Take the 2-minute tour ×
Bicycles Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for people who build and repair bicycles, people who train cycling, or commute on bicycles. It's 100% free, no registration required.

How do you solve the problem of stained jeans? I'd prefer to avoid modifying the bike itself or rolling up the hem on my pants.

Of course, riding with short pants is out of question, now that the winter is coming :-)

share|improve this question
    
Could you clarify what it is about riding fixed-gear that is leading to stained jeans? –  onestop Sep 26 '11 at 10:23
    
Sorry. I don't have a chain cover so it's the greased chain that stains the jeans by friction. –  Simone Sep 26 '11 at 10:26
    
I don't think this question has anything to do with fixed gear or not. My bike has a derailleur and has a chain without a cover. I will suggest an edit. –  Rory Alsop Sep 26 '11 at 10:49
    
I agree that this is more related to bikes without chain coverage, but I thought it was a problem more common with fixed-gear riders. –  Simone Sep 26 '11 at 12:17
2  
Related: How do I clean chain grease off my clothes? –  Neil Fein Sep 26 '11 at 16:33
show 2 more comments

10 Answers

up vote 17 down vote accepted

Leg straps or clips (especially on the chain side) are the way to go. Not only does this keep the pant leg clean, but it prevents the cuff from chafing or hanging up on something.

You can improvise with a large rubber band, but the Velcro straps are readily available and very easy to get on/off. When not in use they can be wrapped around your seat post or some such.

(And if the straps -- you can use two per leg for really baggy pants -- don't do it you can buy "gaiters" that cover the entire ankle and lower shin.)

share|improve this answer
3  
Bonus: reflective straps save your pants and make you more visible. (If it's bright and you're worried about looking dorky, short bungee cords are also a good option.) –  Jefromi Sep 26 '11 at 21:55
    
Nice, didn't know that they exist! –  Simone Sep 27 '11 at 9:47
    
These are those strap-like things on the display atop the counter at your LBS. –  Daniel R Hicks Sep 27 '11 at 11:30
    
One thing I would advise is spring for the velcro ones, not the snap bracelet style. Another thing is make sure your pants are sufficiently long if you take this route (or your socks are sufficiently long) in case if your pants get pulled up a little bit. –  Batman Oct 21 '13 at 0:37
add comment

What I have always done, quite successfully, is just tuck my trousers into my socks. This avoids all grease from the chain, and if the worst happened and I did get some grease on my sock this would be hidden under my trousers at work.

(And yes, I tuck both trouser legs into my socks to avoid looking too silly, even though the chain is only on one side :-)

share|improve this answer
    
This is a good method for when it is dry but when it is wet, your socks get wet –  Phil Johnstone Sep 26 '11 at 16:30
1  
this does not work if you wear short socks, as I do. –  anton2g Sep 26 '11 at 18:13
add comment

You can use a belt drive to avoid the problem completly.

It needs no grease at all!

I do not own one yet, but heard only the best of it and want to test it soon. No, I am not working for or in the company.

Actually, it sounds it's not a real option for you, as you would have to open the frame to mount the belt. But I think this belt drive is so promising to be mentioned in this context.

share|improve this answer
    
Belt drives have a decent amount of other issues - see: sheldonbrown.com/gloss_ba-n.html#belt –  Batman Oct 21 '13 at 0:38
    
hi batman: the guys from carbon drive systems claim to have solved most of the problems related to typical belt drives. they use carbon fibers to strengthen the belt to prevent stretching. this reduces the need of high tension, which had been killing the bearings. so some of the drawbacks are gone. But I speak theoretically, as I do not own a bike with belt drive yet. But I think it's a very interesting alternative for a city bike. –  user375251 Oct 21 '13 at 8:38
add comment

Not only are grease stains often permanent, but getting caught in the chain can lead to an accident.

Here are some options:

Shorter pants. Shorts or knickers will stay out of the way. In the winter, you can wear tights underneath. I love my wool tights so much that I wear them under my jeans during the day and at night as pajamas. They're expensive, though.

Metal pants clips. These are dirt-cheap, durable, and they work great. I usually only put one on my right leg, but in the winter it can be nice to have one on the left, so cold air doesn't blow in as much. I store one on my top tube, but if you're concerned about your paint job, you'll need another place. There are even some with built-in reflectors , but I haven't tried them.

Velcro straps. They seem attractive at first, with bright colors, built-in reflectors, and sometimes even LED lighting. You can even buy bulk velcro at a hardware or crafts store for not much money. However, I find they work loose as my calves flex. Also, the time I tried the LED style, they broke within minutes.

Full chain guard. This is what I saw in Sweden and The Netherlands, where riders wore business suits and full-length dresses. In the USA, most riders worry about weight too much to consider these.

Tuck in to socks. This only works if your pants & socks are long enough. As you ride it can still work loose. If you're not wearing socks today, obviously this won't work. But it's nice in that it doesn't require any extra equipment.

