The quest to find the best outfit for your legs can be slightly overwhelming if you are new to the biker world. For one thing, you have to decide whether you want to go for riding jeans or pants.
As a new motorcyclist, you might think: “But they’re all made for the same purpose! So just buy any!” However, there’s more to it than that.
So, which one should you buy between motorcycle safety pants and jeans? When should you consider one over the other? Or should you purchase both? Below we explore the two outfits to help you choose the best one for you.
What Is Motorcycle Pant?
Before going straight to which outfit is the best, let’s first understand these outfits. A motorcycle pant is, of course, a pair of pants that have been made explicitly for riding motorcycles. These pants are usually designed to fit snugly around the rider’s waist and thighs. They also come with pockets and zippers to easily be adjusted to match the rider’s needs.
The most important thing about this type of pants is that they keep the rider protected from the wind and rain while riding as they are made out of waterproof material. In addition, they also protect against dirt and mud.
We have two types of motorcycle pants; they include the following:
- Leather Pants: As the name suggests, these outfits are made of pure leather. Nothing beats this material as it is less likely to tar when riding on dirt roads or skidding. What’s more, they fit in tightly and comfortably.
- Textile Pants: Textile pants are made of waterproof materials such as synthetic fibers, Gore-Tex, polyester, Kevlar, nylon, and so forth. Think of these pants as all-purpose; they encompass wind, heat, rain, and cold protection. What’s more, they come with oversized pockets, which you can use to store your items as you ride your bike.
What Are Motorcycle Jeans?
Motorcycle rider jeans differ from regular jeans as well as motorcycle pants. They are simply denim jeans that have been specially modified to accommodate riders.
These jeans also come with denser material and more robust knit than regular types of denim. They come with padded hips and knees to prevent abrasion injuries and reduce impacts when an accident occurs. The majority offer little to no protection against wet weather. However, a few come with waterproof membranes.
You could choose between loose-fitting and tight jeans, depending on your preferences. Either way, bike riding jeans contain enough style and can be worn on any occasion without anyone noticing them, as they are indistinguishable from regular denim.
Advantages Of Motorcycle Pants Compared To Jeans
If you are not yet sold on using riding pants over jeans based on their definitions, it’s understandable. The two play the same role and offer protection to almost similar elements. Hence, choosing one over the other isn’t a walk in the park. Below we spell the benefits you accrue by purchasing motorcycle pants over jeans:
1. Pants are waterproof
Pants comprise leather, nylon, polyester, etc., that are water-resistant. Hence, they will not get soaked up by water. Even if you fall into a puddle of water, these outfits will remain dry. On top of that, they won’t allow moisture to penetrate through them. As a result, they will protect you from getting wet when riding in rainy weather and muddy terrain.
Jeans are made of fabrics that can let water seep through them. If you fall into a pool of water, your jeans will soak up the liquid. This feature makes them unsuitable for riding in rainy weather.
2. They offer the best wind protection
When riding in windy conditions, wind resistance plays an essential role. It helps reduce wind drag and increase speed. Riders who wear jeans may experience discomfort due to the wind blowing through their legs. However, wearing motorcycle pants offers better protection against the wind.
Since pants are made of waterproof materials, they prevent water from sipping through and wind. There is virtually no opening for the wind to pass through.
3. They are comfortable
Unlike jeans, motorcycle pants are designed to offer comfort during long rides. These outfits do not restrict movement. You can move around freely while riding. Moreover, they don’t cause chafing.
These features can be attributed to the fact that they fit in tightly, and the majority are made of stretchable materials, which allow you to be flexible while riding. Most of the riding jeans out there are not made of a stretchable material. Hence, they don’t offer the same degree of flexibility.
4. They look great
If you want to stand out among other bikers, choosing motorcycle pants over jeans is the way to go. Unlike jeans, motorcycle pants are usually more stylish. In addition, they come in various colors and designs. Some even have pockets or zippers.
The majority of jeans are blue or black. They lack style and design like pants. What’s more, denim jeans can’t be customized by the buyer. Once you have bought jeans, you can’t change the style. For pants, you could even print pictures on them, letters, encouragement sayings, patterns, and so forth.
5. They are easy to clean
Washing pants is easier. Since they are made of waterproof materials and are machine washable, you needn’t worry about getting them dirty. Just throw them in the washing machine and give them a gentle scrubbing.
On the contrary, jeans require hand washing. You need to scrub them with soap and water. Afterward, you need to rinse them thoroughly before hanging them outside. And since they are made of denser material than pants, drying takes time.
6. They don’t fade
Pants are made of waterproof materials such as leather and so forth; these materials have a natural color that cannot fade. When washed with bleach and detergents, these pants will never fade or lose their original color.
On the other hand, jeans are made of cotton. Cotton tends to fade quickly. When exposed to sunlight, it can lose its color. Its color will also vanish when washed multiple times with detergents or bleach.
