The Richa Hammer 2 jeans are designed for more causal use than some of the best and most protective motorcycle denim, but they’re a good price and appear well made. We gave a pair to Bennetts Rewards member and instructor at 1on1 Rider Training in Bedford, Jon Mansfield, who’s worn them all day, every day over eight months for at least 10,000 miles during everything from training to motorway riding and general pleasure trips on his 1990 Kawasaki ZZR-1100, a Honda Hornet and the training centre’s MT-07, XJ-6, ER6, Groms and scooters…
I wore these solid for eight months before winter really hit and they’ve been fantastic; despite all the use, the stitching and pockets are all intact and the zip is working fine.
Unsurprisingly, they’ve faded a bit at the knees and tops of the thighs from kneeling down and shoving my hands in my pockets, but to be honest I think they look better for that.
I have washed them, and while I put them through the machine at 30°C, I forgot to take the armour out. You really should as it could be damaged but it went through okay.
The fit is excellent on me – at 5’8” and 16 stone I’m fat with short legs so normal jeans are often a bit of a pain. These are a little long in the legs but they push up over boots fine; I really couldn’t be happier as they feel just like a decent pair of Levis, but with armour in.
They’re not heavy or bulky at all, but of course there is a compromise…
The yellow areas are the aramid lining
Rated as A for personal protective equipment under EN 17092, these jeans are certified to the lowest standard available. It’s important to understand that the Richa Hammer 2 jeans are not fully lined with aramid fibre – it only covers the bum, hips and the knees.
The aramid used here isn’t Kevlar (that’s a branded product from DuPont), but it offers a second, tougher layer of abrasion resistance behind the denim in key impact areas. There’s nothing on the groin, the lower fronts of the legs or the rear below the bum, but it’s good to see that the panels extend a reasonable way below the cheeks; on some part-lined jeans this can be a bit higher, leaving your behind more vulnerable.
I know that some of the Bennetts BikeSocial team – like Consumer Editor John Milbank – also wear aramid jeans almost all the time, but he prefers more aramid coverage in his jeans for peace of mind, and is almost always in his Hood K7s.
So while I’m aware these aren’t offering the same levels of protection as others can, I’ve really appreciated the light weight when standing around all day at the training centre in the peak of summer. I also like that they have a separate aramid lining as I don’t really trust the single-layer denim jeans that have a small amount of aramid woven into them.
There’s no hip armour supplied (though there are pockets if you want to buy some), but the knee armour is the highest CE Level 2, which is good to see. I do have a bit of a problem with it sliding towards the inside of my leg at times, so have to push it back, but it does stay in place when my knees are bent. It’s not bothered me too much, but I can sometimes feel that the outside of my knee isn’t covered while riding, leaving it more vulnerable than it could be; I’d like to see the armour pockets – which do have two height adjustment positions – being a little narrower to prevent the armour floating.
Otherwise, the armour is comfortable, moulding well to the shape of my knees when sat on the bike.
From April 21 2018, all new motorcycle clothing 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 law, click here.
Note: Some stores and brands claim ‘official CE test slide times’ to promote the abrasion resistance of the jeans they sell. The only CE testing that gives a time is through using the Cambridge machine, which sees samples of the clothing dropped onto a moving 60 grit abrasive belt, and timed to failure. However, this has only ever been considered a ‘relative abrasion time’ to compare products and MUST NOT be confused with a real-world crash protection time.
We’ve also seen times as high as almost seven seconds and beyond claimed, contrary to testing we had carried out by an independent notified body when looking for the best motorcycle jeans.
Our recommendation would be to ignore these claims and focus on the testing required for the current PPE regulations until clear evidence is provided, either through the Bennetts High Performance Award scheme, or through seeing a COMPLETE and verifiable test certificate from a notified body.
Just like normal jeans, there are two front and two rear pockets, as well as one of those little coin pouches that nobody uses. They’re a good size, taking my wallet and keys, but of course they don’t fasten so do be careful you don’t lose anything out of them when riding.
The pockets are only linen inside, rather than being all denim like some of the leading brands, but despite this they’ve lasted very well – there are still no holes in them.
As you’d expect, there’s a simple button and zip fastening the jeans, and both are showing no undue signs of wear.
The belt loops are a good size and with six of them in total, your belt doesn’t tend to ride up over the hem.
These are great in the summer of course, but in early spring and deep into autumn I was fine as long as I had a pair of thermal trousers underneath. Needless to say, these are no fun in deep winter, but even down to about 5°C I was fine with these and my thermals.
Obviously these are not waterproof, but I always carry a pair of over-trousers that I got off the market for a tenner, so I slip these on when the rain comes. These are also good for if it gets more chilly than I expected.
With an RRP of £99.99 I’d say these are a bargain, plus I’ve seen them for a tenner less at times. I’ll be gutted when they do wear out and would thoroughly recommend them. However, I must stress that they only offer the basic level of protection being rated A and just having an aramid lining at the most key impact areas, so for someone like me, who needs the lightest weight kit for standing around all day every day in, they’re brilliant. If you’re pushing on a bit more, even if you’ll be wearing jeans when off the bike for the odd day, I would suggest you at least consider something with a bit more protection.