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When Kits Were Cool

When Kits Were Cool

by / / 111 posts

The modern day Pro cyclist has many disadvantages stacked against them by comparison to their forefathers. They have to ride plastic bikes with little or no distinguishing character or discernible caché; they must willingly or perhaps unwittingly subject their body to an array of questionable “training techniques”; and they have to spend every waking hour poncing around in public wearing gaudily coloured outfits plastered with a myriad of logos, half of them (thankfully) not even readable. No one wants to be a the face of gastric reflux relief, no matter how glamourous it sounds.

How they must wish they were born long ago, in a simpler time, when bikes were made by artisans, not robots, and they were shiny and classy, much like the automobiles of the same era. When the only substances they need ingest came from a decanter, and they could enjoy a quiet smoke along with their tipple. And they certainly long to be able to wear a long trenchcoat and Aviators on the way to the podium, or a crisp single-breasted suit with a smart Trilby, perfect attire for lounging after winning a Classic, or attending a Gentleman’s Club, rather than wrapped in nylon and dipped head to toe in fluoro paint and topped off with something more commonly seen at Yankee Stadium.

Just look at these pillars of style. They never had to fear the beginning of the season, when their DS would toss them a few plastic bags and tell them “this is what we wear this year.” They knew exactly what they were getting; solid colours, no fancy fonts, the main sponsor easily read in bold lettering, and black fucking shorts. There was no apprehension when moving to a new team about what hue of pink or aqua or yellow they would be subjected to. They knew hey were going to Look Fantastic.

Unless, of course, they’d signed for Atala.

Slideshow:
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// Kit // Nostalgia // Reverence

  1. @Nate

    @the Engine

    @RondeVan

    The Mapei kit is was one of the best, these Gents are stylin’ on the Atala prisoners kit.

     

     

     

     

    Is having the legs of your shades under the straps of one’s Belgian hairnet a Rule #37 violation or do you get a pass for Awesome

    Being as that is a hairnet, not a helmet, perhaps the rule does not apply.

    It’s Museeuw. No rules apply. He makes the rules. We follow them.

  2. @Bianchi Denti

    @Nate

    @the Engine

    @RondeVan

    The Mapei kit is was one of the best, these Gents are stylin’ on the Atala prisoners kit.

    Is having the legs of your shades under the straps of one’s Belgian hairnet a Rule #37 violation or do you get a pass for Awesome

    Being as that is a hairnet, not a helmet, perhaps the rule does not apply.

    It’s Museeuw. No rules apply. He makes the rules. We follow them.

    In the hairnet days, the shades were applied first, then the harinet – as a last resort just before crossing the finish line. Outside Belgium, it was usually discarded prior to the finale, which made having the shades inside the straps a very practical thing. Racing in Belgium was enough of an afterthought that the shades-over-the-straps Rule didn’t really become part of the culture until hardshells became more prominent and permanent.

    Looking back at the Heroes of the Past, I’d say that any given rider’s ability to adapt to Looking Fantastic in a helmet is directly proportional to their generation. Fignon looked a fucking tit in a helmet, but always looked fantastic prior to wearing one. Jan Ullrich bridged both, but then you have the modern rider and they are generally able to figure the game out.

    Slideshow:

    Fullscreen:

  3. @Ccos

    @wilburrox

    >>> and black fucking shorts < << 10-4 to that ! And shoes too ! Black is just a flat out good color when it comes to cycling. Shorts, shoes, kits,bikes... I like black. I even like black Jags with bikes on top of them. Black works. Even works well on plastic bikes... and though probably not a lot of fans of this one, I happen to really dig it, cheers all:

    Black shorts and shoes are great, but otherwise all black is verging just to the right of fucking boring. Our team had a hideous kit several years ago of orange and grey with black bits here and there. Though fugly, it was easy to spot teammates in the peloton. We now sport something akin to Sky minus the asymmetry and Darth Vader vibe. Off the bike it looks great, but in the field we have no clue who anybody is because so many other teams have similar kits. “Do we have someone in the break?” “Beats the shit out of me, I’m not wearing my glasses.” The pro field now has taken a similar path to the mean of black, blue and boring. The bikes too. Give us some color (like Lotto: damn fine one there) And not that neon shit of Tinkoff.

    Oh and not to be a hippocrit, but ton Velo is fantastic.

