For decades motorcyclists had two choices when it came to what pants to wear. Either you were prudent and wore leather or you took your chances in your flimsy 501s. Around the mid-nineties, Kevlar entered the scene and it transformed both the motorcycle pant industry and rider’s attitudes forever. As more abrasion-resistant tech fabrics entered the fray (pun intended), we’ve been given even more options when it comes to protecting our limbs. Today there are seemingly countless brands offering riding pants so choosing the right pair can be rather daunting. To help you in your quest to find the best motorcycle pants, we’ve put together this list of 5 of our favourites.
BEST AAA RATED MOTORCYCLE JEANS
Pando Moto Boss DYN 01 Jeans
The AAA rating represents the highest level of abrasion resistance, seam strength and tear strength available in the market. Lithuanian brand Pando Moto has achieved and exceeded this rating with their Boss Dyn 01 jeans.
The first layer of defence in the Boss DYN 01 jeans is an outer layer of stretchy 12 oz denim with abrasion-resistant Cordura woven into it. On the inside the entire front and buttocks of the jeans are covered by a 65% ultra-high-molecular-weight polyethylene (UHMWPE for short) liner which is 15 times stronger than steel. The combination of these two layers has resulted in a garment that can withstand an astonishing 300-foot (92 meters) slide down the asphalt. Sliding that distance down the street is a scary thought and in reality, it’s highly unlikely. But knowing that the jeans covering your legs are capable of such a feat is sure to put your mind at ease.
To top it all off, Pando Moto has included SAS-TEC TripleFlex CE armour in the purchase price of these jeans. It can be installed on the hips and on the knees in 2 different positions and will soak up the brunt of any hard knocks.
The Boss DYN 01 Jeans follow Pando Moto’s European styling approach. They are a slim fit, regular waist, 5 pocket jean with discrete, stylish branding. Despite not being a single layer offering the jeans fit and wear like regular jeans thanks to the use of lightweight, innovative tech fabrics and clever design. For additional rider comfort, the jeans’ outer layer is “super-stretchy” and incorporates a polyester fabric called COOLMAX which is engineered to wick moisture and disperse heat.
Aesthetically from the front, there’s nothing about these jeans that give away the fact they are designed for motorcyclists. There are no seams across the legs since the protective liner runs full length and when the armour is in it has a fairly low profile. On the rear, there are 2 additional seams along the back of the thighs, but they don’t detract from the jeans’ slick appearance. One additional safety feature we love on these jeans is the inclusion of a reflective inner seam. So when you roll up the cuffs they can help other motorists spot you at night. Now that’s comprehensive protection!
RRP: $315 USD
BEST SINGLE LAYER MOTORCYCLE JEANS
What are single layer jeans? In the past Kevlar jeans traditionally consisted of a standard outer layer of denim with an internal Kevlar lining. While this proved capable in regard to safety, it wasn’t the most convenient solution, especially for riders in warmer climates. Single layer riding jeans are made by weaving highly abrasion-resistant fibres into denim. This results in not only a pair of jeans that look no different to your favourite Levi’s, but they also wear like them.
Saint Unbreakable Jeans
Saint came onto the motorcycle scene around 2014 and wasted no time making their presence known. The brand was the brainchild of an Aussie motorcyclist based in Melbourne whose goal was to change the way riding gear looked and performed. It all started with a pair of single layer, highly abrasion-resistant jeans and since then they’ve been fine-tuning and perfecting the formula.
The latest version of Saint’s appropriately named Unbreakable Jeans follows in the footsteps of its predecessors. Available in 2 cuts of either straight leg or slim they look no different to regular denim. Saint branding is kept to a minimum with the exception of the brand’s winged emblem embroidered in bright orange on one of the rear pockets. The jeans feature a classic zippered fly and 5-pocket design and the button on the waist has a rubber coating to help avoid tank scratches.
Along with looking great, these jeans boast a AA impact abrasion resistance rating. Saint has achieved this by weaving a material called Dyneema into their denim. As they explain it’s “the same fibre that stops bullets, tethers space shuttles and armours helicopters,” which is mighty reassuring. Despite Dyneema’s rigid properties Saint has also managed to add stretch into these jeans so you’ll remain comfortable for the duration of your ride. They are available with or without pockets for optional armour.
