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Yet another black themed kit

19 Jan

Team Sky started it all. A predominantly black themed kit. It looked cool, classy and best of all, the riders looked good in it. That also made the team quite visible in the peloton. Then the rest followed. Since the 2011 professional road cycling season has kicked off with the Tour Down Under, all the teams are now sporting their new 2011 kit. As we were watching the videos on TV, we can’t help but seem to notice that while the black kits really are stunning, it’s quite hard to differentiate one team from the other especially in a crowded peloton. But other than that, we love these black kits.

So here we have Team Leopard-Trek’s 2011 kit. This new team made headlines when it featured cycling stars Cancellara and the Schleck brothers. Moreover, the unveiling of the kit revealed yet another black themed kit but was good in its own right. The minimalist approach is very appealing. The kit overall has very limited use of colors and even the colors seem muted. The sponsors are brilliantly placed in a neat corner above the light blue bar in the jersey and they are wonderfully arranged despite the asymmetrical shapes of the logos. The shorts part are good too with the Leopard branding visible and the overall crotch area looking very clean. Some people hate this kit because it looks boring, bland and unoriginal. But we love this kit. It even trumps Team Sky’s!! Here are more photos of the team and the kit.

Skinsuit by Design Vol. 4

4 Oct

We’ve seen our fair share of poorly designed, hideous and horrible looking skinsuits. Now, we’re not going to showcase them here but rather we’re going to feature skinsuit designs which still contain some unique ideas and creative design elements but which ultimately fail due to poor implementation of the original idea. Some still look quite good, while others will look downright horrible. On another note, some skinsuit designs will look good depending on the physique of the cyclist wearer.

We have nothing against pink colored skinsuits, in fact there are some good looking pink themed skinsuits, but the photo above shows that some pink-themed skinsuits should never be worn by male cyclists. If you take a look closely at the design, there are tons of geometries that don’t really complement each other: curved squares layered on top of each other, flower shapes randomly scattered across the design, there seems to be no harmony in the chaotic elements involved. It could have been a nice design idea but the horrible design choices make this fail on so many levels (even if a female cyclist were to wear this one).

This skinsuit design for Fidea team isn’t all that bad. The color choices are quite good  and there’s minimal geometries involved. The thing that kills it? Text overkill. Observe the design closely and you’ll see text splattered haphazardly and there’s even text scrolled over the shorts area which is kind of redundant and pointless. It can’t be helped, some skinsuits will always bear the name of their sponsors but some skinsuits handle it pretty well, this one doesn’t. Make no mistake though, there are some good ideas here, and that scrolling text could have been done better, but overall, this skinsuit looks barely passable.

White skinsuits. They can be very tricky to design with if you have white as the base color. Moreover, few cyclists brave wearing an all white skinsuit. The Photos above showcase the Bicycle Repair Man white skinsuit which is on a lot of aspects, total fail. We admire cyclists who dare accept the challenge of wearing a white skinsuit. As you may have noticed, white skinsuits when wet become semi-transparent with embarassing results. They also tend to enhance your junk again especially when wet, which if you’re a cyclist happens to be very often. With that caveat, it seems then that a white skinsuit design must be good, and here this skinsuit design falls apart. It is just too plain, and while being plain isn’t necessarily bad, the remaining design elements are quite horrible and do not complement the base white color which is a shame since we rarely see a predominantly white skinsuit. There’s a single circle there, then an obtrusive text which is again written on the shorts part which is yet another example of text redundancy in design. Maybe perhaps the next iteration of this skinsuit will address these concerns.

The skinsuit design above shares the same dilemma as the previous two designs. We rarely see a predominantly green skinsuit and those we have happen to be poorly designed such as the one above. So what kills the design? Again, it’s text and logo overkill. It suffers from inconsistency in the logo size and placement such that some logos look bigger than the other and while this is common among jersey designs, it just looks horrible here. If you notice, there’s also text redundancy. They could have gotten rid of the text in the arms and forearm part and it would look ok with just plain white. The design idea isn’t all bad, especially if you remove all the text and logos, this skinsuit would look good. Still, probably the best looking skinsuit with a green base color will have to be the Australian Olympic and Commonwealth team kit a few years back.

This skinsuit from a Kiwi track cycling team should have looked good. There’s a clean color palette, minimal text and generally few geometries. The killer though is that milky pattern which just looks plain awkward. It’s admirable and actually good to have a design that doesn’t involve rectangles or squares but this one was done poorly, as if the artist used a random brush in photoshop and applied it to the canvas, which is a shame since this would have looked good with a gentler more wave like curved pattern.

