MC Tested: REV’IT! Recon Riding Jeans

European style and fit, with special safety features just for motorcyclists.

Rev'It Recon jeans test
The Recon’s have excellent attention to detail, from the adjustable cuffs with their reflective strips to the lined waistband and gusseted crotch. Even with knee armor installed, they’re not obviously riding pants. Nice.Photo: Julia LaPalme

The REV'IT! Recon jeans have a "workman" look to them. If you've been to Europe you know what that means—these are exactly the style of pants worn by gas-station attendants, road workers, and police officers all over Europe.

It’s the front cargo pockets that do it. That and the military blue color. For riders, REV’IT! has made the Recons from “Cordura denim,” with the Dutch company’s “PWR|shield” fabric layered on at the seat and knees. Cordura denim simply means there’s some (15 percent, as it turns out) polyamide fiber woven in with the cotton, and PWR|shield is a 100-percent polyamide material. Both fabrics are meant to boost strength and abrasion resistance, while thin, highly flexible CE-approved knee padding offers some impact protection.

Rev'It Recon armor
PWR|shield fabric is laid on thick at the seat and then covered with a comfort liner. The same 100-percent polyamide material reinforces the Recon’s knees.Photo: Julia LaPalme

There’s no hip armor, nor pockets for adding any. Oddly, there are rivets at the corners of the pockets on each hip, and based on my crashing experience, that’s a prime impact point.

I really like the slim fit and utilitarian look of the Recons, and the side-zip cargo pockets are great for carrying your wallet and your phone without interfering with your seating position on a bike. That’s especially important because the Recons run tight in the thighs. Tailoring at the knees and a gusset at the crotch improve fit on a bike, and the Recons are laced with thoughtful features like a lined waistband, embroidered rear pockets, and adjustable cuffs. There are even strips of reflective material on the inside of the legs at the bottom, and by turning up the cuffs you can add a bit of conspicuity at night.

Rev'It Recon jeans detail
See what I mean about attention to detail? Embroidered, button-flap pockets and slanted belt loops add subtle style.Photo: Julia LaPalme

Besides their distinctly European styling, though, the Recons are pretty inconspicuous, and they’re very comfortable. They’re lightweight and fit well and are as comfortable on the bike as they are while walking around. Too bad then that just a few weeks into wearing them I noticed a tear developing at the crotch.

This wasn’t a seam unraveling, mind you, this was the actual Cordura-denim fabric tearing away from the double-stitched seam at the crotch gusset. I sent a photo off to REV’IT! and it was passed around to the design and warranty team, none of whom had seen anything like it. I was told it was likely a one-off manufacturing fluke, and that any consumer that encountered such an issue should return the pants for a warranty replacement.

Rev'It Recon jeans rip
The Recons were retired from riding duty due to a fabric failure at the crotch.Photo: Julia LaPalme

Rather than return the Recons, I opted to keep them. I’m not riding in them anymore, but I do wear them when I’m working in the shop. As it turns out the knee armor offers great padding when you’re kneeling next to a bike, and extra pockets are always good to have in the garage. So these workman-style pants, specially designed to serve motorcyclists, are actually living out their days as work pants. Imagine that!

REV'IT! Recon Riding Jeans
PRICE: $250
Verdict: Great style and an excellent fit, but they need hip armor and better quality control.