It's all in the jeans: MCN's guide to the best motorbike denim

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There are loads of options on the market these days for riding jeans that look casual and keep you cool in summer, without having to sacrifice rider safety. And with so much choice at a range of price points, there's no reason not to give them a go any more.

MCN has tested lots of these over the years with a range of materials and armour options but whether it's kevlar, aramid, taslan or dyneema, it'll protect you better than Tesco denim in a slide. 

Best motorcycle riding jeans

Alpinestars Copper Out Tech - £179.99 (RRP)

Alpinestars Copper Out jeans

These felt very reassuring on the bike, with excellent, well-fitting knee armour and very visible Kevlar reinforcement panels in the seat – it’s on the knees as well.

They felt like they would stand up to a slide well, though only on the butt and knees with their protection. The knee armour sits in zipped pockets so can be removed at your destination.

In our drag test, they stood up very well; there were a couple of small holes in the outer denim but above the Kevlar reinforcement.

However, a larger one appeared in the butt seam and this wore through the reinforcement close to a seam. A small hole, probably between cheeks, but a hole nonetheless.

  • Quality: 4 stars
  • Value: 4 stars

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Alpinestars Duple Aramid - £169.99 (RRP)

Alpinestars Duple Aramid

Tested by Michael Neeves, 16 months, 12,000 miles

I wear Kevlar jeans almost all of the time. Whip out the removable knee armour (which completely cover my knobbly joints, even with legs bent on the bike) and they’re smart enough to wear out and about, too.

Despite over 12,000 miles of use, these Astars jeans show zero signs or wear, tear or fraying at the edges. They’re as comfy as pyjamas, and the fit isn’t too skinny, or baggy.

It’s easy to get the bottoms over most footwear, except for chunky-shinned racing boots. They have extra layers of aramid fibre in the bum and knees.

  • Quality: 5 stars
  • Value: 4 stars

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Bull-It Mens Vintage SR6 Easy - £149.99 (RRP)

Bull-It Mens Vintage SR6 Easy

Tested by Dan Sutherland, one year, 5000 miles

Achieving a AAA rating for abrasion resistance up to 120kmh (around 75mph), these 12.5oz denim jeans have found a home as my go-to motorcycle trousers for summertime commutes and shorter jaunts into town.

A shower-resistant finish works well in light rain while the mesh keeps your legs warm in cooler conditions. The straight-cut design means I can slip a pair of bulky race boots underneath them, for greater protection than a pair of shorty boots.

  • Quality: 4 stars
  • Value: 5 stars

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Draggin Holeshot jeans - £270 (RRP)

Draggin Holeshot jeans

Tested by Matt Wildee, 5000 miles, four years

I’ve used these jeans for the last four summers and I’ve been happy with comfort, longevity and the protection. Many biking jeans have Kevlar only in the areas where impact and abrasion are most likely, but these have a Kevlar liner that extends below the knee.

The pay-off is extra weight and less breathability, but they are still way more comfortable than leather. Extra things add to the comfort, such as: the lining isn’t sewn into the denim, so it can move about, giving good flexibility and the denim has Lycra in the weave to enable a little stretch. There are also pockets for armour, but I don’t use them.

  • Quality: 4 stars
  • Value: 3 stars

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Draggin Jeans Twista ladies - 219.99 (RRP)

Draggin Jeans Twista ladies

Tested by Emma Franklin, 12 months

These are my go-to jeans simply because they look good and don’t feel bulky. There’s Kevlar from the waist to just below the knee at the front and sides of the legs, as well as a panel across the bum.

The interior lining is really comfortable, meaning you don’t have to wear a base layer beneath them. The slim leg stretch fit is excellent and people often comment on how nice they look.

The slim legs claim to fit over riding boots but I find it difficult to pull them over boots with shin armour so tend to wear them with ankle boots only. The only real downside is the fact that they don’t come with armour.

  • Quality: 4 stars
  • Value: 2 stars

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Hood Infinity K7-AA - £159.99 (RRP)

Hood Infinity K7-AA

Tested by Ben Clarke, three months, 1200 miles

These are the top-spec model from British brand Hood, and feature thick Level-2 ‘Pro’ D30 armour, and carry a higher ‘AA’ CE rating. While this is reassuring, they are noticeably chunkier than normal jeans. Hood also offer lower spec versions of the K7 featuring Level-1 armour, which both lowers the bulkiness and the price (but also the protection).

In terms of Quality:, the K7s are great. They are really sturdy and I don’t feel vulnerable on the bike like I would if I wore normal jeans, but I don’t feel quite as safe as I do in my leathers because the extra room in the jeans allows the knee armour to move around a bit.

I had hoped that I would be able to wear them off the bike if I had ridden somewhere and look like I was wearing normal jeans unless someone really looked. The first time I tried this out, my brother-in-law immediately asked what was going on with my jeans. They also get pretty warm in the sun or when you’re walking around, but then so do leathers.

  • Quality: 5 stars
  • Value: 3 stars

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Resurgence Women’s Heritage Jeans - £193 (RRP)

Resurgence Women’s Heritage Jeans

Tested by Emma Franklin, two years, 7000 miles

You can have these protective jeans in any colour you like, as long as it’s black. They are extremely lightweight, despite having a 60% Pekev abrasion resistant lining from the waist right down to the mid-shin.

The 13oz denim with its soft finish makes them feel and look more like smart trousers than riding jeans, although I must admit to wearing them without the included D30 soft knee and hip armour in order to preserve their ‘normal, everyday trouser’ look.

The high waist cut with a 2.5inch rise at the rear is handy to prevent my lower back from becoming exposed when canted forward, which does happen with other riding jeans.

  • Quality: 4 stars
  • Value: 5 stars

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Spidi J&Dyneema jeans - (RRP)

Spidi J&Dyneema jeans

Tested by Richard Newland Used for 3 months, 3000 miles

These Spidis are single layer 13oz construction denim and Dyneema mix jeans, and fit the bill perfectly.

They’re light enough to wear all day, serious enough to offer CE AA standard protection, and stylish enough to stand in for regular jeans down the pub. There’s removable protection at the hips and knees, plus they’re soft and pliable.

After 3000 miles and three washes, they still look new, are flexible without going baggy, and there’s just enough stretch in the ankles to slide them over a pair of Supertechs. I like them a lot.

  • Quality: 5 stars
  • Value: 4 stars

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