Tag Archives: Custom Clothing

Athlos custom cycling clothing: Out of the box review

by John Brown, HaveFunBiking.com

Having been involved with many teams and clubs over the years has given me the opportunity to own many pieces of custom cycling clothing. I have also owned lots of name brand cycling clothing. What I have found, there are some pros and cons to both custom and brand name products. This brings us to a great conversation I had with the guys at Athlos, during the Interbike Show, last fall. Athlos is working to offer riders all the benefits of brand name product in a custom package and making it easy to order as well. Read on to see how they did!

Out of the box custom cycling clothing

I received a medium jersey, large bib short, and medium arm warmers as I requested. All the pieces are part of Athos’ split zero custom cycling clothing collection, which is their top of the line products. Being a top end product, they are a true racer fit. Racer fit doesn’t mean you need to be into racing to enjoy the products benefits, all it means is that the cut of the shorts and jerseys are form (European) fitting. The items I reviewed were made for the ‘Rebel with a Cause’ cycling club. They are in Baltimore and ride to raise money to help feed those in need. All the colors in the kit I received were clean, vibrant from the shorts to the jersey. I was impressed, the consistency is surprising considering the jersey and short were made of different materials.

Fit of the custom cycling clothing

I would love to believe that I am still a medium jersey guy? But, too much food and the relentless assault from father time makes it tough for me to squeeze into the medium jersey. The large shorts on the other hand fit amazingly well. The legs stop just above the knee and have a tall, soft cuff with a grippy material on the inside. The bib is unique in that the back straps are an H strap rather than the standard Y shape. This is a very different approach to a bib short. Immediately I noticed that the short didn’t have the “compressive” feeling over the shoulders that bibs typically do. My fear was that the shorts would feel loose while I was riding, but instead they felt great. They stayed in place well and never felt tight or constrictive.

Function of custom cycling clothing

With our Minnesota winter in full effect, jerseys and shorts get buried under jackets and tights. The added layer usually works against what shorts and jerseys are designed to do. First off, a tight over a short can add to chaffing, because of the two layers rubbing over each other. Additionally, jerseys do a good job of moving moisture (sweat), but require air to evaporate that moisture away. Jackets block that evaporation somewhat. I’m happy to say that even though the test situation wasn’t ideal, the Athlos kit did great. The jersey was comfortable and the short’s chamois felt great.

Ordering something for yourself

Sadly, you can’t just buy the Athlos stuff off a rack but only through their custom program. The process is simple, fill out an information form, receive a quote, and start the design process. If you have a fully baked piece of artwork, that’s great, just submit it and go. If like most of us you have an idea, but not the ability to create the art, Athlos has designers to transfer your ideas into reality. Once you have approved the quote and design, it’s on to ordering.


Artwork Proofs of the Riders With a Cause kit.

Artwork is approved by the customer before orders get placed.


Ordering is where Athlos sets themselves apart. Athlos builds you a team store on their site for free and then supplies a link that can be distributed to your group. From there each rider orders their own product and Athlos produces, collates and ships it. Additionally, Athlos sets up “fan pages” where clubs or teams can fund raise by selling their product to supporters at a premium.

Moving forward

With how comfortable the kit is I am excited to see its long term durability. I have had kits in the past that were comfortable, but shredded in no time at all. By contrast, the best kits I own are both really comfortable and nearly bullletproof. Based on the construction quality I’ve seen so far, my guess is the Athlos kit will end up in the latter group. If you want to get your team, club, or group a custom kit use the code “HFB” on Athlos site for a discount.

Interbike brings new and exciting options for custom clothing for biking

by John Brown, HaveFunBiking.com

The importance of good cycling clothing cannot be overstated. Comfortable shorts allow you to ride longer and in greater comfort, Jerseys move moisture to keep you cooler, and jackets make those otherwise chilly fall rides warm and comfy. So now that there is no question on if you should be wearing cycling clothing, how do you find the right pieces for you? You can cruise down to your local bike shop and try the clothing on or make your own. “Make your own clothing?” you say. Yes, one thing I learned at this year’s Interbike show was that there are loads of companies looking to make custom clothing to match  your imagination.

What is Custom Clothing

By custom, I am not encouraging you to go designing a piece of clothing from a functional standpoint. No need to start specifying where each zipper and seam goes. Instead, let the professionals figure that out. What I mean by custom is the appearance. This can be something as easy as just picking a solid color, or creating a pattern that shows off your company, club, or a favorite picture of your group.

Who are the players

It seemed like you couldn’t turn a corner at interbike without seeing another custom clothing maker, but there were major themes. Overall, it appears that you have one of two avenues to custom clothing. You can contact a manufacturer in China like Bohang sports. They offer custom cycling clothing with a minimum order quantity of 1 piece. Or you can work with an American company like Athlos sports and Primal. Athlos will make any quantity of custom apparel you want, but also offer design services if you aren’t able to

custom clothing

Athlos and Bohang were both showing their best out at Interbike

What is the process of ordering from China

If you plan to order from China, it is best to have your artwork completed by an artist in the U.S. Most companies have templates that your artist will fill out and save in a .PDF or .AI file type. From there, you share your art with the company and they return a proof to you. The proof, is effectively your art, modified slightly to fit their production machines settings. Once you approve the design, you will need to pay for the product in advance before they start production. Costs for a normal jersey range from a few dollars to a few hundred depending on quantity and quality. While you can make just one of anything, the cost to do a single item is way higher than a group of products.

custom clothing

An Example of Bohang’s custom jersey

Ordering from the Athlos

Every company is different, but a great example of what US companies do well is Athlos sports. The process to order with Athlos is pretty easy. You can either develop your own artwork (as you would with a Chinese company) or have the professionals at Athlos do it for you. You can go to them with a strong idea of what you want, or just have a good conversation and let their creativity run. Once you approve the design, you pay for the products and four weeks later the jerseys land on your doorstep. Where Athlos really shines is if you are organizing a team or group. They offer some amazing features that allow you to setup a virtual shop and have each individual pay independently. No more trying to track down each rider, just set the date of production and share the payment info.

custom clothing

This is what a design proof might look like for your custom Jersey

What’s the better option

Both Chinese and US companies have their pros and cons. Mostly it comes down to service vs cost. Without a doubt, you can get clothing cheaper if you deal directly with manufactures in Asia. The Downside to dealing with the factory, is that most are setup to work with brands who have art, marketing, and product management departments. Operating as an individual can lead to problems if you are not exactly sure of what you want made. U.S. companies, on the other hand, may be a few dollars more but are equipped with all the support you will need. With a US company, you could submit a sketch on a napkin, have  a few conversations and get what you want. On top of that, payment is far easier and re-orders are a breeze.