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New Kit, Old Ideas?

How do you like the new team kits for 2020? The likes of cyclingtips and Eurosport have reviewed, rated and ranked them.

Would you buy a team jersey and ride in it? Probably not, and that’s a problem. For all the success of the likes of Deceuninck-Quickstep, Jumbo-Visma and Bora-Hansgrohe might enjoy, their team kit doesn’t fly off the shelves and if the teams want to look exciting, their kit is traditional to put it kindly.

The designs are all safe, verging on boring and most seem designed around the same template with big panels for the sponsor logo in the middle. They’re traditional to the point where the brand new jersey for the Alpecin-Fenix team of Mathieu van der Poel – the hottest property in the sport – looks a lot like the Bonjour kit from 2001.

The Androni kit gets mocked for the way its packs the sponsors in and yes it’s like a textile version of a newspaper classifieds section but it’s only a matter of degree compared to wealthier squads that still go for the “stick the logo on the jersey” format. The exception to this are the two kits by Rapha, EF Education First and Canyon-SRAM. Taste is personal and you may or may not like the design and tones, but they’re interesting for two points. First the patterns and design of the jersey look more contemporary rather than the usual traditional blocks and fades that form the template of most pro team jerseys. Second, and crucially, the sponsor logos are not so dominant, especially on the Canyon-SRAM kit.

You can spot the jersey and get the identity of the team from the visual cue rather than the banner logo. Clothing company Rapha is behind these two, they sell plenty of ordinary non-team jerseys. Indeed lots of people are buying non team-issue jerseys from the likes of Rapha, Assos, Castelli, MAAP and presumably because the design is both more interesting and also because the jersey doesn’t look like the textile equivalent of a pop-up banner ad. You can ride, and walk into a coffee shop mid-way, without looking like an advertising hoarding promoting Belgian adhesives, French mutual insurance companies or your preferred authoritarian state.

The rules bit
You can almost do what you like with a jersey. Rule 1.3.038 just says the name or logo of the “principal partner” needs to be “preponderant” and in the “upper part of the jersey both on the front and back”.

Blank canvas
Soccer kits can sell by the container load thanks to tradition, people will buy the shirt of their favourite club to show allegiance rather than because they love the design. In cycling the jersey is much more of a blank canvas, history is no constraint. Since few buy kit out of tribal allegiance it has to appeal and there’s a freedom to make something interesting that people might want to wear.

Now you might be thinking it’s important to have big logos on the kit. Here the answer is more complicated. Some brands like the publicity but while there’s more TV coverage of racing than ever, the value of placing a logo on the jersey is questionable and varies according to the markets, demographics and brands in question. Still in reductive terms if people see the CCC logo in a breakaway they’re unlikely to purchase shoes directly but it might remind some on an almost subconscious level that CCC is an option if they need footwear soon… assuming they live in a region where the company operates. Today advertising is much more about branding, creating a connection to the audience, a feeling and other softer things rather than beaming a “Cofidis” or a “Bora” logo onto your retinas. Among pro teams the audience varies a lot:

  • some want to reach the consumer markets like Movistar, Sunweb, Jumbo or Segafredo so a visible logo and naming rights matter
  • others like EF Education First, Deceuninck, Hansgrohe or Wanty a big part of the sponsorship is internal employee communications or the VIP market, where sponsors want to win clients, reward top staff and other insiders with experiences like a trip in a team car or a helicopter ride over a race, something outsiders may not always see but could clinch a contract worth millions
  • the likes of Ineos, Astana or Bahrain, don’t need to sell anything – or can’t – and this gives them the chance to do what they want with the kit. Ineos has private jets with the “O” from the Ineos logo on the vertical tail, thinking aloud they could copy this for their team kit and it’d probably still work
  • some bike brands want to reach bike consumers, it’s here that the kit for the likes of Trek-Segafredo, Mitchelton-Scott could look more fashionable and be aimed more directly, or even be sold with, Trek and Scott bikes

All of this comes before the sport’s irony where teams long to get the yellow jersey in the Tour de France or another famous jersey but this means giving up their team kit for a jersey with different branding. But this surely makes the point that having your corporate colours and a giant logo isn’t the be all and end all of sponsorship?

Lots of new jerseys but somehow most feel the same as they were 10 or even 20 years ago. For all the talk of the teams wanting to connect with fans and find new revenue streams, team kit that flies off the shelves hasn’t appeared yet despite this being something small and under their control. It could be an awkward conversation with some sponsors to tell them their logo should be smaller while another team goes for the giant billboard option but corporate advertising has moved on a lot and branding is often a lot more subtle than a giant logo, brands increasingly want experiences and feelings over naming rights and imagery. It’ll depend on the sponsors but squads like Canyon-SRAM lead the way and in the coming years we could see team kit become more subtle and subject to trends and fashions.

Main photo credits: Chris Auld photo, courtesy of the Tour Down Under

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Gelato4bahamontes Thursday, 23 January 2020, 12:29 pm

    I thought the quick step kit was quite a big seller in Belgium.
    There is a resistance to wearing team kit to avoid being labelled a full kit wanker. Interestingly there seems to be more old team kit about especially molteni.

    • Gelato4bahamontes Thursday, 23 January 2020, 1:21 pm

      Strangely enough just got an email from quiksteps wolf pack shop with some offers

    • The Inner Ring Thursday, 23 January 2020, 1:24 pm

      It’s only anecdotal but you tend to see more local team kit close to each team’s HQ, eg Quickstep in Flanders, Ag2r in the Alps, Sky in Britain etc. I think the “full kit” look could be toned down for “fan jerseys” that do away with the banner style logos.

      • Sam Friday, 24 January 2020, 8:48 pm

        Once again Rapha is ahead of the curve with their sponsor free EF training jersey. Except I actually wanted the full kit for the Cannondale logo since I ride one.

  • TIM Thursday, 23 January 2020, 1:16 pm

    I don’t understand the issue with team kit. Many years ago I wanted the ANC Halfords kit for my birthday. As a 14 year old tradition was no boundary. My dad, however, was as it was made by Assos. So I settled for the Look Toshiba one.

