Best AA rated motorbike jeans | A happy middle-ground of comfort and protection

AA rated jeans
AA rated jeans
1

Comfort while riding your motorbike is important, if we are uncomfortable we are distracted, and as we know distraction is never good when on a bike. Motorbike jeans have become more protective and comfortable to solve this issue. The safety and protection of motorbike clothing is measured with a CE rating from A to AAA with A being the lower level and AAA being the highest level of abrasion and impact resistance. The armour will also have a CE rating of either level 1 or level 2, level 2 offers a higher impact absorption than that of level 1. It is important to be aware of these when looking for a pair of motorcycle jeans.

You may also want to consider the fit and cut of the jeans you require as the type of motorcycle boots that you like to wear. You will need to able to either tuck the jeans in or pull the jean leg over the top of the boots, to avoid uncomfortable rucking of the fabric.

We have pulled together a list of some of our favourite AA rated jeans, tried and tested by the team at MCN.

Lined jeans with CE level 2 armour

Tested by Gareth Evans for 2000 miles/four months

"I wear jeans when I ride on the road unless I’m absolutely sure I’m getting rained on, so these relatively robust items fit the bill perfectly. That’s because they’re heavy-duty enough to wear in lower temperatures - down to around 12 degrees centigrade - without feeling cold. In fitment terms they’re great too, almost exactly mirroring the Levi’s I wear when I’m not riding in both length and waist sizing.

"These jeans have AA protection rating, so while not the outright best in terms of abrasion and tear resistance compared with AAA items, they do have Level 2 CE armour in both knees and hips. The outer shell is Demin, while the yarn is a blend of Dyneema, Cordura and Polyester, with a tiny bit of Elastane woven in for stretchiness.

"They won’t stretch around my sporty Blade boots, though, which means I have to look a little silly if I want to wear those too. But then I wouldn’t necessarily expect them to – I have some casual shoes for when I’m simply out for a gentle bimble.

"The seriously strong zip and large button make doing them up a joy, even after a particularly large breakfast, and they’re great from a practicality perspective. There are large pockets on either side of the front, with a coin pocket on the right, and a pair of large back pockets. They’ve got six double belt loops too, which adds strength to their construction, and orange double stitched detailing to contrast the dark hue.

"You’ve got a choice of two other colours – black or stone wash – and while I wear a regular size, you can also buy them in a shorter length."

Pros

  • Heavy duty feel
  • Good fit
  • CE Level 2 armour

Cons

  • Won't fit over tall boots
Abrasion resistance AA
Hip armour Level 2
Knee armour Level 2

Single layer with CE level 2 armour

Price: £99.99 (was £149.99)
Tested by Ben Clarke for three years/5000 miles

"I’ve reviewed a few of pairs of riding jeans for MCN now and, despite most looking pretty similar, there is a massive range of difference between them. Some use multiple layers to achieve a higher safety rating, which obviously improves their performance in a crash but also means they’re bulky looking, hot and heavy to wear.

"Others look pretty much like a normal pair of jeans but achieve this to the detriment of safety. This pair from Oxford manages to walk the line between the two perfectly – they don’t look strange when you’re off the bike, keep you cool in hot weather but still retain an AA safety rating.

"So, when I open my wardrobe to pick out gear before I go for a ride, these are usually the first pair I pick up. Over thousands of miles on various test bikes these have remained comfortable and aside from a little discolouration on the knees from crawling around securing chains and padlocks they look pretty much new.

"They come with CE level 2 armour at the knees and hips although for most of the time I must confess I do without the slightly bulky hip armour. This isn’t a criticism of these jeans in particular, though, as I do the same in other jeans too. The knee armour is sewn into a fixed position rather than the adjustable arrangement on some other pairs but they sit in the right place for me in my usual trouser size.

"Riding a motorbike requires a certain level of flexibility (quite a high level on some sportsbikes) and the stretchy property of the denim used in these jeans means this is simple. Whether you’re swinging your leg over a tall bike seat, flexing to reach an awkward sidestand lug or unexpectedly chucking out a leg to steady yourself during slow speed manoeuvres these jeans have got you covered.

