Joe Rocket Steel Jeans vs. Sliders Kevlar Jeans
By the webBikeWorld Staff
webBikeWorld visitors apparently can't get enough information on motorcycle jeans!
Based on your suggestions, we ordered a pair of Joe Rocket "Steel" jeans and while we were at it, we also ordered a pair of Sliders Kevlar jeans for good measure.
We're not big fans of wearing jeans for any type of motorcycle riding, other than maybe underneath a pair of overpants.
There's just no way they can offer the protection of a purpose-built textile or leather with padding and armor.
But apparently, we're in a minority, as many of our visitors don't agree.
If you do wear jeans for motorcycle riding, we highly recommend also wearing something like the Bohn body armor underneath, which will at least offer a modicum of protection.
By the way, as with most of our motorcycle pants, we order them two inches longer than normal so that they fit correctly in the motorcycle riding position.
Joe Rocket is a familiar brand to many motorcyclists, but the Sliders brand is a bit more obscure.
As far as we can tell, the Sliders brand is a made-up name for a line of clothing sold by Competition Accessories. We haven't been able to find a Sliders website or clothing business using that name.
No matter, because the Sliders jeans come out on top in this comparison. They're cut in a full, "relaxed fit" style, with lots of room in the waist, both vertically and horizontally.
They are made from a very soft feeling denim that needs no break-in and feels very comfortable against the skin.
Our feeling is that the Sliders jeans run exactly true to size, unlike many other brands of jeans that seem to be cut to size and then washed, leaving the waist one or more sizes too small.
The fabric is dyed a dark indigo black/blue color, and it has that very nice striated washed look found on expensive designer jeans.
The seams and stitching are first-rate, although who knows how well they will hold up in a crash.
The stitching on the outer leg seams is hidden; that is, the material is folded in and stitched from the inside. I'm sure there's a sewing term for this that escapes me.
The Sliders jeans have 5 pockets: two traditional jean slash pocket in front with a change pocket included in the right-hand side, and two square-cut pockets in the rear. Our size 36W x 32L weigh 2 lbs., 2 oz., or 955 grams.
Sliders claims that real Kevlar is used in the knees and rear, as compared to other brands, which they claim use "generic Aramid fibers".
The Kevlar is covered with a sort of fuzzy cotton lining, which provides a touch of padding and also makes them feel comfortable against the skin. Real Kevlar isn't the most comfortable fabric otherwise...
See the comparison photos below that show the inside front and rear of the Sliders Kevlar jeans compared to the Joe Rocket Steel jeans. The protective patches inside the Sliders jeans cover a larger area than the Rocket brand.
The lining is sewn using double stitched rows of what appears to be the same cotton thread used on the rest of the seams. Again, it's questionable as to how well this might hold up in a crash.
The only feature we don't like on the Sliders jeans is the button hole. The waist button is covered with some type of plastic-like coating, which is claimed to help prevent scratches on the motorcycle's fuel tank. But the button hole does not have any type of reinforced stitching around it, and it became frayed the first time we tried to button the pants.
The button on ours is much larger than the hole, which means we have to force the button through the hole, exacerbating the problem. I'm guessing that the stitching will quickly pull apart around the button hole and will need some reinforcement.
The Sliders jeans use a good quality brass YKK zipper.
Other than that, the Sliders Kevlar jeans are very comfortable and its not obvious at all that they are specialty jeans designed for motorcycling. There's no question in my mind that these can be worn as normal, every-day jeans. They look and feel great.
The Joe Rocket Steel jeans look and feel slightly more like a "normal" pair of street jeans. The color is closer to normal jeans, and the fit is not as loose as the Sliders jeans. The Rocket jeans feel like a "natural", rather than full relaxed cut.
One strange feature is that the waist feels like it's at least an inch to short vertically, that is, from the crotch to the waist. As soon as I put them on I thought "Hmmmm, low-riders for men?". I suppose I could get used to them, but they ride even lower when they're worn on a sportbike with its forward lean. I'm not sure why they're cut this way, but they're unlike any other jeans I've ever tried.
The fabric is soft, but not as comfy as the Sliders jeans. The Rocket Steel jeans also have the traditional 5 pockets, and they also use the traditional copper rivets at the pocket corners.
