Velominati Kit Redesign: Half Turbine, Half Hazard

We're laying down the V and dangerous - better look out!
We’re laying down the V and dangerous – better look out!

Change creeps in slowly, it has a way of taking the seemingly immutable and eroding it over time. It’s inevitable; if the great canyons were carved from the solid rock of Mount Velomis by such a soft thing as water, then it should come as no surprise that the Velominati V-Kit would also change with time. As David St. Hubbins says“The more it stays the same, the less it changes.”

It was time for a reworking of the V-Kit; it had gone unchanged since we introduced it in 2010. Our Guns are one part turbine and one part road hazard warning, after all; we’re laying down the V and you had better look out. The V-Bibs were redesigned accordingly. We also made the decision to discontinue what has been confusingly called the Zwarte V-Bib; in solidarity with Rule #14, we have done away with the option for white side-panels and are going Spinal Tap Black.

The Zwarte V-Jersey took a cue from the Witte V-Jersey and gone pure Zwarte; it has lost the white side panels of the original design along with the black-to-gray gradient. Both jersey designs incorporate the turbine/hazard signs on the sleeves and pockets, which are an adaptation of the double-slashes we’ve taken to using to delimit items in both the site design and the upcoming book design (scheduled for release June 20). We also love the nod to old-skule Descente.

Then came the question of supplier. It began with Velominati needing more control over the product and more flexibility from the manufacturer. At long last we decided to part ways with our long-time kit vendor, Castelli. It felt like a high school breakup; we love the people at Castelli USA and their products but in the end, it simply wasn’t going to work out. We sent them a note on a sheet of paper – carefully folded into a secret triangle – and pretended to busy ourselves with our locker’s combination so it didn’t look like we were watching them read it.

The Velominati have high expectations. We expect the best from ourselves, and we expect the best from our gear. When we talk about quality, we are looking beyond brands and labels and looking at materials, craftsmanship, passion. When I pick up a piece of kit, I expect to feel the labor of love its maker put into it; I expect their love for the sport to help fuel my own. This is why I love old Campagnolo bits and struggle to find that same love for Shimano.

Cycling kit should last a few seasons. It should be durable. Its color should not fade in the sun. It should be cut from materials that optimize performance. It should be comfortable – so comfortable you hardly know you’re wearing it. It should Look Fantastic in sun, in rain, in snow, in mud.

In searching for a new vendor, we tested every bit of kit you can imagine testing. The fact is, they are all more or less the same. Most custom kit is made in the same factories with slightly different specs; at the end of the line, a different label is stitched on. In the end, you buy a brand; the quality of the product is a matter independent. That isn’t to say the big brands can’t and don’t produce quality. It is only to say big, anonymous factories hardly feel like the path of the Velominati.

In the end, we settled on a tiny, private company called Kallisto based out of Poland. I love the story. The owner is an ex-Pro racer who’s dad was a bespoke kit tailor for Pros around Europe. (As it turns out, the Pros don’t wear off-the-shelf kit just like James Bond doesn’t wear off-the-rack suits.) After retiring from racing, he apprenticed with his dad before he took over the business. Fast-forward a few more years and he decided to break out into custom kit design. The first time we talked, he filled my ears with the nuances of different weight lycra for bib panels to balance durability, weight, and the modern notions of supporting the muscles and promoting blood flow. This chamois or that chamois, jersey stretch versus its wicking properties – he went on and on. This is a man who not only knows his trade; he loves it. He lives it. He breathes it.

Kallisto sources all their materials directly from Italy and has a small factory where they make everything in-house. And custom should be custom. We chose the lycra, the fabric, the cut of the jersey, the placement of the seams – everything is customized and selected by Velominati. And the result is astounding. We’ve been testing the kit and refining the design since January and I’ve found all my other kit starting to collect dust in the drawers. They even took nine days of eating cobblestones on Keepers Tour without so much as a wimper. Well, maybe they did wimper, but if it did, I couldn’t hear its whimpering over my own.

