Now that they’ve become a thing, I have a pretty decent stack of “riding jeans” on the shelf. But when these Trilobites flew in over the transom the other day, I seem to have forsaken all others. It was really easy to find photos of them on MO, since they’re the only pants I’ve worn in about the last six months of road tests. Just like with a good helmet, fit is key, and the stretchy-feely Trilobites hug my curves just right. Do not body shame me.
They’re made from medium-weight, 11.5-ounce elastic denim that’s 98% cotton and 2% elastane, which provides softness and stretchiness (if you haven’t got your first stretchy jeans yet, consider moving into the 21st century). In addition to the natural stretchiness of the denim, the Trilobites feature something none of my other riding jeans do: Ergonomically shaped accordion stretch panels in crotch, knees, and back of the waist make them even more flexible. That makes it not only really easy to climb on and off your bike, but also really comfortable to sit on it and move around as needed. Your legs are flexi/stretchy the same way they are in a nice set of expensive Italian racing leathers. You could do light roadside yoga in these.
You’re not getting the same level of protection you would in leathers of course, but no doubt you’re getting quite a bit more safety than the typical pair of non-riding jeans. Like most, these have an additional layer of fabric in the butt, hips and knees, in the form of DuPont aramid fibers made with Kevlar. Knock on wood, I’ve never tested this stuff, but it’s claimed to offer great abrasion resistance – and if you’re riding through Hell and crash at speed, or re-entering earth orbit, a claimed melting point of 450 degrees Celsius should be enough.
I’ve never understood why they don’t put the Kevlar along the outer legs, which is where I always seem to fall. I guess that would make assembly more difficult, since every pair of pants I’ve ever seen has a seam there. As things stand, if you fall straight off the back of your motorcycle and land on your butt, or directly onto your knees, you should be good. Overall construction seems really robust, with all important seams double- and top-stitched. After wearing these a lot, I have zero loose threads or failures of any kind.
Like most riding jeans, you also get closed-cell foam pads in the knees and hips: These are CE2 three-layer jobs, light and flexible, that drop into pockets sewn into the jeans.
A strip of Velcro sewn vertically into the knees lets you adjust the height of the knee pads to fit your body, as well as a little lateral adjustability. Even with the pads as far to the outward portion of their pockets as possible, though, mine still cheat to the insides of my knees, which is opposite of where I’d want the pad to be in case of a crash. If you’re lucky they’ll protect your knees in the event of a get-off; if you’re not, the knee pads are at least excellent for kneeling at the side of the road to plug a tire or whatever.
Another nice feature is the YKK brass-zippered vent that runs about 7 inches along each thigh; it does a nice job letting air vent out from your legs on hot days. The main zipper’s also a nice brass one, with a Trilobite embossed button at the top of the fly. Classy, bro.
The stretchy crotch material is nice and breathable also, and provides plenty of room to expand southward for those hung like LBJ. For those not hung, they’re also available in ladies’ sizes.
In summation, I can’t conjecture if these Trilobites are going to be any more protective than the competition, but I do know I love the way they fit better than all the competition I’ve worn so far. They don’t look like leggings off the bike, but the fact that they’re cut – with the accordion panels and stretchy crotch – pretty much like the lower half of a nice set of racing leathers – really makes me feel more comfortable and secure when I’m riding. Furthermore, the belt loops are set an inch down from the top of the waistline. With a belt on, that and the rear accordion panel keeps drafts out of your man cave.
Parado 661 jeans are made in the Czech Republic, and CE and TÜV certified, in a bunch of sizes for men and women. My 34 seems true to size, and each waist size is available in Regular, Short and Tall inseams. Rolling up my Regulars an inch at the cuffs is just right for my 30-inch inseam. Good stuff, really, and Trilobite makes a bunch of other jeans and riding gear as well.
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