Review: Spoke 'Flex' Chinos

London based Spoke is a brand that has, and deserves, a great following. Despite their name resonating very strongly with the cycling world, it relates in truth to the "bespoke" nature of their products. That said, their beautifully tailored trousers are something that any cyclist will appreciate, and the new "Flex" model in particular, due to the subtle stretch in the fabric and the contoured fit.

Cyclists often have "difficult" physiques. We're an odd bunch anyway, but due to the nature of our sport, we can have everything from the bulging legs of a sprinter, to the thin and spindly legs of a climber. In short, it's often difficult to find clothes (particularly trousers) that fit well.

Perhaps I'm getting fussier, perhaps having tested a lot of well-fitted cycling kit, I'm just learning that a great fit can exist. Either way, the idea of a smart, reasonably priced pair of trousers, which actually fitted well, sounded like a pipe-dream. Here enters Spoke...

Fit comes first

Spoke have four motto's that they live by. The first, is that 'Fit comes first' - that's a good place to start! From the moment a pair of Spoke chinos arrives; neatly 'fitted' in a small rectangular box, and tied with a red ribbon, it is evident that care and attention has gone into these. Pulling them on for the first time, confirms they are indeed 'bespoke'.

The fitting tool on Spoke's website is the start of the tailoring process. You are requested to input a whole multitude of preferences, sizes and selections; then the imaginary cogs turn and out comes your 'ideal' size. When you then place your order, Spoke will tailor the length of the chinos to your desired number of creases (your leg length), your build and your waist. It is as personalised as it gets.

The results are satisfyingly superb, too. A lot of testimonials on the Spoke website are from people that have bought a pair, and then vouched "I'll never buy anything else"; I can see why. They are quite probably the best fitted pair of trousers I have.

The fit is especially good with this 'Flex' version I think, which contains a 2% elastane content. That little bit of give means that they feel great when you're moving around in them. Couple that stretch with the fact that they're close fitting around the calves and ankles, and these are in fact better than some pairs of "cycling specific" trousers that I've used. Fit, it seems, should come first.


Clothes should wear in, not out

I've only been testing these for a couple of weeks, so my ability to vouch for their long term durability is limited. That said, the evidence shows that Spoke's chinos should also live up to their second motto, with ease.

Clothes that get better over time are a sign of quality, and demonstrate the craftsmanship with which they have been made, as well as the strength of the materials. The stitching and cotton fabric of these chinos looks and feels as if it should last a good few years, even if you are wearing them regularly. Much like a pair of quality leather shoes, they'll gain character as they age.

Always be testing - Less is more

The third and fourth Spoke mottos demonstrate something that I really value in a brand. Much like some of the best cycle brands, like Chris King and Hope Technology, Spoke vouch that they will constantly test and innovate; but also they won't feel pressurised to release new products too soon, or just for the sake of a "new season". Instead, they believe less is more, and the finished product should be just that. A quality approach.

Be-Spoke greatness

Overall, you can probably tell I've been impressed by these. I rarely wear a suit, but I'm a regular chino wearer, and these are easily the best I've had. 

They are superbly made, they have a great fit and they come from a brand that quite simply 'gets it right'. These factors combine to make these a pretty good value option too, in my opinion, at £80 a pair. This is British tailoring for chinos; providing a cut and style, as well as a brand, which any cyclist will appreciate, both on and off the bike.

View the Spoke-London range at Spoke-London.com (Link)



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