RRP: $340 USD
BEST MOTORCYCLE PANTS WITH ARMOUR INCLUDED
REV’IT! Lombard 3 Jeans
Rev’it! is another riding gear brand that won’t sacrifice style in order to achieve an optimum level of function. Since 1995 the Netherlands brand has been “engineering motorcycle clothing that you can feel safe, confident, and stylish in.” Rev’it! Introduced riding jeans to their product offering in 2013. Taking a similar approach to their other gear, they set out to be the best in the game. The Rev’it! Lombard 3 jeans are one of their latest developments and they boast some very impressive features.
On the outside these jeans present as regular streetwear and Rev’it! has worked hard to ensure they wear like it too. Available in either blue or black these are true everyday jeans with a regular fit, 5 pocket design and enough stretch to maximise comfort while you’re on the bike. The denim in the Lombard 3 jeans is made using a Cordua/UHMWPE blend so they’ll competently withstand a slide too.
Included in the price of these jeans is a set of Rev’it!’s very own Seesmart CE Level 1 hip and knee armour. Seesmart is a low-profile armour designed to be undetectable to both onlookers and the wearer. The unique design of the armour also allows air to flow freely so you won’t end up with sweat patches in unusual places. For a tailored fit the knee armour can be mounted in 2 positions or removed altogether.
RRP: $229.99 USD
BEST WATERPROOF PANTS
If you’re the kind of motorcyclist who is happy to ride rain, hail or shine, you know how valuable a good pair of waterproof pants are. If you’re a fair-weather rider, you probably don’t think you need them. But when that unexpected rainy day comes and your privates are swimming in underwear, you’ll be kicking yourself.
The most versatile kind of waterproof pants is over pants. As the name suggests over pants are designed to slip over the top of whatever riding pants you already have on. They are designed to pack well and more importantly to keep you dry.
Bilt Storm 2 Overpants
The Bilt Storm 2 Overpants may take up a bit more space in your backpack than basic plastic over pants, but they make up for that with an impressive list of invaluable features.
Obviously waterproofing is the top priority here. So backing the Storm 2’s outer shell is a non-removable, 100% waterproof liner. Seams present an ideal opportunity for water ingress so to keep it out, Bilt has covered them all with waterproof taping. Unless you live in the tropics, rainy weather is generally accompanied by colder temperatures so Bilt has also included a full-length removal liner into the Storm 2 Overpants.
The last thing you want to be doing in a downpour is struggling to get your over pants on at the side of the road. Bilt has conquered this problem by adding full-length, ankle-to-hip waterproof zippers on the outer edge of each leg. With the zips open you can easily pull the pants on without removing your riding boots. It’s then a simple matter of zipping them up and pressing the velcro closure storm flap down to seal everything shut.
Where these over pants really excel is in the safety they offer. Bilt has constructed the outer shell of the Storm 2 Overpants using a tough 600D Oxford abrasion-resistant material. In high-impact areas, such as the knees, they’ve stepped the protection up using 1200D reinforcement. To top it all off these over pants come with CE Level 1 knee armour and have provision for adding your own hip armour.
For a complete neck-to-ankle waterproof solution Bilt also sells a Storm 2 waterproof jacket which secures to these pants via a special zipper.
BEST ENTRY-LEVEL (AFFORDABLE) MOTORCYCLE PANTS
Bull-it Covert Evo Jeans
After buying your first motorcycle your funds are likely running low. As a result, you’ll probably be looking for low cost gear. Unfortunately, this usually translates to lower quality and lower levels of protection, but not always. The Bull-it Onyx Jeans look great, offer a high level of protection and can be owned for a price that won’t break the bank.
At under $140 USD, the Bull-it Onyx jeans offer some of the best ‘bang for your buck’ leg protection on the market. Constructed using the brand’s latest Tactical II denim they offer a AA-rated level of cut, tear and abrasion resistance. The specially designed fabric has been engineered to have low thermal conductivity, which can help to prevent skin burns from the heat generated during a slide. Although not included in the price the Covert Evo jeans can also accommodate armour within adjustable pockets sewn into the hips and knees.
Available in either a straight, slim or easy cut and in any colour (as long as it’s black), the Onyx jeans look identical to regular streetwear. Sporting a classic 5 pocket design, subtle branding and a single-layer construction they could easily become your everyday go-to jeans whether you’re planning on riding or not. When you are on the bike you’ll stay comfortable thanks to the denim’s ample stretch and dry since Bull-it has also given these great value motorcycle pants a water-repellent finish.