You can call me a “cycling kit snob.” Or you can also call me a picky “cycling kit snob.” I’ve been cycling for over ten years and the most important clothing in my closet is my cycling apparel. It is a fetish in a way and I’ve seen all sorts of cycling apparel and designs in different countries. Some I kinda like, some I toss out after a couple of washes, others I cherish until my cheek butts are visible through the shorts. My cycling travels around the world, experience in ordering custom clothing for a team and business, riding many miles on my bike and even shopping at cycling stores around Europe is actually coming in handy.
Cycles Fanatics requested me to do a review of their custom cycling apparal specificically WSD or “Women Specific Design.” Up front, I spoke to Phil Roberts who is the owner of Cycles Fanatic USA and warned him that my reviews will be honest and non-biased. No bullshit when it comes to cycling kits. Luckily, Phil agreed and is open to any sort of feedback or concerns for product improvement.
Already, I want to do business with a company that listens to their customers so that is a good sign. I can write up a long post about what to look for in a cycling company to do business with but that is not the focus on this post. My focus is to find out how Cycles Fanatic custom cycling apparel match to Flandria’s standard.
GOOD QUALITY AT A LOW COST
I won’t sacrifice quality for low price, period. I’ve made this mistake before by ordering cheaply made cycling kits for my business and never really wore the end product. I learned my lessons and don’t want to re-live that again. I will pay extra for quality and that includes durability. Cycles Fanatic surprisingly offers good competitive pricing on their custom cycling apparel with pretty good quality. Initially, I was a bit skeptic about the low price and quality of the kit. Not having gone through the process of ordering and sending in designs and turn around times, Phil is a pretty very responsive guy. My communication with him during the process of figuring out my sizing etc was comfortable and his response to questions, inquiries and issues were very prompt. As busy as he is with his other business I was taken care of as a valued customer and that is key to building a good relationship with customers.
Before we get into the juicy part of the review, let find out more about Cycles Fanatic USA through an interview with Phil Roberts:
650b Mtb frames and wheels, Disc-brake compatible Cyclocross Framesets, new clothing designs such as “Aerodynamic Body Paint” jerseys and skinsuits with compression band lycra.
Website Information about Cycles Fanatic USA:
One feature that is highly desirable in the bib shorts are the silicon leg grips. It gripped really well on long rides and hard effort racing without cutting circulation. I tested the shorts on a mountain bike race over the weekend with all sorts of movement on the bike and it held on pretty good. The grips were also tested with leg warmers and it did it’s job. The bib shorts was washed in the washing machine about five times and the silicon gripper is still in tacked and still looks new.
Material is soft and comfortable similar to pretty much any medium end lycra shorts. It’s a good enough quality that won’t wear out easily. The seams are clean and straight. The colors on the design are bright and after five washes remain in tact.
I did notice minor bleeding on the color but in one spot on the inside of the shorts. I immediately called Phil of my concern. Phil worked with his suppliers to resolve the problem recently and he immediately sent me the newer version of shorts a couple of weeks later. No problem in the bleeding. Interestingly, the ink color used are environmentally friendly which is a plus so there were some kinks that needed to be worked out.
The chaimos pads are good quality basic pad and soft on the tush. I was able to ride more than 3 hours without a problem without chaimos cream. Also used the same shorts to race with chaimos cream and it was also fine. I also used the bib shorts in the gym and running just to see how durable the material is and it looked pretty durable in the current tests.
The material of the jersey is very comfortable and of what I consider high quality material. It is a similar material to some of my Santini and Nalini jerseys I bought from Italy many years ago and I still wear it today. It is very breatheable wicking fabic and light. The zipper is not a cheap quality zipper and zips smoothly without hiccups. I am mostly impressed with the seaming and the stitches on the jersey (even the shorts). They are straight and clean. There were no loose threads anywhere on the jersey or the shorts. Usually, loose threads indicates sewing done in a hurry and untidy work. The jersey also has waist grips and worked as well as the short’s leg grippers.
Colors were retained after washing the jersey in the washing machine four times. No bleeding, I had to make sure.
One new feature Phil wanted to point out is the seemless sleeves. It is very comfortable and hug the arm nicely. I really liked the feature. It also doesn’t leave a sleeve mark unlike the rubber arm bands.
It is race fit and the design overall looked really slick and sharp!
The colors used in the current Cycles Fanatic design is bright and strong. It stands out in the race and makes good quality images for sponsors. That is one other important component in a custom cycling jersey, visibility and cool looking jersey with sponsor logos that easily attracts attention. Additionally, the design configuration specially women’s specific should have a good fit, aerodynamic and slimming design. Cycles Fanatic custom cycling kit delivered.
Overall the custom kit is reasonably priced for a really good quality kit.
Cycles Fanatic USA is based in Oakland, CA and Phil is a proud to support NorCal bike racers!
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