    Nowadays I mostly wear my club kit. Buy what you want. Indeed the more we buy the better for our sport.

    My personal all time favourite was Euskaltel-Euskadi. Let no one tell you what to wear.

  • Richard S Thursday, 23 January 2020, 1:46 pm

    Speaking for myself I’d never wear a team jersey, still less the entire kit, because I’d look like a complete dork (as noted above). Add in the fact that they are usually very garish, and a lot of amateurs ride for their own club with its own kit, and you can see why they don’t sell. You could conceivably wear a football top to the beach or to a bar if you were that way out but if you turned up to either in some top that’s so tight it looks like its been painted onto you, with a big zip down the front, someone would probably ring the funny farm to see if you’d escaped. The only bits of team kit I’d maybe wear would be the practical things like rain or winter jackets. They tend to be plain and my thinking would be if a pro can wear it for 6 hours in the p1ssing rain week in, week out whilst they train then it must be half decent.
    As for this years kits, historically attractive pro cycling kits are pretty rare I would say. You’d be limited to the old Bianchi stuff of Coppi and maybe a few 60s/70s kits like Salvarani, Faema or Molteni. Mixed in are some true horror shows like Atala, Castorama, that faux denim Carrera one or any number of Mapei ones. Recent trends in long sleeves to the elbow, ever lengthening shorts and socks, overshoes and arms thinner than most people’s hair don’t help matters. I’ve always felt Quick Step have turned out decent kits (especially the ones on Boonen in his mid 00’s pomp), minus the Omega Pharma years, and the last few Lotto ones have been ok.

    • ZigaK Wednesday, 29 January 2020, 10:26 am

      Interesting: I would say the Mapei is one of the best cycling kits, alongside the mondrian themed la vie claire.
      p.s. the carrera jeans, perhaps due to timing (me being in my teens back then) also scores very high

  • Steven Down Thursday, 23 January 2020, 2:18 pm

    It’s a nuanced subject as ever. I would never want to ride in the kit of a current team, as I sure as hell couldn’t join that team. I’m also not sure which team is ever support given the variation across the season and the frequent change of Team names.

    That’s very different to my attitude to the other sport I follow, rugby, where as a spectator of a match I’m happy in my team’s jersey.

    I would also wear the cycling jersey of a club I belong to, or indeed that which supports a very informative blog!!!

    Luckily cycling teams tend not to stay current for long, whereas the rugby team I support has been around since 1888! I’d happily wear a Fasso Bortolo cycling jersey as I loved Alejet’s sprinting, if only I could find one for sale. With so many past names to produce, retro jersey manufacturers pick the most famous teams of the most famous riders, which hopefully supports sales volumes.

    I can’t see this being a revenue stream of significance for the sport.

    • Richard S Thursday, 23 January 2020, 7:23 pm

      You can get Fassa Bortolo kits online, but I think they might be of dubious quality. Still better than a 15 year old, much worn one off eBay I’d have thought though?! That was a classic kit, worn by many classic riders.

    • Mark H Friday, 24 January 2020, 2:41 am

      I suppose in some ways this makes sense. If you’re playing rugby/football in a team you would most likely wear the jersey of the team you are playing for rather than the one you support. But when supporting a team you would wear the jersey of the team you are supporting.
      For cycling if you’re out for a ride you would just wear your club/any random jersey you happen to like. But if you’re going to watch a bike race, unless you cycle up the mountain to watch, it would be bit impractical to wear a cycling jersey (you can’t even put it on over the top of something else to keep you warm like yo can with a football/rugby shirt).

      I say all this as someone who wears a rainbow striped Bora-Hansgrohe jersey with no shame.

      • Nick Friday, 24 January 2020, 10:54 am

        Rugby, football, etc., also tend to be a bit more generous in the sizing of their “supporters’ kit”, so that people who don’t have the same physique as full-time professional athletes can wear it without too much shame. I’m not aware of any of the replica cycling jerseys doing that: apart from the XS-XL range, it’s basically all in a racing fit. Which not too many people can carry off.

    • Daff Friday, 24 January 2020, 6:42 am

      Only cycling fans come up with a ‘rule’ that tells its fans that wearing the full kit of a team they like marks them out as a ‘Wanker’. Seriously, this sport is so far up its own arse, it’s ridiculous.

      My best mate got the full Derby County kit for Xmas. He was delighted. He’s 50. He wore it last week at 5-a-side. Nobody mocked him as a wanker. He’s supporting his team, why would we mock him.

      But try it in cycling and ooooh no, look at that wanker, he’s wearing the bib shorts and socks as well! It kills part of the joy of following a sport – the connection you can develop with your heroes by wearing the kit. Nobody is trying to say they are good enough to actually join the team, just that they like them.

      This all started with Hinault moaning about fat blokes wearing the Yellow Jersey. Nice one Bernard, kill a potential revenue stream for the sport, I mean, Cycling is doing so well in terms of cash streams that I’m sure they don’t need it. Meanwhile Liverpool continue to take in Millions through the purchase of a Japanese player as a means of selling MORE KIT to Japanese fans who won’t be called a ‘Full Kit Wanker’ when they next turn up for the midweek game.

      I wear what I want, when I want – full kit wanker, and proud of it. Don’t like it? Cry me a river into your full non-team Rapha Wanker outfit……

      • Richard S Friday, 24 January 2020, 9:21 am

        To be fair if someone turned up to the 5 a side I play in a full kit, socks included, I’d probably think they looked a bit of a wanker. It’s ok if you’re 9 and your Nan has go it for your birthday but otherwise…

      • Anonymous Friday, 24 January 2020, 9:31 am

        Seriously, this sport is so far up its own arse, it’s ridiculous. – so true. The preening obsession with ‘cool’ of many cyclists is as laughable as it is nonsensical.

        • Richard S Friday, 24 January 2020, 10:28 am

          What’s nonsensical about it? Nonsensical is buying ugly, garish team kit for twice the price of ordinary cycling kit. Also team kit is generally designed for a team to race in, and its cut and materials are uncompromising as a result. If all you’re doing is 20 miles after work, or a relaxed few hours to a café, you don’t need a super slim fit aero jersey with cool mesh panels.

