Reprinted with permission from CityBike Magazine
Worse For Wear Crosstown Curvy Jeans
By An DeYoung
New jeans. I don’t know about you guys, but the thought of having to shop for new jeans makes me consider a life of sweatpants. It’s hours of trying to find that one perfect pair. Throw in the need for them to be slide-proof and you’ve got yourself a real challenge.
I suppose there’s a decent selection for women if you want to shop online. But no pair has everything, and it’s pretty much guaranteed you’ll be making a return or five before you find something acceptable that actually fits.
Being part of the CityBike Wrecking Crew has provided me with a lot of opportunities to check out motorcycle gear and not have to return things (because Editor Surj handles the shipping, too). But it’s still a chore.
Here’s how sizing works for riding jeans, using Max as the male reference point. Editor Surj asks “what’s your size?” Max gives him two numbers; a little while later he gets his pants, and they fit.
From me, Editor Surj gets a paragraph or two, to which he responds with the email address of someone at the company in question to “work it out with them directly.” Eventually, I get some pants, and maybe they fit!if we loosen up the definition of “fit” to include things like the kneepads not really being over my knees.
So imagine my elation when I came across Worse For Wear a while back. They’d been collecting sizing information from all over the world for their Women’s Measurement Project. I signed up for updates from their website and submitted my measurements for the cause.
In May of this year, after almost two years of data collection, design, development and prototyping, Worse For Wear released their first style of motorcycle jean for women, the Crosstown Curvy Jean – made in Richmond, Virginia. That’s in the USA!
More recently, using 6 months’ worth of feedback from the curvy cut production, they’ve released the Crosstown Slim, for the curve-impaired gals out there.
So in keeping with “why don’t you just talk with them directly” sizing process detailed above, I got in touch with Laura Smith, rider, designer, and co-founder of Worse For Wear. Yes, she got a good paragraph or so from me too when I placed my order.
Turns out that’s what she wants – Worse For Wear’s jeans are made to order. They’re not fully custom, unless you happen to be in Richmond or find Laura at a trade show – but thanks to the information they have from their Women’s Measurement Project, they’ve got a lot of patterns to work with.
Once Laura matched me up with the right size, she was able to base the knee armor placement on my inseam, and also make the jeans longer for me!as you may have heard, I’m kinda tall.
My jeans arrived at CityBike World Headquarters soon after, and Editor Surj dangled the package in front of me until I agreed to terrorize the Bay Area on minibikes with him and Fish that weekend. More on that in our next issue.
Right out of the box, the Crosstown Curvy jeans look like really high quality riding jeans. No fake wear marks or whiskering, just good solid dark blue denim. They kind of remind me of the old 80s designer jeans!you know, the ones that Brooke Shields wore once she got off the island. You kids can look that one up.
My Crosstown Curvy jeans seemed like a good weight denim, solid but not too heavy, with a little stretch. But something was missing, compared to most other riding jeans. There were no metal rivets, no kevlar lining.
Just one layer of denim? Yup. You know, like regular old jeans – but safer.
Worse For Wear’s jeans are constructed of Armalith, an abrasion-resistant fabric made with a blend of cotton and UHMWPE (Ultra-high-molecular-weight polyethylene) fiber used in space and by the military. This stuff is touted as the “World’s Strongest Denim,” and is claimed to provide the mechanical performance of leather.
I declined Fish’s (oft-repeated) offer to drag me from the back of one of the minibikes for “testing purposes,” and instead opted to have Laura send me the video of the abrasion testing machine they built for their workshop. They didn’t mess around – there’s serious research behind making sure these jeans will do their job covering your ass. There’s even an excellent “Apparel 101” article on their website, specifically about the different types of seams on jeans and their burst strengths. That information may also be used to check the burst strength of regular jeans before you go to a few too many CityBike post-photoshoot lunches at Editor Surj’s favorite East Bay burrito place.
Speaking of protection, you know what else was in the box? SAS-TEC CE Approved knee (CE Level 2) and hip (CE Level 1) armor. This is the first pair of jeans I’ve owned that came with the armor, instead of treating it as an “extra” I had to order separately, only to have it not fit into the jeans because I should have ordered a larger size for that.
I inserted the hip armor, even though extra width is not really something those of us blessed with curves worthy of the Crosstowns tend to want. But these don’t add a whole lot of junk to your trunk, and are actually pretty comfortable once you get them in the right spot.
I also placed the knee armor in my usual spot!as far down as the velcro would allow. Once I got the jeans on, I saw the first result of a made-to-order jean: the knee armor was midway down my shin. Why? Because these were made for me. I moved the armor up to the correct spot and I was covered.
I shimmied between the desks of CityBike World Headquarters, squatting and karate kicking to test the flexibility and comfort. Again, really nice.
Bonus: Editor Surj said he couldn’t even tell I had the armor in. Also bonus, which shouldn’t be a bonus: they have pockets that you can actually use – the front pockets hold more than the tips of your fingers! Thank you Laura and Worse For Wear!
The legs are straight, so tucking into my boots was easy, and they can also be worn outside the boot, though maybe not if you’re in a pair of super-bulky race boots. They look like normal jeans on the bike too. Normal, except they lack the usual and dreaded “gap.” Guys also experience a version of this which is known as plumber’s crack. I prefer keep the color of my underwear a secret from other people on the road, and these jeans thankfully provide that level of privacy.
Remember, crack is whack.
I’ve done a few long rides in my Crosstown Curvy jeans since getting them and they’re super comfortable, don’t bind up anywhere, and thanks to the singlelayer construction I think they’ll be more comfortable than other riding jeans when the Sacramento heat returns. They ain’t cheap at $379, but in this case, you get what you pay for in a good way: a truly exceptional pair of US-made, great-fitting riding jeans with legitimate protection, that you can wear to your parents’ house for dinner. Without your leathers to tattle on you, they’ll never know how fast you rode and all the chances you took to get there.
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