The TKD in TKD Jeans stands for Tough Kevlar Denim. These pants are handmade in Australia and feature the world’s first Removable Protection System (RPS) for denim jeans. How do they compare with other riding jeans that are on the market? Exceptionally well.
Let me preface this review by stating that I own and wear at least a half-dozen pairs of jeans that have been specifically designed for motorcycle riding. I’ve only crash tested one brand, but a 55 mph slide down the highway has made me a believer in Kevlar. The heavy denim shredded, but the Kevlar retained its structural integrity. However, I was fortunate—my contact points with the abrasive asphalt were on the reinforced panel linings in the jeans. What if other areas had come in contact with the pavement? Any protection is better than none, but my preference is a full Kevlar lining. One more thing: I was wearing CE-approved foam armor over my kneecap when I touched down. Without the armor the impact would, at the very least, have caused me to limp for a couple of weeks.
TKD Jeans first caught my attention because they have a full, removable Kevlar liner with pockets into which optional armor can be inserted. This liner will also fit into any of their jeans of the same size.
The company offers six jean styles for men and five for women. Women’s styles differ from men’s and are not simply resized male versions. The denim comes in blue, gray and black, and with a variety of different surface treatments including include brush and grind, brush and spray, enzyme blast, silicon, bleach and raw. No other company offers riding jeans in so many fashionable styles and finishes. I tested the “Franky” in relaxed blue with an enzyme wash, and a “Benji” boot-cut style in light black with a brush and grind finish.
The entire liner is made from two pieces of Kevlar fabric with the leg seams positioned on the inside to provide exceptional structural integrity. All the stitching is of top quality. The K.P.S. liner also has pockets for hip pads and the knees have double pockets to accommodate two different sizes of armor or slightly different positioning. With the hip armor in place, the fit is rather snug in one pair of jeans and quite comfortable in the other, but the knee armor is hardly noticeable. To be fair, it should be stated that I’m not using armor supplied from the company, but CE foam pads that I already own.
The KPS liner quickly zips into (or out of) the waist of the jeans. The cuffs are not secured, so when taking off the jeans I’ve learned to grasp the bottom of the leg and pull. It’s actually a minor issue. With the TDKs I merely remove the liner at the end of a ride, put the jeans back on and head to a restaurant or go out for a stroll. This isn’t possible with any other brand of riding jeans.
I have a single liner and two different styles of jeans. When touring for a couple of weeks, packing two pairs of jeans—but only one liner—allows me flexibility for both street wear and riding gear. There’s no escaping the fact that lined jeans are warmer than unlined denim, which is a good thing at the beginning and ending of the riding season, but less so during the summer.
These are premium jeans and cost more than most of the competition. At this time they are available only from Australian retailers, although delivery is almost as quick as most U.S. mail-order companies. Still, a product this good isn’t going to stay Down Under for long.