With that, the next V-Kit order will close at midnight on May 10, with delivery expected early to mid June.

Thanks for supporting Velominati. Vive La Vie Velominatus.

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82 Replies to “Velominati Kit Redesign: Half Turbine, Half Hazard”

  1. New kit looks fucking sharp!  Love the back story on Kallisto as well, makes the purchase that much better.  Nice work!!

  2. Very nice work Frank.

    I’m assuming size chart, pricing, perhaps real life pics to follow shortly? And did I read right: about one month turn around? Fuck my tits, that’s impressive.

  3. @CanuckChuck

    Yes, all stays the same; I’ll be updating the gear pages with the sizing chart and new design photos, though real-life photos will be slower to come. All photos of Brett and I at Keepers Tour are us wearing the new V-Bibs, though our new jerseys were covered up by cold-weather gear!

    The sizing transfers over fairly well for the most part, though on the boundary case between two sizes you might go down now instead of up.

  4. Damn. More bills. I’m in for whatever translates to an L castelli.

    Does it go to eleven?

  5. Can us Germanic folk just go to Poland and pick up the kit on our own accord? Or do we actually have to pay for it?

  6. Looks good, I take it pricing will be poste soon since ordering is scheuled to close in less than 2 weeks…

  7. We also made the decision to discontinue what has been confusingly called the Zwarte V-Bib

    Thank the baby jesus for that. Now it’s one bib, mostly black, not white panels. Please don’t call it Witte. In the name of humanity!
    And as one who has tested the new kit, I agree with Frank that it is really nice. I am still a big fan of Castelli but their business model in the US is fucked, in a word. So we are moving on!

  8. @TBONE

    Can us Germanic folk just go to Poland and pick up the kit on our own accord? Or do we actually have to pay for it?

    well played, +1

  9. @TBONE

    Can us Germanic folk just go to Poland and pick up the kit on our own accord? Or do we actually have to pay for it?

    Can us, Polish folk, just stay in Poland and pick up the kit on our own accord? Or do we actually have to pay for it?

  10. Oooooh , thats nice, whats the damage on the new kit ?   Or are the The gear prices updated with old photos?

    Was tossing up more Rapha but, me thinks im liking the new stuff here also,  mmmmm,  ouch

  11. Yep, this is definitely nice stuff. The bibs feel a bit more ‘there’ than the Castellis due to the heavier lycra. Sizing, I wore an XL in Castelli and I think I could easily wear an L in Kallisto. Mainly a length thing, they are a touch longer because they sat just a tad below my tan line.

    And they’re blacker…

  12. Just when I was trying to rein in bike related spending – being brutally honest I don’t need any more kit at the moment (with the exception of a pair of deep section carbones, an N+1 (road) and an N+1 (cross)) – this lot comes along.

    Having seen it in the flesh on KT13, though, it’s going to be very hard to resist.

    Side by side you can see how much simpler, less fussy the new kit is. Top work, Keepers.

  13. Shit, now I need to diet to do justice to that sweet,sweet kit -69kg, hitting some Eye-talian mountains early June, need to drop at least 3kg

  14. Frank, many thanks for the email you sent about my order.  Really appreciated the update. The new design is great!

    I know I probably won’t have the new kit in time for Maratona Dles Dolomites at the end of June, but as I’ve managed to tear something in my knee 8 weeks ahead of the event, I wouldn’t be doing the V-Kit any justice anyway and will probably limp round the course.  Cannot wait to get my hands on it.  Thanks again.

  15. Anybody know how these (Kallisto) sizes compare to Sugoi? I have Sugoi XL sized kit the size charts would suggest that a Kallisto Jersey measurement means I need XXXL. That doesn’t seem quite right.

  16. @Deakus

    Great update Frank….now I am even more excited than a dog with two dicks!

    I’m kinda glad there’s no visual representation of that thought!

