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.
Some might say if you're going to cycle in jeans, and only cycle short distances, you could just wear normal jeans. Yes, you could. Or you could make things a little more comfortable and still look like you're in normal jeans. Until some car headlights shine on you – and then you might be very glad you're in cycling jeans.
Really good jeans for cycling in, and for not cycling in
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Resolute Bay W1 Women's Jeans
Size tested: 10
Tell us what the product is for
Resolute Bay says: "Mid-rise, skinny jean made from a super stretch denim, created specifically for women who cycle. The jeans are cut for comfort and style on and off the bike."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Super stretch denim
3mm black reflective strip on back pocket, Yoke + Thigh seam
Yep, all well made. Only issue with the pair on test is that the left leg doesn't hang/fit straight – the seam twists to the front of the leg. If I'd bought them, I would probably have exchanged for another pair.
I've been surprised by how much I like them for both cycling in and as casual non-cycling wear.
All seems good so far.
Very good fit – they're described as super-stretchy and they are; and they're described as 'skinny' and they are. A bit on the short side for my taste, but it's the fashion, innit.
I'm a 10-12; the size 10 (28in waist) fit perfectly.
They feel lighter than my ordinary jeans, and I'm surprised they're slightly heavier than the Rapha jeans I tested last year, because the fabric feels thinner and more stretchy.
The super-stretchy denim means they're clingy without being tight, or is that tight without being clingy... they're very comfortable!
Compared with the Rapha jeans' original price of £150, they're great value; compared with the Vulpines (£100) and Rapha's lower price of £95, they're still pretty good. More expensive than my usual high street choices, but I'm a cheapskate.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Easy. In the machine, 30 or 40 degrees, line dry. No need to iron.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Really well. The stretchy material is comfortable round the stomach and knees when you're riding, the gusset helps with comfort on the bike if you're not wearing anything padded underneath, and the looks don't shout 'cyclist!' when you're not on the bike. A bit chilly round the ankles sometimes, that's all.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The comfort of the gusset, for cycling, when I don't want to be wearing Lycra or padded underwear.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Twisty leg on the test pair, and a bit short for my taste; I'd choose the longer leg version.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes – in a longer length.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
The gusset and stretchiness of the fabric make them a good choice for days when you don't want to wear Lycra. They're comfortable enough for a 13-mile round-trip commute, and look perfectly non-cycling when you're not on the bike. The price isn't bad either. I wouldn't say they're 'exceptional', but they're a little more comfortable than Rapha's and a little more affordable, which earns them an extra point.
About the tester
I usually ride: Vitus Venon My best bike is: Paulus Quiros
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, sportives, general fitness riding
Tass is our production pedant, who boldly goes hunting for split infinitives, rogue apostrophes and other things up with which she will not put. She joined road.cc in 2015 but first began working on bike magazines way back in 1991 as production editor on Mountain Biking UK, then deputy editor of MTB Pro, before changing allegiance to road cycling as senior production editor on Cycling Plus. She's ridden off-road but much prefers on, hasn't done half the touring she'd like to, and loves paper maps.