Levi's x Royal Enfield riding denim pants review
Recently, Royal Enfield and popular clothing brand Levi's revealed a collaborated collection comprising of riding gear and lifestyle apparel. The riding gear includes denim jackets and pants which look promising for urban use. I got my hands on a pair of riding denims and here are my early impressions.
For this collaboration, Levi has used two of its popular models - the 511 Slim Fit and 512 Slim Tapered Fit denims - and have made them safer for motorcycling use. The 512 is recommended for urban use and uses Cordura fabric along with the Lycra in its construction. While Cordura gives it four times better abrasion resistance compared to regular denim, the Lycra adds a bit of stretchability for better long term endurance on common stretch points around the thighs, crotch and knees. The Levi's and RE branding is quite subtle and is only seen on the leather tag on the waist.
The 512 also features pockets for knee armour and which can be accessed conveniently from the outside. However, the zippers used for them aren't the robust YKK ones seen on most riding gear and feel quite flimsy to the touch. That said, you won't be unzipping these pockets often, so hopefully, it will withstand the test of time. The jeans also feature very subtle reflective strips over the ankle for visibility to other motorists, without looking outlandish if you wear these to work.
The 511 is classified as the Pro jeans from the collection and features pockets for the knee as well as hip armour. Unlike the 512 though, these pockets can only be accessed from the inside like most conventional riding pants. Even the 511 uses Cordura material for abrasion resistance but enhances the toughness of the fabric by using a higher grade of the Lycra fibre - the Toughmax.
Neither of the pants features any air vents or mesh panels for breathability and neither of them is waterproof. Apart from the usual coin pocket and conventional pockets on either side, the 512 also gets a zipped pocket on the right thigh for knick-knacks. It will also hold a plus-size phone but it is an unsafe place for it in case of a fall. There is a zipper on the waist to pair with a riding jacket, so you would need tie-down loops on your jacket for a more secure fit between the two.
Unlike a regular pair of jeans, both these riding denims feature a gusset in the crotch area for better flexibility, movement and comfort on motorcycle seats. Also note that the armour pockets don't have any adjustability on either of the pants so the position of the armour can't be adjusted. Therefore, if you are unsure about the sizing or the length, take the armour with you to the store and try before you buy. The armour isn't included with the jeans but most knee and hip armour from D30, Knox etc. fit fine.
I ordered the pair of 512 Urban online and was a bit unsure about the sizing. But I found out that the fit is similar to my casual Levi's 512 jeans and the stitching feels just as flawless. An inseam length of 32-inches is common across all sizes. If you are unsure about the sizing though, these riding pants should be available across all popular Levi's or RE stores for you to try out.
The 511 Pro and the 512 Urban are priced at Rs 6,999 and 5,999 respectively. Add to it the cost of the armour - which is typically priced between Rs 1,500-3,000 for Level 1 or Rs 2,500-5,000 for Level 2 protection depending on the make and model, and that puts these Levi's x RE riding denims on par with other options from local or lesser brands. At the same time, these continue to be more economical alternatives to riding denims from bigger names like Alpinestars, Rev'it or Klim, which are priced upward of Rs 15,000.
Would I recommend these? Yes, if you are on a budget. Otherwise, there are other options in the market with a better fit and adjustability for the more snug fit. That said, most riding denims are good enough only for urban use and for protection against falls at typical city speeds. I would strictly recommend more specialised equipment and a higher grade of protection for touring or sport riding use.