Riding-specialized Jeans/Khakis…and Abrasion Characteristics
We don't have a lot of experiential feedback from customers on this yet (another year or two and we will), and we can't comment on anyone else's jeans other than ours. There are so many varieties available from so many companies there's probably a wide range of abrasion-resistances available.
Our jeans and khakis are made to feel and wear as close as possible to conventional street jeans and khaki pants. During their development we modeled several popular types including Levi's 'Dockers' for the khakis, and '501's' for the jeans. Then we added some motorcycle-specific features -- the same for both styles.
Through the entire seat area, from below the butt to the side seam, and up to the waistband, is an inner layer of the same fabric used in Roadcrafter Classic and R-3 suits, and Darien gear. The regular versions of this gear, not the 'lights'. We know from long experience as well as empirical testing that this is very good material for road abrasion protection. To help make the pants more comfortable to wear commando, there’s also a third layer of soft 100% cotton facing the wearer. When you look inside the pants it looks like they are partly lined, because they are.
This same three-layer construction is also used at the knee: Outer cotton denim or khaki twill fabric > seat-and-knee Roadcrafter/Darien fabric > seat-and-knee lightweight cotton inner lining. At the knee there's also a hidden zipper along the outside pant leg seam allowing one to quickly and easily add knee impact armor while still wearing the pants.
Abrasion resistance at areas other than the seat and knee is about the same as regular street jeans or khakis. Stitching is done with slightly heavier-duty thread, but it still is more similar to what jeans are sewn with than what Roadcrafters are sewn with.
Personally, I wear these for riding around town and commuting during the summer on warmer/nicer days, beneath a Darien Light jacket because they are cool, comfortable and still offer some useful protection. Here in Duluth MN this type of use means about 80% surface streets. Not a lot of time on multi-lane high speed highways, though there is some. If my everyday routines involved lots of time at 70-80mph on six lane freeways I'd be more comfortable inside an R-3 light, or a Darien AD-1 pants.
On the other hand, every day I see lots of helmetless riders zooming along crowded freeways wearing at most an inexpensive mesh jacket. There’s maybe five not-very-protectively-clothed riders for every one that is.
– Mr. Subjective, 4-15
Aerostich Khaki and Denim Protekt pants are a 100% cotton twill with 500D Cordura hidden in the high abrasion knee and seat areas. This means they are like all unwashed denim and cotton twill pants. They get a lot better comfort-wise after a few washings/wearings. Maybe two months of use, depending on how often they are worn.
These days some fashionistas talk about not ever washing their denim jeans, and putting them in a freezer occasionally to kill odor-causing bacteria. If you've never heard of this, Google it. The only thing I know about our Protekt denim and khaki pants is that for me personally, I'm not really happy comfort-wise until after they've been worn, washed and dried a few times, to soften them a little and shrink-to-fit slightly. After that one's personal taste can dictate the need for any further washing or freezings or whatever. Long-worn, seldom-washed pants do feel pretty great if you don’t get them filthy working on bikes, underneath old cars and stuff like that.
- Mr. Subjective, 5-15