Personally, I’ll wear anything to cycle in. From my normal every day clothes to Lycra and every once in a while I’ll even ride completely naked.
Lately however, you probably were not too surprised to hear about jeans specifically designed for cyclists. After all, just because you ride a bike, you don’t necessarily want to look like a cyclist.
So what exactly is the difference between normal jeans and jeans designed for cycling? Is it just a scam to charge £150 for a pair of jeans?
The miracle of elastane
To start with, let me introduce you to elastane. Better known as Lycra. This is the material added to jeans designed for cycling.
It offers far superior elasticity, tear resistance and durability. Hence no matter how long you pedal for, the jeans for cycling will outlast their normal counterparts and be far more comfortable. Although, it should be noted that some regular jeans these days also include elastane but generally to a lower percentage than those designed for cycling.
No more getting your jeans caught in the chain
They are also less likely to get caught in the chain and cogs. Something that has decimated a couple of pairs of jeans that I owned. This is party thanks to the straight leg cut of the jeans but also, thanks to the elastane which keeps them closer to the body whilst remaining comfortable.
Away with the builders bum
Jeans for cycling are also designed to protect those riding behind you. Specifically, they have a higher cut at the back which means even as you lean in to the handlebars your derriere remains covered. No doubt this will make cycling jeans unappealing to the exhibitionists amongst you!
Can you really put a price tag on all these features?
Absolutely. Three main brands that have are Rapha, Muxu and Levi’s. £150, £90 and £50 respectively.
Let’s take a look at them..
Rapha jeans for cycling
Rapha did a 50/50 test where they created a pair of jeans that was half made for cycling and half a normal pair of denim. They found someone who didn’t mind looking silly to test out the jeans and see what the effect would be over time. The normal half of the jeans wore out quickly around the saddle whereas the cycling jeans stood the test of time continuing to look like new.
Alongside the normal comfort features such as offset inseams to prevent chafing, the Rapha jeans feature a rear pocket to accommodate a compact D-lock. The front pockets are especially deep cut to be sure your loose change (not that you’ll have any after buying these jeans) will stay put.
When the jeans are rolled up a reflective Rapha logo appears to keep you visible. There’s also high-vis pink binding inside the legs.
Whilst the Rapha jeans for cyclists are expensive, there’s no doubting their durability and comfort. I’ll have a full review of the Rapha jeans early next month.
Muxu Ride Cycling Jeans
Both the Rapha and Muxu jeans feature 4% elastane and reflective features.
The Muxu dark navy jeans come with the classic two front pockets, with a change pocket on the right. They also have the usual rear pockets with an additional off centre pocket where you can hold your phone, mp3 player or mini pump.
Levi’s Commuter Jeans
There are two things that make the Levi’s jeans really exciting. The first is the reasonable price and the second is the water resistance. This should be particularly helpful for us London cyclists. The water resistance is provided by so called NanoSphere technology which provides resistance to dirt and water.
The jeans also include the other typical features such as a U lock holder, a raised waistline at the back and a reflective strip.
Unfortunately, the jeans are not currently available in the UK so you’ll need to get them shipped over from the US. Weekend in New York anyone?
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As seen on The Guardian, BBC and The Independent.