Thursday, January 20, 2022
HomeOtherEditorialAre Cycling Kit Designers on Strike or What?

Are Cycling Kit Designers on Strike or What?

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It’s that time of year; the teams all have their riders signed and gathered at camp (or, “rosters filled” as our North American chums would say), and presentations to the press abound, giving us the chance to see the stars in their new kit for the first time.

We’ve brought together some of the more controversial, recently announced team kits, which are dividing opinion up and down the land, and asking the question – what are they thinking?

Cycling Kit Designers
Brown shorts?

AG2R – La Mondiale

Ok, kicking things off with a team kit that actually has a season, well, half a season, under it’s belt already, but I just wanted to set the bar. Like most of the designs it actually looks much better in (on) the flesh than in photos, and during the Tour I actually got to quite like it.

Cycling Weekly didn’t warm to the kit quite so much though;

“AG2R-La Mondiale’s new brown shorts were so awful they almost got up and walked up onto the stage of their own accord. The jersey doesn’t look too bad in isolation, but get nine of them together and it feels like something is wrong with your eyes.”

After a pretty low-key first half of the season last year in a very simple blue and white kit, AG2R conducted a bizarre mid-season design refresh which ended up with the unique sight of Rinaldo Nocentini in his glorious yellow jersey, but coupled with chocolate brown shorts. Like all the kit discussed here, it’s simply a matter of taste – there’s not one team’s clobber which is universally liked (I’m expecting Viktor to comment on this article).

Astana

Bert Contador had to display a united front recently with disgraced returnee Alex Vinokourov and smile as best he could whilst standing next to him presenting the new Astana jersey.

Cycling Kit Designers
Think we’ll be seeing a lot of this scheme.

Actually, we like the basic design and reckon it’s certainly better than last year; it’s simple, bright, and clean, the logos less confused (and illegible). I’m a fan of white sleeves and white socks (not so much white shorts though).

Most folk agree that a design built on top of a base colour or two at the most is a good thing, and this kit ticks that box, but setting white next to yellow just looks meek, the colours bleed into each other.

Last year’s jersey was a mess of lines, fills, and accents – and did anyone else notice that there were always at least three different versions on the go at any one time (Lance of course was usually wearing a different version from the rest of the team).

A mistake this time round though was doing away with the navy blue shorts and introducing even more yellow.

Bert & Co. will be even more recognizable in the peloton, however, and that’s one of the main objectives of pro team kit, so fair play.

The new design incorporates the logos of new sponsors Samruk Kazyna and features the newly-signed bicycle supplier Specialized’s logo very prominently.

Cycling Kit Designers
Alessandro Ballan and his rainbow bands.

BMC

This kit is just announced, and I personally lament the move away from classy, understated black and white – especially if it’s Assos black and white. The simple and bold combination together with the black BMC bikes, made the team look, well, like a team coordinated, well prepared, and pretty mean.

This time around, the gear is provided by Hincapie Sportsware – no doubt a precondition to getting big George’s signature on the contract.

I can’t help feeling that my 13 year old nephew could have knocked this design up during playtime – like the Cofidis outfit, the red shorts just don’t work, and there’s little apparent detail involved.

Cadel will look fine in his rainbow stripes though, and I’ll wager he doesn’t have all-red shorts which would look horrid.

Cycling Kit Designers
Still very understated.

Cervélo Test Team

Like last year, it’s back to black for the start of the season; classic, easy to spot in the bunch, bold, and clear.

We reckon it’s pretty cool.

Gerard Vroomen reckons that the black kits make the team very visible on tv and from the team car, unlike all the blue kitted teams which all look the same.

Cervélo have retained the large é character as the main design feature, and it’s even bigger this year.

A simple design it may be, with the classic bar across the chest, harking back to the bike industry teams of yesteryear, but makers Castelli have gone a lot: further than simply producing cosmetic changes, making over: 60 refinements to the clothing, they say.

Footon – Servetto – Fuji

Cycling Kit Designers
I dare to you click for a close-up.

Old Mauro Gianetti presented his team to the world on Sunday, and it was, er, unusual.

Juan Mari Guajardo, the speaker at the Vuelta opened proceedings, introducing a short film in which a fictional chase scene depicted robbers stealing a valuable package from somewhere in Santander, chased by Dani Sordo in his rally car (he was second in the World Rally Champs last year).

The film finished with the thieves rolling up in their van to the hotel where the presentation was happening, then fiction turned into reality as men shrouded in black plastic capes, took the haul from the van which was at the back of the room and carried it to the front, and opening it up – the hot kit turned out to be the team’s bikes; Fuji SST1.0’s. The capes were flung of