The heft of Alpinestars Riffs Denim Pants is a good indicator of their solid construction. They’d easily tip the scales on a pair of Levis. The tight weave of the 98% cotton outer shell makes for a durable denim. The pants are made up of several panels, all double-stitched together tightly. To help make them comfy when seated they’ve got stretchy accordion panels, one in the back just below the waistline along with ones right above the knees.
In addition to well-woven denim, the Alpinestars Riffs Denim Pants have a layer of aramid fiber fabric in the butt and hips for added protection. The knees also have an extra layer of aramid fiber stitched into them, these layers a blend of 60% polyester and 40% aramidic fiber. These high strength fibers are man-made and like Kevlar are used in ballistic-rated body armor. The extra layers are strategically placed in high impact areas. The A-Star Riffs also have CE-certified knee armor that stay in place well thanks to stitched-in mesh pockets. The final layer of protection comes in the form of removable, 5mm-thick hip pads with Velcro attachments. All of the armor needs to be removed for washing, but Alpinestars recommends washing the pants inside out anyways, so it’s no hassle removing them.
Alpinestars’ Riffs are the first denim pants I’ve tested that have two zippered vents with mesh liners in the thighs, a welcome addition when riding on 100 degree days. Another beneficial feature are small zippers at the bottom of each leg so riders can expand the circumference in case a rider wears big boots. The pants also come with Velcro cuffs at the base so riders can further tailor the fit.
The pants have four pockets, two front, two back, all a little more than hand-deep in size. All four zipper up to protect valuable items like wallets and cell phones. The pants have belt loops like a standard set of jeans, a personal preference, along with a zippered front. The Alpinestars Riffs are pre-shaped, again something you don’t frequently see in denim pants. Team this with their accordion panels and you’ve got a comfortable set of riding pants.
What impresses me most about the Riffs are how well they’re made, from the materials used to construction. After months of wear, there’s no loose stitching and the denim has barely faded. Granted, I don’t wash them after every single ride because there’s no need. One tip though – order them a size larger than normal to ensure a proper fit. At $299.95, they cost more than the average pair of denim riding pants, but their quality construction and extra layers of protection warrant the cost in my book as the Alpinestars Riffs Denim Pants have been a vital part of my summertime gear bag.