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Low Profile Protection
Everyone with a lick of sense rides with a protective jacket, but many of us skirt the safety issue when it comes to our legs. What's a rider to do? Strafe the twisties in faded 501's and run the risk of a becoming street pizza if you take a spill with only a wisp o' cotton between you and the hard stuff, or lay out several hundred hard-earned dollars for a set of road-going leathers? Leather chaps or jeans are possibilities, but chaps leave your rear to the mercy of the asphalt gods, and leather pants can be too warm for comfort.
The friendly folks at Fast Company in Hickory, North Carolina think they have the answer. They've mated a high-tech fabric called Keprotec, which is woven from Nylon, Lycra, and Kevlar, to heavyweight denim blue jeans. They call them "Draggin' Jeans," and gave them the number 181 to honor a favorite North Carolina highway. The jeans look pretty much like regular blue denims, so you won't get all sorts of weird looks when you stop for lunch.
The real comfort was knowing there was a little something extra between our butts and the asphalt as we took advantage of deserted roads, fast motorcycles, and the testosterone rush of a race weekend.
Both knees and each cheek get a slab of breathable Keprotec about 9 by 10 inches (in our pair of 32 x 32s) sewn securely into the seams. This completely covers your rear and gives the knees full frontal protection. The only outward manifestations of the protective layers are the extra seams on the face of the knees, which might be mistaken for designer touches by a casual observer. And that they are -- designed to keep your skin where it belongs. For the fashion conscious, the 181 cut is slightly roomy, with five belt loops and straight legs that slip easily over boot tops. We liked the protection, but thought they could also use some insurance in the hip area. That might make them too bulky, but hips have a way of taking a beating in a tumble.
We rode the jeans to the World Superbike race at Laguna Seca, over the summer-brown hills and through the scorching valleys of central California, then back along a gloomy, fog shrouded coast. In the summer, the 181's retain more heat than standard jeans, and caused us a little fanny sweating. The real comfort was knowing there was a little something extra between our butts and the asphalt as we took advantage of deserted roads, fast motorcycles, and the testosterone rush of a race weekend.
Should you trade your 501's for 181's? Only if you like your skin on your body instead of the road. The machine-washable, American-made Draggin' Jeans are an excellent middle ground for sport riders who can't pony up for high-dollar leathers, for touring riders who want a little insurance against skin grafts, or anyone who wants warm knees on a cold, lonely road. We give them three and a half stars because, as good as they are, they could be better with the addition of some protection on the hips.
When a pair of Levis can set you back nearly $40.00, these pants are sensibly priced at $79.95.Motorcycle Online Rating: ***1/2 To find out more about Draggin' Jeans, contact: Fast Company 1010 3rd Avenue Drive NW #B Hickory, North Carolina, 28601
Or call them at: 1-800-459-2239.
Suggested retail: $79.95. Sizing: Even waist sizes from 30 to 42 inches, plus 31 and 33. Inseam lengths of 30, 32,and 34 inches.