Top ten cycling apparel INNOVATION brands
Bike expert Thomas Opstrup, talks about what matters now
LTP had asked bike expert Thomas Opstrup to share his thoughts on ten innovative and leading bike apparel brands, and you can find his answers below:
“I picked the following brands from the criteria that they all have made some innovative impact on the market in different ways, and at the same time have commercial success” says Thomas. Thomas continues “The brands are also selected based on my personal preference – There are so many great cycling apparel brands out there offering attractive and innovative cycling kits”
Here are the ten top cycling apparel brands:
Founded in 2004 – London. Mainly selling directly to consumers via its website. Today, Rapha is one of the biggest names in cycling clothing. Simon Morttram, the founder, was unsatisfied with the cycling clothes of that time and decided to make his own. A feat accomplished in just 10 years. Rapha is famous for revolutionizing the market by bringing minimalistic fashion to cycling clothes inspired by the cycling era of the 50’ and 60’.
Quality racewear from Switzerland. Started by Tony Maier in 1976. Assos stands as one of the most influential cycling brands in the last 40 years. Innovative development of fabrics, and the first to use elastic insert which is the standard in high-quality bib shorts from other brands today. Assos offering technically advanced cycling clothing that is designed to work together with your body and your bike. Created for when you are in race position on the bike, the bibs may feel slightly uncomfortable when off the bike. Assos is also extremely proud of their layering system which makes it possible to combine different items for different conditions.
Black Sheep Cycling
Black Sheep Cycling is an Australian brand founded in 2014, who introduced a new business model. Instead of keeping a running stock of different apparel styles they started making a seasonal design with only one limited production. When the stock runs out there is no more apparel to buy. They called it season 1, season 2 etc. Every year they launch new seasoned styles. Sublimation and innovative design has been their focus. Today, Black Sheep Cycling have grown a lot and do both the original limited season approach, but also normal stocked apparel. They mainly work in sublimation fabrics of good quality.
Pas Normal Studios
The Copenhagen based company founded in 2015 is exclusively a road racing brand. Pas Normal Studios have chosen to have a tight racing fit. Probably the tightest I have seen, it is ALL about the race-fit look. Their visual styles by using big white letters often as text on the jerseys and bib shorts are a new visual representation in the cycling industry. Pas Normal Studios have a very Scandinavian way of thinking about design. It is very subtle and simple, yet with distinct detail or a concept. Pas Normal Studios use primarily sublimation for they jerseys in one of the best qualities on the market. They also use a rubber press technique on their bib shorts that have a little thickness to it which gives it a nice 3-D effect.
When some of the brightest minds in the high-end outdoor industry decide to pursue their passion for cycling apparel, 7Mesh is what you get. 7mesh was founded in 2013 and the design does not make your head turn - but the technical quality does. 7mesh became famous for their Oro jacket. A rainproof jacket made of the innovative 'shakedry' fabric made by Gore. There are only 3 companies that make a shakedry jacket today. Besides 7Mesh it is Castelli and Gore who originally developed the Shakedry fabric. 7mesh became notoriously famous for making the first 'shakedry' rain jacket to break the 100-gram barrier. In general, the technical quality is the main focus at 7Mesh. Design seems to be of less priority.
A company founded in Slovakia in 2014 by the two twins and former ProTour riders Martin and Peter Velits. They were inspired by the new wave of cycling clothing aesthetics where you can wear high performing clothing, and still feel good when stopping at the cafe. Today, Isadore has developed into its own distinguished brand and is known for combining wool with sublimation polyester in their jerseys. The style is modern with a twist of old days. Isadore cares about how garments and packaging are made and material and fabrics are sourced from suppliers who are certified on highest level. Choosing environmentally responsible manufacturers and packaging manufactured in recycled or recyclable paper, so you can enjoy your ride with a clean conscience.
La Passione founded in 2015 have build their selling model solely around their web page. The selling point is that they deliver quality apparel at a reasonable price. The apparel is designed with minimalism in mind. One color or very simple patterns. The apparel is made in Italy by Santini. To cut production cost they have cut out what they consider unnecessary like zipped pockets for valuables on the jerseys. Very simple apparel in a contemporary design. They have succeeded in selling at a price level where the most competition cannot deliver contemporary design at the same quality level.
Cafe du Cycliste
Was born in a traditional French cycling café in Grasse and later moved to Nice and has become a well-respected brand today. They make high-quality, technically excellent cycling apparel with a unique twist of classic French style. Cafe du Cycliste is not about racing but about style. They have been innovative in the way they use colors and patterns. Bib shorts in purple - only Cafe du Cycliste can get away with that, and the way they compliment high-quality fabrics of different kind to create products that with understated attitude appears in the best gentleman style.
A Swedish brand founded in 2005 with a strong present in the helmet market and made it’s first entry addressing the ski market. The experience of improving ski racing safety they carried on into the cycling apparel market that they entered in 2014. First, they concentrated on the MTB market, but today road and MTB apparel count approximately for equal parts of the sale. Their Road collection is focused on the use of ceramic fabrics for enhanced protection. POC design has typically been based around fluo or strong colors combined with black or white. POC is also working seriously with the aerodynamic properties. With feedback from EF-Drapac ProTour team, they have developed fabrics and designed apparel that optimizes aerodynamics.
The Pedla is one of a number of new Australian road wear brands pushing the envelope when it comes to performance and style. Fabrics are sourced and printed in Europe by some of the best in the business. They work primarily with sublimation polyester, but also some wool. Since its beginning, The Pedla design has been simple and elegant, but this season they also introduced the camo collection, which is inspired by military camouflage clothing. It is a young brand that still needs to position itself in the market.
"Four out of ten brands mentioned in Thomas's article already are customers at LTP," tells Chief of New biz, Jurgita Sirvydaite from LTP's innovation center in Kaunas. Jurgita continues; we are actually working with twelve bike apparel brands and many new brands are on the way"
Please contact CCO alex Ingildsen, LTP Group for further input, or if you want to meet in Euro-Bike in Friedrichshafen on July 8-10, please send meeting request to firstname.lastname@example.org
About Thomas Opstrup:
Thomas Opstrup holds a Masters Degree from Copenhagen Business School and has worked for international advertising agencies for 7 years.
Previously licensed rider at the highest level, and has participated in bicycle racing for over 2 decades. Through a long time interest in cycling apparel and own production, he holds extensive knowledge about cycling clothes and its market.
He is the co-founder of Sicilycyclingclub.com that arrange bike camps in the beautiful Sicily around Etna.
LTP is a Danish-owned garment manufacturer for 60+ premium brands within active sportswear, outdoor, athleisure and sustainable fashion. LTP was established in 1991 and is probably the biggest functional garment manufacturer in Europe with bluesign® setups in Lithuania, Belarus, Ukraine and Vietnam.
LTP consists of two divisions; LTP Garment and LTP Contract Furniture producing in ten fully-owned factories