In the motorcycling world, we tend to see form and function as a dichotomy, as an either/or. Sometimes, however, form and function can coexist. When it comes to riding gear, there’s a gulf between casual moto apparel and purpose-built pieces. By pairing classic construction with modern performance, Pando Moto’s MARK KEV 01 riding jeans aim to narrow the gap between style and substance.
I always carry a camera when attending a motorcycle event or a group ride. Though capturing photos is simple enough, the equipment required can lead to additional luggage to transport. When I got a hold of the MARK KEV 01, I knew I could find a way to ditch all that extra baggage.
On a motorcycle, where carrying capacity is limited, prioritizing traveling items is more important than any other vehicle. From lenses to portal power banks, from action cams to charger cables, camera gear can quickly become cumbersome. I store most of my photography equipment in a Dopp kit, but in order to strap it to a motorcycle, I have to use a military backpack.
To cut down on the unnecessary luggage, I packed a Sony a6000 camera, a prime lens (50mm), a battery bank, an action cam, and multiple charging cables in the MARK KEV 01’s deep cargo pockets. Of course, you can feel the extra bulk when walking, but on the bike, the additional weight is generally unnoticeable and doesn’t sacrifice comfort.
For those nervous about losing belongings on the road, Pando Moto canted the cargo pockets forward so the load is upright when in the riding position. Snaps at the thigh also locked in my photography gear and I didn’t think twice about it while on the bike.
As the name suggests, the MARK KEV 01 features DuPont Kevlar lining at the seat and knees. On top of the Kevlar reinforcements, 12-ounce Cordura acts as the first line of defense with military-grade abrasion-resistant nylon integrated into the denim’s weave.
I tend to prefer riding pants without inner linings because layers create additional heat in the Southern California climate. However, similar to most adventure riding pants, Pando Moto equipped the MARK KEV 01’s with a zipper at the thigh to provide ample ventilation.
While seated on the bike, the vents allowed a controlled air stream into the pants. As soon as I stood up on the bike, the oncoming breeze circulated throughout the riding jeans and helped me stay cool in the 90-degree (F) heat. Even when in the city, I found myself leaving the vents open to battle the engine heat generated from stoplight to stoplight riding.
Though the MARK KEV 01 provides a high level of utility, Pando Moto increased its versatility by opting for a classic cut and understated color scheme. Most adventure riding pants feature materials like polyester and race-inspired graphics, whereas the MARK KEV 01 performs well on the bike without looking out of place at a restaurant, café/bar, or workplace.
The high-waist tapered cut provided full coverage and protection while fitting a more urban aesthetic. Whether I was standing over the bike, in full tuck, or resting my legs on the crash bar, the jeans felt comfortable and offered a wide range of motion.
For those looking for an even more tailored look, the elasticized cuffs allow users to lock the hem around the ankle with two buttons. Due to the heat, I kept the legs at the widest opening to maximize airflow. In colder conditions, I would certainly tighten the cuffs to trap in heat and provide much-needed insulation.
Like most Pando Moto pants, the MARK KEV 01 comes with impact protection at the knees and hip. Further emphasizing a custom fit, two-position knee pockets allow the rider to shift the armor to their particular dimensions. In position two, the SAS-TEC Triple Flex armor was placed over my shins, but with a quick switch to position one, the CE approved armor covered my entire kneecap.
To the passerby, the pliant sheets of armor are completely imperceptible, unlike some riding pants that bulge at the waist and knees. While the SAS-TEC's flexibility molds to the rider, the lack of rigidity caused them to slide down in the knee pockets when the jeans were on the hanger or when I was walking around.
In the riding position, the armor stayed put, but I rearranged the knee protection multiple times before swinging a leg over. Fortunately, the hip armor didn’t shift in the pockets and Triple Flex ventilation not only encouraged airflow but also reduced the overall weight of the pants.
The Final Word
If you’re looking for a pair of riding pants that you can wear on casual Fridays and thrash on the trail over the weekend, the MARK KEV 01 is for you. Retailing at €259 ($281 USD), the jeans toe the line between style and substance to create a two-in-one product. Whether you prefer performance over design or vice versa, there’s something for everyone with the MARK KEV 01. It seems like form and function can coexist after all.