Resolute Bay's RB2 cycling jeans are a good design with a hidden yoke panel that you can unzip to improve the fit while riding, although the usual jeans seams can become uncomfortable if you're in the saddle for a long time.
I reckon the Resolute Bay concept is a good one. One of the problems riding around town in jeans is that they're not cut for cycling, so when you lean forward to the handlebar the waistband doesn't sit right. You can often get a draughty lower back and sometimes what the French call 'le sourire du plombier' (plumber's smile) and what we call, less poetically, builder's bum, with your intergluteal cleft (okay, arse crack) on display to all and sundry. Apart from offending people on the number 32 bus as you nip past, it's not very comfortable.
London-based Resolute Bay has come up with a solution that is, as far as I know, new. The jeans feature a hidden yoke panel at the back. An almost invisible zip runs right across the back of the jeans, below the waist band, that, when undone, reveals a ripstop extra panel.
A gimmick? Nope, it really works. Ride your bike with the zip done up and the fit isn't great; ride your bike with the zip undone and things improve massively.
Plus, that panel is highly reflective – it shines when it catches the light. There are black reflective arrows on the inside of the right leg too, front and back, so if you roll up the hem to avoid it getting caught in the drivetrain, you add some more eye-catching visibility.
Cycling features aside, these are very good jeans in their own right. They're made in the UK from 12oz raw selvedge denim produced on Toyoda shuttle looms in the Kuroki Mill in Okayama, Japan. That might not mean a whole lot to you, but it will mean something to denimheads. I have a couple of pairs of Howies jeans made from the same denim and they've worn really well over the past two or three years. No jeans made from this denim are cheap, unfortunately.
As with all raw denim, these jeans shed a lot of dye to begin with so you'd better avoid light-coloured furniture for a while, and if you have a white saddle it is going to turn blue. Unlike the denim used for some cycle-specific jeans, the fabric used here has no added stretch or water resistance.
Denim purists will tell you that you should avoid washing raw denim for as long as possible to get the best appearance in the long term. There was so much dye coming off these that I gave in quite early, and I wanted to check whether they'd shrink in the wash anyway. They didn't.
The denim is pretty tough and durability is good, although any denim is going to wear gradually in the seating area if you're regularly riding a bike. If that's an issue for you, Resolute Bay does make a C1 Cordura edition of its jeans, made from Cordura denim, a blend of cotton and nylon. This fabric is designed to have extra resistance to abrasion.
Resolute Bay doesn't address the issue of seams that you sit on in the crotch area. Vulpine, for example, includes a diamond gusset panel in its Jinzu Raw Selvedge Cycling Jeans to remove any seams from that area and avoid pressure when you're in the saddle. The Resolute Bay jeans just have a normal design there. I wouldn't say the seams are particularly bulky, but you're likely to feel them and they could cause discomfort if you're riding for a long time. For shorter hops around town, though, you're unlikely to be too bothered.
Although the cut is slim, I didn't find it restrictive on the bike. I guess you might if you're a chunkier build but denim tends to give a little and take on your shape to a degree, so that's unlikely to be an issue.
As well as this indigo version, the RB2 jeans are available in black.
Good jeans with a couple of very successful cycle-specific features for both on and off the bike use
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Resolute Bay RB2 cycling jeans
Size tested: Size 34, Indigo
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?
Resolute Bay says, "The RB2 cycling Jean is a classically cut, straight leg fit jean. It features a unique ultra thin zip up yoke panel. When unzipped this panel reveals a subtle black reflective strip which dramatically improves the fit of the jean while riding. Another important purpose is the visibility this panel provides at night, it is highly reflective once lit up by the headlights of a vehicle. Once your ride ends, you simply zip the back panel up and your jeans returns to their original classic fit."
These are jeans for riding around town. They have a couple of cycle-specific features, most notably that zip-up yoke panel, but they look like normal, everyday jeans when you're off the bike.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Resolute Bay says, "These jeans are made from raw Japanese selvedge denim. This denim was woven by the Kuroki Mill in Okayama, Japan on old 1950's Toyoda shuttle looms. These short looms weave the denim three times slower than a modern mass-production denim looms, which helps create far less stress on the yarn and in turn makes the finished fabric a lot more durable."
Resolute Bay lists these features:
Slim straight fit 5 pocket jean
Zip-up ripstop / black reflective back yoke
Black reflective arrow rolled cuff
12oz Raw Japanese selvedge denim
Rope dyed with natural indigo
Red and blue line selvedge
Rivets at key stress points
Bar tacks at stress points
Reinforced pocket bags
2 front hand pockets
2 rear patch pockets
Twin needle stitched inside leg
Heavy duty gold Gutermann thread
The zip-up yoke panel works superbly. I'd be happier if Resolute Bay did something to avoid sitting on the seams too.
The denim is pretty tough stuff although, like any other denim, it will gradually wear as it rubs on the saddle.
The zip-up yoke panel makes things very comfortable there, although you do sit on normal jeans seams.
£140 is a lot to spend on jeans compared to a pair of standard Levi's, say, but raw Japanese selvedge jeans are always going to be considerably more expensive than that. Plus, of course, these have a couple of cycle-specific features, including an innovative zip-up yoke design, and they're made in the UK.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
These jeans are largely based around the zip-up yoke design and that works very well.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The fit, courtesy of the extra yoke panel.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
I'd have liked a solution to avoid sitting on the seams.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Possibly
Would you recommend the product to a friend? For shorter urban hops, yes.
Use this box to explain your score
Some people baulk at paying £140 for a pair of jeans. Fair enough, but if you want raw selvedge denim from Japan you have to dig deeper than usual. Plus, you have to pay for the cycle-specific features and the fact that these are made in the UK. The zip-up yoke design is very successful, but I just wish Resolute Bay addressed the issue of seams in the seating area too.
About the tester
Age: 43 Height: 190cm Weight: 75kg
I usually ride: My best bike is:
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding
Mat has worked for loads of bike magazines over 20+ years, and been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. He's been road.cc technical editor for eight years, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a past winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer.