Draggin Jeans are a good alternative for motorcyclists who like to ride in jeans but are looking for something more substantive than flimsy cotton street pants.
Many riders favor warm or hot weather for riding, but not me. The perfect riding temperatures for me are somewhere in the mid 60 degree range.
That temperature range allows me to be comfortable while still riding safe, wearing a jacket with armor, a full-faced helmet, full fingered motorcycling gloves, over-the-ankle boots and leather overpants in the warmer temps or insulated textile pants in the winter.
Now, I have to admit that leather just plain looks good (not to mention sexy), and it works with motorcycles like our Old Bay seasoning works with shrimp and crabs here in the Chesapeake Bay region.
But it gets really hot and humid here in the summer, and full coverage leather clothing is basically out of the question.
Other than a few exceptions, leather is always black, and although leather is supposed to “breathe”, my legs get pretty darn hot inside leather pants on a hot humid day. Yes, there are perforated leathers, but have you seen the prices on those babies? And why are ventilated mesh pants always black?
It makes no sense to me to have a product that’s supposed to keep you cool in hot weather made only in black! Also, if you’re even remotely tall and slender, like me, good luck finding riding gear that doesn’t end up around your shins after getting on your bike.
There are plenty of pants out there with a 36″ waist and 32″ length. But just try and find a pair with the numbers reversed: 32″ waist and 36″ inseam! Anyway, so much for my soap-boxing.
There was one time awhile back on one of those really hot and humid days that I wore jeans instead of my leathers for about 10 minutes and was far more comfortable with the increased air flow through the pants, but I felt very vulnerable.
So when I heard about Draggin’ Jeans (from Fast Company) I was very interested in learning more. If I had my druthers, I’d look like an armadillo when riding with my full body armor, but it’s not always practical to wear all that stuff on every ride, so a balance has to be made.
Also, my wife rides with me occasionally and sometimes we like to look a little less conspicuous when we get to our destination. The Draggin’ Jeans fit that bill nicely. It’s hard to tell the difference between a pair of Draggin’ Jeans and regular street jeans even with the optional armor in place.
Draggin’ Jeans have a special DuPont Kevlar abrasion-resistant lining that runs across the seat and the knee area. The rear protection extends from the hip seams across and from the belt loop to down below the seat. The knees are protected with Kevlar from just above the knee to mid-shin. The jeans are machine washable.
Fast Company was founded by Hal Baxter, who was both a motorcycle and auto enthusiast. I’m sure a lot of you have seen the Draggin’ Jeans advertising photo of a guy being dragged behind a truck on his butt. That’s Baxter “putting his butt on the line”.
The story is that the idea for the jeans came to be after Baxter heard a comment made by a kid at an ice cream shop about Hal and his buddies looking like “clowns” because of all of their colorful leathers.
Baxter was formally educated as a textile engineer, so it was only natural for him to find a fabric-based solution. After some experimentation, he settled on the use of Kevlar reinforcing in the seating and knee areas. Hal applied and received a US Patent for the application of Kevlar in jeans, jackets and shirts.
Unfortunately, Hal left us on October 2, 2001 doing what he loved most, riding with his friends, but his legacy lives on.
Fast Company strives for continuous improvement by using both “real world” and formal laboratory testing. They can often be seen demonstrating the product with their now-famous “drag behind the pickup truck” at rallies and races.
My wife and I ordered the “Classic” jeans last September ($89.95 per pair) along with the optional CE-approved “Draggin’ Armor” for the knees ($22.95).The armor is made for the Fast Company in the UK by Knox, a world leader in body armor. My wife’s pair was delivered within a few days, but mine took a while longer because of the 36″ long inseam.
I have very long legs, so the ability to custom-order the 36″ length was another selling point for me.
It’s not apparent in the photos, but the denim used in Draggin’ Jeans is heavier than normal and the quality of the pants overall is excellent.
My wife’s pair fit nicely, but mine were a bit larger in the waist and hips then I expected.
We were so impressed with the quality that we immediately ordered another set with armor for our daughter and her fiancée as Christmas gifts. My daughter is slender also, and her pair was also slightly large in the waist and hips.
So how are they on the road? Much cooler than the leather over-pants that I’ve been wearing for the last 4 years. They feel nice and they look just like normal street pants once I remove my riding jacket. I do notice that the armor makes my knees get a little sweaty on hot days.
The armor is fastened to the inside of the knees with a hook-and-loop fastening system, and the armor contacts my knee. At first I thought this become an annoyance, but it hasn’t been a problem.
The rear of the pants can get warm, due to the extra layer of Kevlar, but lifting my rear off the saddle for a moment seems to cool things off. The jeans fit snugly over my tall touring style boots and they don’t up over the boot top. Hooray!
Draggin’ Jeans are a good alternative for motorcyclists who like to ride in jeans but are looking for something more substantive than the flimsy cotton street variety. They’re also a solution for those who don’t want to arrive at a destination in leather or obvious motorcycle gear but still want some basic protection.
