The average motorcyclist’s closet can be a daunting place for those with a keen eye for fashion. Frumpy, logo emblazoned pieces of kit with gaudy graphics blasted across them are all too common in our business. All that gear has its place, but it often focuses on form and function, forgetting style completely. However, some brands are bucking the status quo with dapper denim that will protect your hide and fashion sense, as we can see with the Pando Moto Mark Kev 01 riding jeans.
The Mark Kev 01 is something of a jack of all trades. Cut in a casual chino style, the Mark Kev 01 has a tapered-slim fit that isn’t overly tight, nor is it excessively baggy. Not only that, but there is some utility baked into these jeans with the cargo pockets–that we’ll get into later. Are they chinos? Are they cargo pants? Are they jeans? The world may never know, but they are made of denim, so I’m calling them jeans.
Constructed out of 12-ounce Cordura stretch denim and lined with DuPont Kevlar in high impact zones such as the seat, hips, and knees. The Mark Kev 01 is a level AA CE Approved garment (43 mph) that will provide a fair amount of abrasion resistance for the urban and leisure rider.
Level AA protection is what you’ll find on most riding jeans on the market, and you’d be wise to make sure that riding denim meets or exceeds this standard. I doff my cap to brands like Pando Moto that advertise the expected level of protection on all their offerings. Some do not, leaving the buyer wondering what kind of protection is being offered. Commuting, urban riding, and casual riding are typically covered with level AA, as your speeds will be lower, but if you have sport riding aspirations, you’ll want to stick to the leather stuff.
Cordura has become a popular material in the motorcycle apparel, due to its high abrasion resistance and stretch properties, making it ideally suited for life in the saddle. Jeans that use this material are often lighter weight, while also offering superior protection and flexibility, which is precisely what you get with the Mark Kev 01.
These jeans allow for plenty of jockeying in the saddle, letting the rider move around as they intended. Better yet, the slim tapered cut, combined with lightweight materials, prevents the excess fabric from bunching up behind my knees. The overall feel is light, airy, and comparable with your ordinary street denim while offering the kind of protection that is a requirement for any rider.
Impact protection comes in the form of extremely pliable CE level 1 SAS-TEC TripleFlex armor in the knees and hips. The low-profile armor not only remains pleasant on longer rides, but also doesn’t give the Mark Kev 01 jeans a bulky appearance when in public. The two-position knee pockets will allow owners to fine-tune their fitment, but in my case, it wasn’t enough, and I simply added some Velcro to dial it in for me. I would also opt for CE level 2 armor, but bear in mind that it’s significantly bulkier.
To help moderate temperature, Pando Moto went the extra step and incorporated sweat-wicking aramids into the mix. Due to that, the Mark Kev 01s dry at a faster rate than your average heavy-weight riding jean, and slightly reduce the unenviable swampiness that all riders experience after a long day in the saddle.
The sweat-wicking materials are part of a two-pronged comfort-controlled approach, as the Mark Kev 01 features two decently sized vents on the thighs. Stylistically, the YKK zippers blend in well, while also providing a noticeable amount of airflow on those hotter days. In sunny Southern California, it’s the kind of feature that I welcome.
Even with the airy feeling of the jeans, the tightly woven fabric provides a fair amount of wind blockage, making the Pando Moto Mark Kev 01 useable when the temperature drops. If you are going to be in the saddle well into the colder months, I’d opt for a simple warming base layer and call it good. However, if rain is in the forecast, you’d better opt for a rain layer, or you’ll have a soggy ride.
Where the Mark Kev 01 stands out from the crowd is with the cargo pockets. It’s a handy feature as carrying capacity on a motorcycle is always at a premium. While they look quite slim, each cargo pocket will expand to a significant degree, letting you stash soft items for the ride safely, thanks to robust snap buttons.
Now, one word of warning—don’t put anything hard in your cargo pockets when riding because, in the event of a fall, that massive jangling keyring will hurt you in ways you’ve never imagined. When off the bike and walking around, I like to toss my water bottle or other cumbersome items in there to free my hands.
Of course, you’ll also have the use of two hip pockets and two pockets on the seat with button snaps.
Rounding out the features are the adjustable elastic cuffs, letting you secure the cuff around the boot or bunch them up at the ankle for the paratrooper look.
The Mark Kev 01 is another quality offering from the Pando Moto camp, and something cruiser, café, and custom riders should add to their shortlist. The $280 is a decent bit of coin, but between the excellent build quality and top-notch comfort, it’s tough to knock the Mark Kev 01 jeans. Once off the bike, you’ll be comfy in some casual attire while still feeling confident in what you’re wearing when it’s time to pop your helmet back on.
Pando Moto Mark Kev 01 Motorcycle Jeans Fast Facts
Sizes: W29-L32; W30-L32; W34-L32; W28-L34; W30-L34; W31-L3
Pando Moto Mark Kev 01 Motorcycle Jeans Price: $280 MSRP