UglyBros Echo-K Motorcycle Jeans Review

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UglyBros Echo-K Motorcycle Jeans

What about UglyBros? We’ve heard that from a bunch of readers but, until now, the Korean maker of casual riding apparel didn’t produce the kind of jeans we’d be seen dead in. This pair — made with a 30 percent Kevlar weave — changes all that. Read why in this UglyBros Echo-K Motorcycle Jeans Review.

The Gear
The $200 Echo-K is a basic set of straight-leg jeans with subdued, “normal” styling. The 12 oz denim weave is 70 percent cotton and 30 percent Kevlar, that material is claimed to give the jeans an enhanced ability to resist abrasion and tearing. You know, like in a motorcycle crash.

There’s no armor and no external bedazzlement to give away that these are riding jeans, they’re just a nice pair of every day jeans that also happen to offer some abrasion protection.

UglyBros Echo-K Motorcycle Jeans
The only external branding is this leather tag.

Regular readers will likely be familiar with the concept of jeans that include Kevlar in their weave, Deth Killers Asphalt Resistant Denim was one of the first companies to take advantage of the material and their products remain a perennial favorite amongst our staff.

Compared to Death Killers, the UglyBros’ 12 oz denim feels thinner and more flexible, with substantially less need for break in. The Echo-K’s were comfortable from the first wear. But, while they are thinner, a higher percentage of Kevlar is incorporated into the weave — 30 percent for UglyBros, 16 percent for Deth Killers. We haven’t evaluated their abrasion resistance side-to-side, so can’t common on their relative safety, but have had a small, on-road crash in the Deth Killers, which provided adequate abrasion protection at low speed.

UglyBros Echo-K Motorcycle Jeans
Stitched crosses replace metal rivets in the all-important seat area. This should help prevent butt burns.

UglyBros borrows a further trick from Deth Killers, replacing some of its metal rivet hardware with cross stitches; an arrangement designed to reduce the odds of burns as metal rivets heat up through friction.

The Echo-Ks are a straight cut, one which will be roomy enough to suit the tastes of most American men, without skewing baggy. I’m wearing a size 32, which equates to a true 35.5-inch waist and 33.5-inch inseam. Typically, I wear a size 31×34 in Levis and, compared to those, these UglyBros are a little larger in the waist and slightly shorter in the inseam. On me, a belt is required to hold these jeans up and they’re not quite long enough to take a cuff. Refreshingly, the jeans fit through the hips, butt and crotch without an undue amount of extra material; that is to say they fit well. I’ve been wearing these around town as well as on the bike and they’ve never not been comfortable or visually appropriate.

The quality of materials and stitching throughout feels sturdy, long lasting and able to withstand the forces of a low-speed slide on asphalt. The zipper is a heavy-duty YKK item and the button waist closure is sturdy.

UglyBros USA General Manager, Vince Sohn, tells us the Echo-Ks don’t benefit from triple-stitched or otherwise reinforced seams and do without crotch gusseting, accordion panels or other on-bike safety or comfort features in order to “emphasize the fashion and convenience factors” with this pair. The company does offer much more technical jeans in its line up, but fashion is obviously compromised in the process.

UglyBros Echo-K Motorcycle Jeans
The Echo-Ks are a straight cut — not skinny and not baggy.

The Good
Subdued, classy styling. There’s nothing separating these from “normal” jeans aside from the material.

Quality is robust.

Fit is a flattering and stylish straight leg that’s roomy without being baggy.

The full range of leg and torso movement remains comfortably available.

The 30 percent Kevlar denim weave should provide adequate abrasion protection at in-town speeds.

UglyBros Echo-K Motorcycle Jeans
Fit is good, without undue bagginess in the seat or crotch.

The Bad
Available sizes are a bit odd and don’t feature the range of larger brands.

Extra inseam length would make cuffing possible and cover more of your boot while riding.

The tradeoff you get in these all-day comfortable, normal-looking jeans is limited protection. There’s no impact absorption at all and resistance to abrasion will be limited. We also don’t see these jeans standing up to more than one slide.

