Jeans and bicycles have never really been happy bedfellows. Walk into any high street fashion shop and you're faced with jeans in any number of cuts, fits, colours and styles, but few lend themselves to cycling. Resolute Bay is one of the latest brands trying to change that and make the ideal cycling jeans, aiming to marry fashion with comfort and practicality, and I'd say its NX1s are well on the way to achieving it.
Mat reviewed Resolute Bay's first pair of jeans back in November 2015. They were the RB2 model – since superseded by the RB3s – and featured a nifty zip-out reflective panel, quite a novel design. The NX1s have a more traditional take on things, they're a far simpler design with no fancy pull-out panels, just classic slim-fit jeans with a few nice twists that make for a more pleasurable riding experience.
The cut of the NX1s is slim, not spray-on skinny and not 90s pop rock bands, but somewhere in the middle. Loose enough that you've got room to move, but not too much excess material. Importantly, they look like 'normal' jeans when you're off the bike.
The major difference from your average high street jeans is the crotch gusset. This features a flat panel instead of the junction of seams you'd usually find. These seams are the primary reason most people find jeans uncomfortable to ride in, as they end up between your 'sensitive areas' and the saddle. The flat panel design here, often found on other cycling trousers too, removes this discomfort. The seams and joins are still there but they've been moved out to the periphery. The overall effect is that the jeans are a whole lot more comfortable to ride in, although the seams that have been moved to the inner thigh can become 'noticeable' if you're riding longer distances.
One of the main selling points of the NX1s is that they're made of 12.5oz stretch Cordura denim. Cordura trumps your average denim in that it mixes the cotton with a nylon fibre to make it a lot more resistant to abrasion and heavy everyday use, while not looking any different to normal denim. This is vital on the crotch and inner thigh, where regular cotton denim tends to wear quite quickly.
The Cordura doesn't mean you have to compromise on comfort, either: to wear, they feel just the same as any other jeans, but you have the peace of mind that they are going to last a lot longer – about four times longer according to Cordura's claims. The stretch in the fabric is another essential when on the bike; heavyweight denim jeans can often feel a bit restricting when you're pedalling, but the extra stretch in the NX1s makes things more comfortable.
One of the jeans' main party tricks is clearly visible in the photo above: across the rear yoke, down the outer thighs and across the rear pockets are strips of black reflective. It's virtually invisible in daylight, and just blends into the lines of the seams, but shine a car headlight at it and it lights you up like a Christmas tree. It's a really neat little feature that gives you that extra bit visibility at night without compromising the look when you're wearing them off the bike. There is also a reflective strip inside the turn-up of the right cuff, another useful touch.
Other than that, the detailing on the jeans is probably as you'd expect: there's a zip fly, sturdy button, loop holes for a belt and five pockets. Although the openings of the front pockets are really quite tight, Resolute Bay assures us it will stretch with more use and it may reconsider the cut of them on the next batch, but this is a relatively minor issue.
The NX1s are available directly from Resolute Bay's website, and come in three colour options: indigo with gold stitching, indigo with blue stitching, and black. They range in size from a 28 to 36in waist, with three different leg lengths.
Despite the dearth of jeans suitable for riding in on the high street, there's a fair amount of competition from cycling brands. Rapha and Vulpine have designs at £150 and £120 respectively, both a significant jump from the NX1s. Swerv's Cordura slim fit jeans come in at £80, just less than the Resolute Bays, and George reviewed Fox Wilson's cycling jeans last year, which retail for £89. And, of course, there are Levi's Commuter jeans, for £90 RRP. Looking at this competition, I'd say the NX1s stack up pretty well in terms of value and spec.
Overall, the Resolute Bay NX1s are a good quality pair of cycling jeans for a very reasonable price. They're comfortable on the bike with a couple of well-executed features that really do enhance your cycling experience, and they look stylish and well fitting when you're off the bike.
An excellent pair of cycling jeans that combine on-bike comfort with great style, fit and practicality
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Resolute Bay NX1 jeans
Size tested: W34/L32
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 Resolute Bay NX1 cycling jean is what you have all been asking for, A high performance slim cut jean that retains a classic aesthetic. Strong, stretch Cordura denim gives this jean the durability you need for the hard rides ahead. Black reflective strips embedded into the sides, back yoke and rear pockets give this jean a 360 degree night ride luminosity. "
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
- Slim fit 5 pocket jean
- Black reflective strips on the side, back and rear pockets
- Reflective arrows on rolled up cuff
- 12.5oz stretch Cordura denim
- Zip fly
- Crotch Gusset
Fabric Content: 50%Co / 30%Pa / 30%T400
A solid pair of jeans, stitching and fastenings are all very robust. The only minor quibble was the tightness of the pocket openings but this doesn't affect performance and RB is going to address this.
Perform really well on and off the bike.
Obviously it's hard to tell their real longevity over a relatively short time period, but they show very little sign of wear and tear.
A nice fitting pair of jeans, loose enough when riding and 'fashionably' slim off the bike.
A W34/L32 pair sized up about how I'd expect.
Really comfortable to ride in. Over longer distances the seams on the inner thigh become 'noticeable' but not overly uncomfortable, and they're not really designed for long rides.
They stack up well in comparison to other similar jeans on the market; given their durability they'd be a good investment.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Easy. They machine wash at 30 degrees. They come out fine without much shrinkage, and the stretch aspect of the fabric loosens up any tightness caused by washing.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Really well, comfortable and practical on the bike, and stylish off it.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The cut was really nice, as was the flat gusset and the integrated reflective strips.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
There wasn't much to dislike really, the tight pockets were the only niggle and that issue sounds like it'll be addressed.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes, definitely.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Absolutely
Use this box to explain your score
The jeans get a 9 from me. They're an excellent pair of jeans that perform to an all-round high level. They score highly on comfort and performance, and meet the aim of looking good on and off the bike. RB hasn't tried to make them too clever, instead concentrating on refining a simple design.
About the tester
I usually ride: KHS Flite 100 Singlespeed/Fixed, Genesis Equilibrium 20 My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 5-10 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed
Oli has been a road.cc staffer since day one. He's the graphic design and photography force behind the site, and has got a keen eye for good quality, well designed cycling kit. You'll find him on his bike everyday whatever the weather, he's got a penchant for a steel frame and has had 'fit mudguards' on his To Do list for nearly 6 years now. Likes: cold toast, gin, rugby. Dislikes: fitting mudguards.