Gear

Gear review: Force Riders Kevlar jeans

I find myself often struggling to find reviews for gear –– especially gear that isn’t ridiculously expensive. So, for the benefit of whatever person arrives here via Google search, I’ve decided to make note of the items I’ve used or am using. Starting with the Force Riders Kevlar jeans I bought way back when I first started training.

The old adage comes to mind here: You get what you pay for. 

I found these jeans advertised on eBay, offered brand new for considerably less than what other brands were being offered used. So, I wasn’t expecting much. I figured anything that offered even a modicum more protection than my Gap jeans would be a step up.
And that’s pretty much the best I can say for them: they are better protection than fashion blue jeans. Maybe. Since I’ve (thankfully) not taken a tumble in them I can’t even say that’s true. To be honest, I don’t think I’d trust that “Kevlar” lining. Methinks it may be a little more dyed cotton than bulletproof material.
But an extra layer is an extra layer. I felt most comfortable with these jeans in the winter, when they were a part of a three-layer system: Lycra base layer, jeans, and waterproof over trousers. However, riding out to Tyntesfield the other day, wearing just the jeans and feeling the engine’s heat on my shins, I found myself trying hard not to think of the damage that would be done to my legs were I to crash at at anything other than very low speed.

The jeans come with knee and hip armour, which is kept in place by little mesh pockets. In the hip pockets, this mesh started to rip on the very first wearing. Each time I take the hip armour out, for the sake of washing the jeans, the mesh rips a little more. And the hip armour itself is not exactly confidence building –– just a half-centimetre-thick bit of padding that one might find on a child’s backpack.

The knee armour is a little more substantial but not so much that I would be willing to drop to my knees from a standing position. Also, the knee pads slip around a lot in their mesh pocket. I find that I am always adjusting them as I ride. I seriously wonder what, if any, good they would be if I came off the bike. The only reason I bother to put them in is that they provide a nice bit of padding between my knees and the tank.

As I said, I wouldn’t trust the Kevlar lining much more than I’d trust a pair of long underwear. Additionally, I find it annoying that the Kevlar lining is only partial, covering the butt and knees, but not anything below the knees and not the crotch. The crotch, yo. That’s a really important spot. You don’t want road rash there.

Lastly, the quality of the denim is sub par. This is the sort of stuff you get at Walmart/Asda with pocket money. And it is about as fashionable as your granddad. No, that’s not true. My 89-year-old grandfather has more style than to be caught wearing these things.

Overall, I chalk this up to learning experience. I have learned, again, that really cheap things are very rarely good things. I bought a pair of £30 Kevlar jeans and, surprise surprise, they didn’t live up to the expectations I might have for a pair of £200 Kevlar jeans. I am actively searching for a better alternative.