The Domestique Critique: RedWhite The BIB

RedWhite is an anomaly in the cycling clothing industry – they only focus on bibshorts. Specifically, endurance bibshorts. The bibshorts are designed with long rides of 4 to 5 hours or more in mind. RedWhite was started in 2014 by two men based in Singapore so it took them awhile to develop a women’s short, but they made it a priority to test and re-test until they released the women’s bibshort, The BIB. Continue reading

Buy Now, Ship Later. Are Pre-Orders a Scam or Smart Business?

pre·or·der
priˈôrdər/
verb
  1. order (an item of merchandise) before it is available, with the understanding that it will be shipped later.
noun
  1. an order for an item that has not yet been made commercially available.

 

It seems like a good chunk of the kit I post is available only by pre-order. It can feel like a sales tactic to create the presumption of ‘limited edition’, giving you that BUY NOW rush to your mobile or computer. But for small start-ups or creative cyclists with a knack for graphic design, it can be the easiest way to share great kit design without breaking their personal bank. I ask several players of the pre-order game to explain how and why it works.

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Prism.Bike is a one-man operation on a mission to make dynamic kit that expresses personality. Kit is available through pre-order only, creating an exclusive feel to those that purchase before the window closes. Often that window is only 24 hours before selling out. Oliver of Prism.Bike shared his view on using pre-ordering:

A pre-order usually means I am paying upfront for a kit that I am attracted to but really unsure about how it fits and unable to see it on other cyclists similar to myself because it’s not an available product. How do you address this concern for consumers?

I think this is tough for buying any clothing on the interwebs. Especially anything lycra.  I took the approach of just paying a great photographer (@beardmcbeardy), to take some photos of people wearing the prototype of the kits.  I got tired of seeing people standing in front of a wall wearing a kit [in ads] and wanted to know what kits look like on the bike when you are sweating bullets after having a bit of a crack.  So for the photos we got the models to smash it up a hill for 15 minutes then took some snaps.

Also, my designs are pretty unique, so people either immediately love them or they don’t. If people love them and know there isn’t anything similar, they are pretty cool to take a punt.  If anyone emails me or has questions about quality I put them in touch with other customers on social media.  I am really passionate that the stuff I make has to be comfortable on long rides and really good quality… otherwise, what is the point?

 

Continue reading

Fall in Love with PEPPERMINT Cycling Co.

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PEPPERMINT Cycling Co. is the group of friends you wish you had. You want to ride bikes with them, chat with them, and share stories over lattes at the end of the ride. The sisters behind the brand wanted it that way. The company was founded by Michèle and Véronik Bastien, twin sisters overflowing with energy, passionate about cycling and aiming to create a new, innovative and engaging brand.

Continue reading

The Domestique Critique: Velocio Ultralight Jersey

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I’ve long been a fan of women’s pro racing. It’s not easy being a fan – hours spent combing the internet for race results, video highlights, an interview at least. I’ve followed the many team iterations of manager/owner Kristy Scrymgeour and even the late days of her own racing career.  She launched Velocio Sports both to support and sponsor her own pro team and to begin the debut of a new kit brand. She has since left pro cycling to devote herself full-time to Velocio.

I was sold from the beginning. Not specifically stated, Velocio was a women’s brand. I say that in the way that a women’s only ride will allow men to join but to not take the lead. It was high-end kit with classic style at a high-end price. I happily handed over my money for many pieces and try to acquire a new piece every season (looking at you, Poppy kit).

At the beginning of June I purchased Velocio’s Ultralight Jersey in Petrol. It’s not black. It’s an ink-y deep sea kind of blue-green. It’s gorgeous and no photo can do it justice. I shied away from the lighter color because I believe dark slims me, and we all need that security in lycra sometimes. It’s accentuated with a pop of lime green inside the collar.

I’m a 36″ chest with a 30″ waist and 38″ hips and wore a size Small. I wore a SMALL! I gambled with size but found their chart online to be accurate.

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My first impression was softness. I couldn’t believe how silky the material felt. I was worried lightweight meant bare but when I put it on over my black sports bra and black bibs there was no issue of see-through. I did pair them with my older model Velocio Signature Bibshort but I will not review those because they are no longer available. Reminds me I need to upgrade to a new pair soon! You can see the pinholes in the material to allow breathability and temperature control.

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Once I was riding with the jersey I didn’t feel a thing. Honest. It was like I had nothing on at all. The seams on the sleeve were barely noticeable and there was no itchy tag, no odd seam – the jersey moved with me so smoothly. I did notice the top of the zipper, though, and only once I unzipped it a little. On the inside, the top of the material that creates either side of the zipper (right where the collar meets the zipper) was scratchy and it was irritating. I kept it zipped because I couldn’t tuck the ends in.

The three pockets did lack a zipper compartment but that is a weight saver and I found the pockets to be deep enough and roomy enough for all my stuff. I rode a 50 mile hot mountain ride with this jersey as my test ride, with plenty of snacks, a camera, and a lightweight vest for the descent and had no issues with the fit once the pockets were stuffed. The weight in the pockets does cause the jersey to sag a bit but the excellent grip on the bottom hem didn’t move at all.