  17. @brett

    in my experience, Kallisto’s leg- and knee-warmers run a bit small (if you’re ultimately going that way, too). I go M in the jersey, L in the bibs, and XL in the warmers. Which means i feel like a pylon. But my guns are disproportionately large. If the shorts are snug, best to go up a size for knees…

    And if you pick a new V-gilet, please get one with rear pockets (it’s an option with Kallisto).

  18. @Drew

    Looks good, I take it pricing will be poste soon since ordering is scheuled to close in less than 2 weeks…

    Tell me it’s not one of those, “if you have to ask, don’t bother” prices!

  19. Kurse you Keepers!  I just got V-Socks and a Witte jersey to go with the Zwarte bibs/jersey and since my dainty taint and the Castelli chamois don’t play well together anyway I’m going to be forced to fork out another 300 bones just to be the coolest kid in Idaho.  Woe is this Velominatus Budgetatus.

  20. @Cyclops

    Kurse you Keepers! I just got V-Socks and a Witte jersey to go with the Zwarte bibs/jersey and since my dainty taint and the Castelli chamois don’t play well together anyway I’m going to be forced to fork out another 300 bones just to be the coolest kid in Idaho. Woe is this Velominatus Budgetatus.

    Maybe you can hit the thrift store and get some money for them or find a great replacment?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QK8mJJJvaes

  21. @Cyclops

    Kurse you Keepers! I just got V-Socks and a Witte jersey to go with the Zwarte bibs/jersey and since my dainty taint and the Castelli chamois don’t play well together anyway I’m going to be forced to fork out another 300 bones just to be the coolest kid in Idaho. Woe is this Velominatus Budgetatus.

    I bet you could buy some of Frank’s “pre-stretched” stock from him..

  22. @Gianni

    Thank the baby jesus for that. Now it’s one bib, mostly black, not white panels. Please don’t call it Witte. In the name of humanity!

    I actually liked the white panels on the old design a lot, especially on the jersey. That being said, the new design rocks and I think it stays very close to the established look while adding some new design elements which look nice.

  23. The current Witte jersey is a sort of silver-white which I really like but hey ho… mutatis mutandis. Not that I need a new set at the moment anyway – having just got two new sets of team kit.

    But while we’re on the subject – what’s the status with the previous orders please ?

    A combination of it taking quite a while to get orders filled, and my own schedule meaning it might take months for me to get them from home, means I have totally lost track.

    I just picked up my gilet and armwarmers, and the pint mug from KT12, to show you how far behind I am. I think I have ordered bar plugs and socks – have they shipped yet ?

    Really a question of whether I should be worried or patient…

  24. Looks nice! I’ve been meaning to say, the fit and arm length of the (my jersey, last summer) is perfect! The only problem is that when I wear inferior jerseys, with sleeves a bit too short, I have a tan line gap. Damnit, I’ll have to only wear V-jerseys.

    Oh, the sleeve openings though are definitely designed for lads who consider which arm they’ll carry gallons of milk with though; I don’t take mine off after unzipping it as much as I wiggle around and tug it off. Gonna have to enlist the VMH on removal duty, or stop the gardening help I’ve been giving her as it’s making the Northern Guns too big for a Follower.

  25. @brett

    Yep, this is definitely nice stuff. The bibs feel a bit more ‘there’ than the Castellis due to the heavier lycra. Sizing, I wore an XL in Castelli and I think I could easily wear an L in Kallisto. Mainly a length thing, they are a touch longer because they sat just a tad below my tan line.

    And they’re blacker…

    You have some older V-Kit from Castelli; the leg length on Castelli has gradually increased as well; the length of the latest Castelli is exactly the same as the Kallisto stuff.

  26. @Brett

    Anybody know how these (Kallisto) sizes compare to Sugoi? I have Sugoi XL sized kit the size charts would suggest that a Kallisto Jersey measurement means I need XXXL. That doesn’t seem quite right.

    That does not seem right; the Sugoi my club in Minneapolis did some 10 years ago was roomier than this stuff, though. I’d say XXL might be a safer bet, but I’m not familiar with their newer stuff.

