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Roadskin Paranoid X review | Lined motorcycle jeans tested

Consumer Editor of Bennetts BikeSocial

Posted:

22.02.2024

Roadskin Paranoid X review lined jeans_02

 

Date reviewed: February 2024 | Tested by: John Milbank | Price: £199 | roadskin.co.uk

 

The fact that as I write this review of the Roadskin Paranoid X jeans I’ve been wearing them all day because I couldn’t be bothered to take them off after getting the photos probably – along with their AAA safety rating and Bennetts High Performance Gold award – tells you all you need to know.

Still, here’s what I’ve learned about them over the past four months riding my BMW R1250GS, Kawasaki ZX-6R and Zontes ZT350-T…

 

pros
  • Additional layer of Kevlar adds more protection

  • Stretch allows for a great fit

  • Level 2 armour at knees and hips

cons
  • Warmer than single-layer jeans, but not terribly so

 

Construction and fit

The Roadskin Paranoid X jeans use the same 48% cotton, 26.8% DuPont Kevlar, 19.4% polyester, 3.2% Cordura and 2.6% Lycra outer material as the excellent AAA-rated Taranis Elite jeans reviewed here, but with an additional black-coloured, 100% DuPont Kevlar lining.

We’ll look at what that means in a moment, but the stretch fit is still just as good, and I measured that the weight (with armour removed for direct comparison) has gone from 941g for the Taranis Elites in my size of 34” waist with 32” leg, to just 1,165g for the Paranoid X – an increase of only 224g, or 24%. I’d be impressed if you could feel that when wearing them.

Of course, the extra lining will inevitably make the Paranoid Xs a warmer pair of jeans to wear, which I’ve certainly appreciated during winter, but they’re not excessively hot, and having worn other lined jeans in southern Spain in the past, I’m not worried about how these will fare as we go through Spring and into summer. I’ll of course keep this review updated.

What I can tell you is that it’s 19°C in my house now, and they don’t feel hot at all. And riding yesterday in 13°C, they felt great.

Like the Taranis Elites, the Roadskin Paranoid Xs have a traditional jeans style to them that doesn’t look ‘bikey’, and is easy to wear when walking about, at a café or indeed sitting at your desk.

The only sign that these are motorcycle jeans is the fairly subtle lumps where the armour sits, and the only compromise I’ve found in comfort is that – as with all motorcycle jeans – I can feel the knee armour a little when walking around. Still, I’d rather that than ride without armour and put myself at far greater risk of serious injury.

The armour supplied is Level 2 (the highest protection) made by Smoothways, and is a soft yellow foam-type material that’s comfortable and compliant. It doesn’t present too much of a bulge at all, but Roadskin also offers the option of some excellent Level 2 Rheon armour at £19.99 for the knees and £19.99 for the hips. While meeting the higher standard, and being the largest Type B size, AND being certified down to -10°C, these protectors are incredibly flexible, light weight and comfortable. They're also very tough, the injection-moulded polymer being much more resilient and consistent in its manufacturing than typical cast polyurethane protectors.

Rheon says that the pattern in its armour is designed by a unique algorithm that mimics how cells are packed in nature, taking on board data from the CE standard, as well as medical findings and extensive testing. I'm planning to find out more about Rheon in the future, but I can tell you that, when fitted into the Taranis Elite jeans, while not as slim-looking as some less protective Level 1 armour, it's very comfortable to wear – during testing on the bike it simply can't be felt.

Removing and replacing the armour is surprisingly quick and easy – just turn the jeans inside out then pop the armour in the hip and knee pockets. There are two pockets in each knee, which gives some useful variation in height. I found the lower pockets put the armour in exactly the right place for my 5’10” height and 32” inside leg.

Sizes available are 30 to 40” waist, each with the option of 32, 34 or 36” inside legs. There are no women’s options in the Paranoid X at the time of writing.

 

 

Protection and certification

The Roadskin Paranoid X jeans are certified to Level AAA – the highest currently available under EN17902 – and the Bennetts High Performance Gold Award.

Whichever armour you choose, both are the highest Level 2, both are the larger of the standard templates being ‘Type B', and both have been tested down to -10°C with the T- marking shown.

Armour is vitally important in any motorcycle clothing, and really must not be removed – it helps protect against the obvious impact injuries, but also increases the resistance to impact abrasion offered by the outer layer. The great thing about the fit and stretch of the Paranoid X jeans is that the amour is held well in place and doesn’t shift about to leave you potentially unprotected in a crash.

 

The armour can be fitted at two heights in the knees

 

The obvious question has to be that if the single-layer Roadskin Taranis Elites are rated to AAA, why bother with these AAA-rated Paranoid X jeans?

EN17092 is a set of minimum requirements to test abrasion resistance, seam strength and tear resistance, as well as fit, ergonomics, sleeve restraint (in jackets, not jeans), plus armour coverage, location and compliance with EN1621 for energy absorption. AAA is the highest level currently attainable.