"It also makes them very comfortable over distance as the fabric doesn’t constrict at the joints and cause any numbness. Over a very long distance – a whole day of riding - you start to get a little saddle sore in sensitive places but that is true of every pair of denim jeans I’ve ever worn on a bike (including Matalan’s finest)."

Pros

  • Level 2 knee and hip armour
  • Triple stitched
  • Stylish looks

Cons

  • Don't breathe well in hot weather
  • Quality
    5.0
  • Value
    5.0
Abrasion resistance AA
Hip armour Level 2
Knee armour Level 2
  • Triple-needle stitched, fully felled seat
  • Durable twill pocketing
  • Riveted pockets
  • Ultra-secure belt loops
  • Reinforced lined yoke
  • Lined back pockets

Tested by Dan Sutherland

MCN Rated
Price: £127.49 (was £169.99)
These RST jeans are a great blend of practical safety and casual looks, offering a slim fit design alongside an AA CE rating and Level 1 hip and knee armour. Featuring five external pockets and room for adjustment for the hard protectors.

I’ve made countless journeys on a range of motorcycles and always remained comfortable – with the protection remaining exactly where it needs to be at all times. This is due to RST’s ‘Infinite Adjustment Armour System’, which holds the knee armour in place via a set of hook and loop fasteners – allowing you to position the protection exactly where it needs to be.

Elsewhere, they still look as good as the day they arrived and there’s been no fraying, or discolouration. They don’t feel heavy on your legs like some other riding jeans either, but I’ve managed to continue to wear them on single-digit winter days with the addition of a thin set of base layers.

My only real critique would be with the lack of stretch in the material, as it can make popping larger items in your pockets difficult, as well as fishing them back out again. It also means I’ve been unable to tuck a traditional pair of long boots underneath them – reducing their usage to trips I feel comfortable wearing short boots for.

Pros

  • Armour is adjustable
  • Comfortable
  • Light feel

Cons

  • Lack stretch
Abrasion resistance AA
Hip armour Level 1
Knee armour Level 1

Tested by Mike Armitage

MCN Rated
Price: £79.99 (was £119.99)
Also available in a slim fit, these rinse washed jeans are AA CE approved and come equipped with level 2 armour at the knee and level 1 for hips. Two-way stretch from the 13.5 oz denim ensures comfort and enhances the feeling of 'regular' jeans, while built-in quick-dry technology has the effect of drawing away sweat and acting as a water repellent.

They use a denim they call Armourlite, woven using a fibre originally used for parachutes. It’s robust enough for an AA rating in CE tests, meaning the main impact points survive for at least two seconds when thrust into the abrasion testing machine at 45mph or so.

Knee armour is level 2 (hurrah), hip armour is level 1 (boo). While obviously not as good as AAA rated (or leather), it means Oxford have a single-layer jean safe enough for urban riding and touring. And being a single layer means light – and, crucially, something you genuinely can wear at work all day. Also available in a slim fit.

Pros

  • Moisture wicking
  • Water repellent
  • Comfortable two-way stretch

Cons

  • Hip armour 'only' level 1
Abrasion resistance AA
Hip armour Level 1
Knee armour Level 2

Tested by Ben Clarke

These are the top-spec model from British brand Hood, they 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 offers 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.

Pros

  • Level 2 D3O armour
  • Feel sturdy
  • Top spec

Cons

  • Chunkier than regular jeans
Abrasion resistance AA
Hip armour Level 2
Knee armour Level 2

Tested by Richard Newland

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.

Pros

  • All day comfortable
  • Look like regular jeans

Cons

  • Lack of stretch
Abrasion resistance AA
Hip armour Level 1
Knee armour Level 1

While you’re here: How MCN tests products 

At MCN we pride ourselves on our rigorous product testing, putting thousands of miles and/or hours on the kit we review to give you our definitive verdict.  

Our team of expert journalists have decades of experience to call upon, and cover serious mileage to delivery impartial buying advice you can rely on.  

We’ll never suggest you buy something we haven’t tested, and if we don’t like what we’re testing we’ll tell you that too.  

To find out more, head to our dedicated page explaining how we test motorcycle products. 

- Just so you know, whilst we may receive a commission or other compensation from the links on this page, we never allow this to influence product selections - read why you should trust us.