As we expand our range, it can be hard to keep up with what’s best for what purpose. Nick talks through your choices, and how we created them.
Trousers, shorts and underwear. Really useful for being able to mix in polite society, stay warm, comfortable or not get arrested. Which is handy, because we’ve expanded our range a great deal in the last year. So now your chances of staying out of prison or enjoying your ride just increased at least 138%.
As chief designer (ok, there’s not many of us designing, but its good for my ego) I’d like to talk you through how and why we designed them, the differences, and what’s best for you.
All of our garments share common characteristics. These came about from decades of riding under different conditions, on hundreds of bikes, at every pace from pottering to International racing, with hundreds of garments tested. The overall aim for Vulpine is to create a really high-end performance solution that you can wear anywhere. Performance, with style.
The test bed? Your local rather rough pub. If you can’t walk into this pub in a Vulpine garment without ….
1. Getting your head kicked in
2. Being laughed at
3. Challenged to a game of Death Darts
4. Asked to leave
5. Leaving anyway because you feel like a tool….
….then it’s not something we make. We design for Ride AND Destination.
So style is important. That’s the ‘easy’ bit. Look to the classics. Lets not mess with the beautiful, the rules of tailoring, archetypes and great designs passed down through the decades. Nothing wacky, just innovation that works, subtly.
We re-evaluate what works on the bike.
There are a few things that really don’t work for cycling:
1. Sitting on seams
2. Bum cracks
3. Fabric covered in chain oil
4. Your valuables falling out of pockets
5. Your valuables thumping against your thighs as you pedal
6. Split seams
7. Massive flappy sizing or restrictive skinny fit
Correspondingly, we reacted to this by:
1. Replacing uncomfortable central seams with a flat diamond gusset
2. Cutting the rear high, so that they don’t ride down around your posterior
3. A subtle buttoned tab on the drive-side, to keep your ankle fabric neatly away from your chain
4. Pockets are cut high at the edges so that phones, keys are wallets don’t fall out. Or have zipped valuables pockets
5. Our seams are constructed strong. Really strong. If the seams start going we want to know about it. It’s a rare fault. It shouldn’t happen
6. Flappy baggy shorts don’t look good and don’t make performance sense. Skinny fit jeans are uncomfortable. So our legwear is tailored, without being tight. We also give all our legwear a subtle articulated knee, so they move more freely.
All women’s legwear is cut, designed and tested specifically for women by the women here, Iszi, Lucia, Jools and Polly. We take account of a women’s different waist and hip proportions. The legs are cut narrower too (towards the ankle…) for a more feminine cut.
All our trousers and shorts feature the above cycling specific improvements. So lets talk about each garment.
Jinzu Raw Selvedge Cycling Jeans
Our latest addition and years in the making, we’re extremely proud of these. We decided to go down the ‘less is more’ route.
Jeans should be a rugged do-anything, wear all-the-time until they explode many years later. Ultimate wardrobe essential. The best jeans fit great – look great on (get better with age…) go with almost anything. So we decided high-end 12oz Raw Selvedge was the way we wanted to go. A fabric that will become more loved and characterful with age. We found beautiful dark raw indigo fabric from Japan, from by the Jinzu River in Toyama Prefecture. The difference between this and most denim can be seen and felt. Especially as the years pass.
Raw selvedge denim comes unwashed. That bit is up to you. If you don’t wash it (which is our preference) it will leak into light colours. Like white saddles or tucked in white shirts. But the long term benefits are far greater than off the peg pre-washed and styled designs. Keep wearing them until you’re scared of them. Freeze them or ignore them. Just don’t wash. Then, maybe 6 months in, maybe you can wash them. Cold and inside out.
And your jean’s unique character starts to be revealed. It will evolve with time. And they’ll look like jeans should, not wear faked in a factory.
But hang on a sec, why only men? We normally make all our garments in men’s and women’s cuts. But selvedge denim is extremely difficult to cut for a woman’s shape without looking bizarre. We are releasing women’s specific jeans next year without the selvedge.
Apart from the points above we’ve added an articulated knee. Hard to spot but makes them move better when pedaling. And we’re doing medium 32” and long 34” leg lengths.
