Date reviewed: November 2022 | Tested by: John Milbank | RRP: £179.99 | www.rst-moto.com
As the first major motorcycle clothing brand to certify all its motorcycle riding kit under the PPE regulations that came into force in April 2018, it’s no surprise to find RST offering AAA-rated jeans.
Here at BikeSocial we only recommend jeans that meet this standard as there’s such a wide choice now available at excellent price points; there really is no reason to settle for anything less.
I’ve been wearing the RST X Kevlar Tech Pro jeans on a BMW S1000XR, a Honda MSX125 and a Kawasaki ZX-6R to find out what makes them different to the other jeans on the market…
It’s now easy to buy both single-layer and fully-lined AAA-rated riding jeans at this price point. If you’re not aware, that means they’re either a single layer of reinforced denim (the best have a thin mesh ‘comfort liner’ that helps regulate temperature and that reduces the chance of skin-sheer injuries), or they’re a denim outer shell with an aramid lining inside for abrasion resistance.
The RST X Kevlar Tech Pro jeans are part-lined, which means they have a separate aramid lining – in this case DuPont Kevlar – only in the key impact areas. The advantage of this is that it can potentially mean an increase in abrasion resistance where it matters most, while keeping the less vulnerable areas as cool as possible.
Fit is of course subjective, but stretch panels in the knees and at the rear allow the jeans to have the potential to hug your lower half well, while allowing plenty of movement on all bikes.
The knee armour is adjustable for height through three positions thanks to velcro patches inside the pockets – the mid-position suited me best – though I do find the amour to be a little bulkier than some other options like D3O’s Ghost. It’s also rather stiff, and I’m certainly aware of it, especially when standing up or walking around.
A high rear reduces drafts gutting up you back, under a jacket.
Being rated to AAA under EN17092 means that the RST X Kevlar Tech Pro jeans achieve the highest level currently available under this standard. But that doesn’t tell the full story as, due to the test methods, AAA groups together products with drastically different abrasion resistance. For instance, a garment that just scrapes through the abrasion test to meet AAA sits in the same category as the highest quality leathers.
Every crash is different, but buying the most protective kit you can afford – and of course that you find comfortable and that suits your style – is logically the best option. Hopefully you’ll never need it, but the Tech Pros are designed to strike a balance between comfort and performance by meeting the various abrasion resistance values required across all the zones in the jeans, adding extra protection where it’s most needed; the bum, hips and knees.
I’ve highlighted the areas that have a Kevlar lining
Using a Cordura denim the jeans are relatively tough on their own, but by designing with the most critical areas in mind, the RSTs achieve that AAA-standard and beyond, as proven by the independent Australian testing body MotoCAP, where they achieved four out of five stars for safety, coming in second only to the fully-lined – and much heavier – Draggin Holeshots. Check out the full safety report here.
Impressively, RST has also included the highest Level 2 armour in the knees and hips, which adds to the protection. It’s vital to use armour in any riding kit, as besides offering impact protection, it adds very significantly to the abrasion resistance of the material it sits behind.
Importantly, thanks to the stretch panels, the armour’s kept well in place while riding.
To see our analysis of part-lined and fully-lined motorcycle riding jeans, click here.
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 RST Tech Pros have two front and two rear pockets. There’s no coin pocket like you’d find on many normal jeans, but I’ve never actually used it.
The pockets are cotton inside, which is what you’ll usually find, but some jeans use denim all the way down, so they last much longer with repeated stuffing of keys.
A button fastener and YKK zip fly are fitted, along with an impressive six belt loops (the front two of which are doubled up, so effectively eight). Having these loops so frequently and evenly spaced means the jeans don’t pull down between the loops, under your belt. Another clever design touch that adds to the impression that these have been properly thought through.
A decent amount of stretch in the Cordura denim, the accordion panels and of course the plentiful belt loops mean that even with my significant spread over the past several months, the RST Tech Pro jeans are still accommodating.
Besides the sections of DuPont Kevlar fitted in the Tech Pros, there’s a full comfort liner, which helps trap air to regulate your temperature, and also reduces the chances of skin-sheer injury. If you fall off even at low speed in anything that doesn’t have an additional ‘slip liner’, your skin can be dragged by the outer shell causing internal tissue delamination. It won’t hospitalise you, and your jeans could be pretty much undamaged, but it’s painful and will leave a nasty bruise.
The comfort liner is an important part of any riding jeans
There are now some good choices available at this price point, all of which meet AAA Level under EN17092. Given the prices and styles available, why settle for anything less?
The part-lined design of the RST X Kevlar Tech Pro jeans means they stay as cool as possible while offering the confidence that comes from an additional Kevlar layer in the key impact areas.
Styling is a very personal thing, and while I’m not really a fan of riding jeans that don’t look like normal jeans, there’s no denying that the stretch panels help keep the protectors in place. I do find though that the armour’s a bit bulky, and while they are cooler, I’ve never had a problem with fully-lined jeans.
Overall, the Tech Pros are certainly worth considering – they’re AAA-rated and performed very well in MotoCAP’s independent testing – better than many other AAA-rated single-layer jeans – and they’re fairly priced. If they feel good and you like the style, they could be a very good choice.
After reading our guide to lined and unlined jeans, BikeSocial member Mark Davis got in touch… “I found your piece on single layers vs lined jeans very interesting,” he wrote, “especially the link to MotoCAP testing, which seems to be pretty hard to score high in for Jeans.
“I’ve been using the AAA-rated Bullit SR6 lined jeans and the AA-rated Bullit Tactical Icon single layer, but they’ve scored poorly in the MotoCAP testing.
“I’d been thinking of refreshing my jeans as the SR6 are long in tooth, so I used MotoCAP and other reviews, and plumped for the AAA-rated RST X-Kevlar Tech Pro jeans that did much better in the MotoCAP test.
“I’ve done about 400 miles so far in the RSTs and they’re a revelation. They feel way more protective than the Bullit SR6 lined jeans. That’s not scientific, but the MotoCAP and EN17092 ratings speak highly, as does the included Level 2 armour at the knees and hips. I had avoided these sorts of jeans for a while as the stretch parts etc make them look like motorcycle jeans and not casual enough, but I had no idea how much those stretch panels help comfort on the bike (and off it).
“Also, given the part-lined nature of them they aren’t as hot to wear as my SR6 lined jeans (by far!) and almost as cool to wear as my single layer. They are listed as a ‘slim fit’ but I’m fairly big built and they don’t feel like ‘skinny jeans’ to me.”