    Spot on about the functional downside of black kit.  Last year, we had all black too which looked Fantastic off the bike, and received approving comments on a regular basis.  But they got lost in a sea of black at every race.  This year we added a field of light blue to the lower section on front and back.  Much easier to spot.  Old and new on Labor Day (and yes my teammate up front with the EPMS was soundly chastised before the ride):

  4. @frank

    Perfection.

    Indeed; although AH’s exploits in the 7-Eleven kit were awesome as well.  So one POV is that it’s OK to wear a kit from a team defunct >10 years.  How about wearing the kit when you meet the guy who actually wore it (AH in brown sweater, me in my AH tribute jersey with a bike his brother built for me with their name on the DT and AH’s picture on the ST)?  Does it make it better when the former pro has signed your jersey when you got to hang with him the summer before kids you about some guy having scribbled on your jersey?

    Oh, besides the 7-Eleven I’m fond of La Vie Claire, Molteni ala Merckx, Brooklyn ala  De Vlaeminck, Flandria ala Maertens, early iteration of QS-whomever ala Tommeke (blue w/white, white w/blue), PDM ala Dutch dopers (and Kelly, and LeMan)….  Something about classic jerseys.

    I find myself of two minds on Mapei — sometimes I like it a lot, other times meh.  Current stuff I like Lotto-Belisol.  Not much else speaks to me….

     

  5. @Optimiste Great response. Thanks!

  6. @JohnB

    @Owen

    Just found this as an ad over on Inner Ring. Best of both worlds?

    http://www.prendas.co.uk/cycle-clothing/jerseys/retro.html?p=1

    I’ve got the Peugeot/ Shell top and will have that San Pellegrino long sleeve this autumn. They are a very acceptable modern version on some cool retro tops. I just wish they would lose the rainbow stripes on the arms of the Molteni / Arcore. We mortals are not worthy.

    Yeah that turned me off too. Those stripes mean something.

  7. From Peleton Magazine.  Photograph by KÃ¥re Dehlie Thorstad.

    I think this kit is quite nice, assuming one is the British champion of course.  I’m not fond of the translucent jerseys, but I understand that Spain can be rather warm this time of year so I’m willing to let it slide in this instance.

  8. @JCM

    From Peleton Magazine. Photograph by KÃ¥re Dehlie Thorstad.

    I think this kit is quite nice, assuming one is the British champion of course. I’m not fond of the translucent jerseys, but I understand that Spain can be rather warm this time of year so I’m willing to let it slide in this instance.

    Peter Kennaugh is indeed the current British champion. From memory he was recently awarded an MBE by @Gianni for excellence in field of fabulous shoes and socks.

    Assuming he’s on the way to the Vuelta team presentations or a stage sign on, those sun glasses are fucking awesome as well.

    If I was to stray from the path and forego Rule #16 or Rule #17, that kit would be the one.

  9. @Optimiste

    @Bespoke

    How does all this talk about wearing team kit, retro or not, square with Rule #17?!

    It seems much of the discussion has been around the merits of the kits themselves, as opposed to a non-pro actually wearing them. However, as the rule’s description indicates, wearing pro team kit is questionable but not a contravention of the rule.

    Here are some guidelines I have gleaned from other Velominati, if one does go down this route: the kit should be from a defunked team (at least 10 years), it should only be worn while riding a bicycle of the same era (no Frankenstein mashup of parts, and please for the love of Merckx no fixie conversions) and the kit should be Awesome (as with a good suit, you should be wearing the kit and not have the kit wearing you).

    As to what constitutes Awesome, clearly that is the debate at hand – even among The Keepers.

    I’ve got a Cervelo Test Team kit from the days before I found the one true path. In terms of quality, fit  and comfort it’s probably one of the best I’ve got but for all of the reasons above it will only ever get ridden on the rollers in the garage.

    It’s also the light grey/white summer version and I’ve no idea how transparent the rear panels might be but after spending a few minutes behind a chap on a group ride in France last week who’s bibs showed every ‘rse hair, I couldn’t dream of inflicting that on anyone. (I recalled @franks advice on how to cope with riding behind bikes with fenders and promptly returned myself to the front of the group and upped the pace to attempt to erase the mental image through hypoxic suffering and lactic acid).

  10. @Teocalli

    errrr…..?

    Looking good there mate! I trust you’re going to turn up like that on Sunday!