Again, just like white skinsuits, yellow skinsuits can be challenging to design. A previously featured skinsuit design got all the yellow elements right, but this one doesn’t. There’s text overkill, and somehow the design is very inconsistent, it’s quite painful to the eyes.

We really have nothing against guys wearing pink skinsuits, and Craig Maclean (photo above) looks very manly and sexy in that pink skinsuit from Team Plowman Craven-Evans. The problem is, this skinsuit just looks dull. This could have been an exciting skinsuit design if you factor in the good choice of colors which include light pink, blue and light green. It’s simple, minimalist and complements each other well, but somehow the design here looks boring coupled with the fact that there’s quite a lot of text in this design which further dulls it.

We really don’t know the origins of this British track cycling team (Team Terminator) as to whether this is an endorsement of the Terminator franchise, or a tie-up to the Terminator movies or just plain rip-off of the franchise but they somehow produce good cyclists such as the young cyclist on the far left (John Paul). The thing is, this design doesn’t really look bad at first sight, the black skinsuit base looks good and the shorts part contain shades of gray which is actually a good design choice. Our qualms with this design is the ‘terminator’ branding and that logo from the terminator movies. It looks just off since a movie tie up with a track cycling team? Seems to us like a bad design choice.

Skinsuit by Design Vol. 3

14 Sep

It was quite inevitable that we would return to feature this radically designed skinsuit for German track cycling team, Erdgas. It simply is irresistible. However, it is an acquired taste. You will either hate the garish design or love its intricate artwork. For us, we love how over the top it is yet at the same time minimalist if that makes any sense at all. Besides, white skinsuits are extremely sexy and is quite possibly the most revealing of skinsuits.

The first thing you’ll notice is the intricate patterns in the skinsuit. Surprisingly for a European cycling team, the skinsuit has eastern elements in the design. And by that we mean the dragons. That isn’t to say dragons are uniquely Eastern but if you take a look at the Dragon pattern, its heavily Eastern influenced. Not only that, the colors are a striking mix of dark, bright, and neutral colors. If you also take a moment to examine there is a dragon head pattern in the crotch area which, is quite possibly very..umm… shall we say, suggestive. We’ll return to that in a moment.

The above photos show some variations in the skinsuits. (FYI the cyclists above are Carsten Bergemann, and Benjamin Wittmann) Despite the mesmerizing dragon pattern, the skinsuit design retains its minimalist roots. By that, we mean that the design as a whole doesn’t look messy. The dragon pattern isn’t just splattered anywhere but rather is localized in the shoulder and upper extremities and in the crotch and thigh areas. The other areas of the skinsuit is plain white with some team and sponsor labels (which otherwise ruin its minimalistic design). As we said earlier the dragon head pattern in the crotch area is quite very effective in camouflaging or perhaps hiding a visible bulge. Now, this could mean a good thing for cyclists who seem to have difficulties hiding their well endowed bulge, but bad news for those who want to show off their junk or for those fetishists who fancy bulges. Despite the effective camouflaging, make no mistake white skinsuits are very revealing and is quite embarrassing if the skinsuit gets wet since it becomes a see through apparel. Not only that white skinsuits tend to show more visible bulges. This skinsuit also manages to wrap the cyclist very well though this skinsuit might look good only on bigger cyclists which the Germans are.

All in all we really dig this skinsuit design. Then again, this isn’t for everyone. It may be too flashy for some or too distracting for others. But we really love this design and wished we could get our hands on one of these skinsuits. The unique and pleasant combination of both the garish and the minimalist make this one stand out among the skinsuit designs.

The above photos show the design in team kit form with cycling jersey and bib shorts. We believe this design is a real breakthrough in skinsuit design. Gone are the days when designs were made of simple geometries with horrible color themes, or overly ridiculous designs plastered haphazardly over the skinsuit.

Skinsuit by Design Vol. 2

5 Sep

When we chose the next skinsuit design to be featured, we actually chose something that was close to us. And that was the team kit for Team Rubicon-Orbea. A team with very close ties to the Livestrong Foundation. There are several reasons why we love this skinsuit design. But first of all would be the color choices: Yellow and black and how these two colors achieve perfect harmony. There are several variations of this skinsuit design but nevertheless the general look is somewhat the same. The photo above shows Andy Williams, and the skinsuit perfectly merges with his body and managed to emphasize the subtle bumps and curves in his body. As we have mentioned before, sometimes the design of the skinsuit can make or break the look of a cyclist.

