Everyone who has cycled in regular jeans knows the disadvantages: bunched up in the groin, wide cuffs eaten by chain rings, and the best case scenario for the seat is a faded bottom and disemboweled decorative stitching. The worst case? A frayed hole showing the world whether you’re the briefs, boxers or commando. What’s a mortal to do, sport spandex to the office? Certainly not. Look for these features and you’ll avoid such dungaree disasters.
Safety should always be the first consideration as a cyclist. It’s a dangerous road out there, so additional reflectiveness is a must — unless, of course, you prefer to don the highly visible but unsightly triangle torso reflector vests. The more common placements of reflective material are on the cuffs (often exposed after they are rolled up), on pockets and belt loops.
Fabric and Cut
Old fashioned denim doesn’t cut it, which is why most cycling jeans feature upgraded material like Cordura (top-notch stuff that adds a near wear-proof invincibility) and proprietary nylon woven into denim. It’s costly, but extremely sturdy. Most companies also reinforce the inside of the drive-side leg, and some offer waterproofing capabilities. A straight or narrow cut leg can save your denim from the 50 teeth looking to make a meal of your cuffs.
Look for pants with a gusseted crotch and articulated knees for added comfort and mobility. Some brands also add a chamois, just like racing tights, for some much needed cushion. A properly designed pair of cycling pants will ride higher in the rear to keep your back covered, and so the lower front won’t bunch up and pinch delicate skin.
There are many convenient features available, but it’s unlikely you’ll find all of them on a single pair of cycling jeans. Cell phone pockets, reinforced belt loops for the de rigeur carabiner, over-sized back pockets to fit mini u‑locks, pen or key pockets and an adjustable waistband are some of the more practical standard features.
While you’ll ante up a bit more for cycling jeans, think of it as an upgrade to your riding experience — like new tires or comfortable seat. Now get out and pedal.