Choice in proper performance clothing for women riders and racers seems to be growing rapidly these days. At the same time we’ve seen bigger cycling brands focus more top-end development on the women’s side, but there also have been a number of companies catering just only women and growing their cycling offerings. SOAS is a good example of the latter. They had made a name for themselves with women-specific endurance clothing mostly geared toward triathletes. That logically included some appeal to riders, but this spring they are finally rolling out a complete line dedicated to cycling. Velocio on the other hand develops products for both men and women cyclists in striking designs. They do seem to focus their efforts quite evenly on both men and women, and their new premium ES collection is a good example of that. Then we’ll finish this round-up off with a small new cross-over brand from Berlin. Chance of Rain is more of a boutique fashion label introducing a couple of premiem jackets for urban riding that mix functional fabrics and designs with a classic, elegant style. Take a closer look at each below the fold…
The new 2016 cycling collection from SOAS includes a full range of kit: performance bib shorts, jerseys, vests, baselayers, and arm and knee warmers. The developed to bike-centric kit in direct response to customers already using their run and triathlon gear. A proper set of women’s bib shorts was probably the biggest driver.
SOAS is a strong opponent of the ‘pink and shrink’ model, and their colorful line of jerseys, bibs, and warmers play that out. The cycling clothing borrows a lot of fabrics from the gear the had already produced for multi-sport athletes.
The bib short add a new premium lined compression fabric designed to be longer wearing, and then get full sublimated designs from top to bottom. The $172 bibs use a Italian chamois made just for SOAS, wide and flat leg openings without grippers, and two small hidden side pockets to stash a something small like keys or a gel.
The $120 jerseys mix an aero and more mesh fabrics to get a smooth, comfortable, and fast fit. They use light, gripper-less sleeves and get full-length zips, a rear gripper at the hem, and 3 standard pockets. Matching $72 vests are available with venting mesh sides, and warmers with anatomic 3-panel construction and thumb holes for the armies. Baselayers are in the works and will be available soon. The whole kit is designed, sublimated, and made in SOAS’s San Diego HQ.
We’ve covered a few of Velocio’s previous offerings, including last fall’s Helen Wyman signature collection. But now they are ready for summer again with the new top ES collection. Velocio’s co-owner Kristy Scrymgeour has close links to racing, first as a rider herself, and then as a team owner and director. While Velocio knows the folly of calling something “Pro” (the pros don’t get much choice and have to race with whatever their sponsors pay them to wear), they do focus on the needs of elite racers and build gear to perform at the highest level.
Their ES line is meant to satisfy these needs. Built for racing, the ES shorts and jerseys use a high wicking, highly breathable set of fabrics and combines that with a performance fit. Velocio took their most functional tech from their popular Signature line and trimmed them for a lighter and faster feel for high tempo riding. The $170 women’s ES jersey comes in two colors in the graphic print. It features perforated side panels, longer sleeves, reflective logos, and a 3+1 pocket layout
The $209 ES bib shorts include lightweight block color leg bands to match both jerseys with printed silicone grippers. They offer more breathability and support than Velocio’s standard bibs, use a Cytech high-density chamois pad, and seamless upper straps. A highly packable, and breathable $249 waterproof ES rain jacket rounds out the collection to keep you dry throughout your riding and racing. The jacket is made of a stretch membrane fabric for a comfortable close fit on the bike, and includes full-taped seams, reflective detailing, and even a light loop on the extended tail to improve low-light visibility.
Chance of Rain
On the urban side of things, the new Berlin-based label Chance of Rain specializes in providing a bit of high fashion for cyclists. Having won a few German design awards earlier this year, they are opening their clothing to a wider audience by way of a Kickstarter campaign. They still have a little ways to go before they hit their crowd-funding target on their short campaign, but might be worth looking for a some premium performance on the bike that doesn’t scream “Cyclists!”
The two Kickstarter jackets are the product of designer Antoniya Ivanov and aim to blur the line between function and fashion. The Alex Trenchcoat and Laura Cape are both designed to be timeless, yet modern pieces. Each is made from high-quality water-repellent and breathable fabrics and provide protection against rain without sacrificing style.
Functional details like adjustable cuff lengths and a detachable hood make it easy to transition from riding everyday by bike to moving about town on foot as well. The 220€ Alex Trenchcoat is actually a two-piece crop-top jacket that is worn over a long vest to offer a lot of style flexibility and to suit varying weather and occasions.
The 170€ Laura Cape offers effective protection while riding in the rain with zippered arm slits and hidden thumb hooks to keep it in place above your legs. Its lightweight fabric flows smoothly over the body when not on the bike, and has small weights at the hem to keep the cape from blowing in the wind. For full details on both coats and available colors, check out the project on Kickstarter.