Maximum slide protection without bulky inner liners
Reviewed by Glenn Roberts
It just makes sense that most of us want to be protected while we’re out riding – those who ride wearing shorts and flip-flops can turn the page now. There are a number of riding pants on the market designed specifically for motorcycle safety that wouldn’t look out of place at a social hangout or even walking down the aisle in the grocery store.
But not all riding pants are created equal. Most use regular denim and are lined with a material that’s designed to withstand a slide on pavement, such as Kevlar. You know how they say TV adds 10 pounds? Well, so do some riding jeans. It’s that protective lining that adds to the bulk of many of the riding jeans on the market today.
Saint’s Unbreakable Jeans, on the other hand, have a different approach to motorcycle safety. Instead of denim lined with a protective layer, the jean material itself is made from UHMWPE (ultra-high-molecular-weight polyethelyne) fibre, branded as Dyneema. No bulky liners needed. Dyneema fabric is 15 times stronger than steel (weight for weight), yet light enough to float on water. Search “world’s strongest denim” on YouTube to get an idea of the punishment this material can take.
Unbreakable Jeans feel a little stiffer than regular denim when brand new, but they aren’t uncomfortably so by any means – I’ve worn them several times for full days both riding and walking around town. Having never tried Dyneema material before, it feels as though it will loosen up with regular use, but time will tell. In addition to this crazy-strong fabric, the hips use CE-certified Level 2 activated removable armour, while the adjustable knee armour is activated CE Level 1-certified.
The Model 1 jeans, as tested here, are the world’s first CE-rated denim, and use Dyneema in various degrees. In the high-impact zones such as the knees and the seat, there is 66 per cent Dyneema blended with 34 per cent cotton; the rest of the garment uses 10 per cent Dyneema and 90 per cent cotton.
Although I wasn’t able to test the durability of the material as it’s designed for (I’m a little averse to purposely dumping my bike on the road), Saint claims that the Dyneema fibres will withstand a six-second/75-metre slide. To put that into perspective, the company website says that protective race leathers have a slide time of seven seconds. And I can tell you from personal experience that these jeans are far more comfortable than race leathers.
The five-pocket jeans feature an elasticized accordion stretch panel behind the knees that considerably adds to the comfort and avoids the uncomfortable feeling of material bunching up. The bottoms of the legs on these Model 1 regular-fit jeans are snug to most boots I ride in; with other boots, the pant legs must be tucked inside. Other styles are available. Ordering from this Australian company can be done through saint.cc. Keep in mind that because there isn’t any lining material in these jeans, the sizing chart on the website holds true to the size of jeans you regularly wear. My Model 1 jeans retail on saint.cc for C$320, with free shipping. Go ahead, save your hide, literally.