Alpinestars Crank Riding Jean delivers a subtle, euro-styled, option for those looking to find a balance between safety and style.
Riding jeans come in many styles with varying levels of protection. Some are fully lined with Kevlar while others focus only on the knee and seat areas. Some riding jeans come integrated with hard armor while other focus on the balance between protection and comfort with softer CE-certified pads in the knees and/or hips. When deciding on riding gear, a riding jean over more protective leather or textile pants is a compromise with the convenience of wearing your riding jean into work or out around town without looking like a dedicated motorcyclist.
When deciding on riding gear, a riding jean over more protective leather or textile pants is a compromise with the convenience of wearing your riding jean into work or out around town without looking like a dedicated motorcyclist.
The Crank Jean will set you back $249.95 which puts it on par with many other offerings on the market from major manufacturers. You can certainly spend more or less, but we found the price to be somewhat standard when looking at riding jeans with this level of protection.
Protection. That’s why buyers look at these types of jeans. They want to find a balance between protection and style. It is always a balancing act when trying to keep a casual look yet maintain protection. They won’t protect as well as a leather riding pant but you can wear them to work inconspicuously. The Crank jean has a 13-oz denim chassis which is made of 98% cotton and 2% elastane. The denim is soft and comfortable while wearing, but I never noticed much stretch from the 2% elastane.
Denim on the seat and knees are backed with aramid fiber panels which hang separately from the jean itself. These panels are where you will have significantly more abrasion resistance so, when you’re crashing in your Astars Crank jeans, only let your butt and/or knees hit the ground for optimal abrasion resistance.
You’re probably used to hearing the term Kevlar jeans or Kevlar panels. To clarify, aramid is the actual fiber that makes up Kevlar which is a brand name. Think of what tissue paper is to Kleenex, aramid fiber is to Kevlar.
The Crank riding jean also includes CE-certified knee armor. There are two pocket heights, allowing riders to adjust the position of the pad to what works best for them. Also included, are two foam inserts which are not CE-rated for additional impact protection in the hip area. These pads Velcro in easily to give you a little bit of cushion against side impacts. The hip pads aren’t intrusive regarding fit in my experience, so I have left them in since I received the jeans. The more protection, the better.
In terms of fit, I would call the Crank jean a somewhat slim-straight, with a slight taper. I am generally a pretty solid 31×30, and the size 32 that I received (31s were unavailable, yet they do make them) seem to be pretty much on par with what I expected. A little roomy around the waist and a little long on the inseam. Per the Alpinestars size chart, the 32-inch waist jean comes with a 31.5-inch inseam. I opted to take the jeans to a tailor and had them remove an inch of length which still allows the jean to stay around my ankle when in the riding position.
I was surprised by how much room the jeans had in the thighs since this is usually an area that is a tighter fit for me. The higher rise on the jean offers more protection if your jacket was to ride up in a crash as to not expose your back to the asphalt. The high-rise coupled with the large thigh openings make the jeans feel rather large and loose up top while still being tight enough to keep the armor in place around my knees. Maybe the 31 would have been a better fit… we’ll never know.
After having worn these jeans in hot and humid climates and even in some rain, I have to say, they are very comfortable. The denim itself is soft yet substantial. The fact that the aramid panels are only in the seat and knees allow the jean to breath better than a full aramid/Kevlar lined jean would, yet with 13-oz denim, they can be somewhat warm on really hot days. The knee armor is very comfortable against the knees and conforms easily to whichever riding position I find myself in. Whether on a cruiser or a sportbike, the knee armor was never bothersome.
The Crank jean is offered in two colors: Dark Rinse and Greaser Dirty. Being the dirty greasy that I am, I opted for the latter. From user reviews I have read, I am under the assumption the Dark Rinse is simply just a lighter blue whereas the Greaser Dirty may have a slight yellow tint over the blue. They look like any nice stylized denim you would find in your local mall.
There is some slight distressing on the hems and pockets along with some stylized fading on the front of the legs. I will note while out scouting a fire road on my KTM for a shoot, after gripping the tank with my knees for 30 or so miles, the blue dye had rubbed off of the inside of the knees a bit around the pads. Keep that in mind if you’re a fan of white boots or t-shirts, as the color of these jeans may rub off a bit of blue dye onto lighter colors.
Overall, I am happy with the Crank Jean from Alpinestars. If I could change anything I would make thighs just a little bit smaller and take out some material around the waist as they seem unproportionally large up top to how they fit around my lower legs and boots. That may just be because I needed a size 31, though. With that being said, they are still some of the most comfortable riding jeans I have used. Give the Crank a try, you might just like it.