UglyBros Echo-K Motorcycle Jeans
On-bike comfort is excellent, despite the addition of Kevlar to the weave, movement is not restricted.

The Verdict
If you use a bike as your primary transportation, then there’s going to be times where an All The Gear, All The Time approach simply isn’t practical. In these Echo-Ks, you get a stylish, flattering, comfortable pair of jeans you can wear every day; a pair that should also provide some abrasion protection in a motorcycle crash. That’s a happy middle ground for many in-town tasks like running to the grocery store, commuting short distances or meeting friends. At $200, UglyBros is also offering some of the more affordable protective motorcycle jeans available.

  • chupa

    Resellers in the US?

  • Aaron

    I wish someone would just make a Levi 527 fit with Kevlar. Or Just make a few Levi cuts with Kevlar.

    • Tom Gabriele

      Put me down for 501′s

    • Paul Cypert

      They did make a pair for cyclists, so not that long of a shot. If more of these companies do well I bet you’d see a pair released….

  • Yuri Grinshteyn

    Guys, reviews of what is supposed to be crash protection gear are utterly useless without crash testing. I realize that it’s not practical to actually crash in them, but you could have at least put them on a dummy and thrown it off the back of a truck at 40 MPH.

    • Aaron
      • zedro

        And what does it mean in real world (relatively speaking)?

    • Davidabl2

      See the famous abrasion test that Draggin’jeans uses
      Although it’s abrasion test only, since the dude doesn’t have himself thrown out of the tow vehicle ;-)

      • http://RideApart.com/ Wes Siler

        I’d be extraordinarily skeptical of manufacturer claims in this case.

        • Davidabl2

          Yeah,I’d almost need to be an eyewitness to really believe that the famous/infamous Draggin’jeans photo was on the up&up.
          Wasn’t submitted to the underwriters library. Or tested on Mythbusters as far as i know..though it’d be a GREAT candidate. for the show!

          • Davidabl2

            Or You could always ask to be comped a pair and test them yourself ;-)

    • http://krtong.com/ Kr Tong

      I would love for every manufacturer to take a hundred of their pants and go run into things in all conditions but I doubt it’ll ever happen.

      To make a guess, here’s what i look at: What’s the material, what padding is in the impact zones, what kind of stitching is used, and is the stitching relocated to areas that won’t come in contact with the ground.

  • disqus_66baXH83ju

    Nice. Might have to be the first time I’ve ever spent more than $50 on a pair of jeans (levi’s)…

  • imprezive

    I know their US HQ is in LA, do you know if they have a storefront where you can try stuff on?

    • Tony N

      You should try emailing them, but I would imagine they would be more than happy to let you come in and try them on even if there is no actual store front. I’m in SF and have only communicated to them through email and phone, but they have been nothing have helpful and made my purchase very pleasant.

  • Tony N

    I just bought a pair of the tapered version of these jeans known as the Alpha-K’s. Unlike Wes, I do not have first hand experience with the Deth Killers, however I must say UglyBros makes a very high quality product and a pretty reasonable price. I was deciding between these, the Deth Killers, and the Rev’it Lombards and decided that the extra kevlar weave will pay off in event of an accident. Yes, I am aware that these provide no impact protection, but I’m will to accept that trade-off. Their customer support is fantastic and they are extremely quick at responding. All in all, I am very happy with my purchase and would highly recommend these jeans.

    • Piglet2010

      For a low-speed, around town use I will take impact protection over abrasion resistance. Some road rash is just an annoyance, having a knee surgically rebuilt is much worse.

  • Justin McClintock

    Non-skinny-jeans? Who are you and what have you done with Wes?!

    Good review. Bummer about the sizing and the stitching. I do understand their goal of not compromising on the fashion end to some degree. But at the same time, I (personally) fail to see how triple stitching the seams would really impact that. Also a bummer about the length.

