The team here at CMG follow the ATGATT mantra (All the Gear All the Time). Why? Because skin grafts suck, that’s why.
I wear my full-face helmet, armoured jacket, gloves and boots every time I ride. Sure, some days it’s simply too hot and humid to sit in traffic with all that gear, so when I need to cross the Greater Toronto Area at rush hour I’ll bow out and take the car instead. Despite all my self-righteous preaching to others, I’ve never protected my own ass with anything more than a run-of-the-mill pair of Levi’s jeans. Until now.
Those Levi’s look good (Ed: If you say so, Jeff) whether I’m on or off the bike. Riding jeans, on the other hand, have traditionally looked frumpy. You know the type – lumps and seams all over the place, with pocket positioning never quite feeling or looking right. It’s shameless vanity that’s prevented me from shelling out on proper (and pricey) riding jeans.
There are all sorts of denim options available from gear manufacturers that cost three times more than a pair of 501s, but the investment is justified through added protection and peace of mind. Reinforced stitching and more robust materials help prevent skin from meeting asphalt in the event of a slide.
I opted for the darker of the two blue hues of Dainese Todi Slim jeans. When they arrived, the colour and texture reminded me of the sort of jeans my dad might wear. There are extra seams running across each leg, below the butt pockets, and two more running across the front of the legs, defining where the added (removable) knee protection can be found. They’re functional details, but they sure don’t look like a pair of my nicely faded Levi’s.
Sliding them on before going for their first ride, I became a believer almost immediately. The slim fit actually suited my skinny butt, and while the legs do taper fashionably, there’s just enough room to get the cuffs over the top of my low-rise boots. More importantly, they were really comfortable.
The denim itself feels surprisingly soft – so much so that you wouldn’t think it would offer much protection, but its stitching is reinforced and there are fortified panels with aramid fiber sewn into the backside and hips. The crotch and seat are also stitched to optimize comfort and minimize wear when riding. The denim has an element of elasticity to it, allowing for some stretch when tucking one’s knees up on a sport bike.
A pair of adjustable Pro-Shape knee protectors are provided which fit into either and upper or lower position in the sewn-in knee pad pockets. There are hip pad pockets, too, though no padding is provided. Dainese sells Pro-Armor knee pads and hip pads available at an additional cost.
There’s some reflective trim sewn into the lower portion of the legs, giving a bit of added visibility if you roll up your cuffs. While the look still isn’t quite what I’d wear out on the town if I wasn’t taking the bike, these Todi Slims have definitely become my go-to jeans when I am riding. Much more importantly, they feel great and offer the promise of greater protection in the event I happen to slide across the asphalt on my knees, hips or rump.
Dainese’s website lists the Todi Slim in sizes ranging from 28-inches all the way up to a 44-inch waist. Several Canadian retailers are selling them for $279.99, with one particular outlet showing them on sale for as low as $218.82. For riders like me who have avoided proper riding denim, the Todi Slim is worth trying. Not only to make future rides more comfortable, but for the peace of mind that comes with added protection.