A hot topic we covered a while back was jeans for cycling. We mentioned the Rapha, Levis and Muxu jeans. Since then, I’ve been testing out the Rapha and Swrve jeans and now is the time to present you with my findings.
The primary difference between cycling jeans and a normal pair of jeans, is that you are a total bike geek if you wear cycling jeans. Also, that they contain elastane. More commonly known as Lycra. This gives them a superior elasticity, tear resistance and durability. It also makes them more comfortable to wear whilst cycling.
Cycling jeans aren’t cheap. The Swrve jeans cost £85 and the Rapha jeans cost £150. The big question is: are they worth this high price point?
Swrve £85 summer weight skinny jeans
(Insert your head in the picture above to be the London Cyclist)
The Swrve jeans are meant for the warmer weather, or for those who quickly get hot when riding their bike. The material feels light and very comfortable. It gives you an almost naked feeling , like you are not wearing a pair of jeans. That’s exactly the sort of comfort level I’m looking for!
In terms of features, you get a reflective strip on the right leg when you turn it up. As it gets dark really late at the moment, I’ve not really found myself using it.
You also get a pocket for your pump, a back pocket for your phone and a pocket for your D-lock. Once again, I’ve not found myself using any of these.
Where the Swrve jeans do excel, and also the reason I adore them, is the special cut for cycling. This includes a lower front so your jeans don’t cut in to you as you are pedalling. It also includes a higher back so you don’t reveal a builders bum.
I’m not saying I don’t have a nice bum – I just don’t feel like I should be revealing it to the world.
Beyond that, there’s also articulated knees which means a better fit with bent knees and also a seamless crotch which means more comfortable riding.
Finally, I really like the pocket lining, which I can only describe as elegant and dainty!
Overall, these are by a long shot, the most comfortable jeans I’ve ever worn. The only feature missing? I wish there was a way of making them waterproof.
Rapha £150 jeans
With the bar set so high from the Swrve jeans, how do the Rapha jeans compare?
The Rapha jeans offer a similar set of features. You get a reflective strip on the inside leg, there’s a pocket for your d-lock and deep pockets so you can safely carry your mobile and pennies knowing they won’t fall out.
Rapha is known for how well their cut is thought out for cyclists. Their jeans are no exception. Once again, the lower waist, higher back combo works really well. It’s also cut in such a way to not get caught in your chain. The Rapha jeans are designed to avoid chafing and to allow for maximum movement.
Despite the similar set of features, I constantly found myself thinking: I’d rather be wearing my Swrve jeans.
There are a few reasons I may be biased towards the Swrve jeans. The first is that they are at a much more reasonable price point. The second is that they offer a size 33, which is great for someone like me who is stuck between 32 and 34. The third is that I prefer the lightness of the Swrve jeans. However, perhaps this will change as the temperature drops.
There’s no doubt the Rapha jeans look just as good as the Swrve jeans, but for me personally, they don’t offer quite the same level of comfort.
Which pair to buy?
If I had £100 to spend on a pair of jeans, I’d buy the Swrve jeans and then pop down to the pub for a few overpriced pints with my mates with the remaining £15. In fact, I’ll probably be ordering another pair of Swrve jeans, when these eventually wear out.
I’d still be £50 short if I wanted to buy a pair of Rapha jeans. If there’s one reason why I believe you may prefer the Rapha jeans, over the Swrve, is that in the long run, they’ll be more hard wearing.
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As seen on The Guardian, BBC and The Independent.