As companies try to integrate more fashionable designs into functional motorcycle gear, either fashion or function usually takes a hit. Pando Moto’s Mark Kev 01 riding jeans pack a lot of function into one pair of pants, as you’d expect from cargos. But unlike what you might expect from cargos, they look great at the same time. Abrasion resistance, padding, vents, and plenty of pockets make these $285 pants a solid choice for almost any rider, so long as they don’t mind the slim fit.
On to the details. Twelve-ounce Cordura stretch denim with Coolmax technology allows these trousers to be comfortable without feeling too heavy, a common problem with protective gear. Their two-way stretch helps keep knees and hips comfortable when pads are installed, avoiding the squeeze points that we’ve found in similar slim-fitting but non-stretch jeans. Kevlar sections line the knees and butt, and SAS-TEC impact armor comes standard in knees and hips. The soft, malleable padding feels high quality, and there are two placement options for the knee padding, allowing for a precise fit. All major stress points around the main hip pockets are reinforced with rivets for added durability.
The pocket layout of the Mark pants is pretty much what you see: two front pockets, two cargo pockets on the sides, and two hip pockets in the back. My one real complaint with these pants is that the metal snaps securing the back pockets could cut into motorcycle seats over time. The snaps are nice for keeping these pockets shut, but are not wholly necessary as the outer edges of the closing flap are sewn down. It’s a simple flaw that some testing probably would have pointed out. The snaps rubbed on H-D and Indian motorcycle seats, but those who ride a sport-style bike may not find the snaps contact the seat due to the more forward riding position.
Subtle vents, about 5 inches long, are integrated next to the two side cargo pockets, allowing for a bit of cooling airflow with the zippers open. A metal ring is sewn on the beltline to clip your keys to. The cuffs are adjustable with two snap points, though if you’re stuffing them into boots these can be a little annoying. With the vents and lining, the Mark pants are a solid three-season choice, but you’ll need other options if you’re going to see rain or serious cold.
So do the Mark Kevs justify their $285 price tag? Mostly, if you’re someone who places value on fit and design as well as protective qualities, and if you don’t ride a cruiser. Patented pieces like the Cordura denim and SAS-TEC armor may add to the price tag, but it’s better to pay a little more for top-shelf materials that will do their job than to be stuck with thicker, heavier, less comfortable fabric over bulky, uncomfortable pads. But with so many options out there, and more brands focusing on stylish gear, those pesky little snaps on the butt may just be deal breakers.