Advantages Of Motorcycle Jeans Compared To Pants
Now that you know the advantages of pants over jeans do motorcycle rider jeans also have pros? Well, here is a detailed breakdown of the scenarios this material beats its competitor:
1. They are cheaper
Jeans are made of solid cotton material, which is cheaper than pant leather, synthetic fiber, polyethylene, nylon, etc. You could get two or three pairs of jeans for the price of one stylish motorcycle pants.
If you are the kind of rider who wears a different outfit every day, you better purchase jeans. They will cost you far much less in bulk than pants. The two perform the same task – ensuring your legs are safe when riding. So if you are on a budget, then jeans are the best option for you.
2. They protect your legs from the sun
Unlike pants, jeans are designed to keep your legs protected from the heat of the sun. They are made of UV-resistant cotton material, which helps prevent skin damage. This feature is significant for riders who spend long hours in the saddle.
On the other hand, pants are made of nylon, leather, and other waterproof materials. When exposed to a lot of sunlight, they get heated up. They could lead to skin burns if the exposure is extreme.
3. They are versatile
You can wear jeans anywhere. Whether at work, school, home, or any social gathering, you can always find a pair of jeans. And since denim motorcycle pant looks similar to regular jeans, you won’t feel out of place wearing them.
On the other hand, pants are not as versatile as jeans. Once you have arrived at your destination, you might be forced to change to more casual or official wear to blend in perfectly.
4. They are durable
Since jeans are made of more robust material like cotton, they last longer than pants. If you ride often, you should consider buying a pair of jeans. These clothes are built to withstand the rigors of daily use.
Pants are made of nylon, polyethylene, and other waterproof materials, which are not durable. Only leather pants come close to being as durable as denim jeans. Those made of different materials can easily peel off after repeated washings.
5. They are easier to maintain
Maintaining denim jeans is easy. Just throw them into the laundry machine once a week or a fortnight. Unlike pants, you do not need to wash them regularly. After cleaning, they do not need to be ironed or stored in extraordinary cabinets.
Also, unlike pants, jeans are not prone to stains. Since they are made of natural fibers, they absorb dirt very slowly. Even though they are not stain-resistant, they still look good even after several washes.
6. They are affordable
One of the reasons people prefer to wear jeans over pants is that they are cheap. With jeans, you can afford to buy multiple pairs. On the other hand, you cannot buy too many pairs of pants if you are on a budget.
As a regular rider, you need several pairs of riding pants. The best choice is jeans, which won’t require you to spend so much on several outfits.
Disadvantages Of A Motorcycle Pant Compared To Jeans
So, what are the disadvantages of using jeans instead of pants? Well, there are some things you should know before making this decision.
1. They may restrict your movement
When you wear jeans while riding, you will notice that your movements become restricted. Your knees bend as they should when you sit down. You will also not be able to open up your legs without restrictions. This con can be attributed to the fact that most jeans are not stretchable. So if you are riding through corners or muddy terrain that requires you to extend your legs for support, then pants are the right choice for you.
2. They are less comfortable
Unlike pants, jeans are not designed to provide comfort. They consist of heavy denim material, which is so uncomfortable to have on, especially during long rides. The dense material might also cause you to sweat profusely. This sweating could make you feel hot and uncomfortable.
3. They are not suitable for rainy weather
As you all know, most jeans are not waterproof. So, if you are riding through rainy weather or muddy terrain, they are not the best choice. They will get wet and dirty quickly compared to their waterproof counterparts, which do not allow any water to sip through.
4. Cleaning jeans is a painstaking process
For starters, jeans do fade when washed inaccurately. So, to avoid them losing their color quickly, do not use bleaches and powerful detergents. Also, since they bleed color, they need to be washed separately from other white or lighter clothes to avoid staining.
If you do not own a washing machine, washing is even more challenging. You need a brush to scrub the jeans thoroughly. Their rider pants counterparts do not need care and thorough washing. Since they are made of waterproof materials, you could even wipe them clean with a damp cloth.
5. Health risks
Tight ride jeans are a health risk. Since rider denim pants are made of dense material, they do not allow your reproductive organs to breathe as they should. According to a study involving over 900 women, tight jeans have been shown to increase the risk of vaginal bacterial infections. They have also been linked to abnormal sperms in men.
Disadvantages Of Motorcycle Jeans Compared To Pants
Before settling down for either pants or jeans, you also must consider the disadvantages of the former compared to the latter. They include the following:
1. Pants are not durable
Pants are usually made of leather, nylon, and so on. Leather pants are durable. However, those made of nylon, polyethylene, and other waterproof materials are not. They are easily scratched and damaged by sharp objects.
Their riding jeans counterparts are made of solid denim cotton material that can outlast your motorcycle. If you plan to ride in bushy terrain and for long, it would be better to invest in a pair of durable jeans.
2. They are more expensive
Pants cost more than their riding jeans counterparts. If you want to purchase a pair of good-quality leather pants, you will need to shell out a fortune. What’s more, even when highly-priced, they do not live to their standards. Some come poorly stitched, while others with poor quality leather. On the other hand, jeans are cheaper and readily available in local stores.
