November 4, 2010

RIP Levi's 511's

Last night my favorite (and often repaired) Levi's most likely gave up the ghost. I'm going to try to bribe one of my seamstress friends to do some reconstruction but I don't think it's going to be easy find any takers.

I mention this on the blog because it got me thinking about two facets of these pants that I have to come to fully embrace after initial skepticism.

Levi's 511 Skinny Stretch

The black patches are cordura scraps that I bummed off of Andy from Trash Bags. These patched the first saddle holes to appear and did a spectacular job of not failing. I highly recommend cordura patches, although getting the stitching on the inner (butt crack) side to hold up was an issue. It kept coming undone (once after getting spanked super hard with a paddle by a waitress at the Hofbrau Haus in Vegas, much to the delight of our Japanese dinner guests) and after the second time of having it re-stitched and fail I gave up. It did it's job though and having only three sides sewn up was never an issue.

The first feature is the Stretch. I found that purchasing a pair of stretch jeans to be a weirdly emasculating experience especially when combined with the "skinny" aspect. I know that's super immature but deep down inside there was definitely a little voice that whispered "straight guys shouldn't wear stretchy pants, bro." I am a 31 year old hillbilly for chrissakes and Joshy totally made fun of me for like forever. On the bike though they turned out to be magic. Super comfy and a great range of motion. The only downside is that you show way more ass crack when bending or riding than with non stretch denim.

The other more nebulous factor is the "Skinny" part of the equation. These were/are the slimmest jeans I've ever owned and at first I was super self conscious about them. However as I broke them in and rode them, I really came to appreciate the fact that you never have to wear bands to keep your pants out of the spokes and never have to roll your pants legs up which is super crucial during our cold and crappy winters. Even if you have long pants on but have to use a leg band, the leg band bunches the pants and shortens the coverage. No leg band or roll up equals full coverage.

I know no one wants to hear about how skinny pants are awesome as they pretty much aren't (and seem to be on the way out) but I gotta tell you that these things were super money for the 3 years before I wore the ass out (I also think the stretch material caused them to fail earlier than normal jeans). And are in fact the greatest pair of riding pants I have ever owned.

Totally going to get another pair.

Don't hate.


Ty said...

I've been saying to this to people that hate on cyclist who wear skinny jeans. It is purely functional. And who cares if they fit the current trend anyways? Showing up to work sweaty, energized and centered isn't trendy so I'm not going to worry about how I look while riding. Indeed, RIP Levi's 511. My black ones are on their way out too.

Unknown said...

511's stretch are all I wear. I have one pair my wife insists are over the hill, but i continue to patch the seat of them and viola good as new. They fight the good fight or sure. RIP 511.

Fast Crusader said...

I have two pairs of this exact pant and I blew the ass out the same way in both of them. So I turned one pair into shorts and used the legs to patch both of them. I just keep sewing more fabric onto the inside everytime they fail. (and yes the spandex in the jeans does make them blow quicker.)

Craiggle$ said...

Get some 505's at a real store (not Kohl's) that sells real Levi's, and your worries are gone.

Cort said...

My girl gets me a new pair of 511's for Chanukah every year. No stretch in them, though. That feels weird on my legs.

Bearcub said...

i thought the 511's were perfect, until i tried on the osloh jeans.

so nice, so burly.