Durable motorcycle jeans with some nice extra features but be careful choosing a size.
Motorcyclists have been wearing jeans long before any denim blues were designed specifically for riding.
The thought was that denim was tough and comfortable and in many job situations this held true.
However, it didn’t take long for riders to discover that those tough denim jeans had no real fight in them when it came to sliding on asphalt.
In fact, denim will fail quite swiftly in those circumstances, leaving nothing between one’s skin and the street.
It’s odd though that so many people today still ride in regular jeans, knowing full well that a slide could do serious damage to their hide. Thankfully there are many choices available now in motorcycle-specific jeans that offer good, if not excellent, protection for the wearer (see the webBikeWorld motorcycle jeans reviews).
In most cases these motorcycle jeans have portions of the interior lined with high-durability fabric, leather, or even steel reinforced threads. In this review we’ll be taking a look at the Sliders 4.0 Motorcycle Riding jeans, which apparently used some type of Aramid fiber for reinforcement but also have a couple of extra tricks up their sleeves — or legs, rather.
The Sliders brand is sold exclusively through Competition Accessories (a webBikeWorld affiliate) and is their “house” brand of riding apparel. The 4.0 designation refers to the fourth iteration of this particular item in the Sliders lineup, so Sliders has spent some time and effort updating and improving these jeans since their introduction.
The Sliders 4.0 Motorcycle Riding jeans are available in both blue and black colors and at first glance, they don’t appear that different from your average pair of street jeans. This makes them well-suited to the rider who wants protection on the bike but still wants to be able to move around comfortably when walking or other activities when not riding.
Like most jeans, these fasten with a zipper and a button for the front closure and there are a total of five pockets, including a small coin pocket in the right front pocket. These small coin pockets often make the perfect place to stow a motorcycle key..and I guess some coins also.
UPDATE (February 2014): The gloves do use DuPont brand Kevlar in the construction as the “aramid fibers”, according to Competition Accessories, who has the gloves manufactured under the Sliders brand name.
The Sliders 4.0 Motorcycle Riding jeans are noticeably heavier than the average pair of jeans and it is evident right out of the package these are purpose-built.
The visible stitching on the outside of the jeans is tight and consistent and is copper in color. There is little branding displayed, save for the leather patch along the belt loop area over the right rear hip area. The zipper (unbranded) is metal and operates smoothly enough, although a name brand like YKK might work a bit smoother.
In a step away from regular jean construction, the main seams on the outside facing side of each leg are hidden, rather than exposed. A look inside the leg reveals that the edges of the denim outer shell are sewn in together with the aramid fiber and mesh linings. The unexposed stitching means less chance of it catching and tearing in the event of slide; a nice safety and durability feature for sure.
Speaking of the lining, there is a large swath of the aramid fabric covering the seat area while a separate patch is located on the front of each leg running from just over the knee to nearly the bottom of the shin. Dark thread is used to stich the bottom and top of the front panels and can be seen from the outside. The dark thread makes it a bit less noticeable but also helps give a clue to where exactly the aramid begins and ends.
Running from the waist nearly all the way down to the ankle, just past the Kevlar, is a nylon mesh lining. This lining keeps the aramid out of direct contact with the skin but also hold another safety feature.
Within the lining is a pocket for optional CE knee armor. The height of the armor is adjustable using three different hook and loop fastener closures at the top and bottom of the pocket. The optional armor pockets are a nice touch that is sometimes overlooked in other motorcycle jeans, but at the same time I’m not sure how effective armor placed in these pockets would be. Due to the relaxed fit of these jeans, it would seem that the knee armor could easily move out of position in the event of an impact.
On the other hand (or leg rather), the openings at the bottom of the legs are a wide 19-3/4″ (50 cm) which make it easy to slip an MX style knee/shin guard of the type I’ve reviewed here before. I think in many cases when wearing motorcycle jeans, mesh pants, and even some textile pants, wearing an inexpensive pair of MX style protectors provide much better impact protection than the built in knee armor. In the case of these jeans, the large leg opening makes it easy enough to remove the armor when arriving at your destination.
First off, the Sliders 4.0 Motorcycle Riding jeans run a bit larger than their labeled size and the Competition Accessories site does point this out in their product details.
In the case of the size 36 waist by 30 length for this review, the actual measured waist turned out to be right at 38 inches. The inseam measures at exactly the labeled 30 inches, but they still fell a bit long, due to the relatively high-waisted design of the jeans.
I ran into the same issue with the recently reviewed Sliders 4.0 Cargo pants (review). It’s not really something that is incorrect, but rather a matter of personal taste. If I were to wear these jeans higher up on the waist the length wouldn’t be a problem for me, so this should be kept in mind when ordering.
It should be noted that since the aramid liners end several inches before the end of the legs and there are no zippers or other types of fasteners along the bottom of the legs, it would be easy enough to have the pants length hemmed to provide a custom fit.
Despite the sizing issues, the Sliders 4.0 Motorcycle Riding jeans are very comfortable to wear for motorcycle riding or otherwise.
The mesh lining really makes the jeans feel good against the skin and also help improve airflow between the aramid lining and skin. This is helpful in warmer temperatures where the extra protective layers can get the knees feeling a bit warm. The denim construction breathes well (as denim does) so these jeans would be best used in moderate climates if being worn without an additional base layer beneath them for warmth.
Overall, the Sliders 4.0 Motorcycle Riding jeans are as comfortable as any other non-motorcycle designed jeans I’ve worn; perhaps even a bit more so. The denim is soft and doesn’t need any breaking-in to feel comfortable.