3. They are not versatile
Let’s face it; you cannot wear leather riding pants everywhere. It is only suitable for riding. If you plan on wearing them at work, you need to take off your pants before entering the office. On the other hand, Jeans are versatile and can be worn everywhere. They are a better option for people who like to travel light.
4. Ethical issues
Most rider pants are made of leather, nylon, polyethylene, and other environmentally unsafe materials. For a factory to make nylon and polyethylene, it needs to heat the raw materials, producing harmful fumes to our ozone layer.
Also, leather production needs animal skin. From the statement, you can tell the ethical issues facing this industry. For leather pants to be produced, an animal must be killed for its skin. According to People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), the leather industry kills over one billion animals for their skins.
As you probably know, jeans are made from cotton. Cotton is grown in tropical and sub-tropical lands and does not cause any damage to our planet.
5. They do not protect against heat
Unlike jeans, which offer protection against heat, rider pants are designed with waterproof materials, making it hard for the skin to breathe. If your skin is not having a free flow of air, then heat might build up and cause sweating.
Also, normal pants tend to absorb more heat from the sun during hot weather than jeans. Hence, if you plan on riding in hot weather, it would be wise to invest in a pair of jeans.
Are Regular Jeans OK For Motorcycle Riding?
No. Regular jeans are not suitable for motorcycle riding. These outfits have not been manufactured with bike riding in mind. Hence, they can be too tight or too buggy, constricting, and made of light materials.
It is too uncomfortable to ride in a buggy pair of jeans. It will be challenging to move around freely, and they may also get burnt by your engine as they are too buggy. Very tight jeans are also uncomfortable for bike riding as they will constrict movements such as opening up legs to support the bike in slippery terrains.
If you happen to get involved in an accident, you will suffer severe injuries in regular jeans. Motorcycle jeans are dense and precisely constructed to protect your skin while riding. Hence, they offer the best safety in case of an accident.
What Kind Of Jeans Is Good For Motorcycle?
The best type of jeans for motorcycle riding is made of high-quality denim. These types of jeans are costly but worth every penny. The material used in these jeans is thick and durable. Also, they are well stitched and crafted. These features make them solid and safe.
Such jeans are also easy to maintain. They do not require periodic cleaning or stitching. High-quality jeans could last for years without the need for repairs. In addition, they come in different colors to suit individual preferences. You can choose from black, brown, blue, red, green, and many more.
To sum up, the kind of jeans that are good for riding should also be specifically manufactured for that purpose. You can’t just go out and buy a pair of jeans off the shelf. There is no guarantee that it will offer you the best protection when riding your bike.
Do You Wear Normal Pants Under Motorcycle Pants?
Due to the nature of the motorcycle pants, it is almost impossible to wear anything underneath them. Because they are tight-fitting, they tend to rub against everything, including your underwear, socks, and even pantyhose. It is possible to wear regular pants under motorcycle pants, but it requires extra effort. Also, make sure that they are made from a breathable fabric to help prevent overheating.
How Long Should Motorcycle Pants Be?
Their length varies depending on what type of rider you are. If you are riding for extended periods, you should consider investing in a pair of full-length motorcycle pants. These can be found at most sporting goods stores and online retailers. Full-length motorcycle pants come in two different styles. One style has a zipper down the front, which allows you to adjust the length.
Another option is to have a button fly. Both options offer more freedom than regular motorcycle pants. If you plan to ride for short periods, half-length motorcycle pants are a better choice. Half-length motorcycle pants usually measure about mid-thigh. They are easier to put on and take off than full-length motorcycle pants, so they are perfect for commuters who ride only occasionally.
However, we do not recommend purchasing half-length pants for the best protection. Go for something long that will protect your knees and thighs. This way, you will be able to wear it comfortably even after a long ride without worrying about your safety.
Can You Shrink Leather Motorcycle Pants
If you own a pair of leather motorcycle pants, then you know how difficult it is to get a perfect fit. Leather motorcycle pants are often sold in limited sizes, and they are not always easy to alter. Fortunately, there are ways to shrink these pants without damaging them.
You can shrink leather motorcycle pants using a steam iron. The trick is to use a steamer with a small nozzle that allows for precise heat control. Be careful when shrinking leather motorcycle pants because they may crack if shrunk too much. If this happens, then you need to replace the pants.
To reduce the risks, consider taking them to a tailor. Such a professional will shrink the pants to your desired size without damaging them. You could also try other methods such as soaking them in hot water, putting them in a drying machine, or having them dry-cleaned.
As seen above, motorcycle pants and motorcycle jeans are essential items in every rider’s wardrobe. However, choosing one over the other is not always clear-cut.
Each outfit has its pros and cons. For instance, motorcycle pants are waterproof, comfortable, easy to clean, and so on. However, they are not suitable for hot weather and fail in terms of durability. Jeans are durable, cheaper, easy to maintain, and versatile. However, unlike pants, they are not stylish, comfortable, easy to clean, or suitable for rainy weather.
So go ahead and pick out a pair that suits you best based on its advantages and disadvantages. We cannot pick one outfit and declare it the best as each is suited for different needs.