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March 24, 2022 8 min read

Single layer or lined? You might be looking for a quality pair of motorcycle riding jeans, and wondering which of these two styles best suits your individual riding needs. Maybe you have no idea what these terms even mean, and you need a complete rundown from the start.

In any case, these small, technical matters can turn the shopping process into an ordeal. Buying motorcycle gear shouldn't be a chore, so we've laid out a basic guide to help simplify this important aspect of choosing the perfect riding jeans.

It might not seem that significant, but your choice of jeans will impact several things; overall protection, comfort and air flow to name a few. Keeping yourself well informed will make your search for the right clothing a whole lot easier.

While lined jeans have been around for longer, developments in technology have produced single layer denim that boasts some impressive benefits.

It all depends, obviously, on the rider's personal preferences, so read on and decide what will best suit you on the road.

 

THE BEST MOTORCYCLE JEANS ARE LIGHT AND FLEXIBLE BUT STILL OFFER GOOD PROTECTION

 

 man in camouflage on motorcycle in the snow

What are Single Layer Motorcycle Riding Jeans?

Simply put, single layer pants are made by weaving abrasion resistance fibres, like Cordura or Kevlar, into the actual pants, instead of the layers being placed on top of each other. This creates one single layer of fabric.

The main appeal of this style is comfort. Single layer pants are lighter, so they'll feel more natural and flexible. In summer this will be especially handy, because a lighter jean won't feel nearly as hot when you're riding in those scorching afternoons.

Single layer pants also tend to be more versatile in style. The lighter weight allows for jeans to be made with a slim fit, if that's your preference, and the overall lack of bulk means that your riding pants will look a lot closer to a casual pair of jeans.

A good pair of single layer jeans will usually offer wider protection than lined denim. This is because when the abrasion resistance material is weaved into the fabric, there will usually be a larger area of protective coverage.

Many lined jeans will leave parts of the pants exposed to abrasion, so make sure to check which areas are covered. Areas of reinforcement and protective coverage will usually be stated in the product description.

With recent breakthroughs in synthetic fibres, motorcycle riding jeans can be made lighter than ever. For years, Kevlar jeans had been the most popular material used, but new fibres like Dyneema have caught the eye of many manufactures, including Sa1nt.

Dyneema is a synthetic fabric that's unique for its amazing strength while still being light in weight. It's 15x stronger than steel, yet light enough to float on water, according to their website.

This is what makes it so appealing for motorcycle gear. Dyneema is tough enough to keep you protected in a crash, but unlike other materials, it doesn't sacrifice comfort. It's also been used for bullet proof armor, helicopters and space shuttles, and Sa1nt uses it for all of their riding jeans.

Innovations like this have seen Kevlar jeans slowly fall out of favour, with impressive new fibres offering much more comfort. Just like full leathers fell out of style, Kevlar jeans are making way for the next big thing.

Unique, light materials like Dyneema are only available in single layer riding pants. Because of the bulky nature of lined pants, they can only be made with materials like Kevlar and Cordura.

 

SINGLE LAYER PANTS CAN PROVIDE ABRASION PROTECTION WITHOUT SACRIFICING COMFORT

man leaning beside a motorcycle while wearing single layer motorcycle jeans 

Are Regular Jeans OK for Motorcycle Riding?

You should never wear regular denim on a motorcycle. In the event of a crash, a normal pair of jeans will give you just 0.6 seconds of protection, according to the TAC.

The reality is that without an abrasion resistant fibre, your denim will be torn to shreds in an accident, along with your skin. This is a topic we discussed further in our blog article on whether you should wear motorcycle pants.

Slides are common in motorcycle crashes, especially in wet conditions or while taking a turn, and can turn nasty without good protection. Pieces of torn jeans can even get stuck inside a wound.

Regular denim lacks the knee and hip armor that provides impact protection in a crash. Hitting the ground hard can easily shatter your sensitive lower body parts, and good armor will absorb this impact and prevent injury. Wear regular jeans at your own risk.

If style is an issue, the current market has plenty of options for motorcycle riding jeans that look good on or off the bike. You can find a great pair of pants that will still give you solid protection, and double as a casual pair of jeans.

Even if you're riding to the office, you can find smart-looking riding jeans that look great with a shirt over the top. If you work on site, good riding jeans with extra protection can easily double as work pants. Dyneema-made jeans can take a lot of punishment.

Riding jeans should fit snugly but without restricting movement. Only you can say for sure what feels right, so when trying them out, get into a riding position and make sure they feel comfortable.

You'll want a tight fit but a good range of motion as well. Just think of how many hours you'll be spending with a piece of clothing when making a decision, and try to make a good long-term investment.

 

REGULAR DENIM HAS NO ABRASION RESISTANCE AND WILL TEAR UP ON THE ROAD

What about Lined Jeans?

Lined, or double-layer jeans, are made by using a second layer of protective material, like Kevlar, instead of weaving it into one single fabric. There may be even be a third layer of mesh lining to wick away sweat.

This has been the traditional design for riding jeans for some time. Having double layers means more weight, so your legs will be warm in winter, but hot in summer. Keep in mind the weather you'll be riding in, especially if you plan on using your motorcycle year round, because your gear should reflect a variety of conditions.