          • Anonymous Friday, 24 January 2020, 11:46 am

            My comment was about the general obsession with what is and is not considered ‘cool’.

          • Daff Friday, 24 January 2020, 12:57 pm

            Why does it matter what YOU think? If the idea of wearing a kit they’ve seen on the telly gets people off their arses and on a bike we should APPLAUDING it, and instead we sneer at it.

            I’ve had people tell me they’d never start cycling because of how snobby other Cyclists are. The irony is they that it’s those opionionated, judgemental Cyclists that can’t see that THEY are the wankers….

          • Richard S Friday, 24 January 2020, 3:58 pm

            It doesn’t matter what I think. But comments sections on internet articles wouldn’t get very far if nobody wrote what they thought.

      • Michael B Friday, 24 January 2020, 12:05 pm

        “Full kit wanker” is a football thing too, so not sure if there’s any need to be so down on cycling. I follow both and I heard it in a football sense first – https://twitter.com/full_kitwanker

        • Anonymous Friday, 24 January 2020, 1:11 pm

          Is John Terry ‘winning’ the European Cup from the bench in full kit (including shin pads) the archetype?

          • Michael B Friday, 24 January 2020, 4:05 pm


        • KevinR Tuesday, 28 January 2020, 9:05 pm

          I think the phrase was made popular by The Inbetweeners and their ‘bus wankers’ cry.

          Personally, I’d never wear full pro team kit. Mainly because I’m not a team member or a pro and I, like most, don’t support a team but do follow individual riders.

      • Anonymous Sunday, 26 January 2020, 11:42 pm

        Daff, completely agree. Anything that gets people out should be applauded, regardless of if their wearing team kit or otherwise. Maybe it’s me but I tend to go for the older team kits, La Vie Claire, Carerra etc. I enjoy wearing them, as I enjoy wearing St Etienne football tops when playing tennis or 5 a side. The bonus when playing 5 a side is i wear bright pink socks with black polka dots, or vice versa. People look at me weirdly, gives them a false sense of security thinking I ain’t got a clue. 5 minutes in, they’re not laughing anymore.

        Enjoy sport, what ever you wear!!

      • Augustas Pablo Thursday, 30 January 2020, 8:07 am

        Daff, you talk about people being judgemental and say people should be allowed to wear what they want without being called a wanker but then you call people who wear non team Rapha kit wankers.
        I fully agree with you on people being allowed to wear what they want, I sometimes wear team kit( I really love the old rabobank stuff) sometimes non team kit (produced by Rapha), at the end of the day you should wear what makes you happy!

  • Fabio Thursday, 23 January 2020, 3:07 pm

    Canyon-SRAM, Drops Cycling and Specialized Womens Racing aside, all team kits are designed by straight men.

    This is wrong.

  • Ecky Thump Thursday, 23 January 2020, 4:13 pm

    I’m a fan of Rapha’s gear generally. I like the traditional styles better – simple colour blocks, often in bands Ride around Regents Park on Sundays and it’s like a Rapha fashion show.
    Their WT kits are different but not to my taste.
    And it’s just an unwritten cyclists rule that you don’t buy team kit isn’t it?
    You certainly can’t wear contemporary cycling jerseys casually, without getting arrested anyway 😀

    • The Inner Ring Thursday, 23 January 2020, 4:16 pm

      Where does this unwritten rule come from? Is it because a weekend warrior hasn’t signed a pro contract and so like the rainbow jersey should not wear it? Or because you risk walking around looking like a billboard for European construction material suppliers? I’m not sure we’ll work out the history of it all but as long as this exists it’s a barrier for teams… unless they can come up with a design you really like?

      • Ingvar Friday, 24 January 2020, 12:37 am

        Why can’t the team jerseys belong to only the team, just like rainbow jerseys belong to world champions and national jerseys belong to national champions?

      • Henry Friday, 24 January 2020, 1:58 am

        I certainly knew the “if you haven’t won it don’t wear it” rule. The unwritten rule with my crew was (and is) if you’re wearing a logo jersey, it really should be the jersey of your local shop. Better to drive business to them than advertise for a team you *might* soon regret. Still, I’ve always been a huge Philippe Gilbert fan and couldn’t help but purchase a FDJ jersey circa 2005. One of the more recognizable yet subtle in the peloton IMO….

      • Rob W Friday, 24 January 2020, 8:13 pm

        I don’t think the tradition of not wearing team kit is going to die out any time soon, but EF’s training kit is a good example of sidestepping the rule. It’s reserved, stylish, with subtle logos, much closer to the designs of Rapha’s standard kit.

        I’d never wear pro team kit, for a whole host of reasons, but I would consider a pro team training kit designed with mass consumption in mind. Just like calls for massive revisions in the calendar, we can’t rewrite the culture rules of cycling overnight, but people can find clever ways to evolve them.

      • Ferdi Monday, 27 January 2020, 1:07 pm

        People like to display the name of European brands, as long as they are defunct brands, or at least not present in the current pro peloton. Retroism rules, also with regard to design. If you want to sell Ineos or CCC jerseys, one tip: make them out of wool.

    • Larry T Friday, 24 January 2020, 8:01 am

      Leisure wear? Funny you mention this – years ago I asked our cycling clothing supplier about this. “Why not make us (they were dabbling in the football clothing market at the time, so I thought this the perfect time) a t-shirt/football jersey style version of our cycling jersey? I want to be able to wear this in the support car so our riders coming by will know who-the-hell is standing in the road every day when they approach rather than trying to remember what I show up wearing each morning. You could do this for your pro teams as well – their staff at the feed zones would be way more comfortable in these than the hacked-up cycling jerseys they often wear.” It was like I was talking to a dog – they just didn’t get it….and it seems still don’t. I toyed with the idea of silk-screening some cotton t-shirts but the design was really much more suited to sublimation, so it ended there. Seems a no-brainer to me, but what do I know?