  11. I’m so very sorry but…

    …I just couldn’t help myself.

    Lederhosen cycling kits. I&#8217;m so glad you draw the same response everytime: &#8220;STOP IT PEOPLE. JUST FUCKING STOP. PLEASE&#8221; credit: velo news I think in this case

    Who wants a mustache ride? #regram from @cycleatlas

  12. @Chris

    @JCM

    From Peleton Magazine. Photograph by KÃ¥re Dehlie Thorstad.

    I think this kit is quite nice, assuming one is the British champion of course. I’m not fond of the translucent jerseys, but I understand that Spain can be rather warm this time of year so I’m willing to let it slide in this instance.

    Peter Kennaugh is indeed the current British champion. From memory he was recently awarded an MBE by @Gianni for excellence in field of fabulous shoes and socks.

    Assuming he’s on the way to the Vuelta team presentations or a stage sign on, those sun glasses are fucking awesome as well.

    If I was to stray from the path and forego Rule #16 or Rule #17, that kit would be the one.

    And shorts and jersey. That lad has some style. Yep, those sunglasses are smart too.

  13. @Gianni

    @Chris

    @JCM

    From Peleton Magazine. Photograph by KÃ¥re Dehlie Thorstad.

    I think this kit is quite nice, assuming one is the British champion of course. I’m not fond of the translucent jerseys, but I understand that Spain can be rather warm this time of year so I’m willing to let it slide in this instance.

    Peter Kennaugh is indeed the current British champion. From memory he was recently awarded an MBE by @Gianni for excellence in field of fabulous shoes and socks.

    Assuming he’s on the way to the Vuelta team presentations or a stage sign on, those sun glasses are fucking awesome as well.

    If I was to stray from the path and forego Rule #16 or Rule #17, that kit would be the one.

    And shorts and jersey. That lad has some style. Yep, those sunglasses are smart too.

    Almost Coppiesk?

  14. @RedRanger

    Kits are still cool

    Who photoshopped out all the screaming fans?

  15. @Chris I had the very unfortunate experience of coming face to face with a bloke in that lederhosen abomination in Italy recently.  Even more scarily, he probably weighed in at a little over 18 stone.  That coupled with his Project One Madone certainly made him stand out from the crowd, in a bad way.

  16. @Deakus

    @Gianni

    @Chris

    @JCM

    From Peleton Magazine. Photograph by KÃ¥re Dehlie Thorstad.

    I think this kit is quite nice, assuming one is the British champion of course. I’m not fond of the translucent jerseys, but I understand that Spain can be rather warm this time of year so I’m willing to let it slide in this instance.

    Peter Kennaugh is indeed the current British champion. From memory he was recently awarded an MBE by @Gianni for excellence in field of fabulous shoes and socks.

    Assuming he’s on the way to the Vuelta team presentations or a stage sign on, those sun glasses are fucking awesome as well.

    If I was to stray from the path and forego Rule #16 or Rule #17, that kit would be the one.

    And shorts and jersey. That lad has some style. Yep, those sunglasses are smart too.

    Almost Coppiesk?

    No doubt about it, Kennaugh looks fantastic! He has one advantage though: riding for a team with few sponsors means they can go with the full, old-school bands and not have to dick around with the design it to accommodate a dozen sponsor logos. For evidence, look at all the US Champions jerseys.

  17. @Deakus

    @Gianni

    @Chris

    @JCM

    From Peleton Magazine. Photograph by KÃ¥re Dehlie Thorstad.

    I think this kit is quite nice, assuming one is the British champion of course. I’m not fond of the translucent jerseys, but I understand that Spain can be rather warm this time of year so I’m willing to let it slide in this instance.

    Peter Kennaugh is indeed the current British champion. From memory he was recently awarded an MBE by @Gianni for excellence in field of fabulous shoes and socks.

    Assuming he’s on the way to the Vuelta team presentations or a stage sign on, those sun glasses are fucking awesome as well.

    If I was to stray from the path and forego Rule #16 or Rule #17, that kit would be the one.

    And shorts and jersey. That lad has some style. Yep, those sunglasses are smart too.

    Almost Coppiesk?

    Wow, that is such a lesson in how to be Deliberately Casual.  I agree with you Deakus; I can almost imagine that as a black and white image from yesteryear.  He’s probably got Hugo Koblet’s comb in his jersey pocket.  Certainly showing some of his team mates the way.

