The KLIM K Fifty 2 riding jeans are the second iteration of KLIM’s K Fifty 1 version incorporating Kevlar in all impact and sliding zones. Manufactured with seams like traditional Levi or Wrangler jeans they appear as ‘non riding’ jeans can be yet offering Level 1 D30 armor at the hips, knees and a PORON® XRD® TAILBONE PAD. Keep in mind that all KLIM K Fifty and Forty jeans of any version are designed to feel and look like regular jeans. So there are no reflective panels or waterproofing on any of their jean models.
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Appearance as normal jeans (meaning no reflective materials…)
Kevlar panels at knees and hips
CE Level 1 Protection employing D30 Armor at knees and hips
KLIM is well-known amongst motorcyclists for being a technical apparel brand that strives for quality and high-performance in all their products. Sourcing their raw materials from around the world, they rely on a few highly specialized locations around the world for their specialized manufacturing.
KLIM takes great care when selecting the factories that produce their gear, and their reputation in the powersports industry generally reflects this commitment. So when I got an opportunity to review their K Fifty 2 Pants for webBikeWorld, I was immediately interested.
Klim K Fifty 2 Pants Full Specs
STRAIGHT LEG FIT
HEAVY-DUTY DENIM RIDING JEAN
CORDURA® DENIM – NYLON COTTON BLEND
D30® EVO KNEE AND HIP ARMOR
STONE WASHED FINISH WITH WHISKER TREATMENT
ADJUSTABLE KNEE PAD POCKET
REINFORCED INTERIOR KEVLAR® PANELS
PORON® XRD® TAILBONE PAD
CE AA RATING CERTIFIED TO EN 17092-3
A Note about Protection
“Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth” – Charles Hunter
Now why in the world would I start this review with that famous saying, which is so often mistakenly attributed to Mike Tyson? Well, first of all, that’s something we’d all expect Iron Mike to say. But the metaphor is really about the fact that no motorcycle rider likes to think they will crash; crashing is for others. Heck, each of us believes we have the skills to avoid crashing a motorcycle, and that those who get into one are just… sissies, or stupid, or newbies—perhaps a combo of all. Only losers crash, right?
So we trundle along, riding in our Levi 501s, Wranglers, or the like. Happy to have a plan and the skills…. until we don’t. And of course, it’s never your fault. Nursing road rash on your lower body is akin to getting a horrible sunburn on your lily-white ass and your walnuts when you decided to fall asleep on your stomach on that nude beach with your hot girlfriend after a day of water skiing. Caramelized nuts are great on desserts, but not on guys. Not that I would know firsthand.
As a former racer, however, I can say that I have never had any road rash from crashing while racing. High sided at 140, low sided at 90, and again at 102. Nothing. Leathers saved me.
But one year, as I was riding my effing Zooter push scooter in downtown San Francisco, I hit some gravel on the sidewalk, and BAM! Down I went. My Levi’s 505s didn’t do squat at 12 MPH and I got road (or rather, sidewalk) rash on my knees and hips. It took four weeks for the scabs to fall off.
To Pant or Not to Pant
Most of us purchase cool jackets because we instinctively know that if we fall, our elbows, shoulders and back stand a good chance of asphalt sunburn. Most guys love jackets too, riding or not. But many forgo pants simply because—well, I’m not sure why.
Motorcycle jackets look cool (mostly) BUT riding pants can look dorky, so many of us just don’t bother. Yet my little scooter accident gave me a lesson. I found that Levi’s were about as abrasion-protective as wet toilet paper on gravel.
So began the normal Google/YouTube search for riding pants, preferably motorcycle riding jeans that offered more protection than single layer jeans. The issue, in this day and age of online shopping, is that it’s darn difficult to try pants on. Most shops don’t carry riding pants in many sizes or brands.
So I followed the size measurements on KLIM’s website and ordered a pair of K Fifty 2 jeans in black. I’m 5’8” and weigh 175lbs. I normally wear a size 34 waist and 30 inseam. When I ordered that size I found the waist to be too tight. KLIM didn’t offer a short length at the time in their K Fifty line, so I ordered a size 36 regular. Those fit well, and I removed all of the armor and washed the jeans.
First Impressions of the KLIM K Fifty 2 Pants
I wanted to see just how close in terms of comfort the KLIM’s felt in comparison to my 505’s, so once they came out of the dryer, I tried them on (sans any included armor). What I found so remarkable is that the pants felt incredibly comfortable. They are lined with a nylon mesh, which makes the Kevlar lining on the butt, hips and knees unnoticeable. The cut of the KLIM’s are the same as my 501’s straight legs—no flare toward the hem.
Outer Construction for KLIM K Fifty 2 Pants
The KLIM’s have a traditional five pocket design: two hip pockets, two side hand pockets, and on the right side, the typical watch pocket. It is about twice as large in both width and depth than the Levi’s watch pocket.
All rivets are covered in a material that feels like plastic or rubber to prevent scratching of your gas tank. I did notice that some of that coating began to wear off of the pants main button clasp after washing.
How the KLIM K Fifty 2 Pants Fit on a Person
The belt is not included with the K Fifty 2’s but I’m using one here for my model, Bear. He’s 5’11” and 180 lbs. I asked him to ‘model’ but assured him that he would not be recruited by the Ford Modeling Agency.
Keep in mind that the K Fifty 2’s are like normal jeans, meaning there are no velcro straps, no elastic waistband thingies, not waterproof—nothing fancy; they’re just like jeans. And that (for me, anyway) is part of the appeal; they’re simple, yet with the protection I describe further on.
