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According to unwritten rules, there are small things with kit that can be tinkered with (like socks), but most everything else needs to conform to tradition. “Classic” styling which play on patterns from yesteryear has been done to death, and we’re now seeing some unique (some say gaudy) designs popping up which are eye-catching. If you can’t be fast, you can at least look good.
There’s a very cool movement going on at the moment with unique designs of cycling kit. Most appear to be coming from the US and Australia from what I can tell (“Euro pro” is a myth, trust me). People are taking it upon themselves to have some fun with their designs and creating an untraditional look that was typically dabbled in with mountain biking and cyclocross in the US.
I’m a keen Instagram user and one of the most gratifying things that I’m discovering through it is the amount of awesome cycling kits that are popping up all over the world. Some of these are from small start-up brands, some are simply custom designs from teams having a bit of fun. Many of you will prefer a more classic design, but I’m digging the innovative (sometimes outrageous) color palettes being used and creative design elements taken from elsewhere and being applied to cycling kits.
Have a look at some of my favorites. If you have any to add, I’d be keen to check them out in the comments. Hopefully some of these kits inspire some better team designs for the upcoming summer season here in Australia.
Fiasco Ciclismo is a small Adelaide brand who is coming out with some outrageous 80’s fluro patterns, which somehow work if you’ve got the physique to pull it off. I’m seeing more refined and pared-back designs coming out of these guys, so keep an eye on them.
The guys from California at Ritte Racing are producing some fantastic looking bikes, but their amazing kit designs are what really steal the show for me. These guys have a really great thing going on.
South Apparel is small Melbourne brand which is a collaboration between a cyclist and a designer. I have to admit that I haven’t seen much of them on the roads around here, but once someone catches on I’m sure we’ll see them all over Beach Road.
Golden Saddle Cyclery
Golden Saddle Cyclery is another US brand out of LA and have been rocking the Aztec for a while now and have come up with some cool designs. Also check out their cap.
When I think of Mash I think of a fixie crew in LA, but that appears to be evolving into something more. The kit shown below is one of my favorites, but the photo doesn’t do it justice whatsoever. To get some much better on-the-bike views of the kit, check out these pics on prollyisnotprobably.
Visit www.mashsf.com. They’ve got heaps of other great stuff in their online shop.
La Flamme Rouge
I was just made aware of La Flamme Rouge via twitter while writing this post. It is a Danish charity founded by Brian Holm for the support of people affected by cancer which also has many other high profile athletes behind as ambassadors. Regardless of the names, they have some great kit designs.
ten speed hero
Tenspeed Hero is a cycling journal located in Chicago with a team of visual designers producing some fantastic products and a great blog. They use a lot of design elements and palette reminiscent of Mondrian that take me back to LOOK bikes.
Attaquer is a small Sydney based brand who are pumping out some creative designs each season and have a rapidly growing following in Sydney. I own a set of their kit and can vouch for their quality. You’ll need to step out of your comfort zone with their unconventional designs, but that’s what it’s all about.
Dion Shaw is a Melbourne based (originally from Tasmania) personality in the bike industry and is killing it with some his “4 Shaw” brand that has a huge swelling of local support. It’s a difficult thing to use the World Champs rainbow colors while not looking wanky, but he pulls it off with a fabulous sense of style. He makes a huge range of great looking products, but unfortunately doesn’t have a webstore.
Visit their facebook page (no website found)
State Bicycle Co
State Bicycle Co. is a shop which calls Tempe, Arizona home. While they’re mostly a fixie shop, they’ve created a very cool kit design that roadies are taking a liking to. Well, I certainly like it.
Bear Development Team
The Bear Development Team is based in Santa Cruz and is a junior & U23 team focused on men’s/women’s road racing and mountain biking with a small group of 10 riders. It took a while for their kit to grow on me, but now I think it’s one of the sharpest in the bunch.
You can count on Melbourne’s very own Fyxo(matosis) to create some beautiful designs on a regular basis. Andy White has no formal background in the graphics arts, but has a remarkable sense of style and creativity that would make you think that he did.
Team Wooly Mammoth
Team Wooly Mammoth is an amateur team out of central Texas, and while they all look like good riders, they also look like they know how to have a good time. I stumbled up on Instagram and has one of the coolest kit designs I’ve found. But after looking through their excellent website, all I can think about is how much I’d love to party with them.
And I’d love to go mountain biking with this Wooly Mammoth who wears a loin cloth and open collared shirt for kit: