A Roundtable Discussion with Levi’s on Their Cycling Line Apr 15, 2011

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Over the past few months, I’ve been involved with some killer projects, one of which is finally getting some daylight. You might have caught the Levi’s Commuter Jean post a few weeks ago. What I didn’t mention in that entry was that Levi’s is also working on a cycling jean jacket. When I found out about this months ago, I chuckled to myself. I’ve owned many Levi’s jackets and denim is the last thing I want on my back while riding. Or so I thought. I sat down with the Levi’s creative team and some friends to discuss the forthcoming line.

Check out more from my Roundtable Discussion with Levis below!

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Let’s put a hold on the jacket discussion for the time-being and focus on these commuter jeans. Levi’s knows that their current denim isn’t ideal for cycling. There are numerous factors that they addressed but the one that was key in the development was the fabric treatment. Levi’s developed a proprietary nanopsphere treatment for their denim in the Commuter Line. This keeps them stain-free and you’ll have to work extra hard to make them smell. What this means is more wears and less washes. They also chose a lighter-weight fabric with a special weave to give it a little stretch.

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Various other details were incorporated to the classic 511® Skinny model. One of which is a zippered stash pocket.

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And an integrated u-lock holster complete with campione del monde stripes. A subtle detail that offers increased durability to the holster.

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3M-lining on the inner cuff adds some visibility. The jeans are also gusseted to prevent crotch blowout and sport a higher-cut back to hide that plumber’s crack. So after all these add ons how much will these bad boys cost? Well, the 511® Skinny Commuter retails for $78 and comes in a denim and non-denim version (pictured). If $78 is too steep for your wallet, there will also be another version that comes in around $50 and lacks the zippered pocket.

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Back to the jacket. Like the jeans, Levi’s chose a lighter-weight fabric for the Trucker jacket. This fabric also has a bit of stretch to it and is treated with the same nanopsphere treatment.

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Subtle, cycling-specific details are incorporated into the classic silhouette.

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They’re there when you need them and can easily be hidden when you don’t.

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Which seems to be the re-occurring theme here. See the three jersey pockets?

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But what about addressing the “in the drops / on the hoods” position? The sleeves incorporate a reinforced accordion design, allowing the jacket to expand while riding. Across the back are vents to offer a little more breath-ability to the already lightweight denim. Like the jeans, the jacket has a scooped tail to cover your lower back and has extensions over the cuffs to offer some hand coverage.

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Let’s just say they covered all the bases and while denim might not be a traditional material for cycling-related apparel, these jackets are a huge improvement over riding in the standard jackets. With all these improvements to their base-model, how much will the jackets run? The Levi’s Trucker Jacket retails for $128. Not bad huh? Unlike the jeans, the jacket comes in the color shown and that’s it.

So what was my involvement in all this? Up until a few weeks ago, just outlaying the launch and incorporation of the cycling community into this line. I’m working with a few guys on local parties. There will be an Austin launch as well as other cities, which you’ll have to sit tight for the details. At this roundtable discussion, I began to work with Jared the master tailor from Levi’s SF tailor shop on a Prolly is Not Probably-signature jacket. Expect some throwback stylings as well as some of the more recent logo-designs (cough hrum cough) to be incorporated into a super-limited run.

In a few weeks, I’ll be headed out to SF to check out the hand-customizing process and document the run coming out of the SF tailor shop.

I’m super stoked on this and will keep you posted on any and all details related to the launch parties. Maybe there will be one in your city! Check out a few more photos at my Flickr!

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