Riding jeans review: Merlin Warren tried and tested

Merlin Warren riding jeans review
Merlin Warren riding jeans review

It’s not difficult to find a pair of riding jeans that look, feel and fit like a pair of regular jeans. The Merlin Warren cargo jeans are a variation on a theme, with a completely different design yet still providing protection and style.

First and foremost, they eschew the traditional western-style five-pocket design for one that is more like – dare we say – slacks or chinos. There are slanted front pockets, integral rear pockets and slightly tapered legs. However, they are brought bang up to date with a hefty – and useful – cargo pocket on each thigh and have a nice, unique look to them.

I find the Merlin Warren cargo jeans fit me very nicely – the waist, crotch area and leg width are in perfect proportion to each other, and the leg length works fine for me. I have relatively short legs and generally take either a regular or a short leg where there is an option and while the lower leg may bunch a little at the boots, the knee armour is in exactly the right position once sat on the bike. However, it does hang a little low when walking around but for riders with longer legs, the pouches for the knee armour can be made deeper to locate the armour itself lower in the leg.

The Warrens are a single layer jeans design, so the Cordura is mixed with protective material to give a reassuring CE rating of AA yet remain lightweight. They are fitted with D3O’s Ghost armour, the thinnest available and this is deliberately developed to be breathable and flexible, so you barely know it is there. It is fitted to both the knees and the hips – as required of AA (and AAA) rated trousers – and is unobtrusive and comfortable both on the bike and when off it, walking around.

They also feature a reflective insert inside the ankle hem, in case you want to turn them up when riding and there is a loop to connect to a jacket hook on the outside, though this would sit under a belt through the large belt loops.


Because of the single-layer design, the Merlin Warren cargo jeans are light and comfortable and when riding, aren’t overly warm. They tend to keep the worst of a chilly early-morning ride out but when the temperature starts to climb later, they are no more cumbersome or warming than a normal pair of jeans.

The hand-warmer-style slanted pockets don’t feel as secure as normal jeans pockets, when it comes to keeping say bike keys in them but if you are worried, there are always the two cargo pockets, which have hidden poppers to secure them closed.

Because they use the D3O Ghost armour, the Merlin Warren cargo jeans are also very subtle and don’t stand out as riding jeans, making them perfect for trips to events or even just wearing in the office after a bike commute. I’ve worn these all day and found them just as comfortable at my desk as on the bike. Another touch that helps to create a non-biker feel is the branding patch on the rear, which is much more leisure than biking.



If you want something a little different from normal riding jeans, these Merlin Warren cargo jeans will fit the bill. Cut more like a trouser and with two handy cargo pockets, they are part of Merlin’s Leisure range, designed to work as well off the bike as on.

They fit and feel lovely in both situations and are protective, with an AA CE rating and Level-1 D3O Ghost armour. They’re available in three colours; grey, black and olive but they don’t come cheap, compared with some riding jeans.


Different from normal riding jeans
Single layer so cool in use
Handy cargo pockets


Not cheap compared with traditional jeans

More riding jeans on MCN

- 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.