I think the story is that way back in the old days, when only miners and farmers wore Levi Strauss jeans, the copper rivets helped to keep the pockets and corners from tearing. This is what helped make the brand so popular as a long-lasting work pant.
There are a couple of nice styling touches on the Rocket Steel jeans: a Joe Rocket logo on a tiny patch is sewn over the top of the change pocket, and the zipper pull is made from an antiqued brass-like metal. It has the Rocket logo molded in and the pull has a nicely detailed shape.
The button is made from the same type of antiqued metal and does not have a rubberized cover. But it also includes the Rocket logo, with "Rocket Racing" inscribed around the perimeter.
The back of the Rocket Steel jeans use a black colored mesh fabric just under the waistband and above the pockets. I'm not sure what this does, other than to add a styling touch.
The Steel jeans are lined at the knees and rear with "steel reinforced nylon", according to the Joe Rocket literature. The material is thin and although it's virtually impossible to tell that these are motorcycle jeans, there isn't any padding underneath either.
The knee lining is double stitched only at the top; the bottom part of the lining hangs free, which reduces the number of stitches that can be seen from the outside.
I had a problem with the lining in the rear of the pants. The very first time I took them off, my foot caught in a loose piece of the lining at the crotch, tearing it out. You can see from this photo that there appears to be only a minimal amount of stitching at the crotch, and what was there is completely ripped out:
Our Rocket Steel jeans in size 36W x 32L weigh 1 lb., 15 oz., or 892 grams. Here is a comparison table, showing the lining in the Sliders Kevlar jeans vs. the Joe Rocket Steel jeans:
|Sliders Kevlar jeans, inside front.||Sliders Kevlar jeans, inside rear.|
|Joe Rocket Steel jeans, inside front.||Joe Rocket Steel jeans, inside rear.|
|Sliders Kevlar jeans, rear view.||Joe Rocket Steel jeans, rear view.|
We really like the Sliders Kevlar jeans. They're more comfortable, especially in the waist, which has plenty of room, unlike the low-rise waist of the Joe Rocket Steel jeans. The Sliders Kevlar jeans also have larger sections of protective lining, in this case, Kevlar. The lining is comfortable because it's slightly padded and is backed by a soft, fleece-like lining.
Also, the lining in the Sliders Kevlar jeans appears to have more substantial stitching that gives us a more secure feeling that the lining will actually stay in place and provide whatever protection it can.
|wBW Review: Joe Rocket Steel Jeans vs. Sliders Kevlar Jeans|
|Available From: Joe Rocket | Sliders||Suggested Retail Price: $79.99 each.|
|Colors: Sliders - Blue/Black Indigo. Joe Rocket Steel - Blue, Black.||Made In: Joe Rocket Steel jeans - China. Sliders Kevlar - Unknown.|
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From "J.B." (March 2012): "I have a testimonial about Slider Jeans. But first the bad. You mentioned how much room is in the waist. This is true unless you have a waist larger than 44 inches, which is the largest waist size they had. My current waist size is 48, so it is a tight fit.
Now on to the good part. I had the opportunity to test the abrasive resistance of these jeans yesterday morning. An SUV (it always seems to be an SUV) had pulled out right in front of me from a side street then for some reason stopped in the middle of the road. I hit my brakes, but I could see that I would not stop in time to avoid rear ending.
The road was damp from condensation and I felt my back end start to slip, so I put the bike down on the left side. I slid quite a distance on the pavement and ended up about 10 feet in front of the bike. I walked back to the bike, pulled it up and got it off the road.
I got it started and rode the rest of the way to work. My only injury is a fairly large scrape on my left elbow. I had a heavy leather jacket on, but it was not secured at the wrist and the left sleeve rode up exposing my shirtsleeve. My shirt was trashed and my arm was sore. But from the waist on down I was injury free. I guess most of my sliding was on my left elbow and right knee.
The Sliders just had a couple of shiny spots on the denim at the knee. The fabric did not come apart at all. My knee had a slight bump from the impact but there were no abrasions anywhere.
I think these pants really saved me from serious road rash and if I had better cuffs on my jacket I would have escaped virtually injury free. My guess is I slid at least 20 feet down the pavement.
I am the type of rider that insists on wearing protection every time I ride. I am sure glad I did yesterday, or I am sure I would have ended up in the hospital and still might be there getting skin grafts. As it was, I got up and rode away from the accident scene on my own."