2024 Bull-It jeans range hits the shelves | We find out how the firm's Covec fabric was created to protect Speedway riders

Bull-it jeans and Covec CEO Keith Bloxsome
Bull-it jeans and Covec CEO Keith Bloxsome

Bull-it jeans has become one of the UK’s most popular brands of riding jeans, consistently producing protective garments to the top spec of safety standards for over a decade. With the 2024 collection about to hit the shelves, MCN paid a visit to parent company Covec to discover the history behind the brand and learn about the technology involved in designing casual-look gear that can survive a slide.

Bull-it's flagship single layer AAA jeans, with CE level 1 RE ZRO armour at the hip and knee. Available in straight fit only.

Hampshire-based Covec is a family run firm headed up CEO Keith Bloxsome, who we gather on arrival has been up most of the night arranging shipment of 2024 stock for a European trade show. The office is buzzing with enthusiasm about the new Bull-it jeans range, so while we wait for Keith to finish with logisitics, we take the opportunity to grab a chat with Production Manager and Product Designer Jamie Stubbs.

‘This is our most focused range of jeans to date,’ says Jamie, who joined the team back in 2016. ‘We’ve called on all the elements that have made Bull-it jeans so popular in the past, the comfort, style and safety, to give us 14 styles across ladies and men’s.’

Covec Production Manager and Product Designer Jamie Stubbs

‘It’s also the lightest range we’ve ever had, which has been achieved by improving the layering. This gives the product greater flexibility, particularly around the knee area. We’re also using biodegradable RE ZRO armour for the first time, which at just 7mm thick is super low profile and basically invisible.’

‘One of the challenges that Keith laid down when I started designing is that Bull-it jeans should be for everyone,’ continues Jamie, ‘it doesn’t matter what build you are there should be something in the range to fit. There’s been a massive amount of trial and error on the development side since our last collection (2019), but where previously we’d fit 9 out of 10 people, I can confidently say that we’re now 10 out of 10.’

Washed out grey denim look, with CE AA certification and level 1 RE ZRO hip and knee protectors.

With great timing Keith joins us, and it quickly becomes apparent where the passion that drives the team at Covec originates. He’s a man who’s both immensely proud of his product and the surprisingly small crew that delivers it.

‘The whole team, and Jamie in particular, have worked so hard over the past year to develop this range and every bit of feedback from every location around the globe has been waxing lyrical,’ says Keith with a smile. ‘We know, because we wear them and we ride in them, so I think we’ve done a really good job. This will be the basis of our range for the next three years, and we’ve absolutely hit a sweet spot.’

Covec CEO Keith Bloxsome talking about Bull-it jeans new range

Keith began his journey back in the 1980s as a speedway rider, racing for King’s Lynn and Peterborough among others. An accident that resulted in a shattered arm caused him to hang up his steel shoe, after which he entered the world of motorcycle apparel and by 2007/8 was producing official riding garments for Suzuki GB.

‘We ended up making them a riding jean,’ says Keith, ‘and from there created our own brand, Bulletproof.’ Bulletproof jeans used an aramid fibre, which has a high strength and good resistance heat, woven into the denim for protection. However, Keith wasn’t happy with the performance of some of their products and decided to find something better.

Covec CEO Keith Bloxsome racing at Newcastle

‘I ‘invented’ it via Google,’ he says. ‘I knew what I wanted – a fibre that had better strength, less degradation through moisture and a greater ability to manage heat. Once I’d found that, we had to find a way of re-engineering it to make it more cost effective for production, and that was a two year process.’

The result was their own thermotropic liquid crystal polymer ‘super fibre’, trademarked as Covec. At the same time Bulletproof underwent an identity change and rebrand to become Bull-it jeans, and in 2012 a material was created to pass the old CE standard of EN13595 at the highest level. Subsequently Bull-it’s Veloce jeans became the first motorcycle jeans to achieve that CE level 2 standard.

Combat style ladies jeans with AA certification and level 1 hip and knee armour.

‘It took us until 2016 to establish a relationship with a factory that was willing to support the project,’ says Keith, ‘but we now have our own facility in Bangladesh that only makes jeans for us, and that solves the problem of achieving consistency across production runs. We can produce up to 65,000 pairs a year.’

Development was ramped up in 2017 with the new CE standard of EN17902 on the horizon, with the result that the entire 2019 range launched with CE AA certification. It also saw the introduction of Bull-it’s first AAA jean, the Covert. But Keith’s not one for resting on his laurels.

‘Over 13 years we’ve built a solid and loyal customer base, so we keep making Bull-it jeans better for them,’ he says. ‘Our bill for testing materials, R&D, is between £20,000 and £30,000 per year, so we’re always trying to make it better, stronger, lighter. We don’t need to, but we believe, especially with the 2024 range, that we’ve made such a huge jump with every aspect of it.’

AA rated single layer jeans with a washed blue denim look and level 1 RE ZRO armour for hip and knee. Also available in Slim and Straight fits.

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