  • Leo Thursday, 23 January 2020, 4:18 pm

    From cycling regularly on the continent I have to say that the billboard look is good fun, especially seeing a group of Frenchies on a Sunday morning wizz by in a veritable kaleidoscope of sponsors. The club tops are definitely old school and make them stand out. Here in the Anglo countries I think we’re becoming a bit lost in the ‘dark-destroyer’ look. Every time you see another cyclist in the dark and anonymous, probably stylish, kit with wraparound mirrored lenses my heart just drops. Long live the continentals with their love of crazy kits advertising canine suppositories – who cares about the fashionability of the look? Isn’t the point to have fun on the road and go hang the fashion police?
    Creating stylish kit is succumbing to cycling as a lifestyle addition, rather than the sport that makes us get up in the morning full of beans and join de vivre!! I’m off to dust of my old Samontana top!

    • Anonymous Friday, 24 January 2020, 9:36 am

      I’m consistently amazed that so many cyclists (in the UK) dress in such dark colours (the ones doing it as a sport, rather than commuters). They may think they look cool, but they’re also merging beautifully with that tarmac they want to avoid lying on in the near future. (And Britain is already a terrible place to ride a bike safety-wise.)

      • Lee Friday, 24 January 2020, 10:09 am

        So helicopters have problems spotting us?

    • uli Sunday, 26 January 2020, 11:28 am

      We need a like button here!

      • plurien Monday, 27 January 2020, 10:53 am

        +1 /s

  • Larry T Thursday, 23 January 2020, 4:22 pm

    Team kits are interesting. Back-in-they-day I liked to find obscure ones that I knew wouldn’t be seen coming the other way on a ride. My (brief) racing days were as an “unattached” competitor as USCF called you if you weren’t in a club team, so they were just a couple of colors, no logos or names.
    After that it was the tour company I worked for, then our own tour company with a few exceptions for pieces I might not have an adequate supply of but don’t scream at anyone. Today I sported a long-sleeve Santini replica of the Giro sprinter’s jersey from when the sponsor was Algida, the gelato company. Prendas was blowing ’em out a few years ago and a simple red with La Gazzetta dello Sport logo won’t have anyone think I’m packing any sort of a sprint 🙂 I got a similar blue climber’s jersey as well, again pretty low-key unless you’re way, way into the Giro history, etc.
    Now that computer designed sublimation equipment is so cheap and ubiquitous, everybody and his fratello is in the cycling clothing biz these days, with some pretty ugly designs whether they’re for teams or just general sale. I’m always surprised at how bad some look on the riders – it’s as if nobody bothered to think about that, they just looked at a 2 dimensional design on a screen. Logos are upside down or backwards, color blocks, etc. don’t match up – some look like they must have been collaborations with the Braille Institute!

    • Richard S Thursday, 23 January 2020, 7:16 pm

      Whoever came up with the fluoro-camo idea at Ale should have something terrible done to them.

      • Larry T Friday, 24 January 2020, 7:51 am


  • Lukyluk Thursday, 23 January 2020, 4:23 pm

    Nice wrap-up. 3 reasons why I’d never wear team kits if I’m not made to (some of them make the same points as developed above)

    1. Supporting a team is rare in cycling. We support riders.
    Obviously some of us will like a particular team because of some reason (tactics, focus on development, manager personality, etc.) but not enough to create a true fandom.
    Many reasons to this, most teams won’t stick around more than a couple decades (hard to support the same team as your dad) and even those that stick with a strong regional/national identity won’t be seen more than the others in the WT (they don’t have designated venues like stadiums), and so on.
    It’s hard to sell (expensive) jerseys to anyone but a hardcore fan, and hardcore fans of teams are seldom seen.

    2. Jerseys are hard to identify with a team in the long run. Teams change names every few years, and redesign their kit drastically from year to year, even when they stick to the same sponsor. And sponsor colors can look wrong on a kit you ride around with [insert inevitable comment on AG2R’s brown shorts here]. If you’re a Liverpool football fan, you’re wearing red. What color are you wearing if you’re a Trek fan? or a Sunweb fan? or even (*shudders*) an INEOS fan?
    As long as you design the kit with the advertiser in mind (rather than design a nice kit and then put their name on top of it) you’ll end up with horribly ghastly kits.

    3. If advertisers want me to sell out, they should pay me. My rates are cheap, but I don’t see why I have to be a walking billboard for free.

  • Cepphus Grylle Thursday, 23 January 2020, 4:50 pm

    I was pretty taken by the Trek jersey from last year, the predominantly black one not the white version they changed to half way through the season. At the World Cup cx race at their factory in waterloo in September I tried to buy one, but they weren’t selling them any more. Ironically I wasn’t planning on wearing it until it was obsolete!

  • imakecircles Thursday, 23 January 2020, 5:23 pm

    Perhaps like the races themselves, the riders make the kit. This would be evidenced by the continued popularity of the Bianchi, Molteni, and Faema kits which are composed of very simple and classic colour blocks, but remain popular. Then, there are the kits with both great design (IMO) and champion riders such as La Vie Claire and Renault/Elf which would seem to endure.

    I would disagree personally on inrng’s point about not making decisions based on team sponsorship. I have in the past when the opportunity presented itself made purchases based solely on past team sponsorship. For instance, choosing Europcar when looking for rental cars for a French vacaction, or Mapei when getting grout for a bathroom project. But perhaps I am an outlier in this regard.

    Chapeau, inrng!

    • The Inner Ring Thursday, 23 January 2020, 5:31 pm

      I’ve bought stuff too and imagine plenty of others have too but it’s less because of the logo, eg a tube of Soudal glue because I know they sponsor the team rather than the size of the font on the jersey.

  • Neil Thursday, 23 January 2020, 6:27 pm

    Perhaps another reason for the non-purchase of cycling pro team kit is that it has no use other than cycling. In contrast, a Barcelona football top or a Harlequins rugby top, say, make excellent general leisure wear. Obviously, substitute other teams as you fancy.

    • Champs Thursday, 23 January 2020, 6:52 pm

      And, while that kit works as general leisure wear, it is seldom worn on the pitch.