    The sizing generally transfers well from Castelli, though I’d say that the cut on the Kallisto is more forgiving. Also, since the fabric is less stretchy than Castelli, you don’t need to wear it as tight in order to prevent sagging. My new jersey fits looser but holds my tools in place better.

    As for the bibs, you could go tighter than you would with Castelli, mostly because the philosophy behind the design is to support the leg muscles more; tighter works a little better to that end. That said, all this would only apply if you’re on the boundary between sizes.

  27. @Drew

    Looks good, I take it pricing will be poste soon since ordering is scheuled to close in less than 2 weeks…

    We were able to keep the same pricing, so no change on that front. We’ll be updating the gear pages over the course of today and tomorrow, but all orders placed will be for the new stuff.

  28. @Steampunk

    And if you pick a new V-gilet, please get one with rear pockets.

    The new Gillet will have rear pockets and new V detail as well that the jerseys have. Same goes for the LS jersey. All new stuff, all across the board!

    Like I said, order in confidence; gear pages are being updated over the course of the next day or so…

  29. @ChrisO

    The current Witte jersey is a sort of silver-white which I really like but hey ho… mutatis mutandis. Not that I need a new set at the moment anyway – having just got two new sets of team kit.

    But while we’re on the subject – what’s the status with the previous orders please ?

    A combination of it taking quite a while to get orders filled, and my own schedule meaning it might take months for me to get them from home, means I have totally lost track.

    You should have an email in your inbox with a full update – that goes for anyone who placed an order before the announcement.

    Previous orders aside, one of the beauties of the new supplier is must quicker turn around and lower minimums, so we’ll be moving to much more regular and quicker shipments.

    I just picked up my gilet and armwarmers, and the pint mug from KT12, to show you how far behind I am. I think I have ordered bar plugs and socks – have they shipped yet ?

    Yessireebob…your wife should have them in the near future…

    Really a question of whether I should be worried or patient…

    It is probably prudent to be a little of both!

  30. @Buck Rogers

    @Cyclops

    Kurse you Keepers! I just got V-Socks and a Witte jersey to go with the Zwarte bibs/jersey and since my dainty taint and the Castelli chamois don’t play well together anyway I’m going to be forced to fork out another 300 bones just to be the coolest kid in Idaho. Woe is this Velominatus Budgetatus.

    Maybe you can hit the thrift store and get some money for them or find a great replacment?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QK8mJJJvaes

    Buck, you are a man who keeps his hand on the pulse of the culture.

  31. @Gianni

    @Buck Rogers

    @Cyclops

    Kurse you Keepers! I just got V-Socks and a Witte jersey to go with the Zwarte bibs/jersey and since my dainty taint and the Castelli chamois don’t play well together anyway I’m going to be forced to fork out another 300 bones just to be the coolest kid in Idaho. Woe is this Velominatus Budgetatus.

    Maybe you can hit the thrift store and get some money for them or find a great replacment?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QK8mJJJvaes

    Buck, you are a man who keeps his hand on the pulse of the culture.

    I haven’t seen that much fur since Frank posted that pic of him and his Dad with that huge platter of coke.

  32. @Cyclops

    Kurse you Keepers! I just got V-Socks and a Witte jersey to go with the Zwarte bibs/jersey and since my dainty taint and the Castelli chamois don’t play well together anyway I’m going to be forced to fork out another 300 bones just to be the coolest kid in Idaho. Woe is this Velominatus Budgetatus.

    And, if you noticed, the V-Socks already have the Turnbine/Hazard design element.

    But I’ve been to Idaho and you’re probably the coolest kit there whether or not you get the new kit…

  33. @Ron

    Looks nice! I’ve been meaning to say, the fit and arm length of the (my jersey, last summer) is perfect! The only problem is that when I wear inferior jerseys, with sleeves a bit too short, I have a tan line gap. Damnit, I’ll have to only wear V-jerseys.

    Oh, the sleeve openings though are definitely designed for lads who consider which arm they’ll carry gallons of milk with though; I don’t take mine off after unzipping it as much as I wiggle around and tug it off. Gonna have to enlist the VMH on removal duty, or stop the gardening help I’ve been giving her as it’s making the Northern Guns too big for a Follower.

