Date reviewed: April 2022 | Tested by: John Milbank | RRP: £180 | roadskin.co.uk
Single-layer motorcycle jeans have become hugely popular over the last couple of years thanks to their light weight, natural-looking style and potential for all-day comfort.
Roadskin has been in the market for several years – primarily with lined jeans – but it’s become much more active with a new owner and a broader spread of products. At £180, the Roadskin Taranis jeans on review here offer excellent value for money when compared to some on the market that can cost twice as much. I’ve been wearing them on my 1999 Honda VFR800, BMW S1000XR and Honda MSX125 Grom to find out if they’re any good…
The Roadskin Taranis jeans are 48% cotton with 26.8% DuPont Kevlar, 19.4% Polyethylene, 3.2% Cordura and 2.6% Lycra.
Fit is of course very subjective, but I’ve been really happy with these jeans. I’m 5’10” with a 34” waist (just) and a 32” inside leg. The sizing matched perfectly, and the stretch built into the material means they hug well without feeling uncomfortable.
There are no rivets on the jeans at all – so no risk of scratching your tank – and the overall build quality is excellent, with triple stitching and thoughtful touches like double belt loops at the rear that help stop the back pulling down when you’re on the bike (and also allow connection of Roadskin’s Maximite hoodie).
The armour is a little prominent, and I can feel it when I sit all day at my desk after commuting in the jeans, but it’s never uncomfortable. I have tried swapping the armour for the extremely slim D3O ghost, and with this the jeans became outstandingly comfortable all day long.
The jeans (in size 34” waist, 32” leg) weigh 1,360g with armour fitted.
The supplied armour (on the right) is very good, and of the highest standard for impact protection, but the D3O Ghost armour on the left is even slimmer.
The Roadskin Taranis jeans are certified under EN17092 to level AAA, the highest available. That means they’ve been tested for abrasion and tear resistance, and well as seam strength. The jeans also come with Level 2 armour (so offering the highest impact protection) at the knees and the hips. The knee armour can be fitted to a choice of two internal pockets to ensure you get it set at a height that suits you.
As some will understand, the abrasion testing of EN17092 provides a pass or fail for levels A, AA and AAA. That means that AAA is indeed the most protective, and Roadskin has proven that the high standard can be met in a very keenly-priced single-layer jean. Remember that to achieve a full certification to AAA, abrasion resistance, tear resistance and seam strength are all tested to the maximum levels of the standard.
The testing standards don’t, however, give an indication of how various AAA-rated garments compare beyond that pass. Put simply, that means buyers can’t know whether a set of single-layer jeans are as abrasion-resistant as a set of quality one-piece race leathers, for instance. Most won’t be surprised that good quality leather remains more protective, but it does also mean that there’s potential for differences in AAA-rated jeans, be they single-layer or lined.
Good-quality lined motorcycle jeans (and Roadskin offers its own in the Paranoids) are potentially capable of higher abrasion resistance than single-layer, but this is at the expense of thickness and heat. All credit to Roadskin for not using marketing hyperbole in the promotion of its jeans; the website is clear in the standards its products achieve and it doesn’t attempt to overstate any of the performance.
For everything you need to know about the safety labels in your motorcycle kit, 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.
The knee armour can go in one of two pockets, to set the height
The Roadskins have the usual pockets at the hips (with a small coin pocket in the right) and a pair on the bum. There’s plenty of space without them leaving unsightly impressions in the outer material and I’ve no problem tucking my phone in the front, though I would say that the coin pocket – which can be handy for earplugs) is a little too narrow and a lot too deep.
The fly is secured with a quality metal YKK zip, with a branded metal button at the top. A total of six belt loops are securely attached, with space for a 40mm-wide belt.
As with most riding jeans, there’s no size adjustment, but you can of course pull a belt tighter, and the slight stretch of the material means a good fit isn’t hard to achieve.
Being a single-layer jean there’s no additional abrasion-resistant lining, but there is a lightweight mesh comfort liner, which helps keep the jeans a little cooler in summer and a fraction warmer in winter. This also helps reduce the chances of skin-sheer, which while not typically debilitating, can cause a nasty wound where the outer material grabs and pulls at the skin when there’s nothing between it and your flesh to help it slide.
There are many, many options now for motorcycle riding jeans, so I’d recommend you first filter them by certification and only choose those that are fully certified (so not just the material) to EN17092 AAA. If you’re in any doubt what to look for on the labels of motorcycle kit, check out this guide to the safest riding gear.
Given the great price and excellent comfort, Roadskin has proven that there really is very little need to ever buy single-layer jeans that don’t meet the top AAA level.
Depending on how fast I intend to go, I choose between lined and single layer jeans, but always AAA-rated and always with armour at the knees and hips. The Roadskins fit me great and are supremely comfortable when I spend the day in them off the bike. Personally, I think they’re better with D3O Ghost protectors in, though this is admittedly Level 1 armour, rather than the Level 2 that’s supplied, and it’d likely cause an increase in price for Roadskin to offer this.
The Roadskin Taranis jeans are superb value AAA-rated single-layer jeans that I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend to those looking for some comfortable, practical urban-style kit.