Motorcycle commuters know all too well about sacrificing style and office-appropriate appearances in the name of safety. Over-engineered motorcycle pants providing the best protection also pack about as much subtlety as Godzilla sneaking into a coffee shop. Then again, the alternative is worse: regular jeans or other ordinary pants provide barely any more protection than wearing nothing at all.
Thankfully, there is a middle ground, a happy medium: motorcycle pants that offer just as much style as they do on-road protection. These are a few of our favorite examples of that class : motorcycle pants fit for life both on and off the bike.
(Two quick notes: we've sorted the five pants below in ascending order of price, to make it easier to parse through. Also, we hope you like jeans.)
Street & Steel Oakland Jeans
If you're looking for an affordable pair of riding pants that'll do the important work of keeping your legs safe without looking obnoxious, you'd be hard-pressed to better than these Street & Steel pants. Beneath that understated exterior are removable CE knee protectors and aramid-reinforcement in the seat, hips and knees.
Alpinestars Copper Out V2 Riding Jeans
At first glance, the Alpinestars Copper Out Riding Jeans don’t look any different than standard Copper jeans. Look closely, though, and you’ll see one small detail that makes a massive difference: Above the knees are zippered pockets for easier, external access to the knee armor, meaning you don’t have to take off your pants every time you want to remove the Bio Flex knee armor. (It’s one of the more novel innovations in riding jeans, and is starting to become quite a welcome trend.)
Rev’It Brentwood Jeans
Your typical pair of riding jeans tend to be made from incredibly stiff, thick denim in the name of abrasion resistance — but that usually translates to a dearth of comfort. The Rev’It Brentwood Jeans curb that by using 12.5-oz Cordura denim, which stretches and provides more freedom of movement but doesn’t sacrifice protection against slides.
The Brentwood Jeans come with the industry-standard removable CE-rated Seesmart knee pads; that said, while it is capable of accommodating hip protectors, that armor is sold separately.
Pando Moto Steel 9 Jeans
One common tactic in adding abrasion resistance and impact defence to riding pants is, simply, adding layers. But while more of the right materials adds protection, it also brings bulk.
The Moto Steel 9 Jeans by Pando uses a single layer of denim reinforced with 25% Dyneema, so the only extra bulk comes from the optional CE rated knee pads — which can be removed from the exterior for quick transitions from bike to office.
Aether Mojave Pants
Aether's Mojave Pants are geared towards adventure riding, but like most of Aether’s apparel, they’re minimalist enough to look at home pretty much anywhere. Made with Halley Stevensons cotton canvas and a straight, slim cut, the Mojave Pants deliver a classy look, but hidden inside are pockets for CE-rated armor.
Unlike the rest of the pants on this list, the Mojave has more than just the standard five pockets; luckily, subtle seam-sealed zippers save you from the fashion faux pas of the cargo-pant look.