Full race-spec leathers are the surest bet to save your bacon when the possibility of a motorcycle crash becomes a reality; but practicality, timing and social demands don’t always encourage full gear. A proper helmet, gloves, jacket and boots should be staple items, but most riders simply slide into their favorite 501s when heading out. Those just don’t cut it. Road rash can be debilitating for downed riders sliding across asphalt at a mere 30 mph. Turn the wick up to 55 mph and you could easily grind away enough soft stuff to expose bone. To keep you rockin’ the Jordache look, even at speed, seek out some proper riding denim. These are the best motorcycle jeans, designed to both resist high-speed abrasion and look good when you reach your destination.
Icon 1000 Collection Rouser Jean
Best Jeans for Stunters and Flossers: Icon is hard at work on a successor to these recently sold-out jeans, and it’s easy to see why: where previous generations of Icon’s riding denim could be spotted from miles away, their new Rouser Jeans, a part of the Icon 1000 line, boast a slick minimalist aesthetic that belies their protective nature. Their dark indigo hue gives the look of raw selvedge, but their 18.3-ounce construction is pre-washed, meaning they wear more softly. The straight cut may be a touch baggy for some, but the the extra width at the leg opening allows you to slide them over your favorite riding boots with ease. And in the saddle, your entire lower half is protected from abrasions in the event of an off; the pants are completely constructed out of a denim/kevlar weave. A longer inseam means you don’t lose protection in a crouched position, and there’s even an integrated outer pocket at the knees, accessed via zippers, that accommodates D30 knee pads (included).
Rev’It Campo Jeans
Best Jeans for Mods and Rockers: The Rev’It Campo jeans are manufactured using 12.5-ounce Cordura denim to ensure full-length abrasion resistance. With Coolmax moisture wicking built right in, the Campos also boast incredible rider comfort. Rev’It triple-stitches 100 percent aramid fiber panels into the knees, hips and butt; they accept armor and deliver an extra 9 seconds of abrasion resistance in the most susceptible areas, according to Rev’It. The knee panels include two different pockets to install Knox Lite knee pads (included), a tailorable approach to armor fitment. Off of the bike, the Campos wear like premium slim-fit denim and feature a touch of integrated lateral stretch that might cause them to replace your everyday favorites. Another nice touch for riders is the 3M Scotchlite reflective fabric woven into the outer seam, exposed with a simple, stylish cuff roll.
Ruste Tailored Motorcycle Jeans
Editor’s Choice: Finding the right-sized riding denim can be tricky. A lack of well-stocked brick-and-mortar shops leaves a lot of riders guessing, usually incorrectly. Finland’s Ruste Protection aims to change that. Ruste is a mail-order tailoring service: send in your favorite leg wear, and they’ll outfit it with a Kevlar and Coolmax liner in the likeliest impact zones to save your skin in the event of an off. With a few simple keystrokes and two to three weeks of tailoring time, a pair of bespoke riding jeans will arrive at your door. Ruste even offers hip- and knee-protection pockets, complete with optional D30 armor to up the anti-abrasion ante. Adding two inches to your standard inseam should accommodate your riding position. If slim fit is your thing, go up a waist size too. Also, don’t forget to break in and wash those bad boys at least once before you send them over.
KEEP THINGS CASUAL, BUT STAY SAFE
More than just a layer of heavy-weight cotton with a hood, the Windsor Jacket ($320) from Rev’It features Knox CE-certified armor at the shoulders and elbows to keep you in one piece should you take a tumble. There’s also an integrated pocket in the back ready to receive a Seesoft CE level 2 insert to protect your spine during spills. And speaking of pockets, the Windsor has five of them at the ready for wallets, smartphones, proof of ownership, insurance and beard oil — you know, just in case. If things get a little too hot, there’s even a set of chest-mounted “comfort panels” that can be deployed on the fly to air out. The Windsor will quickly become a favorite amongst your regular rotation even off the bike for its casual look (even more so if you like the feel of the wind on your nipples).
Deth Killers Style 105 Asphalt-Resistant Jeans
Best Jeans for Full-Speed Fashion: Tested at speeds up to 70 mph, the Deth Killers Asphalt-Resistant Jeans offer serious levels of protection for fashion-conscious riders. A 16 percent Kevlar weave is integrated throughout the jean to provide full-length protection, and the rivets used in traditional denim are replaced with a less burny alternative: stitches. The Deth Killers are easily the most attractive set of riding jeans on this list, but they lack the security of integrated armor pockets featured in other pairs.
Maple Motorcycle Jeans Slim Fit 1979 LA
Best Jeans for Roomier Riders: While the name says “Slim Fit”, these Maple Motorcycle Jeans tend to feature a roomier cut than jeans of the same ilk. That said, Maple’s 13.5-ounce raw selvedge denim and Kevlar construction offer excellent full-length abrasion resistance and feature integrated armor pockets at both the knees and hips. Sizing won’t match up to those Levi’s Commuter jeans you love so much, so take the time to measure up before ordering and be ready to rock some cuffs.
Best Jeans for Everyday Wear: The UglyBros Echo-K motorcycle jeans offer a more relaxed 12-ounce denim that’s both softer and more flexible than some of the heavier hitters on this list. They also incorporate a 30 percent Kevlar weave, almost twice that of the Deth Killers, meaning they should keep that thigh tattoo right where it belongs in the event of a low-side. UglyBros also replaces some of the riveting in their denim construction with cross-stitches to save unlucky riders from being branded in the process.