Harley-Davidson Men’s Genuine Performance Riding Jeans Test
Even though they aren’t the ultimate in protection, I’m a big fan of technical denim jeans for motorcycle riding. Motorcycle jeans comfortable on and off the bike, and they have a classic look. Harley-Davidson Men’s Genuine Performance Riding Jeans add a bit of a twist to the genre, while staying true to the form.
One drawback of most riding jeans is that they work best in warm weather. They flow quite a bit of air and get chilly, even in mild conditions. Usually, I put a base layer pant on, such as those available from Fly Racing or Alpinestars.
Harley-Davidson Men’s Genuine Performance Riding Jeans are quite different, as they are definitely winter-ready, although not advertised that way.
My first ride with the Performance Riding Jeans was on a cool morning, and they felt just right. They cut the wind and provided insulation against the chill.
However, as temperatures warmed up, I was glad that I had tossed a lighter pair of riding jeans in the Road Glide Ultra’s top box. As the temperature rose approaching midday, my legs started sweating.
The Genuine Riding Jeans definitely aren’t suitable if the temperature gets above 80 degrees, unless you really like toasty or sweaty legs. I’d say they are three-season pants, and long as you don’t have a hot fall and spring.
For abrasion protection, the Harley-Davidson Men’s Performance Riding Jeans use Roomoto for abrasion protection (a product of Becon Pty out of Australia, which also owns Drayko).
Claimed to be the “World’s Strongest Fiber”, it does the job normally assigned to Kevlar. The Roomoto lining covers you from the waist to below the knees in the back, while the front does the same, save the crotch and inside of the thighs.
I can’t vouch for the protection qualities of Roomoto, as I’m not interested in sliding down the pavement just for the sake of testing, but the CE folks give Roomoto thumbs up for abrasion resistance. That’s good enough for me.
There are also pockets for optional CE approved FXRG Body Armor from Harley-Davidson to give you impact protection at the knees and hips. I haven’t tried that, but should, as the lack of impact protection in most riding jeans is an obvious shortcoming from a safety persepective.
I can tell you that the Roomoto lining is incredibly soft and pliable. In the case of the H-D Genuine Performance Riding Jeans, there is a polyester lining between your legs and the Roomoto, and that lining feels great against the skin.
As far as fit goes, I’m a die-hard Levi 501 button fly shrink-to-fit kind of guy and I am completely satisfied with the fit and style of the Genuine Riding Jeans. There’s no binding when sitting on the bike, so comfort is never in question.
The cut isn’t hipster-low and the straight legs have just a hint of extra room for riding boots. Blue Denim is the sole color choice—black would be a nice option, though. You’ll be happy to wear these jeans into any eating establishment that doesn’t have an issue with denim.
From a practical standpoint, the H-D Genuine Riding Jeans have five pockets (one being a left/front watch/coin pocket; none offer closure). The front pockets are fairly deep, but I wouldn’t trust anything of value in the back pockets while riding.
Harley-Davison’s branding is subtle. You can wear these jeans on a non-Harley bike and few are going to notice. With a belt on, only the small orange-stitched Bar and Shield on the watch pocket will tip anyone off.
So, you have outstanding cool-weather pants in the Harley-Davidson Men’s Genuine Performance Riding Jeans, along with comfort and CE-rated protection. At a MSRP of $345, these are expensive jeans, but when you have them on, you have the unmistakable feel that you’re getting what you paid for.
Location photography by Kelly Callan, Brian J. Nelson, and Tom Riles.