For the Original Review on the Road.cc website click here
I've been pleasantly surprised by just how comfortable Resolute Bay's W1 Women's Jeans are for cycling in. They are, as claimed, super-stretchy, so there's very little restriction around the knees when pedalling and plenty of give around the waist when you're leaning forward in the saddle. More importantly, the gusset means no seams in the wrong place for when you're not wearing padded underwear. I'm not sure they're any better as casual jeans than any others I've worn over the years, but they are the best I've worn for cycling.
- Pros: Comfortable, stretchy, no irritating seams, cycling details are subtle
- Cons: 'Short' comes up a bit short, test pair have a twist in the leg
Jeans aren't my usual choice for cycling, but there are times when they make perfect sense – and days when the time spent changing into/out of Lycra (and packing the clothes to change into) really doesn't. Dry days and short rides, combining cycling with off-bike activities, driving and cycling...
On those occasions, the Resolute Bay W1 jeans are a great choice. First of all, they look like a normal pair of skinny jeans. There are some reflectives – in the seams at the hip (both sides) and on the back pockets – none of which leap out at you during the day, or at all until you shine a light on them. And there's a saddle-friendly gusset, removing seams from where they'd be uncomfortable if you wear the jeans without padded underwear.
From the front and the back they look like a normal pair of jeans – the inner seams meet where they would on a normal pair of jeans, forming the front edge of the gusset, and you can't see the rear seam of the gusset from the back.
As I've said, the stretchiness of the fabric means they're comfortable enough for riding shorter distances; my homeward commute is seven miles and I probably wouldn't want to be going much further, unless I had padded underwear/shorts on.
I've worn them in the rain and, guess what, they've got wet. The few times it's happened, though, I've stayed surprisingly warm and they dry quite quickly.
A quick consult with Resolute Bay suggested I'd be best off with the 32in length, but I'd probably go for the 34s if I was buying them. They're fashionably short – gaining approval from my two daughters, in their 20s, who both wear jeans that I'd consider FAR too short – but a bit chilly around the ankles.
My test pair also have an annoying seam on the left leg that twists around to the front. If I'd spent 80 quid on them I would probably have exchanged them for a different pair.
Spending £80 on a pair of jeans isn't something I tend to do, so they seem expensive to me, but compared with other 'cycling' jeans I have experience of they're pretty good value: £15 cheaper than Rapha's women's jeans (originally £150, now £95), and £20 cheaper than Vulpine's.
CORDURA® Denim Fabric
Hard Working Comfort™
CORDURA® Denim fabric helps your hard-working jeans last longer than traditional 100% cotton denim. Based on an intimate blend of cotton and INVISTA’s T420 nylon 6.6 fiber, CORDURA® Denim fabric retains the authentic look and feel of cotton denim, but with added abrasion resistance, and toughness. Jeans made with CORDURA® Denim fabric are exceptionally durable without compromising on comfort and style. Work hard and play hard in jeans made with CORDURA® Denim fabric.
Take a peek into 'Authentic Alchemie,' a collection that combines the elemental durability of CORDURA® fiber with mystical transformation and creation and effortlessly unites genuine tradition with the fabric science of tomorrow.
- The authentic look, comfort, and feel of traditional 100% cotton denim with built-in long-lasting durability
- Exceptional abrasion resistance - 4 times that of comparable weight traditional 100% cotton denim fabric*.
- Brings with it the heritage of the CORDURA® brand which has proven performance in the world’s toughest environments.
(*Martindale testing based on 13.75 oz denim fabric.)
Qualifying INVISTA Yarn Types
Intimate blend spun yarns made with INVISTA T420 nylon 6.6 fiber and cotton
Typical Fabric Constructions
Twill (3x1, broken, etc.), Rip-stop, Plain weaves
We've had a few of Resolute Bay's jeans in for testing over the last couple of years, with the last pair – the NX1 – getting an excellent review. These new J1 jeans are very good too: smart-looking, comfortable on the bike and subtly enhanced for riding.
Do you ride in jeans? It's not anyone's first choice of legwear for a day ride, but if you're popping into town or you're off to the pub you don't want to clack around in Lycra, or change in the toilets. So a pair of jeans you can cycle in is a nice thing to have in the drawer. Of course, you can cycle in any pair of jeans, but Resolute Bay has put a bit of effort into making these J1 jeans a bit more bike-friendly, and it shows.
Firstly, they're the right kind of shape. Resolute Bay says they're "perfect for those riders with larger thighs and calfs", and given that I fall squarely in that category (1.89m, 94kg) I'd say it got them just about right. I'm bigger than Ash, who's wearing them in the photos here, but they're still a good fit on me: closer, but comfortable. The 98 per cent cotton/2 per cent elastane fabric isn't really stretchy, but there's a bit of give in it: just enough to make them really comfy and give them enough articulation when you're pedalling. They don't have the Cordura content in the fabric that the NX1 jeans do, which probably means they won't be as durable long term, but I've had no issues thus far.
Like many other cycling jeans, the J1s use an extra bit of fabric in the gusset, which avoids the big seam junction just where you don't want it when you're in the saddle. It works, too: the design makes sitting down a lot more comfortable, with no chafing, and the slightly articulated fabric helps there too. The 9oz denim is reasonably thin, so the seams that are there aren't that pronounced. It's proved to be hard-wearing enough though, shrugging off day-to-day scuffs and scrubbing up well on a cool wash.
After dark the J1s have some subtle reflective on the rear pockets, and sewn into the inside of each leg: when you turn them up to avoid getting oil on your jeans, you also expose the reflective for better visibility after dark. The reflectives are unobtrusive and they certainly do shine. The NX1 jeans have a larger reflective band around the back and down the outside seams, which gives better side visibility, and it's a pity that's missing on these jeans. I found turning them up over my calf made the jeans a little bit tight once the fabric was doubled up. I do have big calves though.
You get the normal jeans pockets, and also a zippered pocket on the leg that's purportedly for your smartphone and cards/cash. It's in a nice position for cycling as it doesn't get in the way, but it could probably do with being a touch bigger: my phone (Xperia Z5 compact) fitted okay, but you'd struggle to squeeze a big iPhone in there. The zip gives it a bit of extra security, and the soft fabric inside will be kind to screens.
Overall, these are really good jeans for general living that includes a bit of cycling. They're good looking, and they have enough about them in terms of cycle-friendly features to make them stand out. At £90 they're in the middle of the cycling jeans market, and they're decent enough value considering the fit and the construction.