Purpose-built motorcycle jeans get overlooked by riders for one big reason: the pair already hanging in the closet. That tried-and-true pair of Wranglers are made of denim, which seems abrasion-resistant enough (it is not, but alas) so what’s the point? Plus, they only cost $35, they fit great and aren’t going to leave you sitting in a puddle of sweat on hot days. Why would you spend upwards of a few hundred dollars on jeans that only have one use?
As someone who’s owned a few pairs of proper motorcycle jeans in the last several years, my experience is that it’s all about finding the pair that truly suits you, and then—to justify the price tag—you’ve got to make them last.
Swiss gear maker IXS recently introduced the Classic AR 1L jeans for men and women, and there’s one notable feature you must absolutely be aware of right now: no Kevlar lining! The 1L in the name stands for one-layer. In lieu of a reinforcement lining, IXS has put the protection into the denim itself via an abrasion-resistant fiber woven directly into the fabric. It’s good enough to earn the jeans a class rating of AA, the CE’s second-highest class of protection. Elastic material is also interwoven to make sure the jeans remain flexible, and removable Level 1 protectors are incorporated in the knees and hips.
The Classic AR 1L targets riders seeking a beefed-up, moto-focused version of their favorite Levis, but without the bulk of a Kevlar lining. As such, you’ll find a classic straight-leg style and a shade of blue that looks just right. Aside from the aforementioned features, you won’t find anything of real note besides slip-resistant silicon inside the back pockets (to keep your cell phone on your person), height-adjustable knee protectors, and a 100-day return policy.
Available in both men's and women's versions, with a wide range of sizes, the IXS Classic AR 1L is priced at 299.95 euros (approximately $365 USD at the time of publication). I know, it sounds like a lot of money compared to what’s on the rack at Target, but a good pair of riding jeans will basically last forever. That is, until you crash in them, at which point you’ll be really happy you bought them.