Many first time motorcyclists are stunned by the amount of gear they should be wearing if they want to protect against the variety of potential injuries sustained in a motorcycle accident. The pavement is not very forgiving, and one of the most common traumas motorcyclists receive is road rash.
Road rash happens when the rough pavement grinds off layers of skin, muscle, and if you skid fast and far enough, bone. Even with the threat of road rash, a lot of new riders do not want to wear leather pants or textile overpants when riding.
Shift Racing (www.shiftracing.com) saw that a lot of riders preferred the look and comfort of blue jeans while riding, but the denim fabric itself did not offer much protection against road rash. Their solution was to create abrasion-resistant jeans (out of 14 oz heavyweight denim) by reinforcing the knees and ‘seat’ of the pants with Kevlar.
The Fit and Feel
I absolutely love these jeans. The fit and feel of the pants are very similar to a pair of comfortable designer jeans. They are more snug near the crotch/waist than baggier jeans, but they relax nicely all the way down the leg. Honestly, they are super-comfortable and there have been times where I will wear them even when I don’t plan on going for a ride. The pants include a button-fly so you never have to worry about being caught with your zipper down. The buttons are far superior to a standard zipper as you never have to worry about it snagging or jamming on the fabric and I doubt they would fall apart even during a motorcycle crash. At the top of the inseam is one of two stretch panels that the jeans include to give you flexibility in movement. With that stretchy fabric in place I feel like I could kick someone in the head without ripping the jeans. Although I’m positive they were put in place so you could kick higher, they also do a really good job of letting you sit comfortably on a motorcycle. The second stretch pattern is located at the small of your back, just below the belt loops. This makes it really easy to lean over without giving the world a healthy dose of plumber’s crack. It’s the little things like this that show how much thought SHIFT has put into the comfort as well as the practicality of these riding jeans.
The jeans I got sport a distressed bleach pattern on the upper thighs that is very hip and modern with a few accents of leather thrown in at key areas. The pants look great, but I wish that the 3 ‘slash marks’ on the front of the thighs had not been repeated on both legs. It’s a minor gripe, but it gives away the secret that these pants are faux “worn”. The length of the pants is longer than normal jeans, but this makes them ideal for riding a motorcycle. When you are seated on the bike your pants have a tendency to ride up. Shift accounted for that and made it so when your pants ride up all the Kevlar adjusts to the appropriate place instead of sagging down at shin level. The length of the pants also helps with avoiding the terribly uncool ‘sock showing’ that happens if you wear low cut boots or tennis shoes with regular jeans. Nothing says ‘dork’ like having your socks and half your calf showing while you ride your shiny fast motorcycle.
The real question is: “Would I feel comfortable crashing in these pants?” The answer? Yes and no. I would definitely feel fine crashing at 35mph, or even 45mph while wearing the Torque Jeans. 55mph is pushing it, and the freeway is a no-ride zone for these pants. Don’t get me wrong, these pants are great for abrasion, but at higher speeds you have a lot more to worry about than a little road rash. I think at slower speeds while you may still may get a few bruises, the pants would hold up fine and the Kevlar would be a skin saver when the denim wore through. Riders that want to wear these pants at higher speed would do well to wear knee protection under them. The pants don’t come with built-in armor so this would help protect you against breaking your knee cap and give added protection against road rash.
These pants are now a part of my regular line up when I’m both off and on the motorcycle. They are great for small trips around town when you won’t be reaching high speed but you still want to be protected. If you plan on taking the MSF course or doing some low speed maneuvers, do yourself a favor and pick up a pair of these jeans ASAP.
Kevlar adds protection against road rash.
Probably not good for higher speeds.
Repeating faux-worn pattern.
SHIFT Torque Street Jean #70096 Product Description:
Durable 14oz. denim fabric.
Kevlar reinforced panels in key areas for safety and abrasion resistance.
Stretch rib panels in key areas for maximum mobility.
Relaxed, ergonomic fit.
Leather reinforcements for added durability and style.
Two stylish washes.
Where to Buy Shift Jeans
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