    • Chuffy Thursday, 23 January 2020, 7:53 pm

      That hits the nail on the head, for me. Aside of the issue of boring design, jerseys are only wearable if you’re riding, unlike football or rugby tops. If teams want to sell to fans, they’d be better off designing leisure tops based on the team kit.

    • CA Thursday, 23 January 2020, 8:05 pm

      EXACTLY! Most people I know also would never wear a hockey or baseball team jersey to go out, but if they’re going to see the Maple Leafs play, they’ll wear one. And many today will wear a Mats Sundin or Dougie Gilmour or Wendel Clark jersey. It only works because the basic jersey design hasn’t changed ever.

      But, cycling doesn’t have the same type of general acceptance of this. Only a tiny fraction of fans will wear their old Pedro Delgado Reynold’s jersey and know that it’s the exact same team. And, why would you purchase a Movistar team jersey to support them because you know the team will have a different name in 3 years, OR the team won’t be around in 15 years. Name one team that’s roots date back 50 years (I bet it can be done, but I don’t know any). Some hockey and baseball teams date back over 100.

      So that’s part of the problem, we just don’t have many opportunities that we’d want to financially support our actual team. Supporting the products that sponsor the team is great, but it only indirectly supports the team. There is very little opportunity to realistically support your team

  • brent sword Thursday, 23 January 2020, 9:44 pm

    I have no problem with myself or anyone else wearing team kit. Your showing support for your favourite rider / team / sport so that’s great (and a few of the kits look great). Around here you get the smug type who are very superior who look down upon wearing team kit but they don’t bother me. I do prefer the old style with just the one sponsor in the middle. Few of the old sponsors are company names in Australia anyone would know so its not quite the same as someone in Europe wearing them.

    Frankly if they won’t them to sell and spread the sponsors name then they should price them cheaply. That would get more of them out in the wild. Unless there cheap copies at least in this country they will be very expensive. I can buy multiple good enough for everyday riding quality jerseys for the price of one rapha team jersey. Cycling is not comprised of fan boys who will spend double on any piece of clothing just because it is the team issue.

    • CA Friday, 24 January 2020, 3:42 am

      I have no problem with people wearing kit and most people don’t judge those who wear kit… but cyclists usually don’t wear kit, that’s just a fact. Then you have to look at why?

      Well, as myself and a bunch of people said above, when do most people wear a sports jersey? At a sports event to support your team, but nobody here has ever paid for a ticket to watch a cycling race and more importantly, the general public/fan never buy team jerseys to wear in support of your team because cycling kit is really only for riding in… not wearing about. It just doesn’t make sense.

    • Larry T Friday, 24 January 2020, 2:31 pm

      “Cycling is not comprised of fan boys who will spend double on any piece of clothing just because it is the team issue.” Really? I think plenty in the bike biz have made quite a bit of money this way, no?

      • CA Friday, 24 January 2020, 3:08 pm

        I don’t know for sure, but I think fanboys in cycling spend much less on aggregate than fanboys for any of the following: football (international), hockey, rugby, baseball, basketball, football (American), etc. I think it isn’t even close, and that’s the point – our sport is clearly better, but the jerseys and sports wear from the teams look awful (in general).

        • Larry T Saturday, 25 January 2020, 8:44 am

          I’ll admit to not knowing (or caring) about any of the stick-and-ball sports, but I doubt you see any of their fanboys sporting $10K+ carbon fiber, electronically-shifted, power-metered homages to their favorite teams or individual players along with the full-kit to match.
          During my bike retail daze in Southern California I was amazed at how much influence pro teams had on these purchases and my guess is now it’s even more prevalent?

          • Eskerrik Asko Saturday, 25 January 2020, 10:36 am

            Is this an American thing or do cyclists elsewhere, too, choose a particular high-end bike because they are fans of the team that rides them – or even because a pro cyclist whom they like, root for or idolize rides (or once rode) one?

            I mean, it is not at all unusual to see cyclists in full team kit, but it is just as usual to see them riding the wrong, i.e. whatever bikes they happen to have bought. A bike to match the full team kit is actually a quite rare sight.

            I don’t deny that bike brands that sponsor pro teams are often seen as better or simply more desirable than the brands that don’t and therefore aren’t seen on TV. But even so, high-end purchases are in my opinion decided by factors other than fandom of a pro team or rider.

          • Larry T Saturday, 25 January 2020, 1:19 pm

            “Is this an American thing or do cyclists elsewhere, too, choose a particular high-end bike because they are fans of the team that rides them – or even because a pro cyclist whom they like, root for or idolize rides (or once rode) one?”
            If nobody but Americans does this a whole lot of bike companies are wasting a whole lot of money sponsoring pro teams IMHO. Dunno where you live, ride or if you’ve ever been to any big-time races, but I’ve seen plenty of ’em outside of Southern California.

          • Eskerrik Asko Saturday, 25 January 2020, 2:53 pm

            Larry, Larry, Larry. Read, think, re-read and re-think if necessary.

            It is one thing to buy, let’s say, a high-end Venge because of team X or this and that winner Z rides them – and quite another thing to buy a high-end Venge because it is ridden by pro teams.

            One is at bottom nothing but a sheer fanboy purchase, the other is everything but.

            Bike companies don’t sponsor pro teams for nothing, but isn’t it simply to acquire a certain cachet, to appear as superior in design, quality etc than those other brands? I.e. they are paying for entry into the top of the high-end market and the general acceptance of all possible buyers of high end bikes – and not for the small number of fans in the process of purchasing a high-end bike that a certain pro team may or may not have.

          • SYH Saturday, 25 January 2020, 9:29 pm

            A few years back, when EF (then Garmin) were riding Felt bikes, they actually had two team replica bike options- one of them was the actual team bike with full Dura Ace et al, and one was the Garmin paint job on their entry level aluminum bike. Always thought that was a decent idea, especially for those who got into the sport by watching the Tour on television, loved the look of cycling teams but weren’t going to pay out $12k for a Dura Ace Cannondale SystemSix or whatever.

