After riding for many months in regular Levi’s jeans which didn’t compare to the full-piece race leathers I wore years ago, I’d been longing for a pair of proper riding pants. I don’t ride as hard as I once did, so there’s no need for a full leather suit. Also, I’m not a fan of the “motorcycle streetwear fashion movement” at all. I was looking for something that would actually function for protection rather than just “look the part”. I did countless hours of research on many trusted internet sites and read a ton of reviews - AS many as possible. So in an attempt to save anyone who might be in the market, the time I spent researching, read on for my saga of finding the “perfect” pair of every day riding pants.
My favorite place to shop for motorcycle gear, Revzilla, has a TON of options - so many options that on more than a few occasions, I’d give up and lose focus. Pics on a web site rarely show you want you want to see and the selection is overwhelming. I was interested in the pure functionality of dedicated riding pants but attracted to the more unobtrusive aspect of riding jeans. I’d never owned a pair of riding jeans and really did not know what options and feature were out there.
I settled on an entry-level pair based on price and features from Street and Steel. This brand is owned by Revzilla and manufactured to be affordable and sort of a “no frills” option. The jeans were the Oakland model and looked great on their web site. https://www.revzilla.com/motorcycle/street-steel-oakland-jeans Typically I wear slim, straight leg jeans - nothing super skinny and definitely not boot cut, bell bottoms or cargo pants. The Oaklands were that perfect, straight leg fit. They are made with 12 oz stretch denim, have a full aramid liner AND CE level 2 armor in the knees. It should be noted that they only come in 34” length. This is fine for me and works even better on the bike in riding position as my legs are perched high on the pegs in a sport position (so no high-waters here). I chose the dark blue denim option as it closely matched my every day jeans and did not have any silly aggressive stitching on the pockets (see Ed Hardy/Affliction/douchebag) or dumb crosses sewn into them anywhere. Very understated and simple. I normally wear a 33-32 pant but ordered a 32W-34L. Initially they were much tighter than I was used to, but I was convinced by my GF that they looked good, so I kept them. The best part was that they looked like normal jeans because the knee armor was hidden with a low profile.
While riding, they really helped grip the tank and protect my goods from the VERY hot under seat exhaust of the 959! No joke - without these jeans on, my thighs get VERY uncomfortable when riding in 90+ degree heat - to the point where every few min I have to stand on the pegs to get some air between my legs and the seat to vent out some of the heat. After one particularly hot ride in August – without these jeans - I actually had burn marks on my legs after six-or-so hours in the saddle. The jeans help-out with this immensely. They protect me from the exhaust heat, as well as if I were to go down. As a side note, after washing, one of the seams in crotch gave way. I called Revzilla and they quickly offered to send me out a new pair. They asked for pics of the crotch. I hoped this was to show the manufacturer and not just for fun. Anyway, they shipped out a new pair two days later. BTW, if your net using this company for at least staple MC stuff, you’re missing out. They are great. They know their stuff (parts, gear – EVERYTHING), ship fast and have outstanding customer service. I’ll write up a separate blog on them as they have helped me out more than a few times.
So the Street and Steel Oakland’s are a great pair of riding jeans BUT they were my only pair of riding jeans. After many miles, many dead bugs and crotch sweat stains, it was clear that I needed another pair in my rotation. As of late summer, I’d put thousands more miles on the bike and was in need of another riding pant. I ordered another pair of the same Street and Steel Oakland jeans in the same size. When they arrived, I tried them on and was disappointed that the fit was completely different. They were ill-cut and baggy, so I sent them back.
After the return was received, Megan surprised me with another pair of jeans form Alpinestars. She did her own research and picked a different, more premium brand for me to try. She selected the Alpinestars Copper V2 in 33W-34L. https://www.revzilla.com/motorcycle/alpinestars-copper-v2-riding-jeans in black. This color suits me a little better due to my dirtbag, punk upbringing. 😊 These fit very similar to the Street and Steel Oaklands but are a bit more narrow through the leg. As with the first pair, this one has full aramid fiber liner and CE level 2 armor in the knees. The knee protection in these is a bit different. Rather than the standard shaped “pucks” it’s more of a large padded area the extends well beyond just the knee cap. It’s also a bit thinner, but ample. These jeans are VERY well made - very understated in terms of styling, but super solid. They look better than any other pair of jeans I own and are fully protective. They are a much higher quality of denim, but are also about $100 more, so keep that in mind. The jeans are very comfortable on the bike, offering the same support against the tank and protection from the sack-roasting Ducati exhaust. My favorite gear is gear that you forget about wearing when your riding. If it’s in the way or too tight or too loose or too whatever, it’s not doing its job which is to protect you without having to think about how it’s fitting. If you’re thinking about your gear while you’re riding, you’re not thinking about riding. These jeans are my favorite! Again, many thanks to my lovely GF for the amazing gift.