Bliss for one long distance rider we know is a pair of 14oz denim jeans that will save his skin if he goes down the road, but that look as good as Armani jeans when he’s standing in a bar.
Until recently such clothing didn’t exist, and Derek Mansfield doesn’t usually stand around bars. But he’s been digging deep to find some mid weight jeans to keep the café racer smile on his face whilst he rides the world.
Pandomoto STEEL BLACK Slim fit jeans with Dyneema®
In midsummer the temperature on the Siberian steppe hovers around 30°C and 35°C. It’s a similar temperature in the Stans and throughout the European continent. On a motorcycle, in Kevlar padded jeans, these temperatures translate to hot, sticky and, after eight to ten hours in the saddle, downright uncomfortable riding.
Thankfully there’s been a revolution in motorcycling denims over the past couple of years. A new material, denim woven with Aramid or Dyneema or similar, has been devised. This means that the denim jeans made from these materials provide built in protection for the entire garment, not just the Kevlar sewn-in nappies and knee pads.
So it seems that for we motorcyclists a denim jean Nirvana is finally here.
These new style jeans are called ‘single layer riding jeans’. The denim is as tough as old boots – the marketing people say stronger than steel, but you get the gist – and as soft as, well… denim. Equally important, jeans that look as good and fit as good as Levi’s. Or other well-known brands. There are a handful of companies involved in manufacturing jeans with the new materials; I’ll be reviewing more as time goes by.
First though, let me introduce you to PandoMoto, jeans that are ‘designed and ethically manufactured in Europe’.
Pando who, you may say? You’ll be forgiven for not knowing about them. I was Googling ‘single layer riding jeans’ and I came across the statement “Safety, functionality, and design. You shouldn’t have to pick and choose.”
That did it for me. It’s exactly how I feel.
PandoMoto, makers of single layer riding jeans, hail from Lithuania; I wasn’t aware of their kit previously, but I’m happy to share that their product is available globally from their website and the better retailers in Europe and the US.
The company was created and built by a very energetic entrepreneur called Marius Black. It started, as a fashion company, in 2002. When they expanded and moved offices they wound up on a floor above a Harley Davidson dealership. Marius used to ride a Jawa, then bought a Harley Sportster; an inevitable conversation ensued… ‘Why does no-one make safe fashion jeans for bikers?’
Marius wrote the mission statement, “Safety, functionality, and design. You shouldn’t have to pick and choose”, pulled together the concept and spent 10 months developing the first pair of stretch panel jeans. They sold one hundred pairs in the first week. Last year they took the products to the EICMA show in Italy and had huge success; in addition to the web they sell through 70 retail accounts in 20 countries. A big investor came on board; a manufacturer who makes the clothing ranges for a very famous UK designer wear brand. Marius remains the creative force but now the company has a couple of full-time designers, project managers and manufactures in Poland and Bulgaria.
In the interest of finding real kit that goes the distance, I acquired a pair of their new Steel Black single layer riding jeans. Their website gives some great information on accident vulnerability for motorcyclists and demonstrates how they have designed their product to counter accidental offs.
The jeans arrive in a neat cardboard outer box, and then, packed inside an exceedingly neat cream coloured linen bag complete with draw string, are the jeans. I liked that… going that little bit extra.
Out of the bag and… stunning! Rich black denim that looks and feels like heavyweight denim used to; no lumps and bumps and yellow kevlar nappies. Jeans hauled onto my body and… wow – they actually look great on.
As well as being ‘stronger than steel’ the material is stretch too. Mid-rise waist so there are no gaps under your jacket when you’re leaning forward, close fit around the hips (jeans manufacturers call this slim cut) legs straight cut. You’ll have to tuck them in if you wear knee high adventure boots; they look terrific with ankle boots. An interesting metal ring is sewn to one of the belt loops… perfect to attach a wallet chain. Classic jean styling with five pockets, two at the front plus a change pocket and two hip pockets. Zip fly is medium weight YKK.
Enough of the fashion pointers… are they well made? Simple answer, yes, and then some. Seams are double stitched plus chain stitched to prevent the seams bursting if you do hit the road. There’s reflective tape if you turn up the hem, two position pockets for the knee armour and pockets for hip armour if you want it. The knee armour, lightweight and non-bulky KNOX® CE (EN1621-1:2012) is virtually undetectable when you’re wearing it on or off the bike.
Functionality you ask?
I haven’t slid down the road whilst wearing them, so I can’t comment on the actual strength but manufacturers cannot afford to lie about CE approvals so I trust what PandoMoto say. They are very comfortable on the bike, especially in the recent, and for the UK miraculous, hot weather; the material feel does give confidence. And if I were to hang around in bars I know they’d look very cool.
I’m normally a 30 waist. I looked carefully at the sizing chart, and then called the company for advice. I ended up ordering size 28; with the mid-rise waist they are, for me, perfect. Given they have stretch you may want to order a size down from your normal non-stretch jean size. Study the fit guide and call PandoMoto to make sure.
Would these jeans survive a world trip? Absolutely – and as most of us do our long distance rides in the warmth of summer, the Steel Black jeans will keep you cool in both interpretations of the word.
From the swing tag:
• Classic, slim fit cut.
• Made of single layer stretch 55% Dyneema®13 oz (15 times stronger than steel).
• 6.5 sec. abrasion resistance in accordance to EN 17092. Or 70 meters slide time.
• 2 position knee armour pockets.
• KNOX® CE (EN1621-1:2012) approved knee armour INCLUDED.
• Reflective cuffs for safety ride.
• Reinforced with chain stitches.
• Hip armour – optional (not included).
Dyneema® is the world’s strongest fibre material. One layer of Dyneema® fabric contains 55% UHMWP; capable of withstanding 6.5-second abrasion resistance/70-meter slide distance.