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.
They're available in 30, 32 and 34in waist with either a 32 or 34in leg; not the biggest range of sizes, but probably covering a decent portion of cyclists out there.
Comfortable and smart-looking jeans with some neat and subtle cycling-specific touches
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Resolute Bay J1 cycling jeans
Size tested: 34/34, 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: "9oz Kuroki Stretch Japanese denim cycling jean. Tapered fit, perfect for those riders with larger thighs and calfs. Secure side zip pocket with enough room for your cards and phone. Black reflective pocket piping and cuffs help keep you visible while riding at night."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Resolute Bay lists the following:
Tapered fit 6 pocket jean
Secure side zip pocket (Phone + Cards)
Black reflective flat piping on the rear pockets
Black reflective panel on rolled up cuffs
9oz stretch Kuroki Japanese denim
Fabric Content: 98% Cotton / 2% Elastane
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Just lob them in a cool wash, they scrub up very well.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Pretty well – easy to cycle in, comfy, some neat bike-specific touches.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Nice fabric, subtle reflectives.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Phone pocket too small.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your score
If you want some jeans that are a bit better than normal jeans for cycling in, and look smart, these are such jeans.
About the tester
I usually ride: whatever I'm testing... My best bike is: Kinesis Tripster ATR, Kinesis Aithein
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo-cross, commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mountain biking, Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling, track
Dave is a founding father of road.cc and responsible for kicking the server when it breaks. In a previous life he was a graphic designer but he's also a three-time Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling world champion, and remains unbeaten through the bog. Dave rides all sorts of bikes but tends to prefer metal ones. He's getting old is why.