Riding Pants - Better Than Denim

A Buyer's Guide To "Superjeans" Riding Pants

Bikers have been wearing animal skins to protect their own for nearly as long as the sport's been around. The argument is that nothing protects your epidermis better than leather, but let's face it, we're lazy creatures at heart-'tis far simpler to slip on some jeans for a dash to the market than wrestle into the sweaty confines of hide-bound trousers (let alone a full-bore suit). We know better, but few of us actually dress for the crash-which is why denim has become the de facto uniform of all bikers (never mind just cruiser guys). And now that the riding season is here, it's ubiquitous.

On the plus side, jeans are comfortable and provide a modicum of abrasion protection (though relatively no impact coverage and little shelter against the wind). Makes sense then that a whole niche of casual riding pants has sprung up to address the shortcomings of standard-issue Levi's.

These specialized jeans vary greatly in their feature sets-but at the minimum, they should serve up things like double-stitched seams and reinforcements (be they patches or inserts) in the knee and seat area, which you'll want in the event of a get-off. Removable CE pads at the hip and/or knee are even better. Also, look for heavy-duty fabric throughout-but especially at the seat, knees and shins.

In the field: Sometimes it can get breezy flying just denim in the wind-a pair of long johns adds comfort and an extra layer to combat the chill. A pair of riding shorts, on the other hand, can help keep you cooler on longer rides.

And lest your S.O. (that's Significant Other) display envy over your new togs, remind her that many of these manufacturers also offer women's versions.