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Sunday, December 30, 2007

HOT or NOT: team kit year in review

As 2007 will quickly be closing, it is a perfect time to do the 2007 team kit year in review: HOT or NOT.

Cycling clothing is inherently awkward: shorts with built in suspenders, pockets in the back of shirts that get stuffed and bulge out all weird, and zippers down the front on a shirt that has a stand-up collar. Team kit designers are not only challenged by the aforementioned design and material of cycling clothes, but then they must somehow put together a bunch of disperring corporate logos and slap them on strange places like shoulders, hip bones, tail bones, etc. These logos often have different colors, styles, and font types. Thus, putting these all together in an entire assembly that matches and looks pleasant is difficult to boot. On top of the difficult of sponsorship placement & matching, kit designers must make these all fit into a nice color scheme and design. On top of that, cyclists have differing body types, and making a kit that is flattering on both the climber and sprinter is another challenge.

While these are all challenges kit designers face, some do a much better job than others. Some kits are outright hideous, others tolerable, and the rare few- hot.

I decided to do a 2007 year in review of some local team kits, going on an up or down basis, HOT or NOT. Now, who am I to be saying whether things are hot or not? Well, I am the mystery blogger for December 30th. That means I can call your team "not hot" if I want. However, I will not claim to be the fashion guru, as in my everyday life I have terrible fashion sense. Some may disagree with me. Normally, I would say: "too bad. I am the mystery blogger on december 30th," but i like consensus all that hippy shity, so I have created a survey that you can fill out as you read this post. Open another window, vote, and I will post the results later in the day. [addendum: i tried to make a survey monkey survey, but it would only let me do 10 questions for free without upgrading, so no survey for you. please put your opinions in the comment section. sorry]

As I was doing some very techinical research on google, trying to determine whether kits were hot or not, I had so few "hots" that I had to lower my standards. [Lowering standards seems to be the theme of 2007.] I revised my critia, so that a large number of people wouldn't get bad self-esteem from this post.

What did I base things on? Well, I would like to say that I had some measuring stick, but I just kinda went with my gut. I looked for a few things: good complementary colors, appropriate font, how logos were placed, how things "tied in", and how different kits looked in action. This last piece was interesting, because some kits did not look good great while people were standing, but they looked good on the bike. Moreover, I held a different standard for different teams. For instance, I held some higher-level teams that have more money (and perhaps paid a designer) to a higher standard to some local clubs that may not even have sponsorships on their jersey.

AMD Masters
The old farts know how to do it. AMD kits tie in very nicely; the royal blue and black look nice together and the sponsorship placement is not overbearing. Years and years on the bike not only make cut calves as can be seen on the left, but also result in a keen sense of bike kit fashion.

While these kits could be a bit too patriotic for my taste, something about them works. They don't look that great when people are standing around, but in action, the dark blue and dark red create a commanding presence. Classy. The shorts are especially nice.

BPG/RH Villa

Green and red? At first, I'd say blech as it seems like a bad Christmas card, but these jersey just look good. Really good. Maybe it is just this ultra-sexy picture and non-masters men's hot legs. But I think it is really the hats. Those hats are really hot. Actually, maybe it is just all the glamor shot pictures on this website that make these kits looks so good, but no, i actually think these are pretty hot kits.

Cal Giant

Blech. Strawberries, I'm sorry, but these are hiddeous. That strawberry on the front looks dumb. The color looks terrible, it is just unattractive in general. A shame, because I think sponsoring a strawberry company, you could have made something really hot kits that was all red. These just look pretty cheesy.

This color scheme just sucks. There is way too much going on in this kit. Moreover, the font type stinks and I do not like where the sponsor's name is placed.

CRC Hill
I realize that when you are sponsoring some real estate company that sells multi-million dollar estates, you are trying to look classy, but in your attempt to look so classy, you just look like one big sissy. Dude, you are wearing spandex, this is not high society. A thin and dainty font like Garamond or whatever it is makes the riders look feeble and weak. The font needs to be beefed up and some more creative use of colors is needed.

