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.