Commuter jeans ready for your entire day.
Ifyou are a commuter, messenger, or are just going out for a ride, your spandex kit isn’t always quite appropriate. You want functional clothing for the ride, but don’t want to stick out in the crowd. Well, there are some companies that have you covered. This is the first of three product reviews that will keep you happy on the bike and fashionable off.
Rapha is a company known for producing top-quality cycling clothing, in classic styles. Since their first collection in summer 2004, Rapha has grown their line to include technical clothing for all seasons, and casual clothing for on and off of the bike. Earlier this year, they made the jump into the world of denim. In true Rapha style, the details are well thought out and quality is top notch.
The heart of the jeans is the fabric. Rapha went to great lengths to develop the fabric blend, weight, and weave to find the right mix of durability and style. They worked with Italian mills to create various blends of Cordura nylon, cotton, and lycra to make these jeans durable enough to commute in, yet comfortable enough to wear all day. After real world testing the prototype fabrics using messengers in London, and a pair of “50/50” jeans to show how the Rapha fabric wears compared to typical denim, they found what they believe is the right blend.
From there, Rapha continued to develop the design to make these the most functional jeans for riding. A slightly raised rear waist helps keep you covered when leaning forward on the bars. Double center rear belt loops also help keep these jeans in place. Subtle pink stitching around the waist is a clue to the Rapha brand. If you carry your keys on a clip, they added a reinforced white nylon belt loop on the right side with that in mind. The rear pockets are also reinforced and shaped to hold a D lock. High visibility pink inner taping shows when the jeans are rolled or folded up and a reflective Rapha logo on the inside of the right leg is also a nice safety touch. To finish the jeans off, deep front pockets help hold items in, while a gripper strip on the inside of the waist hold your shirt tucked in.
So all of this attention to detail is important, but if the jeans don’t fit, none of this matters. I’m happy to say, unless you are ultra muscular track rider (sorry Sir Chris Hoy), these jeans are a great fit. The straight leg cut will fit in at the office, but is also comfortable to wear on the weekends. While they are a little slim in the thighs, they are not cut as slim as Levi’s Commuter jeans. The stretch in the fabric helps keep you comfortable while riding and offset seams help to eliminate chaffing. Temperatures in the 50’s and 60’s with a little bit of wind were comfortable, and sweat was handled better than other jeans. They could get hot in warmer temps, but then again, most jeans would. The fabric feels a little stiff the first few wears, but in time, they do break in and soften up, while keeping their color and modern look.
At $205 USD, the price might seem a little steep, but deserving due to the thought out details and durability of the product. If you are lucky enough to be near the San Francisco Rapha Cycle Club, stop in to try them on. If not, these jeans, and other items are available on order at www.rapha.cc or from their partner retailers.