Over the last few years I have become somewhat obsessed with cycling clothing that looks good on and off the bike. Now, many would claim that these two desires are diametrically opposed, but I think the consumer is demanding that designers place more emphasis on cycling specific clothing that works well off the bike, yet remains comfortable and durable when placed in unique riding positions. The big players have brought out specific lines addressing these desires – Levi’s and Rapha spring to mind – while a growing number of start-ups and even local designers are jumping into this expanding market. One such player is Creux Velowear out of Melbourne.
I recently got my hands on a pair of their new season navy Panache cycling shorts and after spending a couple of months riding in them I think I am ready to voice my opinion. I paid a visit to their pop up store and spoke to Van who seemed super confident about their new design, citing that they had learned a lot from previous season releases. I like this mentality as it shows the team at Creux are looking to improve year on year. Compare this with Levi’s whose cycling pants I bought three years ago are still going strong, but the same pair I bought last year already has a tear in the crotch. While my Creux Panache shorts are yet to be subjected to the abuse of me thrashing to work over an extended period of time, I get the feeling they are going to last, and that costs have not been cut in the name of efficiencies.
The most notably cycling specific feature is the fixed padded chamois which is discrete, comfortable and thoroughly welcomed. This aspect of cycling legwear is difficult to nail down and Creux have done a fantastic job balancing comfort with style in this regard. In the photo below you can see the padding is reasonably spread out but you cannot tell at all when wearing them, and neither can anyone else – these shorts look like any pair of shorts you might throw on during the week.
Being cycling shorts designed for fashion and function, the form of them differs markedly from my other cycling specific shorts. They aren’t long and don’t require the hems to be folded up – so I don’t look like a tourist on a cruise ship sporting some baggy holiday shorts. But the length and circumference of the hems serve an additional function of conforming to the inevitable increase in leg circumference around your thighs – particularly important during each pedal stroke as you commute to your favourite lunch spot.
The fabric feels durable, but nice on the skin. It is made from a patented fabric that repels bacteria and dries relatively quickly which is great for sweaty dudes like me. Unlike other brands with similar ‘technology’ these shorts don’t feel harsh on the skin. There are trade-offs to consider with the fabric choice though as I find the fabric to cling to my saddle ever so slightly. It is not a major issue and I’m sure if you are running a Brooks saddle you’ll be absolved of this minor quip. One other minor issue is that lint tends to attract to this fabric, so be sure to give them a wipe down after washing.
One thing I would like is for the d-lock holster to be 3-5mm wider as my current lock is a bit of a tight squeeze. I like to ride without my backpack and with no lock holder on my frame I find this technical feature indispensable. This won’t make or break the shorts for everyone out there and again speaks to the particularities that I’m looking to criticise (of which there are very few). The shorts come in a wide range of sizes, and are well suited to average sized guys, though they lean closer to a ‘fitted’ cut of clothing. There are also female specific variations, though I have not seen these in person and cannot comment on how suitable these may be.
Overall I am pretty impressed with these shorts. When I first put them on I was not blown away – they felt like regular shorts, looked good and felt nice. But their utility was not brought to light until I hopped on the saddle and it was then that I thought they really shined. Given these shorts are priced competitively against the likes of Levi’s I would totally buy them again, but before I do I may have to check out the rest of Creux Velowear’s range.
Header image: Creux, all other images: Alex Stretton