The weight of these pants is one thing that will be a noticeable difference though from regular jeans; doubly so when the waist is a couple of inches too big. The pants reviewed here weighed in at 2 lbs. 7 oz., compared to a pair of Nautica street jeans I grabbed from the closet that are 13 oz. lighter. It’s still a small price to pay for the added layers of protection — as long as you wear a belt.
The Sliders 4.0 Motorcycle Riding jeans overall are a very good value at $79.99. While perhaps not as protective as leather or some technical pants, the abrasion resistance should prove to be very good.
The inclusion of pockets for knee armor is a nice touch, but adding a pair of MX-style knee protection is an easy and inexpensive upgrade.
The jeans are surprising comfortable considering all of the seams and extra layers of protection inside, thanks in large part to the mesh lining. The extra layers also make well suited to cooler days versus regular jeans but may get a bit warm in the summer.
With the various materials used in the construction, the Sliders jeans are rather easy to take care of, as machine washing and tumble drying (on low) is recommended.
The only nits I have to pick would be the sizing; the sizes should be more accurately listed. Even though the sizing issue is clearly mentioned in the product description, it still shows that the difference between labeled and actual sizes can vary over the range. Also, I’d like to have pockets for hip armor included, which would help round out the impact protection capabilities of these jeans.
From “G.W.” (April 2014): “Unless Sliders goal was to make a pair of motorcycle pants you could put on while wearing your boots and then slide down your (butt) to accentuate your plumber’s cleavage, they got the proportions all wrong. It’s not that they are the wrong size. It’s that things are not in proportion to one another.
Take for example the leg circumference, top to bottom, it is ~26 inches in a pant with a ~34 inch waist size and there was not enough of a rise to have them sit properly on my hips. Also the waist size was 1.5 inches larger than indicated. I’m a pretty normally proportioned 6 ft./180 lb. guy, but I think the mannequin the designer used had a disfigurement.”
From “K.H.” (June 2013): “I liked my first pair of 4.0’s so much, I just bought a second pair! A definite improvement on v.3.0 iteration. The extremely short rise, lack of knee protection and interior lining, as well as, the cheapo plastic waist button are now gone.
The baggy, oversized fit and lack of hip protection (std or optional) and rear pants-to-jacket zipper issues are still with us.
While the optional CE-approved knee armour is a most welcome addition, I question its efficacy during a frontal crash or slide due to the extremely relaxed fit. Yes, I could have gone down a size, but I’m not comfortable with a snug waist fit and additionally, I’m high-waisted (6’0″, 38’ W- 32” L), which causes the jeans to rest below my natural waist.
Due to the very short-rise and leg length when in the riding position with my old v3.0 Sliders 38W/32L jeans, I bought the 4.0 jeans in 38/34 in an attempt to gain more rise and full leg coverage. This size puts the armour (when utilizing the highest of the three lining armour pockets) in the perfect position over the center of my knee caps, as well as allowing for full leg/boot coverage when in the riding position.
When I’m standing, however, the sagging due to the oversize fit and still slightly short rise (for me at least) compounded with the extra inseam length results in the armour sinking below the optimal knee position. Unfortunately for me, there is no “perfect” solution.
Shorter leg lengths (i.e., 32’) put me back nearly where I was with the 3.0 version: a low-rise waist and “floods” for pant legs. Perhaps a Tall or Long-Rise version (a la Eddie Bauer, LL Bean, etc.) would help?
Despite this, they are comfortable with or without the knee armour, and the lining and extra-heavy weight denim/aramid fiber construction is appreciated, even on hot days. The extra insulation from the bike’s hot parts makes up for the diminished airflow through the jeans, at least compared with regular non-riding-specific jeans.
The extra-heavy construction helps to keep you from losing too much hydration due to sweating and evaporation, but I wouldn’t want these to get wet in a rain shower!
For serious riding, the added features and protection of costlier and more purpose-built textile and/or leather riding pants are superior, until you have to wear them to walk around in at your destination. For those times when jeans are a less conspicuous “fashion” choice, Sliders 4.0 are certainly superior to regular jeans.
Now if they would address the remaining issues, they’d be nearly ideal.! Do I hear a Sliders v.5.0 coming?”
From “D.G.” (May 2013): “I lowsided at about 40 MPH a few years back while wearing Shift Torque jeans and was impressed with the protection they provided me when I slid down on the blacktop on my backside. While the jeans were shredded into several strips, the aramid sections help up. The only rash I received was on a 2″ by 2″ section where my left front pocket once resided.
When I later went to the hospital to address my broken thumb, the nurse said my abrasion was very minor and thus I didn’t have to face the dreaded wire brush. Since motorcycle jeans provide no padding, I did have a rather colorful left thigh for the following week and walked with a pronounced limp. Thor knee guards and proper footwear saved the lower half of my legs from any discomfort.
Due to my experience I believe that motorcycle jeans with lots of aramid fiber provide sufficient abrasion protection for speeds up to 40 mph, and it is foolish not to wear impact protection under them.”
From “B.Z.” (April 2013): “Maybe it’s just me but I wouldn’t want to crash wearing the latest reviewed (4.0) Jeans. They look way too baggy and therefore, if they did have armor, it would simply roll away from the parts needing protection. They might offer some minor abrasion protection but that’s about it.
Your idea to add MX style knee/shin guards is a good one but after spending the money to buy the jeans and then the suggested (MX) armor, you might as well buy some real riding apparel like leathers or something (Kevlar) from the good folks at Motoport. This is, of course, just my opinion.”