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Shift Racing Torque Jeans Review

Tuesday, November 23, 2010
2011 Kawasaki Ninja 1000
Riding jeans may not deliver optimal protection when compared with leather, but as a casual riding option denim models like the Shift Torque Jeans are a favorite choice.
Leather pants ain’t for everyone. While the most effective legwear in terms of rider protection, leather britches have always made me apprehensive – too ‘80s rock star and mountain man rendezvous re-enactor for my taste. Leather riding wear has its place, to be sure, and I do source it on occasion, but leg protection for the majority of my rides take a more causal tone, like the Shift Racing Torque Jeans.

The Shift Torque Jean delivers casual looks with motorcycle riding features. The 14-ounce denim construction feels heavier and more resilient than your typical blue jeans. The extra rider-friendly protection comes via Kevlar sewn into strategic locations, the front knee to mid shin as well and the seat and rear thighs. I’m a fan of riding jeans, like the Torque, because they seem a practical compromise of comfort and safety. Of course, that could all change with a real-world test of their abrasion resistance… But it’s a gamble we take.

Overall fit feels good, though a little trim in the waist and the ‘crotchal’ region, as one Mr. Ron Burgundy refers to it. Not everyone will appreciate the fit, though we found it plenty comfortable with a straight loose cut in the leg. The cuffs easily fall over calf-high riding boots, though we most often paired the jeans with the Shift Racing Street Kicker Shoes (which we’ve also reviewed). The legs are long too, accommodating a bent-knee sporty riding position without exposing the ankles.

Shift Torque Jeans Front
Shift Torque Jeans Back
The Torques provide stylish denim threads, with special Kevlar inserts at key areas for improved abrasion resistance.
These jeans are definitely not waterproof, which we’ve been dumb enough to test out. Sans rain gear riders will get drenched down to their drawers. While this may nix the Torque for riders in some climes, they’re right up the alley for dry areas like the Southwest, particularly in the summer months where they offer a much cooler (literal not figurative) riding experience than, say, black leather.

The Torque is a five-pocket design, a pair in the back and front, with the right front holding an inset coin pocket. The Torques feature a button-down enclosure for the right rear pocket and easy snap in the aforementioned coin pocket. The rear button enclosure we appreciated, as it offers an escape-proof pocket for the rider’s wallet. The front snap was another matter, as every time we inserted our hand in the snug-fitting front the snap scraped against the cleft of our lower palm. Boocoo irritating. One other dig on the Torque, our test pair ripped a small seam by the front zipper. Easy to mend, but the rip came after only one riding season of use.

As far as styling goes, I feel tragically unhip making assessments (I buy $15 Wranglers at Wal-Mart…). The Torque jeans border on the flashy side, at least as far as man jeans are concerned, what with them newfangled pocket buttons and all. That said, I don’t feel silly wearing them. My main squeeze even said they looked good on me – for whatever that’s worth.

The Shift Torque retail for $99.95, maybe a little higher than average for standard riding denim but far from unreasonable. Sizes range from 28 through 40 through the waist and are available in two colors, dark indigo and light indigo. If you’re looking for an easy option in purpose built riding pants, consider the Shift Torque.

The Shift Racing Torque Jeans are available at Motorcycle Superstore.
MSRP: $99.95
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Brian -No thanks.  December 7, 2010 11:40 PM
"too ‘80s rock star and mountain man rendezvous re-enactor for my taste". Hmm. Well my tastes prefer to keep the skin on my lower body, where it belongs. I'll stick with leather.
"our test pair ripped a small seam by the front zipper". (this under normal wear). Ahh, then how well do you suppose these would hold up while scraping along the asphalt at 60mph??
I'd rather look like an "80's rock star" wearing protective leather that would actually HOLD up in a crash. You get one pair of real legs in life. I'm just saying ;-)
DustyRoads -My thoughts  December 1, 2010 06:13 AM
$99.95......no thanks!
and size problems to boot....
The ultimate birth control?
Tessier -Fit  November 24, 2010 07:30 PM
I am 5'11" with a 36" waist and 32" inseam. I order the same size 36" that I typically wear in a boot cut jean(comparable to lee, gap, and levis tighter then Lucky brand but they are always looser then everyone else). They fit me good but not great(don't remember them being tight in the crotch but then again Bart must be packing more heat then the rest of us). The leg length is slightly long for walking around and will drag but great when riding my KTM duke 2. The styling is what I would term more urban youth then my style but it's not repulsive and work's. Protection is up in the air haven't tested it and hope to never have to. I would expect it to be less then my Aero stich but it's a great compromise for everyday riding.
Maxx -Fit  November 24, 2010 01:58 PM
I order a pair of the these and sent them back twice to get different sizes. The sizes on these run extremely small and fit kinda strange. Not bad quality, just the fit and sizes are awful. I am 6'2" 225lbs w/34-35" waist ended up with a 38" to fit over the legs. You have been warned!