  • Kevin K Thursday, 23 January 2020, 9:56 pm

    I’ve been surprised at how many replica team kits I see riding around Amsterdam. Also surprising that most of them aren’t Dutch/Belgian teams. I also see a fair number that are clearly local clubs or teams. In contrast, I don’t think I ever saw someone in the States wearing UCI replica team kit. I think the only modern team kit I’ve ever been tempted by (aside from a few of the women’s team jerseys) is the now defunct Jelly Belly Conti team (the white version).

    I’ve wondered why teams don’t do a version of their jersey but without all the sponsor logos/names, or maybe with just a small tasteful version of the title sponsor. Essentially what the Canyon SRAM jerseys look like now, or the Molteni and other classics from that era. Of course, most of the current jerseys would look like garbage, with or without the billboard effect, but if they started with an attractive looking jersey sans logos, it couldn’t be much worse than what they have now.

    I think this ties in with a broader issue of the ineptitude that cycling has with general branding and also making bigger stars out of the riders. In the US at least few people just buy a sports jersey – they buy their favorite team’s jersey with the name on the back of their favorite player. With helmets, sunglasses, and identical kit, you have to really know a riders general shape and riding style to tell them apart. Key riders should be much more identifiable, and there’s no reason jerseys and helmets can’t have some personalization. Also, I’ve heard team managers lament that there are strict rules that don’t allow variations in their kit so that some sponsors can be more prominent in certain races (e.g., the Belgian sponsor more prominent in Belgian races), or to have lighter colors in mid-summer. What’s the point of that?

    There’s a lot of low-hanging fruit here. It’s odd that team kit was so much more appealing decades ago. The current trends are frankly horrible examples of advertising art, and look repulsive to most people who aren’t close followers of the sport.

    • CA Friday, 24 January 2020, 3:51 am

      Exactly – the decisions in cycling usually make little sense. The sport is allergic to marketing or reinventing itself

    • Larry T Friday, 24 January 2020, 7:48 am

      “It’s odd that team kit was so much more appealing decades ago.” I wonder if this was because it cost so much less to sponsor a pro team back-in-the-day? Molteni, Salvarani, Brooklyn (just to name a few of my faves from the past) could afford to underwrite the costs, perhaps with just one more sponsor like Pirelli, Campagnolo, etc? Nowadays you either have Mr. Fracking of the UK (I’ll leave it to others to weigh-in on how that jersey looks) with pretty much a single sponsor logo or the various cluttered things with Androni’s “classified ad” example perhaps the most egregious?

  • noel Friday, 24 January 2020, 11:19 am

    anyone with a love of team kit who doesn’t want to wear it can just follow Lee ‘Hollywood’ Turner on instagram… ( @_leeturner ) who has an amazing array of kits, new and old

  • Michael B Friday, 24 January 2020, 12:10 pm

    I don’t think most cycling fans follow teams in the same way football fans do, so shirt sales will never be a huge income stream (aside from the odd exception such as QS in Belgium and Team Sky for a time in GB). In many ways loyalties in cycling relate to races more than teams. Obviously everyone has their favourite riders too but I think the hardcore fans (which you all are if you’re reading this blog!) often put race before rider in the hierarchy e.g. I’d buy Paris-Roubaix gear but would never wear a Sagan t-shirt or Bora jersey.

    • Lukyluk Friday, 24 January 2020, 5:08 pm

      That’s a good point. More than the teams, more than even the riders, it is the races that focalise cycling fandom.

  • Paul B Friday, 24 January 2020, 12:44 pm

    The manufacturers could make them a bit cheaper – on occasion I’ve looked at buying a team jersey* and they are generally £70-80. Now maybe these are top end jerseys, but you’re then in the price range of most premium kit makers. If they sold them for £40 then maybe I’d have got one.

    *Caja Rural. Is it more acceptable to wear a pro conti jersey than a world tour?

    • CA Friday, 24 January 2020, 5:16 pm

      That’s a good point about the price – high end skin tight is stupid for anyone outside the World Tour.*

      * disclaimer – I haven’t gone on a group ride in 10 years, been really busy with kids and life but I’m hoping that when I get back to doing them (hopefully soon) that people all aren’t wearing skin suits…

    • Eskerrik Asko Saturday, 25 January 2020, 9:54 am

      Does it have to be the 2020 team jersey? If you could consider 2016 or 2018, you could buy a nice looking Caja Rural jersey for under €30 (not including postage).

      It is my experience that no one gives a hoot about silly rules about style in places where people don’t have to learn a set of rules from books, magazines or, worse yet, web sites, discussion forums or cycling blogs – and it is only in places where people think they can acquire instant tradition and authenticity by strictly following such a set of rules (and making disparaging comments about those who aren’t as gullible as they are).

      It isn’t only my experience that if you are riding in pro team kit and a group of actual pro team cyclists on a training ride passes you, you don’t get any sneering or condescending looks. They don’t exchange amused looks between them, either, they just give you a thumbs up, a cheering smile or make a positive comment.

      The only jersey I wouldn’t wear is a colour jersey – or the jersey of a local amateur club, unless I’m actually a member and I’ve paid my annual fee!

      Many pro teams do sell T-shirts, polo shirts etc, but to me the idea of wearing cycling related clothes outside cycling is a bit alien. But so is wearing football or icehockey team jerseys or even a cap with a team logo – whereas wearing pro team kit when I’m riding a bike makes perfect sense because it is designed for riding a bike.

  • Ecky Thump Friday, 24 January 2020, 7:30 pm

    Kit complet branleur sounds much more acceptable 🤣

    • Lukyluk Saturday, 25 January 2020, 9:22 am

      That would actually translate to “wanker’s complete kit”.
      I don’t even want to imagine what it would contain.

      • Ecky Thump Saturday, 25 January 2020, 12:09 pm

        Perhaps that’s the essence of the whole question?
        Chicken and egg.
        Does a wanker buy team kit or do you become a wanker if you buy team kit?

