Today’s motorcycling jeans market is rife with options. Whether you prefer a relaxed fit or slim cut, Kevlar or Dyneema protection, indigo or black wash, there’s bound to be a pair that meet your needs. As a result, riding jeans have become the de facto casual motorcycling pants for most riders. With leather and textile options skewing too technical for the office or local coffee shop, it’s easy to default to abrasion-resistant denim.
So, when Dainese introduced its Chinos Tex Pants in summer 2021, it felt like a timely alternative to the dungaree horde currently dominating the market. However, I was still uncertain if the trousers could deliver the same levels of protection, comfort, and style found in today’s top riding jeans. When I got my paws on a pair of Dainese’s new chinos, it was a great opportunity to see how the newcomer lives up to its denim counterparts.
Fashionable & Functional
Most folks associate Dainese with high-performance race leathers, boots, and gloves. Of course, the Vincenza-based brand matches that top-notch build quality with refined Italian styling. While the Chinos Tex Pants take on a slightly more utilitarian guise, the trousers live up to the brand’s stellar reputation. Touting single-layer Armalith fabric spun from cotton, Lycra, and Ultra High Molecular Weight Polyethylene (UHMWPE) fiber, the Chinos package modern-day protection in a classic cut.
The riding pants toe the line between technical and casual with Pro Shape 2.0 protectors at the knees and hips and a slim, tapered fit. With the traditional slash pockets at the front and flap pockets at the back, the trousers adhere to conventional Chinos styling. However, all four pockets feature button snaps that secure the rider’s belongings at speed. An additional thigh pocket also accommodates small items like tools or a tire pressure gauge, but I commonly reserved that pouch for my trusty pocket knife.
Even when flipped inside-out, the Dainese quality still shines through. Hip armor pouches anchor directly to the front pockets, keeping the protectors in place. Similarly, Dainese not only adds adjustability to the knee armor pockets but also finishes the interior lining with quality seam work that’s worthy of being on the exterior of the pants.
On the other hand, the slanted bottom edge of the front pocket pouches does force personal items smartphones or wallets to the inner thigh. That never posed a problem off the bike, but in a turn, my leg regularly sandwiched the item against the gas tank. Yes, it’s a small gripe, and no, I never applied enough force to crack my screen, but it's worth noting for the occasional canyon run.
Fit & Finish
In the hand, the Chinos’ weave feels substantial yet soft. On the body, the pants sit on the hips without the aid of a belt. In the saddle, the adjustable armor covers the entire knee while the hem remains over the ankle. If the CE level AA rating isn’t enough reassurance, that comprehensive coverage ensures that the rider is protected in all situations.
Despite the slim fit, the Chinos never bunched or pinched while riding. After numerous wears, the pants feel more like a second skin, allowing the rider to focus on the task at hand. The interior armor pockets also leave no room for the protectors to shift while on the hanger, in the saddle, or off the bike. The sheet-like armor at the knees and hips contour to the rider’s body, providing both protection and comfort.
Gallery: Dainese Chinos Tex Pants
While the knee protectors’ flexibility delivers maximum coverage on the bike, the armor takes on a pancake-flat shape off the bike. Most commuters and casual riders prefer riding jeans for their versatility and discretion, but the flat discs at the knees immediately hint at the Chinos’ riding application. The armor itself also features raised octagonal designs that etch through the pant material with time.
Lastly, the armor’s lack of rigidity also returns some unflattering shapes at the knee when in a seated position. Of course, these are small niggles that some consumers will look past, but for most riding conditions, social situations, and office dress codes, the Tex Pants’ blend of casual and technical will get the job done.
Despite the slim cut, five-pocket construction, and second-to-none fit and finish, Dainese’s Chinos Tex Pants aren’t your casual Friday khakis. Under the office-appropriate façade, the trousers stuff abrasion-resistant Armalith material and Pro Shape 2.0 knee and hip armor into a fashionable and comfortable package. At $309.95, the Chinos qualify as a premium option but Dainese backs up the price with unparalleled build quality, robust protective properties, and of course, Italian styling.
If you’re diversifying your riding pants wardrobe or looking for a professional-looking pair of riding pants, the Tex Pants will meet your needs. Today’s riding jeans market may be rife with options, but luckily, the Dainese Chinos Tex Pants offer the same protection and comfort with a style all its own.