Jeans look good on almost any occasion, especially when you don’t have to worry about the dress code. But what about riding motorcycles? Are jeans safe for a motorcycle? Well, you see, most riders sport a cool biker jacket and pair it with ice-blue jeans. But before we fully answer this question, there are a few things we would like to explain first.
What Are Motorcycle Jeans?
Are jeans safe for motorcycles? The answer is no, but it is definitely better than wearing shorts. Because denim has a limited tensile strength on its own, regular jeans are not recommended for motorcycle riding.
Motorcycle jeans are different from regular ones. They may look the same, but biker jeans are stronger and more durable. The reason for that is these jeans are lined up with Kevlar and other protective materials, which keep you safe against abrasion and scruffs if you get into an accident. Some jeans feature double or triple stitching, and their added protection keeps you safe even against severe accidents.
What About Fitting?
Before asking yourself, “Are jeans safe for motorcycles and riding?”, you better make sure your jeans fit perfectly. It’s not the 1990s anymore, so there is no need for baggy jeans. Leave them. If you are a fan, then try a looser fit, but not baggy. They are not meant for riding.
When riding a bike, make sure your jeans fit properly and won’t move around when you slide down the road. Yes, you might need to wear a bit tighter jeans, but it’s for your own safety. Just make sure the pair of jeans aren’t too tight because you need some flexibility after all. Just pick something that is true to your actual size.
Should You Worry About Crash Testing?
This can be hard because there is no standard for testing materials. Yes, manufacturers will refer to abrasion tests that they have carried out or commissioned, while some brands will resort to some less scientific proofs. These proofs will be something like dragging a dummy behind a trunk or other similar methods.
But don’t fall for these claims, and do your own research instead. While Kevlar is a popular option among the biker community, there are other worthy options you should consider (some of which we will discuss below).
What Materials Are Used in Biker Jeans?
Jeans sure look great with leather jackets and rowdy motorbikes, but they don’t offer any protection against abrasion and scruffs. Any experienced biker will advise you against buying jeans for riding. While keeping that in mind, we are going to discuss popular fabric options that offer both comfort and protection for riders.
The earliest riding jeans featured denim lined with Kevlar. The internal panels offer additional protection as denim will easily wear away if you get in an accident. Kevlar lining protects you against abrasion, but at the same time, they make the rider feel heavy and hot.
Over time, this technology has improved, and modern Kevlar is basically denim and Kevlar woven together in a single fabric. Thanks to this improvement, Kevlar is lighter and offers better protection.
This is another option popular among riders. Cordura has high resistance against abrasion, scuffs, and tears. It is a nylon-based fabric that has been used as a tire liner for military vehicles. For comparison, Kevlar is the standard protection gear for riders, but Cordura offers better protection and flexibility.
Kevlar gear is heavy and can get hot very quickly, so companies are now investing in a new fabric that offers Kevlar protection but with the feasibility of denim. This is where Armalith comes in.
Armalith basically combines denim with ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene (also called UHMWPE). The team claims this new fabric offers better protection than both Kevlar and leather combined but with the comfort of regular jeans. It offers the best of both worlds: ultimate protection and high comfort.
What Should You Do About Coverage?
Despite whatever material you choose, you better pay attention to how it is used and what it is paired with. Motorcycle jeans usually feature denim lined with some weaves. The common places for these liners are in the seat and knees, as both of them bear most of the impact or damage. This is the minimum level of protection you should look for when buying riding jeans.
The issue is that some high-end brands sell jeans with little to no protection. These companies fool buyers into believing they are investing in their protection just because they pay a premium rate, and some seams are reinforced with Kevlar.
In some cases, knee and backside protection doesn’t cut it alone. You need something that goes down to your shin. It’s a matter of personal preference, but you should know that heavily lined jeans are both heavy and warm.
Some companies combine backside and knee lining with tougher jeans material. For instance, sometimes, these brands combine Kevlar patches with tougher jeans and Cordura. Other companies craft the whole pair of jeans using Dyneema. As a result, these solutions offer far better protection and are more comfortable even in warmer temperatures. Right now, there are projects being funded to develop single-layer jeans that provide both protection and comfort.
Does Added Protection Mean Anything?
Today, almost every manufacturer offers additional protection with their armor, especially knee armor. For added protection, companies refer to hip protection, thanks to inconspicuous armor. When looking to buy jeans featuring armor, consider different styles that allow you some level of customization. For instance, if you have issues with your waist and height, a little bit of customization will come in handy.
Conclusion – Should You Wear Jeans When Riding Motorcycles?
Coming back to the original question, “Are jeans safe for motorcycles?” Well, most people prefer wearing jeans when riding a motorcycle. It’s comfortable when compared with leather. However, jeans don’t offer any protection themselves, and they will tear apart the second you start to crash. In other words, jeans offer no protection.
Even the slightest fall can turn into a terrible accident if you only wear jeans without any added protection.