        • Eskerrik Asko Saturday, 25 January 2020, 2:36 pm

          You become a wanker only when you spend too muh time looking at what other riders are wearing and having strong opinions about them – opinions that are in fact based on a very superficial understanding of what is proper, cool or stylish and what is not.

          In the old days practically all middle-aged road cyclists were club cyclists who had raced as juniors. Now the majority of middle-aged road cyclists have quite probably never worn a race number on their back. I cannot help wondering that some of the style rules arose from nothing else but the desire of the former to detach themselves from the latter – or the desire of the latter to appear as a member of the former group.

          When and where road cycling is entirely normal and nothing special or essentially foreign and imported. there is no such or let’s say there is much less such silliness about alleges style rules. If you ride, you’re a cyclist, period. If you are a strong cyclist, you are cool, period.

  • DJW Saturday, 25 January 2020, 7:35 am

    With nineteen WT teams and another nineteen PCT it’s hard to find colour cominations which can be picked out on a wet March day in Flanders. Hats off to Jumbo-Visma, EF and MTS (though MTS is hardly appealing kit), and nul points for the broadly similar Trek and UAE. Finally cycling’s charm is in its tradition, and for that I like LTS: a block with sponsor across the chest, clear basic colours, no fades and no fancy geometry.

    Here in Northen France but close to the Luxembourg border one still sees the full Trek Factory Racing kit, maybe bought in the glory days of local stars, Frank and Andy Schleck.

    • ronytominger Sunday, 26 January 2020, 5:33 pm

      broadly similar Trek, UAE and Lotto. I was watching Footage from Australia and it was hard to tell these Teams apart. Why do so many Teams not go for Designs that are immediately recognisable. From far Bahrains Kit blends into CCC-Orange (which got darker and so also more similar to sunweb) And Lottos yellow is undone by the black stripes which looks similar than the (worst of all kits) mitchelton. And Israel-Team did not think about that this clear blue appears almost like white under direct sunlight.
      look at this, its possible: https://journal.rouleur.cc/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/AS3A2791.jpg

  • RQS Saturday, 25 January 2020, 8:15 am

    The conventions on team kit is both strangely conventional and unconventional in cycling. It certainly is a polarising subject, though the model for cycling sponsorship is different to club sports which predominate team sports, and probably affects the affinity and affection it’s fans have for any one jersey.
    Reading some of the comments reminded me of when I was riding up the Col d’Aspin and was chasing down some guy in a Mapei top. I got to the top and when he arrived exchanged my admiration for his choice of jersey conjuring up iconic cycling moments that it did. I guess that although design is a factor, sponsorship is a common factor in many sports outside cycling (and increasingly so) and is not a barrier to sales.
    So some of the best jerseys do have a classic appeal. But because fans don’t usually have an affinity for a team other than falling along National lines (QS, INEOS/Sky, Movistar) fans can’t really line themselves up behind a team in the way a life like Liverpool fan can. Changes to the sponsor in football means very little to football fans when showing their support, though even amongst football fans jerseys take on a particular significance for historical reasons.
    As others have pointed out, the full-kit rejection is a convention which others sports also eschew. But cycling puts a lot of emphasis on the importance of jerseys (yellow, rainbow, polka dot etc.) and also respecting that importance – only wear a yellow jersey if you are leading the TdF (as codified by the Rules).
    I would say the only area cycling misses out on is the casual fan wear. But no one goes to a pub in a QS top because they hope to see Gilbert win the Roubaix (not many anyway). Perhaps the trick is to sell jerseys which include rider names as surely this is something which the average fan can get behind. We all have our favourite riders and wearing the top to show your support/allegiance clearly nails your colours to your banner. It would also help riders see their value with associated sales. You could also ensure you got your jersey appropriately autographed for extra kudos – which might encourage fan attendance at events.
    Otherwise I think cycling naturally eschews jerseys in the same way that hardly any of my football team mates turned up in kit for training (or any non-spectator scenario). Showing your support was only relevant at certain times. Otherwise more generic kit was chosen.

  • Toby Saturday, 25 January 2020, 9:29 am

    I don’t know about everyone else but for me it’s relatively simple: I support individual cyclists and want the team they are riding for to win but as a secondary factor. Was delighted G won the Tour but equally can cheer for a Yates brother (and Doumoulin / Alaphilippe etc). Cycling is such a human (ie individual) endeavour and while we all get that the team is critical the moments of glory that make four hours of pedalling into a great TV spectacle are often one man/woman pushing beyond what mortals should be able to… Makes standing in a Ineos jersey seem a bit pointless esp when they are fucking ugly (generally) and – as many people point out – sponsor driven, rather than club driven (with a logo on them). If sky had been called the “England Cycling Academy” and the lead sponsor changed periodically then it might seem less meh to wear their kit round Regents Park…

  • SYH Saturday, 25 January 2020, 9:19 pm

    As one with unfortunate hipster tendencies, I’m a big fan of seeking out oddball kits on ebay and the like. Wore a Saturn jersey for a while, and I’m desperate for a Wordperfect-Colnago jersey with the amazing flying floppy disks on it

    Colnago actually did make a team replica Wordperfect bike but they whiffed badly, just making it metallic purple instead of having one of those gaudy Master paint jobs with flying floppy disks painted on the frame like their Mapei team replicas. Come on, Ernesto!

    • Larry T Monday, 27 January 2020, 12:39 pm

      “…they whiffed badly, just making it metallic purple instead of having one of those gaudy Master paint jobs with flying floppy disks painted on the frame like their Mapei team replicas. Come on, Ernesto!”
      I was around back then and seem to remember the team bikes being a rather plain, but very classy-looking dark metallic purple, so why should they do a “replica” that wasn’t a replica of anything they supplied to the team?

      • SYH Monday, 27 January 2020, 8:28 pm

        Oh it was, I’m just saying I would have loved a paint job like that on their actual team (and team replica) bikes, just like the Mapei frames had. Those Mapei Colnagos are just the best.

  • Othersteve Sunday, 26 January 2020, 12:47 am

    I use to be able to find cheap discontinued team kit on online sites.
    Great value for less money! who cares if your Assos team jersey looks like shit
    It fits great and was cheaper then buying the non log kit new kit.