Because KLIM doesn’t offer the K Fifty 2’s in various length sizes, and I have a 30 inch inseam, I roll up the hems. In the 60s, we all wore white JCPenny’s tshirts, Levi 501’s and Keds shoes with the pants rolled up with a cuff. THAT was cool back then, so I’m still fine ‘looking cool’ albeit decades later! But fashion is cyclical, isn’t it?
Anyway, if you’re seeking all of those other fancy elements, then it’s best to look toward another type of riding pants. But if you’re looking for a pair of jeans THAT LOOK LIKE JEANS yet offer way more protection than your single layer Levi’s, read on.
The KLIM K Fifty 2s fit as Levi 501s would fit a normal person, and look just like regular jeans as well.
Here are the specifications listed on the interior labels:
I did NOT ‘hang dry then tumble dry warm.’ I just threw them in the dryer normally after they came out of the wash. Of course, I removed all of the armor before washing/drying. The pants came out fine. I’m a guy who doesn’t read instructions much. My take on laundry is that everything gets the same treatment.
KLIM K Fifty 2 Pants Protection
As I began to reinstall the armor, I started first with the knee armor. All but the tail bone armor is D30, which is rated as Level 1 armor. The knee D30 has two circular Velcro patches—one at the top of the piece, one at the bottom. This allows you to place the knee armor further up or down into the mesh pocket to adjust for individual body types.
I found that the armor best suited me by placing it high into the pocket, closer to my thigh rather than my shin. From crashing experience I’ve noted that as my leg hits the pavement, the armor is forced upward so having the top of the armor at my knee cap offers me the most protection. There will of course be lateral movement upon impact, but the knee armor is wide enough that I believe it will compensate enough for lateral motion.
As you can see from the photo, there is about 4.5” of adjustment available for the knee armor’s vertical placement and about 2” side to side.
The hip armor is also D30, but has much less adjustment than the knee armor. Like the knee armor, there are two Velcro patches, which hold the armor in place within the pocket. The armor located at the hips is almost unnoticeable when wearing the KLIMs. I can feel the knee armor as I walk but not the hip armor.
I mentioned earlier that the pants are reinforced with Kevlar in the knees, hips, and buttock areas. Obviously, this is there in the event of a slide. It is very apparent in the photos where I have turned the pants inside out to show the armor and Kevlar panel placement. Any area that is yellow is where the Kevlar lining is placed.
Because of the mesh lining, I never felt the difference in fabrics—and at first, I thought the jeans would be overly hot. Yes, they are warmer than 501s or 505s, but not by much. And the lining didn’t ‘stick’ to my skin on a hot day.
A really nice touch on the KLIMs is the inclusion of tailbone armor. Poron XRDA is the armor used in the tailbone area. There is no adjustment for placement, but in reality there doesn’t need to be any if you pick the right pant size.
KLIM K Fifty 2 Pants Comfort
Off the Bike
What is remarkable about these pants is their comfort. In addition to appearing as normal jeans, they feel like normal jeans just walking around. The only way I can tell that I’m wearing the KLIM K Fifty 2s is the knee armor as I walk. I can feel it as I stride or sit. But other than that NOTHING; nada—I’m just wearing jeans.
On the Bike
As with being off of the bike, being on the bike is the same; comfortable. One thing that does give me reassurance is feeling the knee armor as I sit. There is no bunching behind the knees; no binding of any kind anywhere. But the ‘feel’ of the knee armor gives me a good feeling—one that lets me know if I go down, I have lower body protection, even though my comfort level is the same as it is when I’m wearing 501’s.
As a racetrack instructor, students would sometimes ask, “Mark, do we really need to wear our back protectors today? Man, it’s 117° and the track temp must be around 140°. Can we just not wear back protectors today? We will be safe.”
My response: “Hey, our policy is you only need to wear any protection when you know you’re gonna crash. So if you know you’re not gonna crash, ride naked for all I care. And let your girlfriend know that you promise you won’t get her pregnant just this one time without protection.”
I also told students “Tell me about your accident and I will tell you why it was your fault.” The only exception would be being T-boned while traveling through a green light that has been green for over 5 seconds when someone runs the red. Still, you need to ride like they’re TRYING to hit you all of the time in traffic.
Because I have not crashed in the KLIM K Fifty 2s, I cannot attest firsthand to their level of protection. I’m a big believer in firsthand knowledge. BUT I will say, having crashed on the track in full custom made leathers and never suffered any road rash or broken bones, that what the jeans offer in design and materials gives me confidence that my level of injury would be much less than in other riding pants I’ve worn over the years.
Remember that riding leathers (at least those that are custom made) fit TIGHT around joints and body parts to prevent acceleration between the materials and the pavement upon impact and sliding. That level of fit is not practical in off-the-shelf safety wear. Plus, the level of discomfort wouldn’t be acceptable to most.
We all have egos, some bigger than others. For those of us ‘losers’ who have crashed, we KNOW the value of good gear and riding AGATT. If what we buy to wear is not comfortable, we tend to not wear it. But if it looks cool, is comfortable, and protects you, then we do.
So to go back to the beginning, I have been hit in the mouth (a few times). And what I thought I’d do that first time went out the window. But having experienced what can and does happen in a fight with the ground, I leave my ego at home and wear what I feel protects me in a pavement fight. Up to you, though. For me, the KLIM Fifty 2’s are dope.