MADE IN ENGLAND
So you need some protection while riding this summer, but you don’t want to spend an hour dressing and undressing at either end. What to do…
Back in the good old days – as recently as the end of the 20th century in fact – you had the choice of heavy leathers or cumbersome textile clothing to protect your lower half out on the road. Today however, thanks to modern technology, you can ride around in both comfort and safety wearing little more than a smart casual pair of jeans. As long as you choose the right pair of course…
When ‘Kevlar’ lined jeans first arrived around the beginning of the 21st century, they marked a new chapter in the book about protective clothing. Before we continue however, I should point out that Kevlar is simply a brand name of a para-aramid – synthetic fibres that provide outstanding strength-to-weight properties – in the same way that Hoover is a brand name of a type of vacuum cleaner. Therefore, jeans which are lined with para-aramids are simply using other brands of the material.
For example, these Hood jeans here use a K-Tech branded para-aramid lining. So on with the review and I’ve been wearing these Hood G8 jeans for around three years now (not continuously I hasten to add!).
As you’d expect, adding para-aramid to a pair of jeans is not cheap, and so some manufacturers choose to save money by only partially lining their jeans.
If they also save money by using cheap, thin denim too, then their jeans may not be as protective as you think they are.
Our advice is to do your homework before investing in new protective jeans.
I’ve actually visited the Hood facility in Norfolk, watched jeans made there, seen what goes into them and was impressed. For example, the G8s here are 90% lined with a double layer of woven and fleece para-aramid, covering all vital areas and more, but as a result are warmer than some others both in their own range and rivals on the market. Hood also use K-Tech thread for the linings too, so you have something much stronger than basic cotton holding it in if sliding down the road on your bum.
Their pockets are made entirely of denim (rather than thin cotton liners), again for durability (so less prone to your keys wearing them through!), and finally these jeans use body armour too.
Back to the late 90s and then it was the lining that impressed us, but para-aramids will only protect your skin from road-rash in a slide. Unfortunately the lining won’t do much to save you from the initial impact. Hood however add a couple of pockets for hip armour and Velcro strips within a para-aramid lining for knee armour, their chosen protectors from British company D30.
All this results in a pair of jeans that I use on bike launches to ride to airports, sit on planes in, and of course for a day or so of riding the test bike. Yes they are beginning to look a little worn at the knees, but after three years of regular wear, I’m not surprised. But they are still together and still very comfortable. Nice.
As for their protective qualities, check out the Hood website for testimonies from survivor riders. It will make you think.
Hood G8 jeans start from £95.99, are available in both mens and women’s cuts mail order direct from their factory. Hood will also alter leg lengths to size at no extra cost.