After at least a year of female cyclists complaining about how rad Levi’s commuter line is and how pissed off we are that it’s not being made for us, someone listened and made a bike jean for women for under $100: REI.
If you’re an REI regular, you already know that Novara is code for REI’s in-house bike brand. Novara has answered the call of hundreds of female cyclists with their Carrboro denim bike pants. I hope to take a look at these in person (and in the dressing room) in the near future, but wanted to alert everyone to their presence, since my comments and google hits indicate that you all have been as frustrated as I with the lack of women’s specific bike commuter wear.
First, does denim really count as commuter wear? For some of us, it does. I’m lucky in my informal work dress code and can wear reasonably nice jeans to work. For many people, this is not work wear, and I respect that. But lots of people have wanted bike-specific jeans for women, so let’s take a closer look.
The features echo those on lots of men’s lines, specifically the Levi’s commuter line. There are lots of hidden reflective patches. I could do without the very obvious one on the pocket. The fabric is stretch cotton, but the crotch is reinforced with Schoeller drifit fabric. I’ll have to try these on to know how I feel about that.
There’s a place in the waistband to put a U-lock, similar to men’s bike-specific pants. I think this is pretty interesting. I know very few women who carry their U-locks on their belt, but see more men doing it. Is it preference or just a lack of somewhere to put it that has kept U-locks off women’s waists? Admittedly, I don’t see that many men riding around Minneapolis with U-locks at the ready, either. Might be regional. Personally, my U-lock is too big to ride comfortably on my hip, but it would be appealing to have a place to put it if mine was smaller and I rode a rack-less bike.
The fit doesn’t look that great on the model, but I’m hopeful that REI designed bike pants for women with bigger glutes and quads than their average model. Again, I’ll let you know after I get these in the dressing room.
Welcome to fall and a new era in bike commuter clothing – a women’s line!