Review – Ri-Cycle brings style and comfort to urban bike riders
- by Christopher Jones
- Published: 6 August 2014
River Island is a popular UK fashion retail chain with over 300 stores, and the power of internet shopping has created a strong international customer base. If you like to ride bikes and want to look good, you may like their new urban cycling brand for men called Ri-Cycle. In the name of fashion, I tried out some of the Ri-Cycle wear for Bicycles Network Australia.
On review are a pair of jeans, a jacket, and two tops, and they all make a good first impression; nice to touch, well made, and superb details for bike riders. All of the garments are made in Turkey; the quality of the garments a credit to the booming Turkish clothing industry.
Let’s begin with the ‘Dark Wash’ jeans. These definitely made my ‘favorite jeans’ list. Already on my list are jeans from Hugo Boss, Billabong, and the all-time classic, Levis. Although none of those are particularly well suited for the bike so the Ri-Cycle jeans get extra points. The seat of the jeans are constructed with a diamond section which lets you comfortably ride without feeling compressed. Just as important, they also fit nicely off the bike without the awkward baggy crotch look. The legs verge on a ‘skinny’ cut, enough to give you plenty of bike chain clearance, but thankfully they are not calf hugging skinny.
All urban cyclists use U-Locks right? Well I don’t, but if I did then I could hook it up in the loops at the back. Another nice detail is a blue and yellow seam that you see if cuffs are rolled. Keeping on with the cycling theme, they have a single metal chain link sown on as a detail above the left pocket. At the rear there is false zipper, which I would prefer to be a real pocket. Beyond all of the details, in practice the jeans felt natural both on and off the bike.
To provide some sizing context – the jeans provided for review were size 32R, an identical waist size to my Levis 511’s (W33 L34). The leg length of the Ri-Cycle jeans was three centimeters shorter and leg width (at the bottom) three centimeters narrower.
Next up are two shirts, both sized medium and 100% cotton in a ‘natural’ cotton colour. The T-Shirt has a cruiser bike print on the front, large text on the back, and the twist is a mesh that lines the outside of the arms. I am undecided about that.
The short sleeved ‘colour block’ collared shirt incorporates a zipper and, across the chest, features an angular pattern sown together with different fabrics. A small rear zipper pocket is lined with a reflective strip which is a nice touch. There is another reflective strip sown into the collar and appears when the collar is folded down, however it may not actually be visible or effective at night as it is positioned too high.
The collared shirt wins on style and includes even more subtle details such as the sown on metal chain-link and embroidery on the arm “uniform for the bicycle”. The natural cotton means that it has a slight see-through effect, so probably not the type of shirts to wear if you want to work up a sweat, unless that is your ‘thing’.
Finally we come to the ‘Dark Grey’ hooded jacket, likewise well made with details to make it cycling specific. The jacket wasn’t as convincing as the other gear however, but first let’s start with the good part. It is a light weight rain jacket with front zipper pockets and large buttoned pockets in the rear. The dark grey jacket tries to increase visibility at night with a reflective strip across the rear pockets and even reflective thread in a cross-hatch pattern sown into the rear pocket panel. Rear vents around the shoulder blades conceal more reflective material and allow the jacket to stretch when you reach for the handlebars.
As stylish as the jacket is, in the medium sized jacket that was provided, the arms were too short. For riding, more generous arm length is needed, though in fairness to Ri-Cycle, this jacket is promoted to be worn with the ‘short arm style’ and a long pullover underneath with long, full-length arms. The jacket has a hoodie, but this will probably be lost on Australian and New Zealand bike riders because of mandatory helmet laws. I rode a few times (without the hoodie) and also found that it wasn’t breathable. Perhaps I am too energetic on the bike, so if you are ‘just cruising’ then the waterproofing overrides breath-ability.
The jeans and collared shirt were really on the mark and their catalogue also reveals some other appealing shirts and pullovers in the Ri-Cycle range. Here comes the best bit, the jeans have a retail price of £50, but right now are on sale for £25, which is about $45 (AUD) and that’s a steal. The collared shirt is down from £28 to £10 – which is about $18 (AUD). Standard delivery to Australia is £10 so you can put together a very affordable style packet. At these prices I went an ordered myself some more jeans, and the pullover from the Ri-Cycle range and they are on the way to Australia from the UK now.
Checkout the Ri-Cycle range at River Island.