Monday, September 15, 2008

When will companies make knickers long enough...

Knickers, 3/4 pants, pedal pushers, capri pants, manpris, shants, the basic mid-calf riding pant is a good piece of bike riding gear for cool crisp mornings. I'll cover my knees in weather with temps below the mid-60s. My knees thank me for keeping them out of the cold air. When I wear lycra, I've got a pair of knee warmers that I got from RockShox years ago before they were owned by SRAM. They are one of my favorite piece of bike gear. Definitely top 5. I don't know who made them for RockShox and I wouldn't mind another pair or two to use when these finally give up the ghost.

When I want to be less racy and more casual, I like knickers. At least I want to like knickers. You see, at 6'3" tall, I'm tall, but not giant tall. However, my legs belong to someone much taller than I am. And it's those legs that prohibit me from finding knickers that work like they're supposed to - by covering my knee. The knickers that I really want to like are the Endura Humvee 3/4. I've got a pair and they are very nicely made. They come with a liner with chamois which you can use or not. Lots of pockets. Heavy duty double stitching. There's just one problem. When I ride with them, they come up over my knees exposing them to the cold air. I'm not talking about a little riding up, they settle in completely above my knee.

My PBH is 976mm (and that's about the extent of person information, I'll be giving out). Based on the Rivendell method to size a frame, I am hors categorie. Their frame sizing chart goes up to a 950 PBH. Interesting side note, my seat height has been the same for years - 853mm. I've set my road and mountain bikes to this height since I can remember. Based on Rivendell's method to get seat height (PBH x .873), I get 852mm - 1mm difference. Pretty good method to get your seat height.

So, with that inseam, I just can't fit the cycling knickers I want to like. The Swobo and Chrome knickers are longer than the Endura model, but still not long enough. It appears that the tall folks out here are being left out of being hip. There's got to be other tall folks who want something like a large/long size. The Swobo and Chrome versions only need to be 3 to 4 inches longer. The Endura, on the other hand, well, that's got to be a good 9 inches longer.

And in case you think I'm joking, here's the Endura 3/4 Humvee in action. These things are supposed to cover the knee. And because I've got to limit my rides to the morning, they rarely see the sun or they see only the weakest of rays. My SoCal tan lines have all but disappeared. Probably a good thing in the long-run.
(What's playing: Alice in Chains Man in the Box)


Guitar Ted said...

I really like those Endura 3/4 pants too. (I just ordered another pair) Those fit me fine, but my problem is with head size. Cycling caps are just too small for my head. Fortunately I found a custom cycling cap company out of Lincoln, Nebraska that does special requests and I had them do up a few caps for me.

I realize that custom knickers are going to be a bit costly, but perhaps you could have those enduras altered?

It's tough when you fall outside of "the norms" in clothing sizes, that's for sure.

blackmountaincycles said...

Everything cool happens in Lincoln!

byksoul said...

give the Zoic's a try ( they seem to be a little long then the Endura from my experience in the mediums. Zoic shows they are out of stock but I just checked and BTI has them available. If you want ask one of the guys there to go measure the inseam for you before you buy. By the way, I love the blog I check it often. As a former industry insider who is looking to go out on my own you've provide me some great inspiration to how my idea bike shop would be run. keep up the great work!

TLL said...

I had the same experience with the Endura knickers, they would ride up over the knee as they were just not cut long enough. Seems to be an issue with taller riders, unfortunately. My solution: ride more aggressively so that knee pads are required . . . pads do a nice job of keeping knees and elbows warm*.

At lest their shorts fit pretty well.

(*I'm kidding, of course)

Head Honcho said...

I'm not sure how long mu pbh is. Never measured it. My inseam is in the 34-35" range. Not terribly long, but not really short either.

Knikers I own:
Portland Cycle wear

Knickers that work for me:
-Hypnotics. LOVE 'em. Great to ride in, great to work in.
-Dickie's. They're self made. Work really well, and I get the fringe element that really makes me 'cool'.
-Portland - Long enough, and a dedicated liner/pad. great for the cool weather here in WI.

Only ok:
-Zoic. I want to like them, but they bunch up weirldy at the knee. They are long enough though.
-Swobo. I really wanna like these. They're even old school 1st gen swobo, but they're barely long enough, and barely fit over my calves.

Not Sold on 'em:
-Ibex. They're shorts, really. I've got casual shorts that seem longer.



Eric said...


Check out these guys:

The owner is a an ex-First Flight Bike employee who is taller than you. He started making clothes because, like you, nothing fit. His stuff is designed to work for tall people.


blackmountaincycles said...

Great info there Marty and EL.

I also tried the Swobo and Ibex wool knickers (not the baggy ones) - also way too short. I wanted to like these too.

808Bike said...

You may find something you like at

Richard Risemberg does small runs of high quality knickers. You can check out post by Richard and his customers about his product by searching for knickers in the Ibob mailing list archives at

First Flight Bicycles said...

Like the above said, give Brad at Spectrum a yell. He is closing out all of his clothing because his screen printing portion of the company is taking up 25 hours a day. I have a couple pair of his long shorts and they come down to my lower calf...may fit you well and Brad is one hell of a guy. wESd

Anonymous said...

Why don't you tall circus freaks just buy pants. Hem as needed. :)

Xd said...

oy, get the humvee pants, cut 'em off and have 'em hemmed.

nik said...

Joy rider knickers look rather snazzy!

Stevil said...

Cut down Ben Davis are awesome, and the Swobo JMacs are as well. They alternate between my number one and number two forever and always.

blackmountaincycles said...

Even my JMacs could be 3" longer. I'm a freak.

zouch said...

6'2", but with a 36+" inseam,... not particularly "Tall", but rather "Long"; there's a difference.

i've taken to hacking off Mil Surplus BDUs; plenty tough, available in Longs and Extra Longs (so you can get the reinforced knee down over the patella) and much less ridiculously priced than many of the alternatives.

blackmountaincycles said...

Yep, for us with femur extensions, hacking off works well and is nice on the wallet.