  18. @wiscot

    @Al__S

    It does have too many logos, but the Loto-Belisol kit this year at least seems to have been designed by someone rather than a committee. Takes quite a strong person to tell the lead sponsor that you’re writing their name in block lettering, not using their expensive corporate logo.

    Spot on. The Lotto Belisol kit is ace – and stylistically a bit of a throwback too. Proof that team kits used to be better.

    Their Ridleys look awesome too.

    Another blight is the scourge of charity ride jerseys. Big ups for the charities but they’re usually shocking colours and overdone with logos.

  19. @wiscot

    No doubt about it, Kennaugh looks fantastic! He has one advantage though: riding for a team with few sponsors means they can go with the full, old-school bands and not have to dick around with the design it to accommodate a dozen sponsor logos. For evidence, look at all the US Champions jerseys.

    I may be wrong and I can’t find a reference but… I seem to recall that national federations can set rules, or at least have a big say, about national jerseys.

    Hence the French jersey for example is your basic tricolor, whatever sponsor names or logos it has, and I think the Brits are pretty strict as well. The Italians obviously caved in to Astana, but then Italians and style have a tempestuous relationship.

    Although yes it does help that not only is it a team without 17 sponsors but their kit is designed by Rapha .

  20. @Chris   Gutted that I can’t make Sunday.  Had it all planned to do the middle 100 from the stop after Bakewell.  Unfortunately H has had to go up north to sort something relating to her Mums house rental (her Mum is in a care home).  So I can’t get a drop off/pick up.  Doing an Imperial Ton Saturday down to and over the South Downs tomorrow by way of penance.

  21. It’s mostly all here.

  22. @Rom

    @wiscot

    @Al__S

    It does have too many logos, but the Loto-Belisol kit this year at least seems to have been designed by someone rather than a committee. Takes quite a strong person to tell the lead sponsor that you’re writing their name in block lettering, not using their expensive corporate logo.

    Spot on. The Lotto Belisol kit is ace – and stylistically a bit of a throwback too. Proof that team kits used to be better.

    Their Ridleys look awesome too.

    Another blight is the scourge of charity ride jerseys. Big ups for the charities but they’re usually shocking colours and overdone with logos.

    Agreed. I regularly ride various charity events. The free t-shirt is often bad, but the ride jerseys are often just hideous. Probably because they are designed by a well-intentioned volunteer with no knowledge of the history of the sport or any semblance of a grasp of aesthetics.

  23. @Teocalli Damn, I was hoping you’d turn up in V-Kit and do a quick ton on my bike whilst I had a snooze in the back of your wife’s car. Or at the very least you’d tow me for bit.
    Enjoy your Imperial (proper) ton on Sunday.

     

    we should set up a spring cogal

  24. @Chris

    @Teocalli Damn, I was hoping you’d turn up in V-Kit and do a quick ton on my bike whilst I had a snooze in the back of your wife’s car. Or at the very least you’d tow me for bit.
    Enjoy your Imperial (proper) ton on Sunday.

    we should set up a spring cogal

    Ha Ha – I doubt I could reach your pedals!  I was planning to be as much of a sacrificial tow for you and whoever else was around.  Shame, I was looking forward to it.

    Agree re the Spring Cogal – also planning on a 1 or 2 day cross Channel Cogal if folk are interested.

  25. @Teocalli Stage Cogal – now there’s a thought.

    That said I might be keeping my multi day, overseas options open in case there is KT15.

  26. @Chris

    @JCM

    From Peleton Magazine. Photograph by KÃ¥re Dehlie Thorstad.

    I think this kit is quite nice, assuming one is the British champion of course. I’m not fond of the translucent jerseys, but I understand that Spain can be rather warm this time of year so I’m willing to let it slide in this instance.

    Peter Kennaugh is indeed the current British champion. From memory he was recently awarded an MBE by @Gianni for excellence in field of fabulous shoes and socks.

    Assuming he’s on the way to the Vuelta team presentations or a stage sign on, those sun glasses are fucking awesome as well.

    If I was to stray from the path and forego Rule #16 or Rule #17, that kit would be the one.

    With those shades he does seems to be doing his best to channel Cioppi?

