Skinny-fit jeans are the narrowest option. The legs are not tapered. The design hugs your body with a tight fit around the waist, hips, thighs, calves, and ankles.
Motorcycle Jeans Sizing Recommendations
After determining which fit you want, choose the right size. Manufacturers typically list the waist size and inseam length in inches or centimeters.
As most motorcycle jeans are made with lining or thicker material compared to standard denim jeans, you may want to go up a waist size. If you typically wear 32-inch jeans, try a pair of 33-inch or 34-inch jeans.
Slightly roomy jeans are better than a pair of jeans that are too tight. You do not want to restrict your movement. Tight jeans also become more uncomfortable in a seated position, which could be an issue for long rides.
You may also want to add an inch or two to the length. Your pants ride up a little bit when you sit, which may expose part of your ankle. As you will likely wear boots or thick shoes, the pants should not drag under your heels or get caught on any parts of the motorcycle.
Are Regular Jeans Okay for Motorcycle Riding?
Regular jeans do not offer adequate protection for motorcycle riders. Denim is a relatively tough material but does not offer protection against impacts and offers minimal shielding from abrasion injuries.
Motorcycle jeans are designed specifically for riding. You gain more protection and increased durability compared to a regular pair of jeans. You can find motorcycle jeans lined with Kevlar and other liners or made with a combination of denim and abrasion-resistant material.
My Personal Choice
I’m pretty sure, I found the best “jean” for riding my motorcycle which also protects me.
My 2000+ Miles Kevlar Jean Review JohnDoe
I finished my second season with my JohnDoe Jeans and a third one will follow for sure. Short spoiler, I like them and will keep them.
What I liked
The Jean is not only equipped with knee pads but also has hip pads. I really like how they “hug” my hips.
What I didn’t like
Like I said before, I like the hip pads. But the knee pads, I haven’t found the perfect placement.