Gear Review: Betabrand Bike to Work Britches

Jeans comfortable enough to ride in yet stylish enough to wear off the bike


Yes, we all ride mountain bikes here at Mtbr, but from time-to-time we also ride bikes with skinny tires—especially commuting to-and-from work. Some of us don’t mind getting all dressed up in colorful lycra, but others wouldn’t be caught dead in it. For those who prefer wearing more casual bike attire, San Francisco-based Betabrand has something for you.

In addition to their ever-popular DiscoLab line that yours truly has been rocking with the disco ball helmet, Betabrand also offers a complete line of pants, jackets and shirts designed specifically for two-wheel commuters. Their Bike to Work line is designed to be both comfortable on the bike as well as stylish, so that when you show up at the office you can get right down to business without looking like some lycra-clad commuter dweeb.

Since November I’ve been wearing what Betabrand calls their Bike to Work Britches, but really, they’re jeans. They look exactly like your basic pair of jeans with classic five-pocket styling, metal rivets on the hand pockets, a coin pocket and tasteful white contrast stitching. But take a closer look and you’ll quickly discover these ain’t yo daddy’s britches.

The Betabrand Britches feature denim that’s slightly stretchable, made of 88 percent cotton, 10 percent polyester and 2 percent Lycra for much easier movement than traditional jeans. They also have a gusseted crotch, which might sound painful, but trust me, it makes for a much more enjoyable riding experience.

The Britches are also loaded with cool little features including a U-lock loop in the back left waistband, an internal phone pocket, carabiner loops at the bottom of each belt loop and slightly higher back rise to prevent you from looking like some douchey fixie hipster poet with your asscrack hanging out.

Perhaps the handiest features of the Bike to Work Britches are the hidden reflective accents. The rear left pocket features a flip out triangle flag with reflective tape on it for riding at night. And if you’re into pegging your pantlegs, the inseam and outseam on the inside leg features reflective 3M Scotchlite reflector fabric. The inside back right leg also features a reflective Betabrand logo.

So how do they work? Well in the four months I’ve had them, I have to say, all my other jeans have collected dust on hangers. As comfortable as the Betabrand jeans are to ride in, they’re even more comfortable to wear casually. As a matter of fact, these jeans are actually the most comfortable jeans I’ve ever worn and they look every bit as stylish as a pair of designer jeans.

But a word of warning for those of you who are deathly afraid of any jeans that have a tighter fit: you might be too big for these britches. Although these aren’t what you would consider hipster skinny jeans, the Betabrand Britches definitely hug your thighs, especially if you have devastatingly massive thighs like me. But because they have some stretch, they’re extremely comfortable.

Another word of warning—wash these jeans by themselves for the first four or five times. They have a fair amount of blue dye that leaks in the wash, and if you put these in with your whites, your whites won’t be white for long.

At $108, the Betabrand Britches are not cheap, but they are Made in USA and a much better value than equivalent designer jeans because of their versatility for both on and off-the-bike usefulness. Trying to ride in traditional jeans is like wiping your backside with sandpaper. Riding in the Betabrand Britches is like wiping with aloe-infused triple-ply.

The Britches are available in both men’s and women’s sizes, and if jeans aren’t your bag, Betabrand also offers the Britches in black, khaki, gray and olive. Now if Betabrand were to come out with some Enduro™ approved Jorts, they’d really be onto something.

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About the author: Kurt Gensheimer

Kurt Gensheimer thinks the bicycle is man’s most perfect invention. He firmly believes ‘singlespeed’ is a compound word. He sometimes wears a disco ball helmet. He is also known as Genshammer. He is a Gemini and sleeps outside in a hammock.

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