MO Tested: Alpinestars Copper Denim Pants

Evans Brasfield
by Evans Brasfield

The fit of regular jeans with protection for riders

A few years ago, riding jeans with armor were big news. Now, most of the major manufacturers are making them, and that’s good for riders who want protection but don’t want to look like Power Rangers at the office or when running their daily errands. As part of Alpinestars City Collection, the Copper Denim Pants continue this trend in the form of traditionally-styled jeans with removable armor.

Alpinestars Copper Denim Pants

Editor Score: 84.5%
Aesthetics 9.0/10
Protection 8.5/10
Value 8.0/10
Comfort/Fit 9.25/10
Quality/Design 9.0/10
Weight 8.5/10
Options/Selection 8.0/10
Innovation 7.0/10
Weather Suitability 8.75/10
Desirable/Cool Factor 8.5/10
Overall Score84.5/100

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The jeans themselves are constructed of 13 oz. denim which coincides with much of the medium-weight denim used in standard streetwear. Underneath, the denim on the knees, hips, and seat areas are lined with Kevlar for abrasion and tear resistance. While the coverage is not as extensive as in the Bull-It Jeans I tested last year, the primary impact points that take the most abuse in a crash appear well protected. The Alpinestars Kevlar liners float between the rider and the outer denim for a more comfortable, less restrictive fit than those with the additional layer(s) sewn on all sides to the outer fabric.

The shape of the cuts in the armor allow it to easily mold to the shape of your knee for better comfort.
The pocket is filled completely with the armor, leaving no room for adjustment. The location worked very well for me, though.

The CE-certified knee armor is comfortable and falls in the perfect location for my leg dimensions. Unlike other jeans, the armor sits correctly on my knees regardless of whether I’m standing or in a riding position. The slight pre-curve to the jeans at the knees improves their fit by limiting the bunching of fabric behind the rider’s knees when seated – much in the same way that pre-curved gloves work on a rider’s hands. Although the Alpinestars fact sheet and website state the knee armor’s position is adjustable, it fits snugly within its pocket, which is sewn to the layer of Kevlar with no room for adjustment, so you might want to try them on before a purchase. The fit, however, was perfect for my 32-inch inseam.

The armor stayed where it was supposed to on my knee when riding. Occasionally, after walking for a while, I had to shift the armor’s position slightly outward when getting back on the bike.

On either hip, a removable pad will help absorb some of the impact in a tip-over, but the amount of protection is not CE-certified. The pads’ placement can be adjusted by moving them fore or aft on the hook-and-loop fastener sewn into the jeans. I have worn riding jeans with much stouter armor in the hips, but I had to pay a comfort price for the additional protection. Riders will need to decide for themselves if the hip pads are enough for them.

While the Kevlar’s coverage is less than some riding jeans I’ve tested, its free-floating attachment to the denim makes it comfortable against the skin.

The classic jeans fit is comfortable, and the sizing of the size 34 jeans fits my middle-aged waist and 32-inch inseam without rising up if I’m in a sporty riding position. Unlike many pairs of riding jeans I have tested, I am barely aware of the armor on either my knees or hips – both on a bike and off. In fact, I wear them on days that I’m watching the other motojournalists ride as I take photos because it is much less painful putting my knee down in the gravel when it’s protected by armor. Beyond the additional protection provided by the Alpinestars Copper Denim Pants, they are completely unobtrusive in the real world. While I gladly profess my love of motorcycling, I’d rather do it by my actions and statements than by wearing a costume in the grocery store.

Alpinestars’ attention to detail is top-notch. Not a single stray thread was visible on the pants. The branded rivets are a nice touch.

Whether you are commuting or just running around with friends, the Alpinestars Copper Denim Pants look good on and off your bike while providing abrasion resistance in major contact points and CE-certified protection for the knees. Retailing for $229.95 in black and rinsed blue, the Copper Denim Pants are available in international sizes 28–40 online or from your local Alpinestars dealer. For more information, visit

Although the hip pads are not CE-approved, like the knee armor, they were comfortable when installed in the pants and will provide some shock absorption in a crash.
The pre-curved knees make for a comfortable fit on the bike.


Evans Brasfield
Evans Brasfield

Like most of the best happenings in his life, Evans stumbled into his motojournalism career. While on his way to a planned life in academia, he applied for a job at a motorcycle magazine, thinking he’d get the opportunity to write some freelance articles. Instead, he was offered a full-time job in which he discovered he could actually get paid to ride other people’s motorcycles – and he’s never looked back. Over the 25 years he’s been in the motorcycle industry, Evans has written two books, 101 Sportbike Performance Projects and How to Modify Your Metric Cruiser, and has ridden just about every production motorcycle manufactured. Evans has a deep love of motorcycles and believes they are a force for good in the world.

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 1 comment
  • Old MOron Old MOron on Dec 07, 2016

    Thanks for these reviews, Evans. I love my BMW City 2 pants, but lately I find my self more and more interested in kevlar-style jeans. They sure seem expensive, though. May I request a shootout, please?

    How about if you compare the likes of Alpinestars and Rev'It to some jeans that cost about $100 less, Cycle Gear's in-house branded Mercury jeans?

    You can compare things like comfort, fit and finish, claims of abrasion resistance, any CE certifications. I bet you could improvise your own abrasion test, or at the very least turn the jeans inside-out and compare the stitching and stuff. What do you say?

    Oh, and while I'm making a list for MO Claus, can you light a fire under Gabe? He piqued my interest a couple of months ago, then left me high and dry:

    Edited PS: Maybe include these $350 jobs, in the shootout, too.