One of the most hotly-contested areas of motorcycle clothing at the moment is riding jeans; just about every kit manufacturer has at least one pair in its wardrobe.
Whether they are single-layer (recent advances in material technology have made these increasingly protective) or multi-layer examples, with a denim outer and separate protective lining, there are jeans out there for everyone.
Lots of people like slim or skinny fit jeans to give their riding gear more of a non-motorcycle or normal, day-to-day clothing.
1. Spada Rigger
However, skinny jeans aren’t for everyone, myself included. I have relatively chunky legs compared to my waist size but also, fairly short legs – I’m typically a 34in waist and 30in inside leg though of course, as with all riding trousers, these need to be a bit longer to allow for movement and adopting the riding position and to keep knee armour in the right place.
So I prefer looser jeans, particularly on the leg. The issue then becomes the fact that the majority of loose denim ends up hanging off me looking like dad jeans. Now while I’m proud to be a dad, I don’t want to wear dad jeans.
That is where the Spada Rigger jeans come in. These were the first pair of riding trousers I got when I passed my test and the fact that I’m still wearing them should give you an idea of how highly I rate them.
Spada Rigger spec
Construction: Cordura denim
Knee armour: CE level 1
Extra feature: Water resistant
They are finished in dark ‘Indigo’ denim that to the outside world, doesn’t scream ‘Biker’. Internally, the Cordura denim is finished with Selvedge style, which means that the edges of the main seams are laid flat so you don’t feel them and, if it’s your thing, you can turn the bottom of the legs up to get a bit of a retro or rocker feel.
Alternatively, do what I do and leave the legs as they come. I ended up going one size up on the waist (to 36in) and a regular leg (there is a short option as well) as this keeps the knee armour in the right place.
Related: Best waterproof motorbike jeans
Protection comes from a separate layer of Dupont aramid fibres in the seat and over the knees, the familiar bright yellow weave hiding behind a mesh lining that helps to keep them cool when the weather is warm.
The jeans are supplied with Level-1 knee armour in a pouch but its shape and loose leg mean that the armour can move in use as well, sometimes rotating inwards and hitting the edge of the tank – the faded areas on mine indicate where this has happened.
My ones came with optional Level-1 hip armour as well which is reassuring without being intrusive or affecting the fit around the waist at all, which can sometimes happen.
When sister magazine RiDE tested them as part of a jeans test in July 2019, they held up very well; each pair was dragged along the road from 0-30mph and back to rest four times and the Riggers suffered a very small hole below the seat lining area, indicting a pretty good result.
They also have a water-resistant outer treatment and I know from experience that they are indeed shower-resistant. I wouldn’t want to ride in them in a heavy rainstorm but on the odd occasion my summer ride has adopted a typical British summer turn, they keep moisture away from the skin.
They have an antique brass button and YKK zips and other than the marks on the knee armour, the label disappearing and the leather patch on the rear wearing smooth, they have held up really well.
They haven’t faded, torn or ripped and are as comfortable today as when I first got them. The legs are wide enough to go over sports boots and I’ve worn them on everything from sportsbikes to adventurers and they remain comfortable on everything.
I’m really impressed, particularly as they are less than £140 and are my go-to jeans for whenever the weather calls for something cooler than full-on textiles.
A great pair of comfortable and stylish jeans that are protective but don’t shout ‘biker’.
Great straight-cut fit
Available in regular or short leg
Could do with more flexible knee armour