Diamond Gusset Defender Motorcycle Jeans
[This Diamond Gusset Defender Motorcycle Jeans review was originally published in the November 2010 issue of Rider magazine]
Defender jeans provide a reasonable compromise between regular jeans and a pair of riding pants with protective armor in appropriate places. In my feckless youth I fell down on occasion wearing a standard pair of Levi’s or Wranglers, and depending on the speed occasionally suffered a bit of asphalt-induced butt-rash. Never fun. Today we have jeans constructed with the motorcyclist in mind.
The Defenders are made of heavyweight denim, with Kevlar actually woven into the seat, the hips, and the knees. Kevlar is, as we all should know, one of those semi-miraculous materials which can take all sorts of abuse and not get shredded or come apart. Should I suffer a modest low-side with these pants on, I imagine I should come away with a sore butt but no blood. I’m not about to do any real test, although my wife did kindly ask if I wanted to be towed behind her pickup to verify the Kevlar’s abrasion resistance.
The Diamond Gusset name comes from the extra piece of denim sewn into the crotch area, which all has to do with comfort. Hold your standard pair of jeans upside down and you will see four straight lines meeting in the middle of the crotch. Hold up these Defenders and you will see an extra, triangular-shaped piece of denim sewn into the crotch, which gives the wearer a little extra room for the family jewels—could be diamonds. Can’t complain about that trademark. As for comfort, when I buy regular jeans I opt for the “relaxed” fit, which makes them almost as roomy in the crotch as these gusseted ones…but they have no extra Kevlar protection.
A little background on the material. A long time ago in the French city of Nimes (Oui, le tissu vien de Nimes…denim) weavers developed a new extra-strong cotton twill cloth on the looms, with the weft thread passing under or over at least two warp threads, which is where that diagonal pattern found on all denim comes from. A while later, in the Mediterranean city of Genoa (pronounced jene in French—jeans), an enterprising tailor ran up a pair of very tough pants from this cloth which found favor with the working class. And a blue dye, made from the indigo plant, created the well-known blue jean.
These Diamond Gusset
The most famous American brand is, of course, Levi-Strauss, which used rivets to hold the pockets on. First appearing in California in 1873 they became popular with the folk mining for gold, silver, whatever. In 1987 the Diamond Gusset marque went on the market, using heavy thread for the stitching—“Every stitch guaranteed”—and rivets to secure the front pockets. A YKK zipper opens and closes the fly, and the jeans come prewashed so the buyer knows they won’t shrink.
A couple of nice touches are the hook-and-loop straps to tighten the cuffs, and the cell-phone pocket on the right thigh. The traditional watch pocket is over on the left side, and on the right a small D-ring is ready to hold your keys.
The Defenders are not inexpensive, fetching $115.95. Waist sizes run from 29-44 and 46-60 (click on the “larger sizes” link for the latter), and I did like the fact that they offer a 33-inch length—my size. Available in blue or black. Diamond Gusset does offer many styles for women, but none yet in the Defender series.
For more information: Diamond Gusset, 10296 Highway 46, Bon Aqua, Tennessee 37025; (888) 848-7738