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 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.
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.
Except 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.