Bull-it Jeans - The 2974.8 Mile Fat Skeleton Road Test
In the August 2023 copy of Ride Magazine, there was a fairly comprehensive Road Test of a pair of jeans, tested over a period of 18 months & 2000 miles.
Now those of you have been Fat Skeleton Customers for a period of time, read our blogs or chatted to me in our Hucknall show room, know that here at Fat Skeleton we also like to test all manner of gear before we include it in our range. So, not to be out done by Ride Magazine, I decided to test out a pair of Bull-it jeans over a slightly higher road mileage, but in a slightly more condensed time period of 18 days!
I'd embarked upon a 'bucket list' Road Trip which was to re-visit the iconic Chicago to Los Angeles ride, taking in as much as possible of what remains of The Mother Road Route 66, as well as a couple of detours (planned & unplanned) along the way.
This also gave me opportunity to test a few pieces of kit, including the Bull-it Tactical Icon II jeans. Had I been testing these in the UK I'd have chosen the Black Onyx colour, but knowing the temperatures I'd be experiencing as I traversed the Mojave desert, I thought that the Blue... may keep me a few degrees cooler, as this colour doesn't attract the & hold the heat like black does.....the same reason I chose a silver metal flake finish helmet instead of my usual go to Matt Black style.
Last time I did a similar trip of this length, the jeans I wore were a fully lined kevlar pair, so I was interested to see the difference that these new Bull-It single skin Covec material pair would compare.
I've got to say, hand on heart, the difference was like Night & Day in so many ways.
Styling: The fully lined pair I'd previously owned didn't really have any 'style' about them whatsoever...they were a so called 'straight fit' but to be quite honest the legs looked so wide & baggy all the way the bottom I wondered if the designer had been inspired by North Soul "Oxford Baggie" type trousers!
By contrast, the Bull-It straight legs were in fact exactly that, straight, without being skinny fit, as after all, it helps if the ankles comfortably slip over the top of your boots. They were also loose enough that, on the crazy hot days I needed to angle my legs to enable a bit of a draught to try & convince myself I was actually on Route 66 & hadn't taken the wrong turn & the furnace heat I was experiencing wasn't because I was actually heading down The Road To Hell!
Comfort: Now you'll notice from the photo, that despite me undertaking this ride in June, I'm still carrying my Winter layer....in fact I've been carrying it for the best part of the last 25 years now, & despite my 'best' intentions every time I see a photo of myself, I'm still a light year away from the 28" waist I was when I first started riding in the mid 1970's...several light years actually as the pair I'm sporting here a 40" waist, short leg. (Bit of a clue here as to why I decided to call by business Fat Skeleton)?!?
With my old pair I'm comparing them with, the biker belly which can be seen, (I forgot to breathe in as the photo was taken) meant a pair of Heavy Duty biker braces were needed to hold them up. With the Bull-it, the nice 'stretchy' feel & nature of the high waistband meant that for the first time in years, I was able to ride with just a belt, and they stayed in situ once I was off the bike & walking around doing all the touristy things that have to be done on this epic ride.
From my point of view, as well as this pair actually looking like your day to day jeans, they were really, REALLY comfortable! The single skin Covec fabric is light years ahead of my old fully lined pair, which when compared to these, were not only heavier, but the fully kevlar lining felt increasingly more uncomfortable as the day wore on. In fact, by the end of the trip, had it not been for the reassuring feel of the hip & knee armour, I could have been convinced that I'd been wearing an everyday pair of jeans.
Journeys End at Eagle Rider in L.A. The Bull-It Tactical Icon II's have a few marks from various interesting bugs that splattered themselves on them, but apart from that they felt as good as they did on day one, and once back in the UK a well deserved run through the washing machine has them looking as good as the day I first tried them on for size.
The purple T shirt? Well, when you've got such an unusual surname as mine (Burdass) then actually finding such a garment with a nickname that's followed me through life...well, I just had to have it!
Safety: Despite the best attempts of the rush hour drivers on LA's eight lane freeway & some of the pot holes in the rougher sections of Route 66, I'm pretty happy that I didn't get the opportunity to see the level of protection I'd be afforded by the Bull-Its should I go sliding down the road.
I undertook the entire trip with BOTH the easy to fit knee & hip armour in situ, after all, this protect those bony area in the case of impact.
The Ride magazine article I mentioned earlier, actually carried out their own 'drag' test on the pair they were reviewing.
All well & good, but in all honesty what's the point, that's no substitute for testing the jeans in an independent lab using £10,000's of technical machinery that actually issues the EN1702 CE so I'm happy to let the professional test labs do the science for me and they say that these Bull-Its are AA rated*
Just as a casual observation, I notice that Ride magazine don't extend such D.I.Y. testing by taking a slide down the tarmac or a sledge hammer to any of the helmets they test!
Class-AA garments are deemed protective for most riding up to 75 miles per hour