Diamond Gusset Defender Motorcycle Jeans | Gear Review

Diamond Gusset Defender jeans
Defenders come in blue or black.

Jeans. As far as pants go, they’re darn near perfect—versatile and rugged, with a classic style that goes with anything from a T-shirt to a dinner jacket, and they get better with age. But as far as riding apparel goes, jeans leave a lot to be desired. Denim is made from cotton, which tears easily when it comes into contact with asphalt. But some folks, for reasons of style, comfort or convenience, are going to wear jeans when riding, no matter what. If you’re one of those folks, then at least consider jeans that are designed for motorcyclists.

Diamond Gusset Defender jeans
The diamond-shaped gusset in the crotch.

Diamond Gusset is a Tennessee-based company that makes jeans “grown and sewn” in the U.S. of A., every pair of which has a diamond-shaped gusset sewn into the crotch that provides “greater freedom of movement, comfort and strength.” Its Defender motorcycle jeans have panels of tough-but-soft DuPont Kevlar sewn into the seat, hips and knees—places you’re most likely to make contact with the ground in a get-off. Kevlar is roughly five times stronger than steel and provides exceptional abrasion resistance, and it has low heat conductivity, so friction from sliding is less likely to burn you.

Diamond Gusset Defender jeans
Sewn-on Kevlar panels are yellow, covering the knees and hips on the front, and the seat on the back.

Of course, few crashes go according to plan; Defenders would benefit from larger Kevlar panels that cover more of the lower body. Even the website provides a disclaimer: “Diamond Gusset cannot guarantee the Kevlar will protect from road rash. The results would depend on the surface, speed and length of road contact. Ordering the wrong inseam could result in poor knee coverage.” Also, Defenders do not have any armor, nor are there pockets for adding it if you wanted to.

Defender jeans are made of heavyweight, preshrunk denim with triple reinforced seams across the back yoke and along the inside of each leg. The combination of thick denim and Kevlar means that Defenders are heavier and warmer than casual jeans, but they’re very comfortable, with a relaxed fit and straight leg cut (sorry hipsters, no skinny jeans here!). There’s plenty of room in the hips, seat and legs—there’s an extra half-inch built into the waist and inseam—so they don’t bind or pinch when mounting, dismounting or riding a motorcycle. Diamond Gusset recommends buying your normal size, and Defenders can be washed and dried like regular jeans.

Diamond Gusset Defender jeansExcept for the extra seams where the Kevlar panels are, Defenders have all of the features you’d expect in regular jeans, plus a few enhancements. They have the usual five pockets, seven belt loops and a heavy-duty YKK zipper. On the right thigh there’s a pocket that’s perfect for a smartphone, above the right front pocket is a D-ring to clip your keys or wallet to, and the cuffs have hook-and-loop adjustment tabs.

Defender jeans are available in men’s regular sizes (waist 29-42, length 29-38) in blue or black for $128.45; in men’s big sizes (waist 44-60, length 29-36) in blue or black (waist 44-48 in black) for $139.95; and in women’s sizes (waist 27-45, length 28-35) in dark blue for $129.45. They can be purchased at Diamond Gusset stores in Bon Aqua or Lynchburg, Tennessee, at one of their mobile stores at motorcycle events, or by phone or online ($13.95 flat-rate shipping for any quantity), and they’re covered by a 30-day satisfaction guarantee and a 90-day materials and workmanship warranty.


  1. I have had two pairs of these jeans and I like them very much. The only weakness in both pairs was the cuff hook and loop wore through the pants from wind flapping around the Velcro seam it isn’t noticeable if you don’t adjust your cuffs often. One pair split above the Kevlar seam in the left leg after long wear.

  2. Here’s what I doubt anyone will ever read, Eric Trow promoting jeans – of any kind – as sufficient motorcycle gear. The “G” in ATGATT matters . . .

  3. Have been wearing Defender Jeans now for about 5 years. They are well made and made IN THE USA! They also offer most any size you need and inseams up to 36″. While I realize motorcycle specific jeans are better than your Levi’s they do not provide the same protection as hard core motorcycle pants. But if you are going to wear jeans these are a much better way to go.

    • I won’t go into detail, but I have a sensitive tailbone and can’t ride in jeans because of the thick seam right up the middle. I’ve thought about these pants but I’m guessing they have the typical jeans seam in the middle of the seat?

  4. I’ve been wearing riding denim with built-in armour and Kevlar for many years (since about 2000?). I love these for warm weather. They work great – as long as you stay dry. Once the rain hits, though, denim soaks up the rain fast so you want to always make sure you’ve got some rain gear packed too.

    • I use Carhartt B136 double front canvas pants, available less than 1/2 the price of these, and install D3O knee armor from Amazon in the front chaps. My understanding is that Joe Rocket shoulder armor also works well. They have wide leg openings so you can put them on, or take them off over boots, and the fit is loose all over which makes them comfortable on a motorcycle. The Carhartt logger jeans also work well, if you’re more into denim.

  5. On the Texas Gulf Coast the issue is the long hot summers. We frequently have 100 days of triple digit highs with no rain. The no rain part is great. But the heat is a problem. Canvas pants have a loser weave than denim and allow more air flow and have 3 times the resistance to abrasion that denim has. I have gone down, 9 years ago, at 70 MPH while wearing Sliders, now defunct, Kevlar lined jeans. The only skin damage I had was blisters on my knees from kneeling on the hot pavement before standing up, and a blister on each finger tip above my shorty gloves wear I pushed off the tarmac while standing. I don’t think anyone is making Kevlar lined canvas but I would love to find some. I have 2 pairs of the Carhartt double front canvas pants but Kevlar would be a nice plus.


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