From “R.” (April 2013): “Thank you very much for the great reviews – I never buy any riding gear or accessories without checking your website first.
A few months back I high sided mid corner on a diesel patch. I was doing about 60 kmh. I went over the bars and skid for 30-40 feet before hitting the rail.
My first contact with the asphalt was on my right knee and then my elbow. The knee and elbow protectors took the impact very well but what impressed me the most were my jeans! No scratches or road rash whatsoever and apart from a small tear over my right pocket where I was carrying my house Keys my pants were intact. It saved my hide literarily!!”
From “S.P.” (December 2011): “Upon receiving a pair of classic Draggin Jeans, I found them to be of good quality and workmanship. The fit was indeed classic without being either baggy or tight and fit my normal sized, albeit middle-aged bod well.
I also bought the knee and hip armor which seemed to also be of good quality. However, the method of using two short little one side pieces of Velcro strips to “attach” them to the inside Kevlar panels was an absolute joke!
The hook Velcro just doesn’t adhere to the Kevlar adequately. I could not get the pants on without knocking the armor pads out of place no matter how careful I was, let alone keeping them in place during a ride. This attachment method is utterly ridiculous!
This pant would be perfect if Draggin Jeans would have take the extra step and put in decent adjustable armor pockets. I recommend the jeans to others, but don’t recommend getting the armor. I just use my padded dirt bike riding shorts and knee pads like the Shift Enforcer Knee Guards (review) as reviewed by webBikeWorld.”
From “S.Q.”: “Great website – I subscribe to your XML feed and it’s a daily check for new content – the site is informative and well written.
I’m writing about the review of Draggin’ Jeans. I am finally getting back into motorcycling after a 3 year break – the wife made me sell my old Honda Shadow 600 when we found out we were having a baby, but finally relented this year and let me get a new bike.
My own personal feelings (having a little one at home) and a lot of what I read on your website has made me keenly aware of the need for good protective gear – I was always a full-face helmet/decent jacket/gloves wearer but also insisted on ‘lower level’ protection when I got the new bike.
Since the bike doesn’t really fit into the ‘leather’ crowd (it’s an excellent Yamaha FJR1300) I started looking around for alternatives, and ended up with a pair of the Draggin’ Jeans which you have reviewed and also a set of ICON Field Armor
Last Sunday I was out on a Poker Run from Cambridge Motorsports on the Eastern Shore (Editor’s Note: Maryland, U.S.A.) – a pretty decent run, the proceeds benefiting two 17-month old twin boys who are fighting a rare form of kidney cancer. The run started at the shop in Cambridge, winded it’s way through 80 miles of eastern shore back roads, and ended up with a party/BBQ/auction at the Cambridge Hyatt-Regency resort.
(lots of exposition to get to the point here…)
About the 3/4 point of the run my father and I were riding on our own – there was a group of Gold-Wingers ahead of us but we weren’t in any real hurry so we were just puttering along at our own pace, we came up to a ‘middle-of-nowhere’ intersection.
Since there was no traffic we weren’t planning to actually ‘stop’ at the intersection, just cruise on through. I clutched in, down shifted, and coasted up to the turn, checked for traffic, then leaned into the turn, let out the clutch and rolled on the throttle. Unfortunately for me when I down shifted I missed first and ended up in neutral. I was into the turn with too much lean and too little speed – when I realized the mistake I did the exact wrong thing and grabbed a handful of brake.
Can you guess what happened next?
Down went the FJR, and down I went. I ended up landing on both knees, skidding a little bit, and then rolling over to the left, smacking my forearm into the pavement before my head thumped onto the ground – thankfully on the grassy side of the road and not into the pavement.
I sat for just a second, made sure everything still moved correctly then got up and helped my dad get the FJR back upright.
I surveyed the damage – the bike is… better than it could be, nothing’s cracked, but the bodywork is scratched all to hell and gone. I then started looking over my gear – despite a hit and slide on pavement the jeans were perfectly fine – there’s a little rub on one of the knees, but the denim (which is really a let heavier than standard denim) held.
Of course my leather jacket and gloves survived intact, as did my helmet. Had it hit on the road rather than (relatively) soft ground I’m not so sure it would have, but there are no marks, and no deformation of the foam.
So that’s a little ‘real-world’ report on the Draggin’ Jeans – my get-off was at fairly low speed – I’d say no more than 15-20 MPH, but they did work as advertised, no tears in the fabric and no tears in my flesh.
I escaped the fall completely unscathed – everywhere my body hit I had not only decent gear, but also armor, and I can’t state enough how much I think that helped me – the first hit on my knees was brutal and without the armor there I think I would at the very least be nursing a very swollen and sore joint, if not a broken one. The same with the jacket (which is armored in the forearms, shoulders and across the back.
Thanks again for such a great website – it’s a lot of fun to read and a lot of information.”