Safety, style and comfort — what more could you ask for in a riding jean?
It’s no secret that England is a nation of motorcycle riders. So it stands to reason that, when a motorcycle product comes out of Old Blighty, you can be pretty sure its founding company has done its homework to produce a quality piece of kit. Roadskin Motorcycle Wear produces armoured hoodies, base layers, gloves and riding jeans for men and women — but it’s the Roadskin Taranis Elite riding jeans that this review will focus on.
I’m an ATGATT kind of guy and don’t have a problem wearing maximum protection for a serious enduro ride, or a weather-proof suit with armour if I’m embarking on a cross-country trip on which I’ll be living in the same gear day-in, day-out, expecting all types of weather, but that type of protective clothing can be prohibitively bulky for everyday use. If I’m just heading into town, to a restaurant or to work, I want to wear something light, stylish and comfortable but still protective — like jeans.
But the jeans of today are not the same as the tough, thick-denim jeans we wore years ago, and who ever heard of armour back then? Today’s mainstream jeans are ridiculously thin and tear easily — not something you want to test out while sliding down the road.
Motorcycle riding jeans, however, have come a long way over the last few years with myriad high-tech fabrics. Roadskin Taranis Elite single-layer riding jeans are case-in-point. Roadskin weaves protective Kevlar into premium denim with elastane, which not only makes them protective, but also comfortably stretchy, so the pants move and flex with you instead of uncomfortably binding up. The jeans are also lined with light mesh to help keep you cool — and this mesh, the company says, will help to protect your skin in the case of a mishap.
The unobtrusive Level-2 hip armour and adjustable knee armour is comfortable and the triple-stitched main seams contribute to the Taranis Elite jeans’ CE approval and a whole-garment AAA safety rating from the independent research and testing organization SATRA Technology Centre in the UK — AAA rating is the most protective rating as tested under the EN 17092-2 standard.
Controlled testing for motorcycle gear includes Burst Resistance (the strength of the fabric and seams), Abrasion Resistance (how long the material withstands forming a hole in the material), and Tear Resistance (how well a material resists tearing). The higher the score, the better the rating, and AAA is the highest.
It’s sometimes hard to know how to order a size of riding pant because it’s not always known if you are to take into account the hip armour, or if the manufacturer has already taken that into account. Roadskin’s sizing instructions are straightforward and simple: grab your favourite jeans, lay them out and measure across the waist in inches and double that to get the waist size, measure from the crotch of the jeans to the end of one leg to get the inseam measurement. Roadskin has taken the armour into account and the Taranis jeans I ordered fit perfectly using that simple sizing method.
The fabric is soft, stretchy and all-day comfortable — I wore them to work a few times and even the hip and knee armour is discreet and unobtrusive. They fit snug but because of the stretch and flexibility they are in no way uncomfortable. The snug fit also ensures the armour stays in place when needed instead of floating around to the side of your knee, for instance — it won’t do much good if it doesn’t stay in place.
I do, however, have a couple of minor criticisms. If you, like me, prefer to keep your phone in a front pants pocket then these pockets might not be ideal. My phone is a newer iPhone Pro Max so its form factor is ridiculously tall compared to many others and these pockets are short. It’s not a big deal — when I’m riding I just put my phone in a jacket pocket or on the phone holder on my handlebar, when I’m on my bike. Otherwise, it goes in my pants pocket.
My only other criticism is that the pant legs are straight legs and are fairly tight at the ankles, meaning half of the riding boots I wear have to be outside of the jean, not inside. The Roadskin website says, “The built-in stretch allows them to go over most boots except motocross boots with five buckles.” That’s really stretching it (no pun intended)!
It could be that other models of Roadskin jeans are more accommodating, with longer pockets and roomier legs?
Those are minor complaints in the big scheme of things when it comes to everyday riding safety. These Roadskin Taranis Elites have quickly become my favourite riding jeans mostly because of the fit and all-day comfort they provide.
The Roadskin Taranis Elite riding jeans for men and women come in black or dark blue and all list for CDN$256 plus shipping, taxes and duties, which all tallied up add about $136, bringing the total cost to about $392. Go to roadskin.co.uk for more info on these stylish, AAA rated Kevlar/denim riding jeans.