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Motorcycle Paradise

Under jeans knee protection

I’ve been doing a bit of riding in Asia of late and my riding gear has slipped to more casual than it should be.

A fair bit of that is on scooters at low speed, wearing footwear and a helmet on those is more than the locals do and given the average ride is a few minutes I am ok with not wearing more. But then I jump on dual purpose bike and go off touring a few days and my gear remains on the ‘lite’ side of the scale even if the pace is mostly slow. 

My helmet is fine. Gloves are the moto-x type, due for update. Jacket is an antiquated Dryrider airflow mesh type. This is a really a lightweight jacket but it has foam armor and I presume technical material in impact zones. Better than a moto-x jersey but due to be updated. I have a terrific summer jacket made by BMW but it is very bulky and I cannot fit it into my backpack.

Pants are where I have really slipped backwards and have just been wearing jeans which is not very good. I have excellent summer pants again made by BMW but same deal they are too bulky to try bring when backpacking unless I wear them on the plane. I did do that one ride in Thailand but modern air travel is already a form of torture and something I despise so I can’t bring myself to make it even less comfortable than it already is.

So long winded intro to arrive at my point that if riding with jeans I decided I should at least add some knee protection even if the speed might only average 30-60kph if I have a skid on lose gravel or fell off crossing a creek then a knee will no doubt hit ground hard.  

I tried on a couple of under jean knee protection items at Naps Yokohama and settled on these.

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Made by Hyod who are a lesser known Japanese manufacture but whom produce a fantastic line up of rider apparel. The knee pads fit comfortably and can be worn easily under a ‘straight cut’ pair of jeans. I cannot tell you about the technical side of things except they are fitted with the D30 technical soft molding type of armor, same as BMW use in their gear rather than the hard Knox type armor. Previous to this I owned a pair of knee pads by RS Taichi that were marketed as under pant armor. I bought them 18 months ago for same reason but they never worked well. Too bulky, the knox type of hard armor was too uncomfortable, you would only wear them over the outside for moto-x rides but these ones are much better designed, easy to wear under jeans and pack flat so I can squeeze them into my back pack.

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plain black version

I wore them every day riding in Nepal. They proved to be all day comfortable. I forgot I had them on after a short while. They also stay in place with no adjustment needed all day so will actually protect if I fell unlike jeans with built in armor that ends up sitting off side of the knee in a fall. These do not twist around or slip down nor ride up and can barely be noticed under your jeans for the fashion conscious. I think these will be handy addition for my future backpack type rides and are exactly what I could have done with on recent trips like scooting in Taiwan or scouting Southern Vietnam on the XT125 to mention a couple. 

I owned kevlar draggin jeans before but dislike them. Hot and uncomfortable. On regular roads I am not convinced riders actually slide as the brand suggests. In my experience you tumble and roll. Landing impact is to things like knees, shins, elbows, hands and helmet. Even with ice to assist sliding that I encountered in Nagano on my 2nd ride in Japan I never slid magically like some motogp guy and just wound up quickly in the gutter which I suspect will happen in most cases as we are not riding some smooth track with 100 metres run off. Every crash I witnessed at Mt Glorious in it’s notorious era was on a corner and the rider was almost instantly off the narrow road and on the bush besides road or in couple of unfortunate cases straight into the armco or a tree in which case no gear could have saved him. On my big tours I opt for my textile pants which offer D30 padding at impact areas and sturdy material but without a focus on any sliding ability but for scouting in tropics I am in jeans or moto-x gear. (Not suggesting anyone ride in anything other than what they feel is best. I focus now on mastering the slow ride. If I was still of the mindset that every ride was a race like when I was young I’d want the very best race apparel money could buy – and a visit to psychologist)

Cost was about $50A which is about 1/4 the price of buying jeans with knee pads in them so seems ok. I will update again in future how they are working out.