    • Ken Lindsay

      They start to look like work jeans instead of something fashionable. Unless Dickies are what you like to wear.

      • CB

        See, I fall into that category. There’s a certain shape that does not look good in fashionably cut jeans. I wear actual work jean because I like the thick denim and the cut. If you’ve got big legs, straight leg usually looks best. I’m not the most fashionable guy in the world, but this looks good on me.

      • Davidabl2

        My edc doesn’t work with pants without without plenty of cargo space. I carry almost everything imaginable except a handgun.

        • http://RideApart.com/ Wes Siler

          Fanny pack. Or a smaller load out. What on earth are you carrying?

          • Davidabl2

            I do a lot of tech/mech work: multitool, 4 way-screwdriver, panasonic Lumix LX-7 pocket camera, iPhone, magnifying glass, Spyderco/Byrd serrated edge folding knife. Craftsman folding 3/8″ratchet, usually with one of those gator-grip sockets, a couple of allen sockets in the watch pocket of the pants. wallet, pen, magic marker. keychain-size flashlight. possibly one of those old bicycle 8-9-10mm 3-way wrenches in back pocket. Faster access in pants than fanny pack. This is when i’m not on the bike. The things that could hurt me (like the 4-way screwdriver) come out when I’m on a MC or bicycle. The edc actually looks fairly normal, since it’s distributed into seven pockets. At the dr.’s office it generally does get a laugh when they ask me to empty my pockets before they weigh me.

  • roma258

    I’m confused, you wear a size 31 in Levis and went with a 35 inch waist? How does that work?

    • http://RideApart.com/ Wes Siler

      I have no idea.

    • Scott Otte

      It’s vanity sizing for men.

    • Rameses the 2nd

      Because Jeans sizes are vanity sizes. 31 doesn’t really mean 31 waist; it means 31+ extra 2 to 5 inches.

      http://www.esquire.com/blogs/mens-fashion/pants-size-chart-090710

      • Fava d’Aronne

        today I learnt I am fat.

        • CB

          Welcome, new friend. There are sadness donuts available on the snack table.

    • Justin McClintock

      Levis (and most other jeans) tend to run a little large so guys can say they have a smaller waist then they do in the same way that most athletic shoes tend to run small so guys can say they have a bigger foot than they do.

  • CB

    Great looking, but too small for the big dudes. *sad trumpet*

  • http://badnewsweekly.com/ Chuck Ludwig

    In terms of cut, how much skinnier are these then deth killers 105s? I like the 105s but they are just a tad baggy on me and the skinny deth killers would never fit over my legs.

    • http://RideApart.com/ Wes Siler

      I haven’t tired a pair of 105s yet. I like these, they’re flattering.

  • E Brown

    I’ve got those. I like them as they give you the option of wearing whatever you want. I do add knee armor for impact protection as well.

    • Davidabl2

      Yep There’s a big advantage in having your impact protection beneath the outside layers–it seems like it’s less likely to slide out of place in a crash.

  • JP

    In some photos, the rivets are visible. I’m confused

  • Aaron

    How bad are they in the heat? I have seen those, they just look like kevlar long johns.

    • Davidabl2

      The tops are ok in the heat, if used with a mesh jacket or one of those riding denim jackets. Since denim breathes somewhat, the pants should be ok as well- but I won’t really know until it gets hot again where I live.

    • E Brown

      The longjohns are a pretty open weave – I’ve been comfortable in them in temps over 80, but that’s with wool dress pants. I can say they don’t do much for warmth during colder months – I wear actual longjohns with denim jeans when it’s below freezing here.

  • Blake Bryce

    At the risk of sounding like a “Pirate”, why not wear chaps? I wear them and have had no issues. Yes my butt is exposed on a lowside crash, but I have gone down at decent speed and came out perfectly fine. And I can wear my 511′s under them with no issue.

    • Clint Keener

      Are you gonna wear them off the bike?

      • Blake Bryce

        Lord no. They are stashed away till I am back on my bike.

