What was once a rarity — jeans with abrasion and impact protection — is now a competitive, full segment of the motorcycle gear market. With prices running from $80 to $550+ and all sorts of jargon and exaggerate marketing claims, it can be hard to figure out which pair is right. We’re here to help. Which motorcycle jeans are right for you? Find out in this comprehensive breakdown.
Jeans and Motorcycles
Regular jeans offer zero protection in a motorcycle accident. Trust me, I know. And, motorcycle jeans like the ones listed here are still a compromise. While all offer some abrasion protection and some add impact protection, none offer anything like the safety or the all-weather ability of real leather or textile motorcycle pants. If you’re doing something dangerous on a bike — commuting, going fast, riding in the rain or off-road — we strongly recommend that you opt for a real set of motorcycle pants with CE-approved armor in the shins, knees and hips. But, there are times when something more casual is needed. Something that looks good on and off the bike. That’s where riding jeans like these come into play.
What To Look For
As with all clothing, fit is the most important factor. In fact, that should be your number one factor when choosing a pair of motorcycle jeans and it means you’ll need to try them on. Most of the jeans listed here aren’t available from brick and mortar retailers, so there may be some trial and error with orders and returns. We advise that you look for retailers with consumer-friendly return policies and good customer service.
Riding jeans need to protect you in two ways: impact and abrasion. Because these are products that sacrifice safety for style, many won’t offer impact protection due to its bulkiness, weight and price. Even the products that do, will offer that armor over limited areas of your lower body — none protect your shin. Look for armor that carries a CE-certified rating, which fits your joints while in your bike’s riding position and which doesn’t compromise comfort.
Abrasion protection is easier to provide and in jeans is handled by including abrasion-resistant materials like Kevlar in the weave or by sewing in internal panels of those same materials. Neither method is categorically superior. Traditionally, liners were safer, but made jeans with them heavy and hot; jeans with protection in the weave were less safe, but easier to wear. Advancing materials technology has changed all that. Look for jeans with abrasion protection across the widest possible area — particularly in the seat — and included in such a way that it doesn’t compromise comfort.
Deth Killers Slim Guy — $250
What’s Good: As stylish as jeans get, these also happen to provide good abrasion resistance for motorcycle riding thanks to a denim weave that’s 16 percent Kevlar.
What’s Bad: These will be too slim if you live somewhere that still thinks baggy is fashionable or if you’re not runway thin.
RideApart Recommended? Yes. These are the riding jeans we wear most often, on bike and off. That’s because they look better than anything else out there.
Deth Killers Style 105 — $250
What’s Good: The same construction as the original Slim Guys, just in a cut that mimics the classic Levi’s 501.
What’s Bad: Not quite as safe as some other options and no armor pockets are provided.
RideApart Recommended? Yes. If you’re uncomfortable in skinny jeans, then you’ll like these just fine.
Rev’It Lombard — $270
What’s Good: Like the Deth Killers, the weave itself provides the protection, here incorporating Cordura for strength and CoolMax for breathability. Knee armor is included and hip armor is optional. These fit and wear like normal jeans but have an extremely high degree of on-bike comfort and safety.
What’s Bad: The knee armor pocket isn’t adjustable, so the armor may not line up with your actual knee.
RideApart Recommended? Yes. These are the best combination of style and safety currently available.
Rev’It Nelson — $280
What’s Good: All the same comfort and safety features of the Lombards.
What’s Bad: They’re $30 more expensive than the Lombards and all that nets you is overly-fussy design features.
RideApart Recommended: No. The cheaper Lombards offer the same features in a more understated, normal-looking design.
Rev’It Carnaby — $260
What’s Good: You know the Rev’It jeans formula by now. These are styled like work pants, complete with big pockets and a very dark finish.
What’s Bad: These also take the styling just a little over the top.
RideApart Recommended: Yes, like the other jeans in the Rev’It line-up, these look good and work well.
Rev’It Campo — $280
What’s Good: Start with the Lombard and add seams which curve away from the outer edge or your leg to put them in a less vulnerable position. The Campos are also cut stylishly slim.
What’s Bad: The knee armor pocket isn’t adjustable, so the armor might not line up with your actual knee.
RideApart Recommended: Yes. These are the Rev’It Jeans we’ll probably end up wearing next.
Rev’it Women’s Madison — $200
What’s Good: That same cotton/Cordura/CoolMax denim weave as the men’s jeans, just here in a shape that will look good on women. There’s removable CE armor in the knees too.
What’s Bad: That knee armor isn’t repositionable, so there’s a chance it may not fit you.
RideApart Recommended: An emphatic yes. The best women’s motorcycle jeans you can buy.
Rev’it Women’s Broadway — $240
What’s Good: The $40 premium buys you a CE-approved, anti-abrasion synthetic layer in the seat, hips and knees. Otherwise, these appear to be the same jean as the Madison. Hip protector pockets are included, buy you need to buy the SAS-Tech protectors separately.
What’s Bad: Again, the knee armor may not fit you depending on positioning.
RideApart Recommended: Absolutely. These are a little safer than the Madisons, but know that extra layer may impact fit and comfort.
Maple Motorcycle Jeans — $493
What’s Good: If you’re into the fake lumberjack thing, these are the jeans for you. Available in either a slim or straight cut, the 13.5 ounce Selvedge denim is totally lined with a Kevlar terrycloth and Forcefield armor is provided for the hips and knees.
What’s Bad: Fit is…inconsistent and the whole fake lumberjack thing isn’t going to be for everyone; the seat is baggy in both cuts and you’ll need to cuff them over your boots.
RideApart Recommended: No. While providing good safety, they’re very heavy and hot to wear and the style just isn’t for us. The asking price is also a bit obscene for what you get.
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