Date reviewed: April 2018| Tested by: John Milbank | Price: £152.99 | www.hoodjeans.co.uk
I’ve been using para-aramid-lined protective Hood jeans for about four years, ever since I was lucky enough to meet the couple who make them – Chris and Julie Easterford. Passionate about producing motorcycle denim that strikes the right balance between protection and wearability, they’ve developed their products over the years, and have now launched the K7 Infinity, which is one of the first pairs of jeans to be approved to the latest CE safety standards.
I’ve had these jeans on test for two months now, riding in them in the UK and Europe on a variety of machines, and wearing them while off the bike in temperatures up to 26°C.
The Hood K7s are among the first bike kit to be approved to the new CE standards
Hood jeans are made to suit various waist sizes, but every pair sold is adjusted in-house for leg length, to ensure they’re the best possible fit, before being shipped from the Norfolk base. I wore my previous pair (the older model K7) on and off the bike all day, many times, including walking around London. They’re almost as comfortable off the bike as they are on, and have the advantage of very easily adjusted armour.
Using a long, tough Velcro strip the knee armour is easy to tweak for position to suit your riding. As with any biking jeans, it’s a fine line to find the balance between the perfect location to cover your knees when riding, and not having the armour press just below your knee cap when walking, but spend a few minutes when you first get the jeans to find the optimum position.
The para-aramid protective lining covers almost the entire jean
Protection and CE certification
The K7s are approved to the AA rating of prEN 17092 – AAA is the highest, but interestingly, all that would need to be changed for these jeans to meet the top level is to have the para-aramid lining covering the front of the groin area and the bottoms of the legs (it already runs down to where the tops of your boots would likely be). Chris and Julie made a conscious decision to keep this model slightly lighter and more comfortable for use off the bike and in hot weather, hence the reduced coverage in the less critical areas.
D3O T5 Evo X armour, which is certified to EN1621-1 Level 1, is fitted to the knees and hips; it’s pliable and comfortable, offering good protection without adding too much bulk.
The stitching is extremely high quality, doubled up in critical areas for burst resistance. Where rivets are used in the construction, they’re flat, to avoid damaging your bike’s paintwork.
From April 21 2018, all motorcycle clothing sold in the UK is deemed to be Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). To meet this legislation, it must be tested to a recognised standard. For more information on the new laws, click here.
The pockets are lined with denim, so will last far better than linen-lined ones
Hood has always designed its jeans to have a traditional Western style, so the five pockets (two at the front, two at the back and a small coin pocket) are spacious and well positioned.
Unusually, the high quality denim of the main jean construction is also used inside the pocket, so you don’t get a lightweight linen interior that soon wears through and dumps your coins on the floor.
The stirrups are required for CE approval, but can be easily removed if you want
The jeans have a button fastening at the waist and a YKK zip fly. The belt loops are well positioned, avoiding your belt pulling up over the top when sitting over a bike.
To meet CE approval, there are fabric ‘stirrups’ attached to the bottom of each leg, which don’t feel uncomfortable if worn inside your boot; ideally though, they're designed to go around the boot, in front of the heel. In a crash, these would stop the leg riding up, but I must admit I’ve cut them off my jeans. Many users will do this, as the shape of the K7s makes them less prone to movement that boot-cut jeans, but for the highest safety levels, leave them in place.
Despite being well fitted, I had enough space in the bottoms of the legs to even get these over my tall TCX Drifter trail boots.
The new Hood K7 Infinity jeans have an Airtex liner, unlike the previous model on the right
My previous Hood jeans had a para-aramid lining that sat directly against the skin; while this was comfortable, the new CE standards demand an additional liner to help prevent the sheering forces that can occur in a crash. By adding lightweight mesh Airtex liner, the new Hoods are even more protective, but also feel slightly better on the legs.
When it’s really hot, of course these can feel more cumbersome than plain jeans, but it’s a compromise worth making for safety, and the Airtex liner helps prevent them sticking to you.
Occasionally, the liner can catch slightly as I put my foot through the bottom of the leg, but it’s really not a problem at all.
Build quality has improved even further with the new jeans, for example the double hem on the K7 Infinity (the old K7s are the lighter blue in these pics)
I’m pleased to say that I’ve never crashed in my Hood jeans, but reports from customers who’ve been less lucky are overwhelmingly positive. You can see comments on the Hood Facebook page, and while I’m well aware that the safety offered isn’t up there with a top-quality set of leathers, for a large proportion of my day-to-day riding in the dry months, it’s the Hoods I choose. Tellingly, when I go on a bike launch, which typically involves very fast riding on unknown roads, unless it’s on track, I always insist on wearing my Hood jeans.
The original K7s were excellent, but the new model has taken the build to an even higher standard, and thanks to the Airtex lining they’re even more comfortable. Thoroughly recommended, and very good value, especially considering the free worldwide delivery.
BikeSocial Test Team member Ian Brown told us that "I was wearing Hood jeans (and jacket) in March 2017 when I got hit by a car. Both had to be cut off me, but I can confirm that I had no abrasion injuries, and my knees, hips, elbows and shoulders were all untouched.
"I suffered a spinal fracture, which was caused by my bike's fuel tank trying to punch its way through from the front, so this was in no way a fault of the back protector.
"Hood Gear is not only very comfortable to wear both on and off the bike, it also does what it's meant to."