  • KC

    I had the same thought about Carhartt.

  • KC

    Nice looking riding jeans. I know I need more durable riding pants but I haven’t seen anything I’d actually consider. I don’t want fake “whiskers”, creases, wear marks, crazy looking patches, or baggy fit riding pants. These just might do it. According to the chart, I’d need a size 28 – and a belt.

  • george

    A few weeks ago I bought an Olympia full body mesh suit for $350. For less than 2 pairs of these jeans, I bought full body protection with body armor, etc. When I get where I am going, I just take off the suit, and lock it to the bike. Since it is not a jacket, I don’t see much theft risk. How are these jeans any better? I don’t get it.

    • stever

      A few weeks ago, I bought an orange for a dollar. It was 1/350th the cost of an Olympia body mesh suit, and far more delicious. I didn’t have to lock it to anything because I had already eaten it, so it was inside my abdomen. How is your suit better than an orange? I don’t get it.

    • Tune

      It’s the convenience of being able to just wear the same jeans all day without changing whenever you get off the bike

    • charlie

      Not everybody wants to look like they’re about to jump out of a plane.

  • http://RideApart.com/ Wes Siler

    For ~$1500 I got a custom Roadcrafter that won’t fall apart the first time I crash (suits been down a few times already on somebody else and looks brand new) or after less than a year of regular wear. But sometimes I like to wear just jeans and a jacket. What’s your point?

    • george

      Cost-benefit. I don’t understand spending so much money for so little protection. Donning and removing a one-piece suit takes less than 30 seconds and offers real protection. These slightly more protective jeans for $200 seem like a large expense for a small benefit. That is my point.

      • Piglet2010

        I got some Shift Kevlar reinforced jeans on close-out for $50/pair, and that seemed a bit steep.

  • chris ordanez

    Wes, any chance of you guys doing a review of the Scorpion Covert jeans?

    http://www.revzilla.com/motorcycle/scorpion-covert-jeans

    The pic makes it look like they have saggy granddad crotch, but if you watch the video, they seem to look like regular people jeans when worn.

    Plus, they have pockets for knee and hip armor in addition to kevlar.

    • http://RideApart.com/ Wes Siler

      I’m not touching those with a 10 foot pole.

      • chris ordanez

        Care to extrapolate?

      • Piglet2010

        I do not see anything obviously wrong with them, but then I do not care if other guys think I am fashionable or not (living in the Upper Midwest instead of SoCal makes a difference too).

      • JamesM

        Wes, Considering these have an insane amount of Kevlar and look just like the Ugly Bros from the outside (i.e. normal jeans) Im not sure why you wouldn’t even give them a fair review. I just purchased a pair (as my meaty legs will not let me go skinny).

    • JamesM

      For those Looking at Scorpion Covert Jeans, be warned. Both pairs I received (size 30 & 32) had rips in the paper thin Kevlar. To add insult, the size 32′s right leg was noticeably larger than the left leg. Because of those quality issues I cannot recommend them.

  • anthony

    I think some of the other jeans they make are pretty cool and borrow design cues from classic motorcycle leathers and Belstaff. Not everyone is so safe with their clothing decisions Wes. https://www.mrporter.com/product/322684

  • Vincent T.

    Have you guys tested/seen these yet? They also have the kevlar weave that seems to be becoming popular. http://www.revzilla.com/motorcycle/icon-1000-rouser-denim-jeans

    • http://RideApart.com/ Wes Siler

      First time I’ve seen them. Seems like a similar material.

  • charlie

    The two biggest problems are that the jeans are either hideous (Draggin Jeans remind me of JNCO) or don’t protect enough. Maple jeans are awesome but they come with a premium price. There is either a lack of interest or companies just don’t want to spend the money to make a good looking/fitting pair of kevlar jeans.

  • Piglet2010

    I wear regular jeans and armor under Carhartt insulated overalls for cold weather riding around town. By inspection, they appear to be more abrasion resistant than many moto-specific textile mesh over-pants.