The skinsuit sports a deep and dark yellow color. It’s quite striking while remaining subtle and pleasing to the eye. The colors combined with the skinsuit fabric lend a somewhat classic look to the skinsuit. The fabric doesn’t display the usual lycra shininess or extreme glossiness. Whether that is a good thing or bad thing is a matter of personal taste.

In action, this skinsuit blazes through the velodrome with its bright colors and distinctive simplicity. The design and color layout is simple and minimalistic yet effectively conveys the team’s inspiration and that is the Livestrong Foundation. While the skinsuit design itself is littered with ads, unlike other designs this one looks clean even with ads plastered. The skinsuit also manages to make the cyclist look good during sprints as the colors merge with the cyclist and the body fluidly moves with it.

Casually, the cyclists look good with this skinsuit. Unfortunately, we’ve found a flaw with this design. Only cyclists with mesomorphic bodies, with large thighs, and muscles, or who are generally bigger look good with this skinsuit design. Those with ectomorphic features, who are leaner and skinnier, don’t look quite as good and in some cases look bad with this skinsuit as the design somewhat falls apart in the lower extremities.

So take for example the photos above. The lean track cyclist, Jason Allen has ectomorphic features and is actually quite tall. He doesn’t look too good with the skinsuit compared to Andy Williams or Dean Tracy who possess more muscular bodies. But generally, lean cyclists don’t look too good with a lot of skinsuit designs notable exceptions include the previously featured skinsuit design (the british national kit for sydney 2000) which look good with lean cyclists.

In podium shots cyclists look good with this skinsuit on. Again it is the combination of the subtle design, and the colors which must be in harmony with the cyclists body who must have big thighs and muscular upper body.

When positioned in a bike, cyclists look good with this skinsuit on. In a standing start, the skinsuit manages to display all the muscle definition in both the upper and lower extremities. Then coupled with the bright colors, the zooming cyclist will actually look cool and fast.

In quieter moments, this skinsuit still looks good. The understated, minimalist look is quite calming, the colors arguably soothing to the eye and the simplicity of the design blends the skinsuit with the cyclist. All in all this remains as one of our favorite skinsuit designs.

Skinsuit by Design Vol. I

3 Sep

A skinsuit’s design can make or break the look of a track cyclist. Not only that, skinsuits generally are designed to reduce aerodynamic drag and the technology is quite expensive as newer skinsuits make use of extensive research and wind tunnel testing. Over the years, the designs have changed radically, not only with the materials used but also with the look itself. Now this brings us to the topic at hand. Skinsuit designs. And by designs, we mean the look and not the technology. We’re also interested in the technology but that is suited for another highly technical article which we cannot cover in this blog due to lack of knowledge about the physics of the sport. We choose to feature this skinsuit design made for British track cyclists for the Sydney Olympics nearly 10 years ago as this still remains as one of our favorite designs.

We love the color theme used. Blue with red lines and some white areas. There’s also an elaborate pattern at the back which is one of the most distinctive features of this skinsuit. The look is minimalist, clean, and pleasing to the eye.

We also love the way it snugly fits the track cyclists body like a second skin. We haven’t seen this skinsuit with our own eyes but the materials used looks smooth and thin enough to wrap the cyclists body comfortably. Not only that, the cyclists look good with this skinsuit: color scheme, the fit, and the cut. It makes the track cyclist actually look even better no matter the build.

Until now, we still consider this the best looking skinsuit the British track cycling team has ever worn. Too bad, this skinsuit hasn’t resurfaced nor has been used in years. There really is something about the blue color that is distinctive and pleasing to the eye most especially when used as the base color for a skinsuit. Scotland’s team kits has always used the blue color and their skinsuit has always looked good.

In action the cyclists look even better with this skinsuit. The blue color looks like a second skin as if the skin has been painted on. This allows the muscles to look very well defined and the body to display all the beautiful shapes and curves.

This is perhaps the last appearance of this skinsuit. This is Chris Hoy’s world record attempt at La Paz, Bolivia. After that event, I haven’t seen this skinsuit used anywhere else. Despite that, we still consider this skinsuit as one of our favorites.