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I commute on bike and I wear jeans (which I work in). I find that after about 500 miles of bike commuting in a single pair of jeans I've got holes in my pants from the saddle-jean rubbing.

My problem is probably accelerated by the fact that I have a fabric seat, the "Jamis Aurora Sport" saddle which comes stock with the Jamis Aurora. However, I'm told that people experience similar issues with non-fabric seats.

Having said that, I'm trying to figure out whether I should get a new saddle (something smoother like leather or plastic), or alternatively wear a pair of athletic shorts over my jeans (easily/quickly removeable at work/ in public).

At my current rate I will need to replace and/or repair a pair of jeans every 2 months.

My question is, what measures can be taken to minimize the rate at which my pants wear through when commuting (without the obvious solution of having dedicated pants for cycling)?

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The obvious solution (cycling knicks) is the solution! A leather saddle, as suggested by WesW would also help. – andy256 Nov 24 '13 at 7:17
You really ride in jeans? I can't imagine anything more uncomfortable. What do you do when it rains? Or in the middle of summer? – PeteH Nov 24 '13 at 8:25
Another alternative is to wear cycling shorts UNDER your jeans, and only put the jeans on when you arrive at your destination. – Daniel R Hicks Nov 24 '13 at 14:18
For very short rides, I ride in jeans or cotton pants or whatever I have on. For anything longer than a mile or so, I change into cycling shorts. – Neil Fein Nov 24 '13 at 20:26
I commute (9 miles round trip, 300+ ft in climbing) in jeans myself but only when the temperatures get to low for my gym shorts. After I get to work I change into work clothes and then change back before going home. As for as rain, I just get wet and then hang them up at work or at home before the next ride. I'm sporting All American Clothing brand jeans which are heavier fabric than most you find in the mall and they are holding up and keeping me warm. I would make this an answer, but I haven't as many miles on them (and I have a few in weekly rotates) but so far, not any bad signs. – BPugh Nov 25 '13 at 3:24
up vote 10 down vote accepted

The obvious answer would be to get some Cycling Jeans, i.e. jeans specifically designed for cycling in. These have reinforcement and stretch in the right places and often have other features such as deep pockets, a loop to carry a small lock and reflective strips.

Levi, Rapha, Muxu and Swrve all make cycling jeans, so there's a fair amount of choice.

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That's how I solved the issue (I own the Muxu jeans). – Alessandro Cosentino Nov 24 '13 at 17:14
+1 well-researched answer. Will go order my GBP150/USD250 jeans right now. There's something about Rapha... – PeteH Nov 24 '13 at 20:53
Wow, I had never heard of these. It seems like Levi is the only one that i might be able to afford, but everywhere online appears to be out of my size. 150/250 USD for a pair of jeans seems pretty steep to me! – Joe Nov 24 '13 at 23:44
Yeah, for those prices I'd rather just stick with my regular $10-$20 jeans and just replace them more often. I highly doubt these cycling specific jeans they would last 10 times as long. – Kibbee Nov 25 '13 at 0:07
I've got to go with the price crowd here. I can buy an inexpensive pair of bike shorts for under $50 and put them over a nice pair of pants and they'll protect the pants just fine and last for years. Bike jeans for $130-250 USD only make sense if you're into looking hip while you ride. – Carey Gregory Nov 25 '13 at 4:50

Overall riding style probably dictates the type of saddle you should choose. I do think that a cushy, fabric covered gel saddle would be more conducive to wearing out a piece of fabric than a smoother plastic or leather saddle.

Another contributor to fabric wear is machine washing. Something to consider.

For comparison, I wear Levi 501 shrink to fit jeans, usually hand washed as needed. My estimate is that I have spent over 1000 miles commuting to work wearing them. If I look carefully, I can see where the saddle has worn the fabric. But the fabric is still quite strong, showing no signs of thinning.

So, my advice is to change the saddle only if you don't particularly care for the one you have now, and consider buying tougher jeans.

I object to the idea of wearing athletic shorts over a pair of jeans on a purely aesthetic level. But that's just me.

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One of the "ergonomic" saddles might go some way towards solving the problem. There's a style that just have pads for your buttocks with no "nose". This will reduce the extra wear to just that from your thighs rubbing together. Or you could go the whole hog and buy a recumbent :)

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This one via

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While there are jeans specifically for cycling (see Tom77's answer), they are still a compromise (and can be expensive).

I found the best option for longer rides (> 2 km or so) is to change trousers. That way you can wear bike trousers when biking, and nice trousers when you want to look nice. This also avoids problems when you get dirty or wet during the ride, and lets you adapt your bike trousers to the weather (insulated in the winter, shorts in summer).

At most destinations, there is a washroom where you can slip in to quickly change trousers; I did this for years every day before and after work. If that is not practical, you can get slightly bigger cycling trousers and wear them over your regular trousers, so you can put them on and take them off without any indecent exposure. Or just change trousers in a quiet corner...

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A leather saddle may be helpful.

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Can you elaborate on this? Why does leather minimize wear? – Alessandro Cosentino Nov 24 '13 at 17:14
Welcome to Bicycles! We're looking for answers with more detail. Please give us some reasons and explanation, not just a one-line answer. A short answer like this with no explanation is likely to be deleted. – freiheit Nov 24 '13 at 17:24
A smoother (not necessarily leather) saddle will, of course, reduce wear on the jeans. But this is at the expense of less "traction" and hence more effort going into keeping the butt from sliding forward. Also, much of the wear is simply due to flexing of the fabric against itself, vs rubbing on the saddle. – Daniel R Hicks Nov 24 '13 at 19:10

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