I Love To Ride In My Jeans, And SA1NT’S Stylish Riding Gear Looks Great But Is Much Safer
Here’s the dirty secret every motorcycle rider knows but often ignores: Denim, for all it’s toughness, shreds like tissue paper when you’re sliding down the road in a motorcycle crash. As “protection,” it’s pretty much worthless. Still, millions of riders – self included – continue to wear our favorite jeans or denim jackets and hope for the best while riding. It’s not exactly a safe strategy.
Apparel makers, knowing this, have come up with some unusual solutions, including padded undergarments and, naturally, reinforced denim. But often, the gear can trade style – even comfort – for protection. But I’ve finally found some gear from Australian company SA1NT that I can ride in and both feel better about my safety while looking great as well. SA1NT has recently entered the American market and has a facility in Salt Lake City.
Some quick facts up front: SA1NT gear is not “padded” or armored like conventional motorcycle jackets, although they do offer pads (D30 armor) as an option. The secret lies in their use of Dyneema, an extremely tough reinforced fabric tested to stay together while sliding along the tarmac for up to six seconds. Trust me, your old pair of jeans wouldn’t last for a tenth as long.
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The Shearling jacket is essentially an overgarment, so I usually wore it over a hoodie or long-sleeved shirt while riding in cool springtime temps. When things warmed up, I would stow the hoodie and with a couple of top buttons undone, airflow through the jacket was sufficient to keep me cool. The jacket also came with two collars that snap on, one white and one black, for those critical style adjustments while wearing the jacket out on the town. I got a lot of compliments on the classic look of the jacket, and pretty much no one sussed out it was protective wear. I preferred the white collar.
The Unbreakable 6 Straight denim pants feel pretty much like regular jeans but have far superior abrasion resistance and some nice touches, such as a carabiner loop for keys, and deep pockets, including a roomy coin pocket. SA1NT said the jeans are “tested to… professional European motorcycle test standards” for abrasion resistance and can slide over 100 feet while keeping your dermis intact. The Unbreakable 6 pantalones are pretty wide at the bottom and slipped over my riding boots without snagging or catching. I even got them fairly wet on one ride and while not waterproof, they even seemed to shed water better than regular jeans. If you want something a bit skinnier through the legs, SA1Nt has options for both men and women riders, but I liked the 6’s so much I wore them all the time, riding or not.
I talked with SA1NT founder Aidan Clarke and owner Xavier Unkovich, both apparel industry veterans, who told me that the company started up in 2014 after a ride on a hot day in Melbourne while wearing typical leather gear and they walked into a bar “looking like stormtroopers.” They got to talking about safety gear and how it tended to be thick, heavy, layered and fairly unstylish. Why not a single-layer protective system that looked good too? Clarke said the name comes from the idea that the clothes offer a bit of protection – like a guardian angel, or saint – while the “1” is the number of a winner. It also helped with copyright and branding issues, Clarke said.
Since the initial product was offered, Clarke said their garments have continually evolved and improved – and Unkovich says the gear has gotten a bit of a following among riders, including among high-profile customers like Brad Pitt and Ewan McGregor, among others. New products are also on the way, with more protection and other features customers have been asking for – and some more style options that come from movies and current fashion trends, as well as expansion into other sports and professions that need similar protective outerwear.
And sure, the SA1NT jackets and jeans cost a lot more than a denim jacket or jeans over at Target. But those togs aren’t going to keep you from bearing the brunt of a crash, and the enormous expense, pain and inconvenience of skin grafts and abrasion injuries, which I’ve had. Some things, like your health, are worth the price.