Roll up pants. Again, nice because it doesn't require special equipment, and even works on no-sock or short-sock days. I find I have to roll my pants up really, really far to keep them out of the chain, and they unroll as I ride. Meanwhile, cold air hits my delicate ankles.

share|improve this answer
    
I've never had any real difficulty keeping the Velcro straps up. I suppose maybe it would be a problem on relatively thin dress pants, but not on jeans or sweats or whatnot where there is some texture to the fabric. Now, leg warmers -- they won't stay up worth a damn. –  Daniel R Hicks Sep 30 '11 at 17:51
    
You left out gaiters. –  Daniel R Hicks Sep 30 '11 at 17:52
    
The veclro straps don't slip down for me, but they do open up and fall off. I haven't tried gaiters. –  Jay Bazuzi Sep 30 '11 at 18:31
    
If the Velcro straps open it's because of poor quality Velcro. I've got some I've had for 20 years, and I'd have lost them years ago if they popped open with particular ease. They generally take some effort to remove, especially if they've been on for several hours. –  Daniel R Hicks Sep 30 '11 at 19:08
add comment

What I think is the simplest (and one I do myself) is to just roll up your trouser legs. You can see an example of what I mean in this picture http://www.terrybicycles.com/core/media/media.nl?id=5180&c=1243446&h=5020f1edd4fce298758b. The advantages of this method are that your trouser legs won't get greased, it allows your legs to be cooler because they are working so hard, and if your trouser legs do get greased it is on the inside of the leg and once unrolled will never be seen again. I usually roll mine up a few times to hold them in place and roll them pretty high. I do both legs so that neither of them can get caught in my water bottle holder. Ever since I started doing this, I have not once gotten grease on the outside of my trouser legs.

share|improve this answer
    
I asked for a different solution than this because, for "social" reason, I'd prefer not to arrive @office dressed up as described –  Simone Sep 26 '11 at 18:50
1  
Sorry I somehow glossed over that remark in the question. I guess this solution would benefit other's reading this with a similar question. As for you, you could still roll up your trouser legs and just unroll them as you get to the office. –  anton2g Sep 26 '11 at 19:37
add comment

It sounds like maybe one approach you have taken is to bicycle in shorts and carry your pants as cargo. Even without a changing area it shouldn't be a big deal to slip on a pair of pants between the bike rack and the office. If your concern is winter cold, maybe you can get a pair of cycling tights pants, perhaps with thermal insulation, over which you can slip your dress slacks.

share|improve this answer
    
This is the most reasonable solution. If you don't want grease on your nice pants, don't wear nice pants while biking. Use shorts in summer and full length tights in colder weather. As for not having a changing area, the handicapped stall of the bathroom is usually sufficiently sized for changing your pants. –  Kibbee Sep 27 '11 at 17:46
add comment

As a long-haired individual, I have a hair tie with me at all times. When I ride with a looser pair of pants, I just put the tie around the bottom of my pant leg. Done.

It also helps that I have a city/commuter/urban/hybrid bike that has a plastic piece outside the front gear set: http://archive.raleighusa.com/archive/2011-hybrid/detour-45-11/

Otherwise, get a cruiser or something similar that has the chain entirely covered by a metal or plastic piece.

share|improve this answer
add comment

Another alternative is using a "wax" chain lubricant. If you do some reading, you'll see that people have strong opinions about chain lubrication (do a search here for "wax"). I can see the reasoning behind most of the opinions, but I've personally had good luck with straight paraffin wax. Other alternatives include wax suspended in solution (e.g. White Lightening, Finish Line), or wax mixed with additives. The bottom line is that these wax-based lubricants are meant to harden and flake off with time, so they don't leave a chainring stain on your pants or leg.

Previously, I used straight paraffin wax (similar to this technique, but with no beeswax), but I've just started using a chain lubrication method involving graphite and wax. This approach seems quite good so far (only a few hundred miles). If you do go with a chain wax, you'll definitely want to step up the frequency of reapplying in wet weather.

share|improve this answer
add comment

How do you solve the problem of stained jeans? I'd prefer to avoid modifying the bike itself or rolling up the hem on my pants.

Variable!

Here's what I usually do, and completely solves the problem of stained clothing.

-- "Change clothes at work." Both "to and from".--

Simple. Cycling clothes on the commute and work clothes at work. The cycling clothes may or may not get greasy and there is no reason to care about it. However, the separated work clothes remain perfectly acceptable for the work environment.

Obviously, this may or may not work for everyone; but, I just change clothes. (Changing clothes simply requires a restroom stall or perhaps a company shower area for maybe 8 minutes at most.)

As others posted, pants rolled, in the sock, or strapped to the leg may work...or maybe not...

No need to roll up trousers, stuff socks, wear gaiters, pant-clips, full-chain-guard, etc....none necessary if you just change clothes....

BTW - My current commute is up and over one big hill, and 2 smaller ones along the way. If it were all flat and easy, I'd just use trouser cuffs and ride in street clothes.

share|improve this answer
add comment

I had the same problem and I invented a product called the Leg Shield that works extremely well. Its a large strap that covers your lower right pant leg. When you wear it you won't get grease on your pants or get your pants caught in the chain. Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B006J0PHAI

share|improve this answer
add comment

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.