    Don’t forget as Leo above pointed out the more gaudy the jersey the less likely you are to be ran over by a car or ? or at least by “normal people” maybe you get unlucky and the fashion police do run you over.

    But for god sake we can all agree when traveling for business or ? don’t wear team kit to the gym to ride stationary equipment.

    • Larry T Sunday, 26 January 2020, 8:14 am

      “team kit to the gym to ride stationary equipment.” This always makes me laugh. The TV spots for this stuff showing the exercisers (I won’t say riders since all they do is pedal away like a hamster on a wheel) in full kits – less the helmet and sunglasses. And now some folks are trying to sell kit specifically for this activity, including a chamois cream if I’m not mistaken? Special energy bars must be next or did I miss those? Perhaps a special helmet in case you fall off onto the gym floor?

  • ronytominger Sunday, 26 January 2020, 5:44 pm

    I dont see many pro-team-kit wearers around, with the exception of (old) BMC. But they usually also ride a BMC-Bike and seem to identify strongly with it. On the why question, most common response: Cadel Evans.
    Disclaimer: Also ride a BMC but never liked the team and do not sport BMC-Kit

    • ronytominger Sunday, 26 January 2020, 5:45 pm

      and im not riding in australia, but in central europe

  • Anonymous Monday, 27 January 2020, 12:42 pm

    Late to this party, but wow, did it stir up some commenters! Interesting to read the opinions. Vanity may be one reason cyclists resist wearing ill-designed team kits, but fear of saddle sores and flappy jerseys may be another reason. Many of the “official” kit sponsors are brands that are not all that high quality, especially in team replica kits. Vermarc? Santini? And aside from the very, very inner circle, who can even name the company that supplies AG2R’s kit? No peeking. Most the guys riding in those sorts of brands are taking side trips to Stabio to have Assos refit their inserts.

    There might be a reason Rapha comes up as one of the few options most amateurs would consider wearing. It’s usually pretty comfortable and well cut. We spend too much time on our saddles and in the wind to sacrifice comfort and performance in order to show any allegiance to a team which might disappear in a year or two.

    The question for me is: would more people wear team kits if they were made by companies that focus on high quality and sustainability? Like Isadore. Or Velocio. And are those companies even interested in that type of marketing? Or should they stick to making real functioning cycling clothes for us non-pros?

    • Eskerrik Asko Monday, 27 January 2020, 7:09 pm

      Rosti. An Italian manufacturer.
      You asked.

      Both Vermarc and Santini make bib tights I would be perfectly happy to use to the complete exclusion of anything Assos or Rapha sell. The art is knowing what you need and knowing that price is not a quality or an attribute of a product.
      I’m happy for every cyclist whose bottom has found happiness, but if I had a problem with the owners of those bottoms, it would be with their ridiciulous notion that quality and comfort are nowhere to be found in cyclingwear made by some other brands or sold at half or a third of the price of their own possessions.

      You did make a relevant point, though: sometimes the pro team kits are indeed mere replicas, they may look like the real thing but the quality of materials and manufacturing may not be there. A case in point: I have had two different orange Euskaltel-Euskadi kits, one was crap, the other I can still ride in.

      And you were correct to point out that theses days the distinction we seek when we purchase things that cost a little more than the alternatives we could buy instead doesn’t necessarily consist of being associated with pro cycling but of being seen as someone who values sustainability, local manufacture etc.

    • Larry T Tuesday, 28 January 2020, 3:28 pm

      I don’t usually bother with comments from someone so proud they hide behind ANONYMOUS but implications that a brand like Santini (a former supplier) are of dubious quality have to be challenged, especially when Rapha is held up as a superior example. Further, last time I visited Assos in Ticino (a long time ago) they told us they were no longer secretly making replicas (or replacing inserts) of team kits for pros to wear – they explained that this practice was simply making someone’s else’ product look good. In a similar vein, Pietro Santini himself recounts a few times he personally flew off somewhere to replace inserts someone’s inferior team kit back-in-the-day. Yours truly used to buy inserts from Santini to replace the inferior ones in a certain popular and heavily marketed brand of shorts.
      Finally, it’s not a huge secret that a lot of Rapha-branded kit was actually produced for them by Nalini (our current supplier) a company I find more-or-less equal to the quality of the Santini product. The brands you mention seem to me to be more of the “clothing company of the month” variety having come on the scene pretty recently – how long have they been around and how many of them actually MAKE their own products vs having someone like Nalini make them for them under contract?

    • CA Tuesday, 28 January 2020, 3:57 pm

      Some valid comments, but I wanted to comment on one thing – is Anonymous saying that you need to use wind tunnel proven materials on group rides? I’m sorry but wearing wind tunnel tested materials makes no difference for 99.9999% of group riders. Taking it a step further unless you’re a cat 1 rider who has a solid shot of making the bump to a real professional contract, then skin suits don’t make a difference either.

  • Mike Brown Tuesday, 28 January 2020, 6:11 am

    A few observations:

    The baseball cap has replaced the classic cycling cap. I think Quick Step was the last team to use this nifty bit of apparal.
    Which is a shame.

    Footon Servetto Fuji from ten years ago had THE ugliest kit ever issued to a pto tour team. A good example not to buy what the pros are paid to wear.

    If you are not a tanned and lean cyclist and do wear say, a full FDJ kit, you are a full-kit-wanker and are rightfully subject to any and all scorn and verbal abuse that may come your way.

    Black came into the pro peloton in both kit and worse, bikes a few years back. This is a wasted opportunity to use color. When bikes are matte black with satin black decals it appears that all of the creative juices have evaporated from the manufacturers.

    • CA Tuesday, 28 January 2020, 4:03 pm

      Oh my, I remember the footon kit – it looked like vomit. UCI needs to have a PR/marketing arm that acts on behalf of the sport to quality control team kits. It hurts everyone when kits look like bowel movements.

  • Anonymous Thursday, 30 January 2020, 10:55 am

    The vile pink thing wants burning till its dead!

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