  27. @Mike_P

    @Chris I had the very unfortunate experience of coming face to face with a bloke in that lederhosen abomination in Italy recently. Even more scarily, he probably weighed in at a little over 18 stone. That coupled with his Project One Madone certainly made him stand out from the crowd, in a bad way.

    Thats the hard thing about us normal folk looking fantastic. We (I really mean me) have to drop the extra weight before anything will look close to fantastic. I don’t think it would matter if you lederhosen friend was wearing the most bad-ass jersey shorts combo ever. At 114kg nothing’s going to look Fantasic. Even if he was a bodybuilder it just wouldn’t look right, let alone fantastic.

  28. We need more 2014 Lotto-Belisol.

  29. @RManneck

    We need more 2014 Lotto-Belisol.

    Lotto Bellissimo.

  30. And Bellissima…..

  31. @frank

    Even when given seemingly perfect opportunities Fondriest struggled…

    http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Maurizio-Fondriest-Laurent-Fignon-Giro-1989.jpg

  32. Le thrift shop. Le $15 dollars. Le badass!!

  33. Our updated club kit, not quite Lotto but goes alright

  34. @century0fakers

    Le thrift shop. Le $15 dollars. Le badass!!

    This’d be genuine badass; Rule #16,

  35. Staying Classy! Our club kit gets a few nice comments

    Modelled by two of my better looking team-mates en-route to the 2014 Grand Depárt in Yorkshire

  36. and here is the picture (doh!)

  37. @simonsaunders

    and here is the picture (doh!)

    That is nice! Riffing on Sky kit, but understated and smart. Are there two versions? One with the horizontal band, one with vertical?

  38. @sthilzy

    @century0fakers

    Le thrift shop. Le $15 dollars. Le badass!!

    This’d be genuine badass; Rule #16,

    This picture exudes so much awesomeness, I’m kinda speechless! How many cumulative wins? How much history? How many legendary rides? We shall never see their likes again, that’s for sure.

    Actually, I think they’re laughing because it’s almost mid September and Wiggo has raced about 35 days this year so far. These guys had that in their legs by early May back in the day.

  39. I’m partial to this shot:

  40. @fignons barber

    I’m partial to this shot:

    You know, it just has to be reiterated: kits WERE better back then.Not crazy about the chest pockets, but from a design point of view, flawless.

  41. @wiscot

    @fignons barber

    You know, it just has to be reiterated: kits WERE better back then.Not crazy about the chest pockets, but from a design point of view, flawless.

    Absolutely. In anticipation of the cooler weather, I just popped for one of these over at Prendas:

  42. @sthilzy

    @century0fakers

    Le thrift shop. Le $15 dollars. Le badass!!

    This’d be genuine badass; Rule #16,

    The apogee of Badass. Anquetil looks pretty strong for someone four months from death by cancer.

  43. This.

  44. Designed by a man, surely: http://www.theguardian.com/fashion/2014/sep/15/colombia-womens-cycling-team-stylewatch

    Not cool, not cool at all.

  45. @wiscot

    Designed by a man, surely: http://www.theguardian.com/fashion/2014/sep/15/colombia-womens-cycling-team-stylewatch

    Not cool, not cool at all.

    Apparently not – designed by one of the women in the team.

    http://road.cc/content/news/130260-brian-cookson-says-uci-case-over-colombian-womens-team-kit

  46. @ChrisO

    @wiscot

    Designed by a man, surely: http://www.theguardian.com/fashion/2014/sep/15/colombia-womens-cycling-team-stylewatch

    Not cool, not cool at all.

    Apparently not – designed by one of the women in the team.

    http://road.cc/content/news/130260-brian-cookson-says-uci-case-over-colombian-womens-team-kit

    Still a bad call IMHO. Love how Cookson put OBE after his twitter name. But hey, he’s “on the case” so we can all sleep easy tonight.

  47. I will take any excuse to upload this pic .Andy Hampsten, Giro TT. Simplicity skin suit with obligatory lead sponsor logo but nothing else. Fan Fucking Tastic!!

  48. Sorry guys, unable to upload

  49. @gilly

    I will take any excuse to upload this pic .Andy Hampsten, Giro TT. Simplicity skin suit with obligatory lead sponsor logo but nothing else. Fan Fucking Tastic!!

    No excuse needed. Always an ace picture. No stupid-looking pink shoe covers or pink gloves, or pink helmet or pink anything except the maglia rosa. Ahhhh . . . those were the days.

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