This week we’re launching a very, very exciting new product.
It’s the world’s very first Level 2 certified denim jean, from which one has to conclude that it’s simply the best motorcycle jean in the world.
It’s been produced by a company called Bull-it, which has developed a special lining that is incredibly soft to the touch, but which has amazing abrasion, tear and cut resistance properties.
We first came across these guys at a motorcycle trade show in the US more than a year ago, and we were blown away by what they told about their amazing knitted material called Covec.
Covec can be applied in a number of ways, to provide different levels of protection, at different price points.
In truth, whilst all the applications were impressive, we pushed Bull-it hard to create a Level 2 denim motorcycle jean.
We knew that, if they succeeded, they would have the best, most protective jean in the world.
Well, it’s been a long journey, but recently we (or rather they) got there.
The new denim jean, called the Voloce, passed all the necessary EN13595 tests quite a while ago, but it has taken ages to get it all rubber stamped, and to get the final certificate into our hands.
Last week, we received it. At last, confirmation that this is the world’s most protective jean.
The next most protective denim trouser at this point in time comes from Draggin, but that pair only meets the lower Level 1 standard, so what the guys from Bull-it have achieved at their first attempt is pretty darned impressive.
To meet the designated EN standard, there are three tests; one is for burst strength, one for tear and cut resistance, and one for abrasion resistance.
It is the latter test that, at times, seems most relevant to motorcyclists. After all, when you’re sliding down the road on your rear end, you really want to increase the likelihood that it’s your pant that is being worn away and not your arse.
Well, on the standard abrasion test, which involves a sample of the material being lowered at pressure onto a rolling band of an abrasive material that’s a bit like sandpaper, a normal pair of jeans will barely last a second.
A standard pair of leather jeans will last around four seconds. To meet the highest Level 2 standard, a material has to hold out for at least seven seconds.
The Voloce jean lasts for 7.92 seconds!
Let’s put this into context. We know of only three textile pants that pass at Level 2. One comes from Rukka, one from Halvarssons, and one from Clover.
And some of these trousers are, quite frankly, grotesquely uncomfortable to wear and walk around in.
Out of interest, we know of not a single leather trouser that passes the test.
By contrast, the Voloce is supremely comfortable to wear. Okay, so they’re heavier than a standard pair of 501s, but you could still wear them all day long.
But the Voloces have more than their strength going for them, and that’s because they don’t suffer the weaknesses that are inherent in many other so-called protective riding jeans.
You may have heard, for example, of Dyneema, a material that acts as the protective liner in quite a few motorcycle trousers. Dyneema is classified as a high-performance polyethylene (HPPE), and it is marketed as the world’s strongest fibre.
It is indeed very strong, but HPPEs are also highly efficient conductors of heat. Unfortunately, this means that if you’re sliding down the road at speed, the material can get extremely hot and the fabric can literally melt into your skin. Even if the road never makes it through to your legs and bum, there’s still a chance that you could suffer severe burns.
Aramids of various sorts are also used in many brands of protective jeans. Aramids do not generate heat in the same way as HPPEs, but they do deteriorate with moisture. So, if you ride in the rain, or wash your jeans quite frequently, you can quickly find that the original levels of protection are greatly diminished.
Without going into the chemistry of Covec, the material in the Voloce jean, the fact is that it does not conduct heat in the way that HPPEs do, and doesn’t deteriorate in moisture like an aramid.
So, there you have it.
These Voloce jeans really are something special.
We often, in fact we usually, treat the claims of motorcycling clothing manufacturers with a pinch of salt.
Many of them bend the truth, or tell only half the story. They quote statistics exclusively to their own advantage, and frequently use the legislation to obscure rather than illuminate.
To this end, we gave the folk at Bull-it a very hard time. We repeatedly put them into a corner, demanding plain English answers to penetrating and difficult questions.
And we simply refused to make any claims about these jeans in our marketing until we had the definitive, endorsed Level 2 certificate in our hands.
It cost those guys a huge amount of money and time to get there, but they came through with flying colours.
Nobody is pulling the wool over anybody’s eyes here. These jeans really are as good and as protective as we say.
They’ll protect you better than a leather trouser and are better than just about any textile pant you’ll ever find, whatever they’re lined with.
The next best jean you can buy meets only the inferior Level 1 safety standard.
We think these new Voloce jeans are pretty revolutionary, and certainly they’re what we at Motolegends will all be wearing on any short distance, fair weather rides this summer.
But let’s not get too carried away.
These jeans are quite brilliant. They represent a sea-change in the motorcycle clothing market, but we still wouldn’t go touring in a pair.
The fact is that the Voloce is still a denim pant. They’re comfortable, easy to wear and look cool in a way that only a pair of jeans can. Think Brando. Think Dean. Think McQueen. And so on.
But you wouldn’t want to wear a pair in the rain because they’re not waterproof. And they’re not windproof. And although the knitted lining will keep you warmer than a normal pair of jeans will, they won’t pass muster when it gets really cold.
So don’t throw out your other biking pants just yet.
If I was straying far from home, I would still want an all singing and dancing trouser from Spidi, Halvarssons, Rukka or Furygan. There’s simply no beating a technical trouser when the going gets tough.
But with the Voloce, the denim jean has now become a truly legitimate piece of motorcycle protective wear.
Every biker should have a pair. In fact, more specifically, every biker should have a pair of Voloces.
For all the details, click here, and get an order in.