If you’re a random person looking at motorcycle jeans, your first impulse might be to gravitate toward the ones that say they’re made with DuPont Kevlar. After all, most people—riders or otherwise—are familiar with Kevlar’s protective benefits by now. Adjectives such as strong, lightweight, and heat-resistant are accurate descriptors, across multiple uses. It seems tailor-made for protective motorcycle clothing, doesn’t it?
European gear maker Pando Moto offers both men’s and women’s moto jeans made with your choice of Kevlar or Dyneema as your protective material of choice. Which should you choose? Well, that depends. I’ll add here that I thankfully haven’t crashed in either type of Pando’s moto jeans yet, but I can definitely tell you about how both kinds feel to wear on a bike.
The Pando Moto Kusari Kev 02 women’s motorcycle jeans are a slim-fit cut with a mid-rise waist. Materials used to make them include nine-ounce heavy-duty power-stretch waxed denim, as well as DuPont Kevlar lining reinforcement “in high-risk abrasion and impact zones,” according to Pando’s website.
Gallery: Pando Moto Kusari Kev 02 Women's Motorcycle Jeans
What does that mean in practice? The Kevlar lining is located throughout most of the jean, with only a very small amount of exposed denim on your lower calves. Where some Kevlar-lined jeans keep the coverage area very minimal, Pando opted to extend that protection throughout most of the jean. Presumably, that will be a great help if and when you do crash in them.
It’s a fine line to walk between fashion and protection, and it’s a thing that Pando seems to pride itself on doing reasonably well. The Kusari Kev 02 jeans feature lightweight, flexible SAS-TEC Triple Flex CE (EN1621-1:2012) approved knee armor, which comes with them. Matching SAS-TEC hip armor is available to fit these jeans at an additional charge.
When you first take the Kusari Kev 02 jeans out of the box, they feel weighty and substantial. They also don’t feel like they’re going to stretch much—but in fact, they stretch pleasantly, in just the ways you want them to if they’re going to fit you well. Obviously, that depends on if you like the skinny-fit feel in the first place. However, if you do, these will suit that feeling just fine. As I’m in the 5’3” range, I had to roll the cuffs on these jeans a bit. However, even when rolled, they still stretch enough to slide neatly over the tops of my motorcycle boots, so I didn’t have to tuck them in.
The knee armor pockets feature Velcro closures that securely hold the SAS-TEC knee armor in place. You can choose from one of two positions for that armor, depending on where your knees sit within the jeans. It’s simple and straightforward to slide the armor into place, and the Velcro is well-placed so it won’t irritate your skin while you wear these pants.
The hip armor pockets don’t have Velcro, but they do use a cleverly sewn flap of cloth to hold the hip armor in place instead, if you choose to get it. If you already have flexible hip armor you like, it’ll probably fit here, as well.
Once the armor is in place, you don’t really see or feel it much at all. Since that’s one of the things that most people like about motorcycle jeans, it’s definitely a plus here. The front pockets on the Kusari Kev 02 will fit a modern smartphone while you’re off the bike, but I wouldn’t personally feel comfortable sitting (say, on a bike) with a phone in those pockets. Your mileage may, of course, vary.
The accordion stretch panels across the knees of the Kusari Kev 02 jeans give them a sportier, showier look than the Kissaki Dyn 01 jeans I tried in 2020. Apart from styling, though, the biggest difference between these two pairs of women’s jeans seems to be breathability.
While the Kissaki Dyn 01s breathe comfortably well even in hot summer riding weather, the Kusari Kev 02s do not. These jeans will be very welcome for fall or even winter riding weather (pre-Chicago ice storms, of course), but you will feel like a baked potato if you wear them when it’s extremely hot out.
Riders often plan our gear based on the weather forecast, so it's just one more thing to take into consideration. You wouldn’t wear a mesh jacket in the winter, and you probably shouldn’t wear Kevlar in the summer. They’re still both good in the correct situations, though—you just have to plan accordingly.
The Pando Moto Kusari Kev 02 women’s motorcycle jeans carry an MSRP of 249 Euros, or about $293. They’re available online directly from Pando Moto, or in select store locations throughout Europe, Asia, North America, and Australia. Check their Store Locator to find a location near you.