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OVERALL

This jersey is well worth the price. The fit and feel is truly excellent and it’s a very high quality piece. Impressive to be so lightweight but concealing of anything worn underneath. Perfect for the hottest days or a long day in the saddle at peak hours. Perfectly paired with Velocio’s Lightweight vest for mountain days. I highly recommend this piece.

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How Machines for Freedom was born from frustration…

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I wish I had the woman-power of CyclingTips and Total Women’s Cycling to bring you stories like this one first-hand but alas, I’m a one-woman show over here. So thanks to sites like these for being excellent resources.

This story developed because CyclingTips is now selling Machines for Freedom in their Emporium. A Southern California brand built by women for women.

Read the full story here.

 

The Domestique Critique: Rapha Core Collection Jersey

WOR01-base-detail-03_MEDIUMHonestly, I don’t even understand why Rapha introduced the Core Collection. In a 2015 interview with founder Simon Mottram, he was quoted as saying:

“Some people love us, and some people don’t like us, and that is fine,” says Mr Mottram, the 49-year-old chief executive.

“But our stuff is really good, and if someone is going to spend, say, eight hours on a bike… then their clothing should be really good.

“I don’t want to make bad shorts or jerseys just to hit a [lower] price point.”
If he meant that, and he has no interest in chasing pounds and dollars, then why aim for a new price point with this collection? This step plus the off-putting designs of the womens’ collections of late make me really question Rapha’s “prestige” and worth.
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Onto the jersey itself, I purchased the navy Core jersey. I wear a size Small in the Rapha Classic jersey but Medium in Souplesse so since this jersey was said to be cut for comfort and less for aerodynamics I opted for a Small. My bust size is 36 inches, waist is 30 inches, hips 38 inches and I’m 5’3″ on a good day. The jersey retails online for $115 USD.
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I’ve worn it for two months now. It’s been hot weather with little shade on most of my weekend rides, but I also do a lot of weeknight riding, when the temps dip and you almost don’t need arm warmers. This jersey does best in the latter weather situation. It’s made from 100% polyester, making it a heavier weight than the Souplesse but a step lighter than the merino-mixed Brevet jersey. It’s great when summer turns cool or fall and spring are approaching.
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I had some trouble with the fit in various places. Rapha is proud of the addition of a “deep, laser-cut rear gripper lined with soft silicone” but it held nothing. In 10-20 minutes of riding the entire jersey was above my belly button.
 DSC00786I went fishing for that deep rear gripper several times an hour. I was more than a bit annoyed after the first ride.
The jersey wicked sweat well and didn’t smell bad after a long, hot ride. It didn’t show any sweat marks either, something you end up being embarrassed about in the light-colored Souplesse jerseys. They attribute the odor control to the fact that the materials has been treated with an antibacterial process.
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I realize after I purchased the jersey that many Rapha customers also noted in the comments section about the bunching and pulling of the material. I tugged and shimmied often trying to smooth it out. It had a lot to do with the jersey riding up, too, I think. Perhaps the jersey just wanted to come right up over my head and off?
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I also had trouble with the zipper lip. I appreciate having one there, I’ll be the first to cheer that addition on a lower-priced jersey, but I couldn’t smoothly zip all the way up without the lip interfering. This meant that I needed to remember to fix the zip before a descent or live with the gap while zipping during the downhill.
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Finally, the pocket space was much appreciated for a core collection jersey. Two full-sized pockets, one narrow middle pocket, and one side packet with zipper closer gave me ample room for all the necessities even on my longest of rides. But, I have always complained about the height of Rapha’s pockets on all the jerseys I own and this one was also tough to reach back and high enough to access my things.
Overall
 The Core collection jersey could be a good introduction to Rapha if you are afraid to spend all your paycheck in one go. But you are honestly better off buying a more quality comfortable piece from their Classic collection that will bring you all the same comfort and style but is constructed better. The simplistic but rich color options are excellent and many washings didn’t change that at all. But overall, skip ahead to a tried-and-true jersey.
 [1] Only shorts are offered for women in the Core Collection. Rapha is quoted as saying this is because “feedback that the design team got for this segment was that regular shorts would be the most appealing to the widest range of current and new customers.” Bicycling Magazine apparently thinks that if enough women raise their hand in class like good little girls we’ll get bib shorts. I say what’s good for the goose is good for the gander. Rapha, you claim to be for the discerning cyclist, right? Every discerning female wants a pair of bib shorts so respond accordingly. Equal is equal. Comment below to share.
[2] Rapha has such a reputation for being elitist for the sake of being elitist that a spoof website floated around. Cracking good time reading it too.

 

 

 

 

dhb (Wiggle) Design Inspiration

sj_dhb_aw16_day1_0394-800x534This interview on the Wiggle blog is from the dhb designer Tom NoLastName on inspiration and design of the dhb lines of kit. Is it believable? Sure. Is Tom real? Dunno.

I DO know that the dhb kit, especially the Blok range, is unbelievably comfortable, stylish, bold and fits better than anything (including kit twice or thrice the price!). Enjoy the pictures of upcoming releases.

http://blog.wiggle.co.uk/wiggle-interview-dhb-designer-tom