Knox are, you’ll know doubt be aware, probably best known for their funky Handroid gloves and other bits of armoured goodness. We’ve tested a couple of their products over the years, and when the opportunity came to review their latest bike jeans I certainly wasn’t going to turn it down.
The thing is, you see, there’s something about Knox. Their kit is universally, and pretty much unequivocally, bloody good. It’s not just that the materials are good – they are, obviously – but the actual product design is well thought out. Little things that really make a difference, like the fact that you can get the armour in and out for washing the trousers without having to wrestle them inside out (easy with the armour out, not so much when it’s in), for example.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. As usual.
Knox Rydal jeans are a single layer classically cut pair of motorcycle jeans. The single layer means that you don’t look as though you’re wearing a nappy (diaper to our colonial readers) and you also don’t immediately overheat as soon as you stop riding and/or the temperature gets above lukewarm. Classic cut means that unless your companions are very observant they are unlikely to even notice that you are wearing motorcycle jeans. They are nothing if not discreet.
But, Knox being a company known for their protective kit, you ought to expect a bit more than that. And you’d be right to do so. You get proper CE Level 1 armour in the form of their very clever Micro-Lock removable inserts in the knees and hips. And you get a pair of jeans which, even without the armour, are AA abrasion resistant – enough to certainly minimise the amount of gravel rash you get to boast about after an off. Or the length of time the nurse has to take picking bits of the road out of you with tweezers (something which really bloody hurts and I would NOT recommend to anyone).
The Micro-Lock armour is remarkable stuff. It’s soft and malleable and feels like it would do absolutely nothing apart from maybe – maybe – take the edge off an impact. Right up until something hits it, at which point it goes completely solid while dissipating the impact through its whole area. Then it goes all soft and friendly again like nothing has happened. I’ve used something very similar for real, in a fairly fast get-off on the Nurburgring, and it was quite remarkably effective – 80mph and knees into the Armco resulted in nothing broken (though, to be fair, some utterly spectacular bruising and a couple of bits not quite where they should’ve been). But I rode home.
On practicalities, you get proper pockets and somewhere to clip your keys. The hip armour fits inside neat, easy to access pockets just inside the waistband while the knee protection goes into almost invisible zipped pockets on the knees. No messing around trying to get them inside out to remove the armour for washing or, indeed, trying to get them the right way round after replacing it. The downside is that there are a couple of zips on the outside of your jeans…but they really are virtually invisible, and despite my initial misgivings absolutely do not scratch the tank..
Now I’m not a particularly unusual shape, but I sometimes struggle to get jeans to fit me properly as my leg length sits between the lengths provided for a comfortable waist and having to keep pulling my trousers up. Apart from some companies who have the right leg length but I can’t breathe if I do them up. Here I’d challenge anyone not to be able to get a decent fit. And they are ridiculously comfortable. I’ve worn them for a trip to the office in the morning then stayed in them all day, worn them home and not bothered changing until bedtime. They’re not too hot, the armour doesn’t intrude and the fit makes for a very pleasant experience.
Something else really worth noting about Knox jeans, and the Rydal in particular. They're available for ladies. Not just "drag them on and they'll be fine" for ladies, but properly cut to fit a different body shape. It shouldn't be unusual, but it feels like it still is, so well played Knox for providing proper protective kit that actually fits the 50% of the population not normally catered for.
Knox Rydal jeans aren’t especially cheap at £199 but they are genuinely good value as a trouser you can wear all day in comfort, ride in safety and look damn’ good doing it all. Plus the armour hs a five year guarantee when you register it online. Thoroughly recommended.
You can get Knox Rydal jeans at their online store here.