When I took my UK riding test, the instructor did his damnedest to put the fear of god into everybody before they even got near a motorcycle. “Here’s what a damaged helmet looks like after your head hits the floor…” “Your skin heats up to 600˚C when sliding along asphalt at 30mph, so nylon products melt into your skin and have to be cut out…” – that sort of thing!
As a result, I’ve been an all-the-gear, all-the-time rider, ensuring I have the most protection possible for any riding situation. However, there are times when leathers aren't convenient or practical. So how do you dress for protection, weather and venue?
One of the most popular options are riding jeans because they allow you to merge into almost any crowd without standing out as the biker in the room. And there are lots of jean options to choose from, with varying levels of protection. Your basic pair of Levi's won't cut it, so we decided to try out the Alpinestars Resist Tech Denim Jeans.
First, they come in a dark Indigo Blue, so they look smart. The jeans are straight cut, so again look very presentable and give you enough room to move about on a bike without becoming pinched.
The construction uses a heavy 12oz denim, which provides better abrasion and tear resistance. However, there’s also a large Kevlar panel sewn into the full seat area – from seam to seam. Kevlar is also added to the knee panels to reinforce the other major impact area.
As further protection, CE-approved knee protectors are secured in mesh pouches behind the Kevlar knee panels. These comprise three foam pads, which can be removed entirely, or fewer pads used for comfort. Personally, I’ll sacrifice a little chafing while walking or sat at my desk in favor of the superior protection of all three pads.
There are also removable hip pads. These are relatively thin foam pieces that Velcro in place and I felt they could be rather more substantial. However, they’re comfortable when in place, but it’s worth fitting them when trying on the jeans. They certainly add to your waist measurement, so you want to ensure the Resist Jeans fit comfortably when the pads are in place.
The Alpinestars Resist Tech Denim Jeans are extremely well made. There is no loose stitching, material color is consistent and the zipper doesn’t catch on the fly flap. There’s a light-colored coin pocket on your right side, which is an unnecessary detail, in my opinion, but it doesn’t detract from a great garment.
On the Road
So while the jeans look good and offer decent protection, what are they like in regular use? I’ve been wearing these on my 52-mile daily commute and the fabric breathes well, so you don’t become overheated. The fit is generous enough to ensure they don’t become pinched around the seat or crotch. And there’s nothing to scratch the fuel tank when you climb aboard.
The kneepads are nicely designed to conform around your kneecap when seated, without creating any pressure points or sliding out of position. So they remain comfortable, even when you’re moving around the seat in corners and regularly stopping at traffic lights. The leg doesn’t ride up your boot either, so putting a leg down when stopped doesn’t cause the annoying bunching that can happen with other jeans.
You really don’t notice the hip pads, except when putting the jeans on or when tucking-in a shirt. They certainly don’t compromise comfort at all, and you hope they add some protection if ever called upon.
After a couple of washes, the denim has retained its deep blue with no signs of garment fading.
I should mention the Alpinestars Resist Jeans offer good leg length. In the past, I’ve had to shorten the leg on some Alpinestars jeans because they seemed to be made for giants. However, my 30-32” inseam is perfectly matched to the Resist leg length, without the back of the jeans being trodden on as I walk.
Downsides? I honestly can’t find any. Obviously, you have to consider the price, but with an MSRP of $199.95 they’re competitive and offer good value considering the quality and features.