Levi's 511 Commuter
by carl bean-larson

It's always been my experience with Levi's that once you find a pair that fits—that you really love—
it's nearly impossible to then find a duplicate (despite their ubiquity). There is always some
little difference in material, cut, color or something that is not quite the same.

click any image to enlarge

That was one of my experiences with the new Levi's 511 Commuter jeans.

So, it's like this…

One day a package shows up for me from Levi's, great! I recently blew out a couple pairs of my favorite jeans
and have been needing to replace them. I open the box, and, well they're tan. I haven't actually had a pair
of khakis (or tan denim for that matter) in quite some time. Plus… they're button fly.
I mean, does ANYONE actually like button fly?

I decided that I loved them soon enough.

The material is super comfortable, stretchy without feeling
like lyrca, and the fit is perfect, although a bit higher rise than I'm used to. The details that
mainly matter to me are the reinforced seat and crotch, and they seem to be done well. It looks
inconspicuous, doesn't feel bulky and seems like it will significantly extend the life of the jeans.
And, I'm quite happy to have a pair of tan jeans!

Black jeans are typically more my staple, so I couldn't help but want exactly this pair in black.
In fact I like these tan ones so much, I figured I would buy a pair of black ones when they were released.

And then out of the blue, a pair of black ones arrived in the mail a few days later! I put them on
and quickly noticed the nagging differences…

The black pair are cut differently. Notably in the back, where the waist is more separated from the
seat to make room for a shallow zippered pocket. This makes the jeans sit higher and bubble in the
crotch when sitting. I haven't really used the pocket either, so i prefer the better cut. It seems
like the material fits just slightly different too: it's still soft, stretchy and relatively skinny,
but there's just something…

They do have many great details in common, including reflective taping on the interior of the pant
leg (extends to just below the knee), a small interior pocket inside the right pocket, built in
u-lock loop in the waist and a host of treatments to prevent them getting dirty, smelly, etc.

In general, I think they are a nicely considered and made pair of jeans. When you find the right
pair, the extra details and durable construction are probably worth the couple extra dollars
in their $78 retail price.

Disclosure:
I'm 6'1" and typically wear 32" x 32" in Levi's 511.
Levi's sent me two pairs to review here for Fixed Gear Gallery.


more news.............
In the July 15, 2011 article of Bicycle Retailer magazine Jason Norman reports that
Levi's "...is introducing cycling specific apparel ... that has been in the works for
the last two years ... and it spawned from a strong cycling culture within it's employee base."

"Everybody rides here, whether it be commuters, or weekend guys." said Josh Katz, Levi's
Senior Brand Manager "there's a pretty significant culture within Levi's."

According to Josh's article; Levi's will offer the 511 Commuter reviewed here, plus the
Trucker Jacket through selected stores and Urban Outfitter stores thru the summer of 2011
with on-line sales to follow. Katz says prices will remain the same as regular 511 jeans.