MO Tested: Dainese Bonneville Jeans

John Burns
by John Burns

Denim Iniquity

A week or two ago I sang the praises of one of my favorite jackets, this Dainese Street Rider. Today, it’s time to confess my love for the jeans that complete the ensemble. I’ve had these Bonneville jeans for six months now, and they’ve become not just my favorite motorcycle riding jeans but my favorite jeans period. For me, I guess that’s almost the same thing; thanks to the hot summer we’ve been having that’s only now segueing into a hot winter. I only put on pants when I’m going somewhere on a motorcycle. (The rest of the time it’s the Spongebob boxers or the Speedo.)

For me when it comes to jeans, it’s largely about the fit, and the Italians do it right (some Italians better than others). The Bonnevilles come in Regular and Slim; I got the regulars in size 32-inch waist (there are 17 sizes in 1-inch increments from 28 to 44 for Men), and they fit great right out of the box. They are a little long, but then I’m a little short.

Actually, I take it back, they’re not a little long; on the bike my 32s are just right for my 30-inch inseam. (Photo: Evans Brasfield)

There’s not as much room in here as in a pair of 501s, my $13 Kirklands, or in some other motorcycle jeans I own, but on a bike that’s a good thing. Less flappage is always desirable, and more importantly a snuggish fit greatly increases the chances that the padding will stay in place in the event of a shunt, heaven forbid. Don’t be thinking you’re going to get these legs over the tops of boots with any kind of armor or padding, though, unless you’ve got actual bird legs.

Dupont Kevlar Aramid fabric backstops your butt and knees, but that’s about it. That big crotch panel gives great freedom of movement.

A layer of Dupont Kevlar Aramid fabric inside the seat extends down to the bottoms of the hip pockets and wraps around the hips; it wouldn’t be a bad thing if that tear-, wear-, shear- and heat-resistant fabric kept on going a bit farther down toward the knee to meet up with the section of it that also lines the knees. It’s thickish denim and nicely top-stitched, but for $229, it seems like a bit more wonder-fabric right there might’ve been in order. Padding is optional and consists of a thinnish nitrile-based Pro-Shape pads certified to the EN 1621-1 standard. The 8- x 5-inch kneepads Velcro inside a pocket atop each knee, and a similar pad is available for the hip area. It’s nothing like hard armor, but it would be a welcome addition if hitting the deck.

Velcro inside the knee pockets lets you adjust the thin CE rubber pads up and down an inch or so, and there’s Aramid fabric fronting your knees also. A little padding is way better than none, and the upside is you barely know the kneepads are there. They’re excellent when you’re down on your knees trying to find the socket that rolled under the car or helping celebrate a friend’s victory in Spain.

Obviously, motorcycle jeans are a compromise between convenience, fashion and safety, to be worn when you’re not going for the lap record. Off the bike, these are super-comfortable and were soft right out of the box, even moreso now that they’ve been washed a time or two (our jeans mogul friend Jerome says don’t wash expensive jeans; put them in the freezer now and then). There’s not a lot of protection, but that means you’d almost never know these are motorcycle jeans from wearing them. I do like the snuggish fit, but not too snug; at my age and beer-consumption level, the butt tends to move around to the stomach area like the eyes on a halibut. These pantalones caress what’s left of my buns gently while still leaving a little spare room for large MO expense-account meals in the waistband around front. Yet they don’t fall off without a belt.

Again, I apologize for having become such a snob when it comes to motorcycle clothing but it really is my job to seek out the finest, so … the tag says these are not just from Italy but also made there. I love that place, especially from afar. Two legs up.

Dainese Bonneville jeans
Waist sizes 28 to 44 inches (in 1-in. increments)


John Burns
John Burns

More by John Burns

Join the conversation
2 of 7 comments
  • Buzz Buzz on Nov 14, 2015

    I'm about halfway through my halibut migration.

    Should I take the plunge or hit a few more San Diego craft breweries to complete the migration?

  • Old MOron Old MOron on Nov 15, 2015

    Well, I'm not judging what anyone else wears, but for $229, I want better crash protection than what these things offer.