Tested: Hood K7 jeans

Motorcycle Monthly - - Behind The Scenes -

As men­tioned in the ‘Best of Bri­tish’ ar­ti­cle, the new PPE leg­is­la­tion caused Hood to re­think how they made their jeans. This re­think led to an over­haul of their pop­u­lar and suc­cess­ful K7 and the in­tro­duc­tion of the new ‘In­fin­ity’ model. The new jean is rated AA – the se­cond high­est level. They would get the high­est AAA rat­ing, but Hood de­lib­er­ately stopped the aramid lin­ing at the ‘boot top’ level to make it eas­ier to put them on, plus if the aramid went to the edge of the jean, they would not be able to of­fer cus­tomised leg lengths (I have short legs, so I find this ser­vice so use­ful).

Hood also tested the new K7 against the pre­vi­ous ver­sion, us­ing the Cam­bridge test ma­chine and the new jean came top in ev­ery test. So what are they like to wear?

I have been wear­ing Hood’s para-aramid lined jeans for 15 years now (they’re the first piece of kit se­lected for ev­ery test ride), wear­ing var­i­ous it­er­a­tions of the K7 over that time. So I was the ob­vi­ous test dummy.

The new jeans are in­stantly recog­nis­able as Hood; that clas­sic Western five-pocket style, with the pock­ets lined with denim – not linen like most jeans as it makes them much more ro­bust. They run mul­ti­ple stitched seams (with a sixth stitch added where it’s use­ful thanks to new equip­ment) Com­par­ing to the old model, I find them less gen­er­ous in the thigh and crotch ar­eas, but that may be down to the ad­di­tion of a third air­tex mesh layer.

The new air­tex mesh lin­ing makes them eas­ier to slip on and the new softer para-aramid (now mid-layer) gives in­stantly. The new K7s come with the ex­cel­lent D30 hip and knee ar­mour as part of the price. Fit­ting the hip ar­mour is sim­ple (open pocket, pop in, close pocket). The knee ar­mour takes a lit­tle more work. Top tip though: put the K7s on, sit on your bike and place the ar­mour over your knee where you want it to sit (slightly to the out­side). Make a mark with a piece of chalk where the top of the ar­mour touches. Take off the jeans, slide them into the leg pocket (with your hand be­tween the Vel­cro) un­til the top of the ar­mour reaches the chalk mark and press. Bingo! Your ar­mour is now po­si­tioned in the cor­rect place with very lit­tle faff.

Hav­ing worn the jeans around the house for 10 hours (as per in­struc­tions, this al­lows the ar­mour to bed in), I went out on the road. The new two-stage waist­band makes them even more com­fort­able that be­fore, es­pe­cially when lean­ing into the ride. They’re com­fort­able, they feel lighter and the air­tex liner seems to al­low good air­flow. As I said, the crotch feels less gen­er­ous than on the old jean, but I’m sure that will give in time.

One new thing. You can’t help but no­tice the ad­di­tion of stir­rups. In the post-PPE world, if you’re buy­ing pro­tec­tive leg­wear, they’re go­ing to be com­ing with stir­rups from now on. Thank­fully, Hood has gone for elas­ti­cated ones (I once tested some tex­tile jeans with ‘hard’ stir­rups… scary mo­ment when said hard stir­rup caught on my foot­peg when I went to put my foot down stop­ping at the lights). They’re easy enough to slip over the boots (though wear­ing with my light­weight sum­mer boots the strap kept catch­ing in­side the Velco strap cov­er­ing their laces). This means the jeans can’t ruck up in a slide, but it does tug at the jeans when walk­ing. When off the bike I’d sug­gest slip­ping them off – they’ll just sit be­hind your boots, be­ing elas­ti­cated they don’t drag on the ground.

So… they’re softer, lighter, the new lin­ing makes them eas­ier to slip on and they come with D30 ar­mour as stan­dard… all for the same RRP as the old model. If any­thing they’re more com­fort­able than ever (though my big thighs miss the old ones’ di­men­sions) and have more safety fea­tures than ever be­fore.

It’s fair to say the best just got bet­ter. I’ve trusted Hood to care for my legs for the last 15 years… on this show­ing the next 15 (and beyond) will still be in their care.

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