It’s worth noting that Sir Chris Hoy wears these. And he of course finds jeans fit a tricky thing. But they’re not just cut for the track sprinter. James here is a climber who's tall and slim. He has a 30” waist and long 35” skinny legs. They fit him brilliantly.
These are outstanding jeans. Don’t believe us? Order them with free shipping and find out. Chuck them back at us if you disagree.
Cotton Rain Trousers
Made from Epic Cotton like our Harrington Original Rain Jackets, these are smart casual trews that can work hard on the bike when they need to. The level of detail is, as ever, jaw dropping.
There are two rear pockets, one with a magnetic flap for security. The two front pockets are cut high, as described above, and behind the left pocket is a subtle zipped valuables pocket. On the inside of the right pocket is a key karabiner.
The waist is doubly secure with a metal waist latch taking strain off the v-stitched main button. All the seams are trimmed so that they are soft against the skin. The seams of the legs are trimmed with Scotchlite reflective fabric so that your turn-ups make you more visible at night. We’ve even placed the seams so that they’re at the most noticable points for drivers – left, right and rear.
The fabric is the key feature though. Soft, slightly stretchy and breathable. Epic Cotton comes in extremely useful when the rain comes. Or that massive puddle. Comfort was our first concern and so breathability is essential. These trousers will withstand persistent light rain and heavy showers, but will dry very fast if you make it out the other side of a sustained torrential downpour.
They’re even superb in mud. It can just be brushed off as it dries, with almost nil visible residue. But you do need to wash them, once they're coated in dirt and mud, as this blocks the treatment.
Washing doesn’t harm the garment – it actually makes them better. Clearing out the dirt and sweat that blocks the Epic treatment makes them good as new. Just wash cool. No conditioner, or 2-in-1, as fabric conditioner blocks too. If you do, simply rinse them again. With time the fabric will wear and lose a little dye like any cotton (gaining their own character) but much more subtly than jeans.
They’re extremely hard wearing and will take brambles, nettles and squirrel attacks. Our customers tell us even a degree of crash damage too.
Wear our Cotton Rain Trousers all year round to work, on the trail, or for exploring in warm to cold conditions, in the dry or wet. A superb all-rounder.
Cotton Rain Shorts
Exactly as above (for our Rain Trousers) in terms of fit, style and performance, our shorts cut just above the knee.
Extremely popular with commuters, touring and mountain bikers; they’re designed to be super high-end work horses that won’t get you laughed at walking into a country pub for a pint and ploughman’s.
Summer Trousers & Shorts
Launched in May this year, these have been a huge success. We wanted to make really simple, stylish, lightweight garments for when the temperature rises at home, or abroad.
We’ve taken out 7 design improvements above and made them simple and very practical.
The side pockets are zipped to retain valuables, with a zip fly and the same very strong and comfortable waist design. The cut is slightly slimmer than our Cotton Rain Trousers & Shorts, but not skinny fit, to accommodate trained quads and glutes.
Designed for warm to hot weather; my wife and I have found ourselves wearing them for pretty much everything. They’re comfy enough for lounging and smart enough for meetings.
Merino Boxers or Boy Shorts
You’ll notice you can now buy all Vulpine legwear with these padded underwear (see our new range of bundles) as they offer you the ultimate comfort package.
Designed as an alternative to the dreaded bib shorts (which are impossible to wear comfortably outside a race without feeling like a twerp) or being able to go to the bathroom without completely undressing.
The pad is sex-specific and manufactured by acknowledged industry leader Cytech. We chose a medium thickness pad so that you don’t walk like John Wayne and feel like you’re wearing a nappy. It won’t show through clothing and offers bottom protection for commuters, MTB riders and adventurers.
The chassis is constructed from stretchy, enveloping, super-soft, odour fighting 100% merino wool, with a soft, wide elasticated waist band.
The blokes get a handy button fly for bathroom trips. The cut for women is a ‘boyshort’, cut higher on the hips and lower on the waist for a more feminine look. Men get a chunkier classic underwear ‘boxer’ style.
Next week jackets. Take care. Nick.