Davis Bike Club
Please. This is just color overkill. That much of any color on a jersey would look stupid. Try some stripes or panels or something. Ugh.

Dolce Vita

When I first saw this jersey, I thought "cursive font?" that is dumb. But, I think these kits are quite attractive. The navy, orange, and white are quite complementary. I think the kit designer did a fine job of placing lots of sponosrs and still tying in a theme. Well done. Plus, this is a cute picture.

Eagle Racing

Lots of things can go on cycling jersies. Words, logos. Big pictures of eagles (or anything else for that matter) do not look good on a team kit. I will stick to my conviction that pictures are for commemorative jersies given out for completing a century, tour, or other such event...not for a team kit.


This is terrible. That speckled grey looks really stupid. Who thought the fade out was a good idea? And then that red? This has got to be one of the worst looking jersies in the NorCal peleton. I hear this team is changing sponosrs or something, so hopefully they will put some more care into designing this kit better.

Fremont Freewheelers


This blue isn't royal blue it is aqua. And that is gross! Black and aqua paneling. This is not an acquarium. Plus, it appears the shorts are a different shade of blue. That is not good. I do not like these colors at all, and do not feel any design will improve such a terrible aqua.

This jersey isn't as terrible as some others (see above), but what pushed it to the not was thechecker board down the front. What's up with that? That is dumb. I know that cyclists race in circles a lot, but this is not the indy 500.

Left Coast

Sorry left coast; this jersey had potential being that it was green and could have done something interesting, as there aren't many green teams. But it just ruined it with that neon green trim. Eww! What were they thinking? Moreover, this jersey automatically got a not hot for the picture on the landscape and biker. This looks like a jersey you get for completing a century, not a team kit. I do not like pictures on team kits.

Los Gatos


I like red. I like yellow. But this red/yellow combo just doesn't do it. I think the overall design and triangle looks good; it is just the color scheme that is whack. They do a great job of putting lots of sponsors on the jersey in a logical fashion—I think if the color scheme was changed, this jersey might bump into the hot category.


I'm sorry, but I couldn't put polka dots in the "hot" category. Team kit designers can only design good looking team kits so long as the corporate sponsorship has a nice logo. The thing is, metromint has very nice looking products, a stellar website, and a great font type. I think if the polka dots were smaller—very tiny dots – instead of these big ones, that could be better. In addition, I don't like how the bibs tie into the jerseys.

Morgan Stanley
Looking at this jersey standing still, I think it is pretty boring. But it looks good on the bike, and that is the most important. There is nothing outright bad about this jersey. It is simple, nice colors, nice paneling...and, good enough. Hot? Well, I said I was lowering my standards. The Morgan Stanley team kit is like the "40 yr old marriage pact" you make with your best friend.

NorCal Velo
These look good. The colors go nicely together and the font is nice. I also think the jersey design is pretty solid. Nice short paneling also.



There is nothing outright that I can think of why I don't like this jersey; I just don't. Something about it rubs me the wrong way…but nothing I can pinpoint. Perhaps it is the arcs on the jersey. The thing is, it isn't nearly in the same category as EMC/Vellum-- it is quite borderline, but I am getting tired and so am being more picky. Whatever, the peninsula is full of graphic computer designers; they should have something off the hook.


This has got to be one of the best looking jersies. The baby blue looks great and the red just pops out so nicely in that cool font. I think the kit designer did a good job of placing everything and tying it together. Plus, these ladies just look like tough shit in this jersey when they are moving, and as gorgeous as anything on the podium. This jersey looks good both standing still and moving fast.


Yuck. Yeah, you'd think less is more with all this black, but this is just boring and there is nothing going on here. Some side panels are needed. Also, that big sun looks stupid. This logo should be tiny.

Roaring Mouse

Not only is this yellow the most hideous shade of yellow, but it looks dorky with that font. I'd suggest changing the yellow to less orange and change the off-color to grey, and then make a better font.

