TKD stands for Tough Kevlar Denim. These Kevlar-lined pants are handmade in Australia and feature the world’s first removable protection system for denim jeans. How do they compare with other riding jeans that are on the market? Exceptionally well, it turns out.
TKD jeans first caught my attention because they have a full, removable, Kevlar liner with pockets, into which optional armor can be inserted. This liner will fit into any of their jeans of the same size. They offer six jean styles for men and five for women. Women’s styles differ from men’s and are not simply resized male versions. The denim comes in blue, gray and black and with a variety of different surface treatments, including brush and grind, brush and spray, enzyme blast, silicon, bleach and raw.
No other company offers riding jeans in so many fashionable styles and finishes. I ended up with the Franky in relaxed blue with an enzyme wash and the Benji boot-cut style in light black with a brush and grind finish. I don’t understand why anyone would care to purchase a pair of jeans that start out looking as if someone had slid down the highway in them, but this is simply a personal bias and not a professional criticism.
There’s no escaping the fact that lined jeans are warmer than unlined denim, which is a good thing at the beginning and ending of the riding season, but less so during mid-summer. With the TKD’s, I merely remove the liner at the end of a ride, put the jeans back on and head to a restaurant or go out for a stroll. This isn’t possible with any other brand of riding jeans. The K.P.S. (Kevlar Protection System) liner quickly zips into, or out of, the waist of the jeans. The cuffs are not secured so when taking off the jeans I’ve learned to grasp them at the bottom of the leg and pull. It’s really a minor issue.
The K.P.S. liner also has pockets into which hip pads can be inserted, and the knees have double pockets to accommodate two different sizes of armor. The entire liner is made from two pieces of Kevlar fabric with the leg seams positioned on the inside to provide exceptional structural integrity. All the stitching is of top quality.
I have a single liner and two different styles of jeans. With the hip armor in place, the fit is rather snug in one pair of jeans and quite comfortable in the other, but the knee armor is hardly noticeable. Eventually, I substituted some CE-approved foam armor of my own for the armor supplied by the company, however. When touring for a couple of weeks, packing two pairs of jeans—but only one liner—allows me flexibility for both street wear and riding gear.
Ladies’ styles are designed for women in sizes 6-18. Depending on the style chosen, men’s jeans are available in 28-42-inch waists. Prices for jeans range from $119-$149 Aud (approx. $122-$155 U.S.); the K.P.S liner is $179 Aud (approx. $185 U.S.). TKD Jeans are made—and sold—in Australia. Shipping is quick and easy, but expect to find them entering the North American market in the near future.
For more information, visit tkdjeans.com
(This Gearlab item was published in the April 2013 issue of Rider magazine.)