What Are You Wearing? Print Edition: Riding Pants
It’s that time of year in the north country. The snow is melting, the trails are (most likely) unrideable, and most roads are a messy soup of slush, salt, and grit. While much of the snow is gone it’s March and that means we should expect one more slap in the face from Old Man Winter before April arrives. Some of us burrow down and wait for the sloosh to subside, while others push on full steam ahead. If you’re in the latter category you might be on the search for riding pants that will help you bridge the gap. For this feature, I sought pants that not only meet the rugged demands for stomping on the pedals but serve just as well off the bike.
Earlier this winter I reached out to a number of brands we’ve featured over the years at fat-bike.com, as well as a new company I am really liking. Here’s what came back. For this print edition of What Are You Wearing, I have three great options for you to consider from Chrome Industries, SWRVE, and Livsn Designs.
Chrome Industries-Brannan Riding Pant $150
Chrome Industries has been around the block a few times, returning to fat-bike.com after our editor-in-chief Gomez covered a pair of shorts last summer. Chrome is definitely the big dog on the block in this line up. Famous for their belt-buckled messenger bags, shoes, and accessories, Chrome produces a quality line of clothing for bike lovers. Designed with a lot of input from bicycle messengers, the black only Brannan Riding Pant fills a great niche in the Chrome apparel line up.
Here are some features:
- Water resistant 4-way stretch Everest fabric
- Workwear inspired style
- Gusseted, reinforced crotch
- Articulated knees for free movement
- Reflective inseam for cuff visibility
- Ventilated crotch gusset
- Tapered leg
- Zippered passport pocket
The Brannan fit, like most pant in this category, falls in the “tapered” leg category. If you like a close to skin fit the Brannan will feel right at home for you. The Everest 4-way stretch material is soft to touch and very comfortable. The material offers a lot of movement. Pedaling in these pants is effortless.
Other features I appreciate is the extra ventilation down below. You won’t notice the vent flaps as they are carefully concealed. You will, however, notice when you’re riding as the vents help keep things cool down there. Sizing runs a little big. I normally can’t get away with a 32” waist favoring the elusive 33” in most brands. Yet the Brannan in a 32” is a great fit. What I like most about the Brannan Riding Pant is the fit, comfort, and how easily these pants will transition off the bike to the workplace or pushing your way to the stage (once we can get back to live music).
SWRVE-Indigo Cordura Jeans $100
L.A.’s SWRVE has been around for a while making boutique quality bike friendly clothing and accessories. You may recognize the name because I reviewed the Winter Riding Shirt last winter. SWRVE may be a So-Cal company, but it has roots in Milwaukee, so they get an extra nod from the fat-bike.com team here in Wisco. The Indigo Cordura Jeans are available in a standard, slim, and skinny style. I’m wearing the slim. I like the deep, rich color of the fabric and appreciate the details put into their construction. The Cordura material, paired with a triple stitch makes for a super durable pair of riding pants.
- 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
- seamless diamond gusset for comfort
- back pockets fit a mini U-lock
- front accessories pocket
- reflective piping on inside of legs that is exposed when you roll up your cuff
- high quality YKK metal zipper
- rivets to make them more durable
Unlike many of the products we test here at fat-bike.com, these pants were not offered for testing. I bought these after falling in love with their winter weight soft-shell pants long ago. I really like the fit and mobility, so I’m adding them to the roster. I’ve been wearing these for three or four years, so I can really speak to the quality and durability. Offering a wide size run, the SWRVE pants ride well in all seasons. Cool spring and summer nights? Sure. Layered for winter and chilly autumn nights? Yep. However, I wouldn’t throw them on for winter escapades in our region. SWRVE’s got that covered with the Scholler and Softshell winter pant.
Livsn-Flex Canvas Pant $99
A recent arrival to fat-bike.com, the Livsn Designs Flex Canvas Pant steps into a new and welcomed category of cycling wear: sustainable clothing. Many folks are not aware of the profound, negative impact the clothing industry has on the planet. From landfills to toxic materials to exploitive production practices, fashion comes as a cost. The good news is bands like Livsn Designs are making their brand’s mission a living testament to doing better.
Livsn has set a very high bar for earth friendly, socially responsible production methods. Here are some key details on the Flex Canvas Pant.
- Durable and highly-mobile outdoor pants with a tailored fit
- Built to be versatile, comfortable, and tough
- Made with sustainable 7.3oz EcoFlex Canvas duck cloth
- Useful features subtly integrated
- Reinforced and refined construction
Beyond the bullet list here the Flex Canvas thoughtfully integrated features like a gusseted crotch, articulated knees, zippered security pockets, discrete EDC pockets, roll-up leg system, ventilation, and reinforcements at all stress points. These pants are super comfortable, and while they don’t have the same freedom of movement as Chrome’s Brannan Riding Pant and SWRVE’s jeans, these pants are super durable, are quite comfortable, and offer an amazing Fair Deal Guarantee that covers defects and a sweet repair or replacement deal from normal wear and tear.
The fit is a true to size. I normally don’t comfortably wear a 32” waist and that is true with the Flex Canvas Pant. I had to level up to 33”. Fortunately, Livsn has that odd waist size as an option for odd people. Available in three colors, the Flex Pant ticks checks all the boxes for me. Of the three options here, the Flex Pant has the least amount of stretch and the fit is not quite as slim as the Brannan and Cordura jeans.
There you have it. Three great options for shoulder season riding with all the cool technical features, a high-quality standard, great on the bike performance, off the bike appeal. Give them each a look. But for my money, I favor the Livsn Designs Flex Canvas pant for its sustainability and awesome Fair Deal return program.