I’m a blue-jeans-and-T-shirt guy, and that apparel suits me just fine on most rides, too. I’ll drape a textile or leather jacket over the T-shirt, but the blue jeans are usually left bare to the elements. And there’s the rub—cotton denim doesn’t offer much protection in terms of asphalt burns or piercing cold. Time to bolster the defense with Diamond Gusset’s Defender jeans, which have Kevlar-reinforcement woven into the knees, hips and seat. The obvious benefit is an extra layer of fabric—in this case, Kevlar, the same stuff used for bulletproof vests and such—to help prevent or minimize injury in the event of a fall.
But the Defenders offer more than just additional protection against road rash. They’re also comfortable, and some extra features make them user-friendly for rides. Start with the patented crotch design, a diamond-shaped piece of material sewn into the crotch for a looser, more comfortable fit by allowing stress to be redistributed around the crotch area for freer movement. For lack of a better description, it’s a guy thing, and we’ll leave it at that.
As for convenient features, the Defenders have a handy pouch pocket on the right leg that’s suitable for a small cell phone. A Velcro patch cinches it shut, although I was able to shake my phone out (simulating a tumble), so I used that extra space for holding my earplugs, Chapstick and chewing gum. A steel ring above this pocket works fine for key fobs or chain wallets, and there’s key pocket on the left side. The normal array of four pockets you expect on jeans like these are also included. And at the base of the pant cuffs you’ll find two more Velcro straps, handy for cinching the bottoms of the pant legs to seal out invading cold air.
Diamond Gusset jeans are available in a variety of conventional as well as Kevlar-reinforced styles; the Defenders come in pre-wash blue or standard black, in waist sizes 29-44 (a super-size 46-60 is also available) and 29-36 length. The Defenders retail for $115.95, which isn’t a bad price for the style, comfort and extra protection they offer. –Dain Gingerelli