Gusset. Go on, say it with me. It is not, let's face it, the most inviting word in the English language. But for cyclists who want to wear jeans (which includes most of us at one time or another), it's a very welcome concept. Normal jeans don't have one, you see; specially tailored cycling jeans like these from Swrve do. And a gusset (say it again) transforms a usually restrictive item of clothing into one that moves and performs much better.
Swrve was, if I'm correct, the first manufacturer on to the UK market with cycling jeans, and this winter they're offering both a regular cut and a new skinny fit. Both are now made with a new denim from tough-as-old-boots material manufacturer Cordura, which the company claims is hard-wearing, abrasion resistant and contains some stretch. In the month or so I've been testing them, the first two are difficult to gauge - but Cordura are better known for their bag canvases, which last for ever, so I'll give them that. All the important seams are triple-stitched, too, so it's fair to say these jeans are pretty robust. As for the stretch, that's more obvious. Yes, they do stretch a bit, while still feeling and looking like a lightweight denim. Which means that, combined with the gusset (Wikipedia: "A triangular or rhomboid piece of fabric inserted into a seam to add breadth or reduce stress from tight-fitting clothing"), they give you glorious freedom of movement to swing your legs in any direction you care to choose. Or indeed, pedal.
It's the skinny jeans we have here, by the way. And skinny they are. Not spray-on, hipster skinny, but definitely a slim cut. Useful, around town at this time of year, as the material is tight enough around the leg not to bother the chain and chainring when pedalling - so no letting chill breezes in. But, if you do roll the leg up, then there's a reflective strip running vertically down the back of the jeans. A nice little touch for dark nights - as are the reflective belt loops. The back pockets take a mini D-lock, as advertised, and the other bike-specific feature, the articulated knees, also worked well. Riding in them was, even for long distances, pretty effortless. Looks-wise, I wasn't so keen on the 'darts' of material at the knee that achieve this, but they function so well you can't really complain. The low-ish waist and high-ish back, also stopped the jeans cutting in to the tummy, and kept cold air off the back.
As for the other pen pockets and things, I wasn't particularly impressed - they seemed a bit superfluous, and what was (I think) meant to be a phone pocket on the back didn't fit an iPhone. But for a fuss-free riding jean, in a nice dark denim, these fit the bill nicely. They're also significantly cheaper than many other specialist riding jeans now around.
Gusset-tastic. Comfy, well-made riding jeans that really work on the bike.
road.cc test report
Make and model: Swrve Cycling Jeans
Size tested: 30 x 32
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
Jeans for city and leisure riding. The website says:
"For ease of movement these jeans come with the same bike-friendly features as found on the shorts; seamless gusseted crotch, articulated knees, lower front and a slight rise in the back and back pockets that fit a mini U-lock.
- low waist in front to prevent your belt from digging into your gut
- higher waist in back to stay respectable and to keep you warm
- articulated knees for a better fit on a bike or barstool
- seamless gusseted crotch for comfort
- back pockets fit a mini U-lock
- mobile-phone pocket on side to stay connected
- reflective strip on inside right leg - exposed when you turn up the chain-side leg
- high quality YKK zipper
- rivets to make them more durable
- stylish trim fit for everyday use"
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
the new skinny fit jeans are made with a stretch Cordura denim. The fabric is hard-working and lasts longer. It has the look and feel of 100% cotton denim but with added abrasion resistance and strength and there is no compramise on comfort or style. If you would like to know more about the fabric please have a look at the cordura website.
lots of bike-friendly features:
- seamless gusseted crotch
- rticulated knees
- lower front and a slight rise in the back
- reflective details on the rear left and right belt loops
- the back pockets have been reshaped
- two pen pockets have been added to the front.
-a reflective stripe that's revealed when you roll your drive-side leg up.
size info: the jeans are pre-shrunk so go for your normal waist size. if you want them very tight (painted on) maybe go down one size
Not more than a normal premium pair of jeans, and cheaper than other cycling-specific versions.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The fit, the way they worked when riding.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Found a couple of bits of the styling - darts, pen pockets, a bit fussy
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
About the tester
I usually ride: Cinelli Strato road or fixed commuter hack. My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed,