Written by Sam Bendall.
My Pando Moto Karl Indigo jeans smell like the inside of a garbage can at this point. That’s because I’ve been wearing them for almost 4 months straight and they’ve never been washed. I wear them to the market, I wear them on the couch, I wear them in the car, I wear them at the cafe and, well, wear them everywhere. Especially on my motorcycle. My fiancé gets especially annoyed when I wear them at home because she cannot believe they are just as comfortable as my super-hero lounge sweats. Maybe they also don’t smell as bad I led you to believe because she has not said anything either.
I’ll be honest, I like to look good. In my profession, I believe that wherever I go, there is an opportunity to do business and my outward appearance and attitude is a reflection of my style. Because I am a motorcyclist in Los Angeles it is imperative, that whatever I am wearing, protects me in the event of an accident.
As the motorcycle industry begins to shift toward understanding the mentalities of young working professionals and cool, hip riders that are growing in number, so are many motorcycle apparel companies. Riders have shouted loud enough that “we want look good off the bike and ride protected in case of an accident.” Some brands heard the call and even newer ones have stepped into the fray with new products.
I was intrigued by Pando Moto having never heard of them prior to wearing my current pair. Pando Moto is a Lithuanian company that hand tailors premium Cordura denim with embedded Kevlar panels. They are also one of a few companies making apparel with a fabric known as Dyneema which is 50 times stronger than steel and thus ultra abrasion resistant.
Other features Pando Moto features in their apparel are removable SAS-TEC® CE approved knee protectors that can be inserted or removed from the outside and flex points at the knees to facilitate a motorcyclists’ stance whether on a cruiser or a sport bike.
USE & ABUSE
The stinky and awesome pair I have been wearing for the last 4 months is the Pando Moto Karl Indigo. The first outing with the Karl Indigo came when I was tooling around town on the Rev’it #95 Double Dare. Knowing I would experience a potential fall in the dirt, I opted to toss in the SAS-TEC Knee Protectors. Luckily for me the only time I went down on that bike was at a stop in some very slippery mud. The rest of the time in these jeans were spent on my own bike, and an awesome Vespa commuting and running errands in and around LA.
FIT AND FINISH
The Karl Indigo fits my tall frame well and the sizing runs true to size. In the last year, I’ve gone up to a 36 waist (too much work, and iffy diet and not enough time in the gym) and I have always been a 34 inch inseam. My thighs and posterior have some definition and that has proven difficult in the past to find pants that fit very well. It’s either a battle between waist and hip fit versus leg fit. The latter is naturally compromised leaving me with an ill-fitting pant in the leg.
Regarding the Karl Indigo, the fit in the waist is comfortable and fitted but not too tight to restrict any movement or create serious “swamp-ass” on a warm day. The thigh and leg portions are also nicely fitted with a little room to breathe. “Baggy” or “skin-tight” are not the words I would ever use to describe these pants. They are simply perfect. Having a little room along the waist and thigh also makes for comfortable and roomy pockets. Fitting in my field notes sized leather wallet and iPhone 7 Plus in the front pockets is easily achieved and there is no pressure on them in a seated position. The same can be said for the back pockets as well. On occasion, I have stuffed my riding gloves in my back pocket when dropping in and out of a store.
My favorite feature is the removable SAS-TEC® CE approved knee protectors. I often do not have the knee protectors in but they alway manage to stay in my bag in the event I choose to put them in for some spirited riding. Being able to toss them in without having to remove my pants is very convenient. Once in position, they are secured by a heavy-duty velcro strip and fit snugly over my patella and 4 inches down my tibia. There is very little wiggle room once they are in place.
Nothing is ever perfect but these jeans come close, so what are the pain points regarding the Karl Indigo’s? Because it’s something I have been so use to all my life, the Karl Indigo is missing the ever-present “fifth pocket” just inside the right front pocket. I never realized how much I missed the little stash pocket until it was gone.
12.5 oz Cordura denim has incorporated “CoolMax” technology that allows for breathability but when coupled with Kevlar lining, the jeans do retain body heat. On hotter summer days, like the ones that are coming up and the few that have descended upon Los Angeles in the last couple weeks, I don’t anticipate these jeans being that comfortable off the bike for extended periods of time. However, I believe that is a natural compromise if you demand a durable fabric to protect in a slide.
I have never really been down in these jeans, and I hope I never have to experience it. But I have experienced the abrasion resistance of kevlar and cordura in the past. The quality of the fabric in the Pando Moto Karl Indigo is top-tier and I believe will protect you during a prolonged slide. The reinforced chain stitching of each Kevlar panel to the Cordura denim uses Kevlar thread which means it’s not coming apart. From a style perspective, they look utterly fantastic and my friends, family, and students have been oblivious to the fact that they are protective motorcycle jeans.
So, if your body type is like mine (athletic and trim) the Pando Moto Karl might be your best bet for a three season riding pant that’s also suitable for everyday wear off the bike.
At $236 USD (€199, A$320) the Pando Moto Karl is a steal. It comes in at nearly $70 less than other competitors which try to pull off this similar style with none of the aforementioned protective fabrics.
GET THE KARL INDIGIO JEANS HERE
Disclaimer: I approached Pando Moto for a pair of jeans to do a thorough review. I have not been compensated or paid in any way for this. I thoroughly test any and all gear I review in the field for a minimum of 2 months before giving an honest opinion. If you want to know what the best gear is, give it to me, I’ll test it harder than NASA trains astronauts.