I am a gear head and I also tend to be slightly paranoid while commuting on my motorcycle, mostly because the last 3 accidents I was involved in happened to be while I was stationary. In fact the last one ended up with me getting pinned under an SUV and dragged for about 10 feet. Needless to say I was always geared to the teeth and the most severe injury was a torn rotor cuff.
Anyway I am deviating from the topic at hand. As most of you know, I am the Fat Flash and I don’t call myself Fat just because I can. The truth is I am Fat. Moving on now.
My very trusty Komine Riding Pants which I used for my daily commutes and my Drayko Cargo Riding Pants which I used for my touring happened to finally give up after about 3 years of abuse. I was now in a dilemma because wearing my black leather pants in the summer heat would be the equivalent of self-castration, to top it off no one I knew was making a trip from the USA to India anytime soon.
I decided to pick up a pair of regular denims for my commute and patiently wait until someone was kind enough to carry back a parcel of riding gear for me. I never imagined shopping for a pair denims could be so hard. I am not sure if guys just don’t squat anymore or if I’m just too fat (I’m not) but most of the brands out there refused to go any higher than my knees. Some brands didn’t even get past my calf. So after 3 days of some extremely frustrating shopping I finally found a pair of Wrangler Jeans that fit about right but I saw the price tag and decided it wasn’t worth the price considering I could get riding jeans for the same money.
I dropped the idea of picking up regular denims and decided to try out the all new Zeus Dark Rider Jeans. The manufacturer claims the “Jeans are as comfortable on the bike as they are on a Saturday night out on the town.” Now what’s not to love about that? I grabbed a pair and tugged them on, well, they fit my thighs, so that was a good sign but the waist was a bit too tight. Looks like all that pizza was taking its toll, I went up a size and voila, it fit almost perfect, the dealer later informed me that the jeans actually run one size smaller – a new trend “anti-vanity sizing”. It should be noted though that Zeus does make custom sizes on request, I didn’t have the patience for that, so anti- vanity sizing it is.
Anyway coming back to the jeans, they don’t look too awkward except for the pretty large accordion panel which I don’t mind and the double enclosure which after a after a wash makes it look like you’re walking around with a perpetual erection.
The Jeans by themselves are nothing to write home about. The “heavy” denim isn’t as heavy. It should hold up to some abuse though, don’t expect it to last you forever. They will not. The good part is the dark indigo that the jeans come in seems to be of an excellent quality dye. I’ve washed the jeans twice, no running colour and no fade either, I do hope they will eventually fade naturally though for that more rugged look.
The knee and hip/buttock areas are lined with a 250gsm Dupont Kevlar fibre, this is more of a weave rather than the knitted fibre I am used to but seems pretty durable. I didn’t see a CE tag anywhere except for the KNOX tag so I don’t know if this will actually pass the 5 second abrasion test, so no high speed runs then, unless one of you would like to test it and let me know. I am however pretty sure that it should be able to take the minor spills during city commuting.
Now coming to the armor. KNOX armor comes as standard. Also to be noted that these are the KNOX Lite protectors so they are CE rated. The cool feature is that the knee armor pocket is located on the outside and slipping the armor in and out is extremely easy but the overlapped design ensures the armor stays in place while being used. The KNOX armor is flexible and is pretty comfortable to wear all day, one thing that got on my nerves, not really a deal breaker but consider a pet peeve of sorts, while walking the armor kept getting stuck in weird positions and made it look like I had obnoxiously large knees, this led me to switch to the SASTec Armor I had lying in my closet. I prefer the SASTec armor since I have been using them for years and switched them out just a day after using the KNOX inserts.
Overall the jeans seemed okay, they were breathable, most people just thought that I decided to buy myself a pair of fancy jeans, so that’s a plus. It didn’t leave sweat streaks after an entire day of riding in unbearable hot weather, oh and I could actually fit both my phones in the pockets.
We’ve got all that done and dusted, one thing that really got me questioning the investment was the lack of quality control checks. The stitching on the accordion panel on the right leg was off, nothing that makes it unsafe but it’s one of those things that cannot be unseen. The inseam was off by a couple of mm so it feels super fitted on one end but slightly looser on the other. The hip armor pocket isn’t the right shape to accommodate stock KNOX armor the jeans come with, it doesn’t even fit the SASTec properly, nothing s short trip to my tailor couldn’t fix but it is irritating, further the stitching for the hip armor pocket is pretty flimsy, the stay that keeps it in place tore off on the very first day, again nothing that couldn’t be fixed but not something you would want on a brand new pair of riding jeans. The same batch of jeans had about 5 different shades of Indigo, while this is not really something I would care about, it does make you wonder about the entire manufacturing process. While this could have been a brilliant product, it is the lack of quality control that lets it down in the end.
Now coming down to the crux of the whole situation, should you invest your money in a pair of Zeus Dark Rider Jeans. My opinion while weighing towards the yes, still has me scratching my chin. Check them out for yourselves.
- The Lycra Mix in V1.0 is super comfy
- KNOX Lite protectors
- YKK Zips
- Reflective inseam (very cool feature)
- Stretch panels to ensure fit & comfort while riding
- Cheap. Retails at Rs 4700/-
- Sizing is slightly off, buy one size larger
- The stitching in a few places could be better
- Hip armor pockets are fidgety
- Belt loop too small, if you use a heavy leather belt, looping it around can be a pain
- Lack of Quality Control
What would have made it perfect?
- Integrated Hip armor pocket similar to knee
- An adjustable/zippered inseam for those who like to wear their boots under their jeans
- Heavier Denim
- SASTec Armour
- An actual CE rating for the jeans
- Stricter Quality Control