My 4 year old black denim Red Route Kevlar jeans have now been withdrawn from service. Most of my riding is trans-Indian sub-continent, where weather varies from dusty, hot and humid, through warm monsoon rain, to the biting cold of high altitude roads. Arriving home after long tours, trousers loaded with dust and smeared with diesel grime, they’d survived scores of rough hand-washes. But now worn thin and no longer fitting my 5 foot 8 inch tall, gracefully-changing, ’50 something’ body shape; it was time for new Kevlar Jeans.
I always travel in jeans, because they look good off the bike and help me blend in a little in foreign parts. They’re generally light-in-weight, dry easily after the rain and stretch where needed when prone on the bike. They aren’t too ‘sweaty’ in summer heat, and don’t go mouldy in the tropics as leather might.
A friend and fellow rider pointed me to a new supplier of motorcycle clothing ARMR-moto a new company with an increasing number of outlets across the UK (as indicated by Google search results). There are two Kevlar jean options, the alpha-numerically named, M399 and the M297. There appears to be no difference in materials used in the two designs. With the M399 boasting “…high fashion, hard wearing and super-powered with Kevlar technology”, and the M279 quoting “Robust and hardy; designed to guard against the elements. The waterproof and breathable fabric provides maximum defence in adverse conditions.” It’s hard to see any difference, except perhaps the pricing and the colour choices, but ‘waterproof’? I was intrigued.
I chose M399 in dark blue. Light blue shows the dirt and I wanted a change from black. I measure 36” round the waist and the 32” standard leg length means they don’t ride up when astride the bike.
Materials and stitching:
The addition of extra, angled belt loops, means my belt – from which key rings and an inside ‘passport pocket’ hang – doesn’t ride up either; a nice detail. The 380gsm denim (grams per square metre) is heavy enough for daily use and light enough to dry quickly when wet.
Light yellow stitching gives definition to the pockets, the tucks above and below the knee and a simple design across each back pocket. Leg seams are double stitched as are belt loops and front pocket tops. Stress points are further strengthened with corner stitching and overall the external stitching is accurate and well finished.
The straight-cut leg tucks nicely inside my boots as I prefer, but is wide enough to sit over a boot.
Armour and protection:
Looking inside the Kevlar – 280 GSM Dupont Woven – is lined with a lighter cotton material in a pale yellow. Three layers will make for a warmer butt in cold weather, and you won’t be sitting on Kevlar.
Trying the jeans on for the first time, my foot encountered an obstruction in the region of the knee. Turning the leg inside-out revealed a simple cotton pocket, sewn closed at the top edge and Velcro’d closed at the bottom edge, the knee protector pocket was Velcro’ed along each vertical edge to the inside of the knee zone. The pocket was loose enough to allow adjustment of the ‘armour’ when sitting in a riding position, but when walking, the knee pad slipped below the knee just enough to be uncomfortable. Without a few simple modifications the pocket will always catch your toe as you put the jeans on.
The knee armour sits well over the knee without too much saddle-fidgeting, but take care to position the pads carefully or the ‘pointy’ edges of the Velcro at the pocket sides will scratch the side of your knee whilst riding; back to the drawing board on that detail I think.
There are armour-ready hip side-pockets, stitched to the side seam and with a Velcro closure across the top. The jeans don’t come with armour nor was the small side panel of CE armoured Foam listed in the Accessories section.
Turning to pockets, I carry my wallet in the back right and it’s accessible wearing gloves whilst sitting on the bike, but deep enough to be secure when standing. Samsung Galaxy Note in the front left, it’s snug, safe and accessible from a sitting position and deep enough to also be secure when standing. There’s a deep, ‘penknife pocket’ inside the front right-hand pocket, embroidered with the ARMR moto moniker in black and red. Anything slipped into the pocket would have to be on a cord. My Swiss Army Knife fits well; coins would be unreachable. There are two small loop details at front and rear on which chains could be clipped securing keys and wallets.
The cut of the jeans fitted me nicely and pocket-wise the ARMR-moto Kevlar M399’s ticks all the boxes. The waist-leg ratio worked well for me being a short, stocky sort of chap. The front button and zip – in anodised brass, all work well, and the lined waistband added ‘body’ to the trouser top. I didn’t want a spare zip across the back of the jeans which I’ll never use and there isn’t one.
As I write I’ve ridden 2,000kms in the UK so far and I like the trousers, they fit me well. I shall take them to a tailor – on my return to India – and have the armour pockets stitched across the top edge of the knee zone and part way down each side. The tailor can remove the Yin and Yang Velcro strips from the top, leaving the bottom edge of the pocket as is with its Velcro’d closure.
With the cotton pocket stitched this way, there will be no more catching ones toes when donning the trousers. Such a modification would dispense with around 40 inches of Velcro, reduce stitching operations in manufacture and render the trousers much more user-friendly and possibly a couple of quid cheaper. Maybe ARMR are listening!
Ignoring the Velcro issue the trousers were the most comfortable I’ve worn to date. This minor issue aside, they’re a top-value pair of warm and cold climate riding trousers. The spec sheet does say – “Provision for Waterproof Liner A315034”, but I could find no other reference to this feature. It hasn’t rained yet!
Price: £99 for the M399, £79 for the M279 www.ARMR-moto.com