    The sleeves on the new kit are looser – not closed down like the old ones – more of a straight sleeve. Way more comfortable!

    @VirenqueForever

    A little surprised you didn’t go Bioracer – nice stuff…

    I’ve got some BioRacer kit – in my opinion, this trumps it all!

  34. @Gianni

    @Buck Rogers

    @Cyclops

    Kurse you Keepers! I just got V-Socks and a Witte jersey to go with the Zwarte bibs/jersey and since my dainty taint and the Castelli chamois don’t play well together anyway I’m going to be forced to fork out another 300 bones just to be the coolest kid in Idaho. Woe is this Velominatus Budgetatus.

    Maybe you can hit the thrift store and get some money for them or find a great replacment?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QK8mJJJvaes

    Buck, you are a man who keeps his hand on the pulse of the culture.

    Ha!  It’s called I have a 12 year old who has a pulse on culture and I try to figure out what the hell he is listening to! 

    But, we always share music one-for-one.  He’ll say, “Dad, listen to this song”  and we’ll check it out on youtube, then I’ll say, “Okay, my turn” and I’ll put on Traveling Riverside Blues or some old Sabbath or something. 

    Of course, his latest “Thrift Shop” had to be shared without the VMH around as the language was a bit rough but if I tell him he cannot listen to it, he’ll listen to it anyways and just not tell me.  Better to have him be honest and listen to it than to go underground on me!

    Besides, you have to admit, it’s a pretty foook’in cool song!

  35. @Buck Rogers

    @Gianni

    @Buck Rogers

    @Cyclops

    Kurse you Keepers! I just got V-Socks and a Witte jersey to go with the Zwarte bibs/jersey and since my dainty taint and the Castelli chamois don’t play well together anyway I’m going to be forced to fork out another 300 bones just to be the coolest kid in Idaho. Woe is this Velominatus Budgetatus.

    Maybe you can hit the thrift store and get some money for them or find a great replacment?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QK8mJJJvaes

    Buck, you are a man who keeps his hand on the pulse of the culture.

    Ha! It’s called I have a 12 year old who has a pulse on culture and I try to figure out what the hell he is listening to!

    But, we always share music one-for-one. He’ll say, “Dad, listen to this song” and we’ll check it out on youtube, then I’ll say, “Okay, my turn” and I’ll put on Traveling Riverside Blues or some old Sabbath or something.

    Of course, his latest “Thrift Shop” had to be shared without the VMH around as the language was a bit rough but if I tell him he cannot listen to it, he’ll listen to it anyways and just not tell me. Better to have him be honest and listen to it than to go underground on me!

    Besides, you have to admit, it’s a pretty foook’in cool song!

    I had to double take just before the DeLorean appeared I thought Boris Becker was the lead singer!

  36. @czmiel

    @TBONE

    Can us Germanic folk just go to Poland and pick up the kit on our own accord? Or do we actually have to pay for it?

    Can us, Polish folk, just stay in Poland and pick up the kit on our own accord? Or do we actually have to pay for it?

    You can have what’s left after I’m done :)

  37. @frank Thanks for the email. All is anticipation now!

    I have to say that as I was riding on Sunday I passed about twenty – thirty riders on our local short loop (a nice 50km test loop for the studio’s demo rides) and I was not wearing a shop jersey, just cursing myself. Thanks, now I am cursed…

  38. Dear Frank

    Please email me on [email protected]  I would like an update on my order.

    I cannot find an address, email or phone number for your on line shopping. This leaves no form of communication for the consumer.

    Many thanks

    Noel Boyd

  39. @Noel Boyd Orders go out at certain dates, minimum orders need to be met. As noted above:

    …the next V-Kit order will close at midnight on May 10, with delivery expected early to mid June.

    There are also email addresses on the Gear and Keepers pages. Use those, the Keepers do this in addition to full time jobs so can’t read every post.

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