A little bit of technical fabric, stretch and mindfulness can go a long way with clothing, as demonstrated by the latest crop of urban cycling apparel. There are a few good companies making great-looking clothing with features like a gusset in the crotch so you don't sit on — and wear out — the seams, water-repellant treatments, reflective elements and longer sleeves and taller waists for full coverage when riding.
Even mainstream players are getting in on the action; Levi's Jeans has an entire Commuter Line. Rapha also has a City Collection, with everything from merino tops and under layers to jeans, belts and leather gloves. Here, we take a look at some new pieces from a dozen companies whose designers live and breathe cycling.
1. Upright Cyclist
Upright Cyclist's new jeans feature a gusseted crotch for longevity in the saddle and a reflective cuff on the drivetrain side. Upright Cyclist's new Lakeshore Jacket is made of Cordura cotton with a cycling cut.
The 12.5 Denim Trouser
2. Chrome Industries
Chrome overhauled its urban line for the coming colder months. The Warm Vest is a reversible, reflective piece with hand warmers and quilted insulation. If the reflective striping isn't enough, you can flip the vest inside out to display the bright orange liner.
Chrome's Warm series includes a reversible vest and jacket
3. Pedal ED
Pedal ED's founder and designer, Hideto Suzuki, launched the company after 15 years in the Japanese fashion industry. Pedal ED's clothing, made in Italy and Japan, runs the gamut from streetwear to more traditional cycling-specific garments.
Suzuki with some of his latest work
4. Quoc Pham
Scottish clothing company Endura's Long Sleeve shirt has reflective lines woven in. Without direct light, it's virtually impossible to see the reflective elements.
7. Club Ride
Club Ride makes a lot of mountain bike gear, but the Cog Jean is right at home in the city. Nothing about the Cog Jean screams cyclist, but the gusseted crotch and taller rear waist band are clearly designed with the bike in mind. Club Ride founder Mike Herlinger shows off the Buxton poly-cotton shirts and Phantom Short. Club Ride has a range of liners, from lightly padded boxers for commuting to full-on bib shorts.
Swrve makes a range of city riding clothing in Los Angeles. Swrve's Lycra-blend Denim Jeans come in regular and skinny fit. Swrve's Jeans are made for riding, with articulated knees, Lycra stretch fabric and a gusseted crotch.
9. Mission Workshop
Mission Workshop and its sister brand, Acre, specialize in sharp, high-end riding clothing made in San Francisco, often in merino wool.
Mission Workshop began with bags and has since branched out into clothing
10. Ligne 8
Ligne 8 is a new brand from the same parent company as Champion System. Ligne 8 has a number of jackets, dresses, chinos and jeans that act somewhat like cycling apparel but don't look like it.
11. Clockwork Gears
Clockwork Gears does cycling T-shirts. Period.
12. Giro New Road
Giro continues to expand its New Road line, bringing techy fabrics to street-friendly styles. The Giro women's Wind Guard Hoodie Light is water-resistant, soft and packable. Giro's Mobility Trouser is mostly cotton with a little Lycra for stretch, a little reflectivity for safety, and two fits (classic or tailored), for options. Giro's Mobility Side Zip features, well, side zips and a button-up collar in brushed polyester and nylon.
The women's Wind Bomber acts like a cycling windbreaker - but doesn't look like it