Your personal preference is always an important factor. Some people do prefer the warmer, baggier fit of fully lined jeans. The outer protective layer is great for hiding the presence of armor, if you're looking to do so, but there are many thin body armors available that still protect the rider.

It is possible to make a slim fit jean in a double layer design. Certain types of lining can produce denim that won't be as bulky, but it's important to know that this is the exception, rather than the rule. Most lined pants will be noticeably heavier.

Some lined gear can be better in certain situations. For example, the triple stitching gives better protection against the intense heat of air cooled engines or exhaust pipes. The best motorcycle jeans, however, will still keep you well protected from heat even if they are single layer.

In some cases, you may just want to opt for a certain look. There are styles of jeans that are only available in double layers, and could simply just catch your eye. The important thing is to not compromise safety for the sake of looks.

If you're looking for lighter or more stylish riding jeans, double layers won't suit your needs. A more modern design offers many benefits that lined jeans tend to lack.

 man resting on his motorcycle in single layer jeans with sunny background 

LINED JEANS ARE MADE WITH A SEPARATE PROTECTIVE LAYER, WHICH CAN MAKE THEM HEAVIER

 

Knee Armor and Hip Armor

Armor is worth a mention, because it's the most important part of protecting your lower body. Whether single or double layered, you should only buy riding pants that either include body armor, or have armor pockets so you can add it in yourself.

Your hips and knees are in the most danger during a crash. In sudden impact, your joints can easily be fractured and even broken, so make sure to always wear both hip and knee armor.

In an accident, it can be the difference between walking away a bit sore and sorry, versus dealing with the ordeal of a fractured hip or shattered patella.

The best motorcycle armor keeps you well protected but doesn't feel restrictive. Gear like Ghost Armor is designed to be thin, breathable and comfortable, so you'll forget you're even wearing it. Your gear should never feel like an inconvenience.

Armor should be worn so that it's comfortable but tight. You don't want it moving around while you're riding, because the best protection comes from armor that doesn't move when it hits the ground. This way it can absorb as much impact as possible.

 

NEW MATERIALS LIKE DYNEEMA ARE LIGHTER AND STRONGER THAN KEVLAR JEANS

 

Benefits of Motorcycle Riding Jeans other than Protection

You should consider multiple factors when deciding on your style of riding jeans. The perfect pair of pants will not only protect your body, but offer other benefits as well.

Proper motorcycle riding jeanswill cover your legs from the elements during a ride. Some are designed with ventilation so you'll keep cool and comfortable in warm weather. There are even pants with air vents that can be left open or closed depending on the temperature.

Riding jeans will protect you from more than just crashes. On the road you're constantly exposed to flying objects. Bugs are the most common, which can hit surprisingly hard at high speeds, especially things like beetles.

Passing trucks can also kick up stones and rocks. Under the right circumstances these can deal a lot of damage, especially if they're sharp and pointed. The impact protection of motorcycle pants will help keep these airborne hazards from causing you serious injuries.

What kind of rider you are is another important factor. If you're purely a weekend rider, and not fussed with style, a pair of lined jeans will do the job. But if you like making stop-offs on those riding trips, and want something that looks closer to a regular pair of jeans, single layer pants are a better choice.

Should you be more of a weekday rider, commuting to work, the thin and lighter style of single layer pants can be quite handy. A smart-looking pair of riding jeans that double as work pants will save you having to get changed, and free up some storage space on your bike.

While safety is the most important thing, keep a variety of circumstances in mind. You'll want to stay comfortable across the whole year, so try to find motorcycle pants that will be suitable for many situations.

You should always shop for your gear with a long-term mindset. Will a pair of jeans you've got your eye on still be the right choice in six months? Motorcycle clothing doesn't come cheap, so look for something that will last you for at least a few years.

 

man in single layer jeans standing beside motorcycle in sand 

RIDING JEANS SHOULD ALWAYS BE WORN WITH KNEE AND HIP ARMOR

 

So - Are Single Layer Jeans Better than Lined Motorcycle Jeans?

In a nutshell, single layer jeans are ideal if you're not a fan of heavy denim.

It ultimately comes down to each riders' individual preferences and needs, but single layer riding jeans simply offer more benefits than fully lined pants.

This is mainly because of the overall comfort found in single layer pants, and the diversity of styles possible. In a head to head contest, there are very few factors where lined jeans are superior.

People ride motorcycles because they're fun. It should never feel like a chore, so the last thing you want is to be weighed down by heavy or uncomfortable gear. The latest fabrics like Dyneema have made it possible for jeans to be made lighter than ever, while still providing solid overall protection.

The selection of styles available for single layer denim is quite appealing. You can find slim jeans, if you're partial to that style, or go for a more traditional straight jean. Black, bleached blue, indigo and charcoal colours are all available so you can stick to your preferred look.

Women's protective jeans are also available. You can find a great pair of skinny jeans in blue or black that look good once you step off the bike as well. With elastane for stretch and a high rise cut, the best motorcycle pants allow the freedom to move on and off the bike at ease.

Sa1nt offers a wide range of motorcycle gear including jackets, armor and other accessories. 


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