Editor’s Note: This post has been updated with new picks for 2017. You can find last year’s picks on Page 2.
Summer is upon us, and as we drop the insulated booties, scrap the full-leg tights, pack away the windproof jacket and push the indoor trainer behind the sofa, so too do we greatly anticipate new, calf-highlighting warm-weather kits. Few glories in the cycling world are as gratifying as a tight kit, freshly shaved legs, a clean bike and a new, unstained cap. So, to get everyone in the mood for big-ring grinding, I asked the cyclists on staff to pick the kits they’d love to slide over their svelte frames. Each selection reflects different personalities and rider types, and each kit is primed to hit the pavement, from summer’s egg-yolk sunrises to its orange-sherbet sunsets. —Matthew Ankeny
Café du Cycliste
Based in Nice, France, Café du Cycliste was born with the premise of looking great at the mid-ride coffee shop and still having the performance chops to ride all day. This summer’s collection is bold — epitomized by the print on the Zahira Fleur jersey. It’s a difficult look to pull off, for sure (a beard and long hair certainly help), but you’ll stand out from the black-clad crowd.
Rapha. What more must be said? The U.K.-based brand is synonymous with quality, understated, well-thought-out cycling apparel. The brand recently redesigned its Pro Team bib shorts, and they are perhaps the best Rapha has ever made. If you want to learn more about Rapha’s design philosophies, check out our interview with the brand’s creative director, Alex Valdman.
Style Rules to Ride By
1. Socks match the kit, match the bike, match the wheels.
2. Bibs always. Shorts never.
3. Keep your junk in your pockets. Nothing looks more disheveled than a tube hanging out the back.
4. Glasses over helmet straps.
5. Six-inch socks, the way the pros do.
6. If you’re wearing arm protection, mind the gap — don’t let the bicep show between jersey sleeve and arm protection.
7. Hats are cool and all, but keep the brim down, unless you’re in Italy.
8. If you’re not a pro, don’t wear a pro team’s jersey.
9. Boldness equates to speed. The faster you go, the more flare you’re granted.
Endorsed by New Englander, maple syrup lover and professional cyclist Ted King, Velocio is very firmly planted in the top three cycling clothing brands in existence. The attention to detail, colors and material choice all make for lust-worthy kits that are instantly recognizable on the road. We’ve included the Signature Bibs here to complete the Signature kit, but the Luxe bibs are perhaps the best we’ve ever tested.
Podia is a relatively unknown brand in the cycling world, but its poppy designs and bright colors make them stand out from the crowd. The Club Colors jersey features body-mapped ventilation panels that give you plenty of breathing room where you need it most. If you get satisfaction when people respond “Who?” after you tell them who makes your kit, then Podia is for you.
Colorado’s Pactimo is one of our favorite cycling clothing brands. They make ultra-comfy bibs, jerseys that feel like a second skin and some of the best cold-weather cycling apparel out there. The brand’s summer kit is no different. Enough style to keep things interesting, without looking like a bowl of Froot Loops.
Zonyk Aero Pro by Adidas Eyewear Learn More: Here
Summit Aero Trace Jersey by Pactimo $130
Summit Stratos Bib by Pactimo $225
Sleeveless Base Layer by Pactimo $40
Converge Cycling Cap by Pactimo $25
Trace Socks by Pactimo $12
Synthe MIPS by Giro $270
R1B Uomo Shoes by Fizik $400
Café du Cycliste
In a world of neons, gradients and oversized logos, this kit is a breath of fresh air. Clean lines and sharp details help keep a low profile, while Café du Cycliste’s modern dot pattern adds the perfect amount of swag. The bib and jersey are extremely breathable and quick-wicking, making this setup one to keep in position #1 of your summer-riding rotation. – Andrew Haynes, Art Director
Pin-Dot Print Twill Cycling Cap by Café du Cycliste $30
Fleurette Stretch-Shell Cycling Jersey by Café du Cycliste $140
Blandine Mesh-Panelled Cycling Bib Shorts by Café du Cycliste $220
Merino Cycling Socks by Café du Cycliste $24
There’s no such things as “too loud” a kit if you have the legs to back it up. Australian brand The Pedla brings some non-camo camouflage to the tarmac to make sure the peloton can see you even long after you’ve left on the break. – Jeremy Berger, Senior Editor
Rapha is always consistent when it comes to performance and style. Whether it’s a pair of city trousers or deep-winter bibs, you can trust that they will perform and make no sacrifice on style. The lightweight jersey and bibs here will keep you cool and comfortable during a hot summer day while still keeping style a high priority — making you the flyest dude in the weekend-warrior peloton. – Sung Han, Motion Photographer
I’m not a hardcore cyclist. I’m just a guy who, given the time and the motivation, will get out and ride when the weather allows. Simple, comfortable and lightweight gear at the right price is therefore all I look for in my kit, and Castelli provides (though you have to put up with the brand’s fakakta sizing). And while some cycling gear trends towards muted colors, I’m a firm believer that bright red is appropriate if you want to maintain an iota of visibility in NYC traffic. – Andrew Connor, Associate Staff Writer
Riding in Ornot’s cold-weather kit in Vermont this spring, I was impressed by the quality and comfort it provided. I figured their summer-weight kit would have the same chops. The jersey, bib short and cap are each handcrafted in southern California, and the socks are produced in North Carolina. The aesthetics on the Blue Line jersey and Bib Shorts 3.0 are also perfect for standing out from the Rapha-heavy NYC cycling crowd while still being understated and stylish. – AJ Powell, Editorial Apprentice
Produced by Castelli but designed with huge input from former pro David Millar and Saville Row tailor Timothy Everest, CHPT.///’s kit features tons of little tweaks to the traditional pro cycling kit that were doubtless dreamed up over thousands of hours in the saddle. Overall, the quality is much higher than what you’ll find on similar Castelli gear (and the price reflects it), with just as much attention paid to how it looks as to how it rides. – Henry Phillips, Manager of Photography
To do the polka-dot dance just right, there needs to be a nod to the white-and-red best climber jersey, while still maintaining an “I don’t actually think I’m Nairo Quintana” demureness. Velocio does it proper. Pair the top with Velocio’s signature bib short — which, with a cross-strap design on the back, ensures the chamois sits just right — and I’m ready to randonneur up and down Alpe d’Huez all day long. – Matthew Ankeny, Senior Editor
Search and State
I’m a commuter more than a cyclist. I don’t wake up early to do laps in Central Park. Occasionally, on the weekends, I’ll put in a few hours — but I don’t want to look like that guy who dropped $10,000 on a Cervélo just because. The jersey and bibs from Search and State are comfortable, breathable, low profile. But more importantly, I feel like myself in them. The Wonderful Socks are just for show. – Jack Seemer, Associate Staff Writer
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