Roadskin has taken the construction of its Taranis jeans, which met the requirements of EN17092 Level AAA, and added an additional 230gsm abrasion-resistant knitted Kevlar layer.

The problem is that the Darmstadt machine used to test abrasion resistance under EN17092 only measures a pass or fail, not how far the material could have gone beyond that, but our testing on some single-layer and lined jeans proved that additional layers of protection do (unsurprisingly) allow a product to go beyond the minimum requirements of testing and certification. You can find out more about motorcycle clothing testing here.

TL:DR If you’re looking for the highest levels of protection in motorcycle jeans, go for a good-quality lined pair.

All motorcycle clothing sold in the UK and Europe is deemed to be Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). This is a good thing for riders as it can help them choose kit that has provable levels of safety because, to meet this legislation, it must be tested to a recognised standard. To fully understand the labels found in all bike kit, click here.

 

 

Pockets

The good-sized pockets at the front and rear are standard jeans-style, with cotton liners in the fronts. Some brands use denim here, which tends to last longer when you’re shoving your keys in and out, but otherwise the only point I’d note is that the coin pocket on the right is a little small, making it slightly trickier to get two fingers in to fish out your earplugs. Or a coin of course.

 

 

Fastening

A solidly rivetted, branded button closes the top of the jeans, with a quality metal YKK zip fly. There are six belt loops, with two at the centre back to reduce bunching up – a nice touch that’s missed by some manufacturers.

 

Adjustment

The Roadskin Paranoid Xs are very much a traditional style of jean, so you wouldn’t expect to find straps and poppers for adjustment. However, the stretch nature of both the outer material and the knitted Kevlar lining means they fit me very well, also accommodating any festive spread.

 

The knitted Kevlar lining is very comfortable (and yes, Kevlar can be dyed black)

 

Liner

Motorcycle jeans can benefit from an additional liner inside to reduce the chances of a painful (though not life-threatening) skin-sheer injury, caused by the outer grabbing the skin and dragging at it in a slide. Extra material might be fitted to act as a cooling mesh, but it also has real value as a slip liner.

In the case of the Roadskin Paranoid X jeans, the black knitted Kevlar creates that slip liner, but is also very soft and comfortable against the skin.

 

Waterproofing

Just like normal jeans, these Roadskin Paranoid Xs are not designed to be waterproof, lacking any form of membrane that would make them hotter and less comfortable.

 

Three alternatives to the Roadskin Paranoid X jeans

There are so many options now when it comes to AAA-rated bike jeans that you really are spoiled for choice. Here are three great alternatives.

  • Hood SK11. £199.99 with Level 2 armour. Available in mens and womens sizes. These are para-aramid lined jeans that offer excellent levels of protection in a slim-fit traditional style, with plenty of stretch built into the denim. The armour is held in with Velcro strips that mean you can set it exactly where you want, and the build quality is excellent. At 1,307g they’re just 142g heavier than the Paranoid Xs in my size, and have proven fine when riding in hot weather. Read the full review of the Hood SK11s here.
    The Hood SK11 jeans have achieved the Bennetts High Performance Gold Award.

  • RST X-Kevlar Tech Pro. £189 with Level 2 armour. A compromise between fully-lined and part lined, these RSTs have more of a ‘motorcycle’ style, but the accordion panels help the amour stay in place and move correctly. The high back also helps avoid drafts. Read the full review of the RST X-Kevlar Tech pro jeans here.
    The RST X-Kevlar Tech pro jeans have achieved the Bennetts High Performance Gold Award.

  • Roadskin Taranis Elite. £179.99 with Level 2 armour. Available in mens and womens sizes. Thanks to a competitive price, great fit and excellent performance, the Taranis Elite quickly became a benchmark in single-layer jeans. Lightweight, comfortable and AAA-rated they’re a great option if you don’t want to go for the higher levels of protection offered by a lined jean. Read the full review of the Roadskin Taranis Elite jeans here.
    The Roadskin Taranis Elite jeans have achieved the Bennetts High Performance Gold Award.

These are just three of many alternatives – you can find all the motorcycle jeans we’ve tested here and be sure to regularly check for the discounts available through Bikesocial membership.

 

Roadskin Paranoid X review | Verdict

Here at Bennetts BikeSocial we will now only review AAA-rated jeans as there’s such a great range out there at a variety of prices, and companies like Roadskin have proven that comfort, fit and style do not have to be compromised in order to achieve provably impressive levels of protection. Quality design and material technology like this is how you and I will ride safer and in even more comfort.

The Roadskin Paranoid X jeans are a great option for those looking for even more protection than the Taranis Elites, and it’s brilliant to see manufacturers working hard to give us riders so much choice when it comes to the levels of protection we want

If you’d like to chat about this article or anything else biking related, join us and thousands of other riders at the Bennetts BikeSocial Facebook page.