Rock Lobster

These are gross. Why would anyone think seafoam green was a good color? No. Pastels make people look weak. On principal I have to say this is an ugly kit.

San Jose Bike Club
Props to SJBC. There is nothing special about these jersies, but I think they are pretty good club jersies, with nice side paneling. Nothing fancy; basic, simple, and good.

Safeway HOT.
These look good—the bright white letters on black really bring things out. It was also a way to tie together logos that otherwise wouldn't have matched.


I don't know why, but I just don't like it. There are too many colors. The yellow and blue look silly together and there is too much white.

Squadra HOT.
This is one I would say I shouldn't like because of the yellow strip, but these actually look really good in action. I think the paneling and use of black accents is done extraordinarily well.

Team Oakland

These look good. I like the coloring, minus that blue font in the middle with kaiser permemente. Something needs to be done about this. But, the orange and white works well, and the paneling design is aces.


This are very, very attractive jersies. The lettering looks good and the light color is very hot on these ladies.


There isn't anything going on. It is so plain. The royal blue just sits there, blah. It just needs some sort of excitement, some sort of design, some panels, something.

Value Act

These are great looking jersies. At first you might think red, white, & blue? But it doesn't matter- these are wonderfully designed and makes me think these ladies are even hotter! This is a perfect jersey to contrast with touchstones: same colors, but look at the superior use of accents and paneling, espectially on key areas like the their and biceps.

I'm sorry, but a huge kitty on the front doesn't make me think I'll kick ass, regardless of the logo say. Or that pink plaid version kit, that is even worse. I think that looks silly. Why didn't you just make these jersies in baby tee's? I am traditionalist and I do not like big logos on the chest.

Velo Bella
I just don't like pictures. Like above, a picture of girl riding a bike, much like a cat, doesn't seems to make for a hardcore jersey. I much prefer use of font and paneling for accents, not pictures.

Velo Girls
No picture, but the hot pink is just so obtrusive it makes me think this is a junior high team.

The font is just too much. I think that there needs to be more work on the paneling; it is too plain. This jersey attempted to do well, but I think it just came up short. More needs to be going on, especially on the front.


These are great looking jersies….but only on the women's team. I don't know why, but I think they look silly on men, but great on women. Perhaps the green is a smigen darker on the men's kits? Perhaps the big WEBCOR across the chest only looks good on breasts? I dunno, but this hot is only for YYs.

Disclaimer: I had glasses and braces until 8th grade; wore tapered leg jeans (before skinny jeans were cool) until 11th grade, was in the marching band, and owned enough Christmas sweatshirts made out of puffy paint that i could wear a different one to school for two weeks before Christmas.


Anonymous said...

I like how the LG jersey accentuates the spare tire effect on guys doing the noon ride. Something about the color shapes makes even a fit rider look pudgy.

Visually, the berry team is great, posterized strawberries. But a Banana-Kiwi design would be even more interesting.

Joni Taylor said...

The Strawberry kits even look "NOT" hot on my HOT husband. Ha!!! And the Webcor women might be HOT but their kits are NOT. This was great though!

Anonymous said...

what, No Lombardi Sports? best looking kit for years! and maybe the longest running team in N Cal.

Karl Rover said...

Bold post mystery blogger! Particularly since you took on the sacred cow of Velo Bella. Good call on Dolce Vita. The orange, white, and navy blue colors look great on them, as well as on Rabobank and the Detroit Tigers.

Brian Peterson said...

No difference in the green for the AV/Webcor women and men. The Pro Women's team design is slightly different from the club design, although I think they both use the same green.

Anonymous said...

What? No grade for Shaw's Garden City Cyclists?


Anonymous said...

People who played in a marching band are automatically disqualified from making HOT or NOT statements about anyone's jersey.
Especially when they think that Gawd Damn ugly ass green that Alto Velo has been in since the day lycra was invented looks Hot.

Anonymous said...

Let's be honest: Every single one of those kits is hideous.

eye salve

There are some unugly contemporary kits (TMobile RIP, Gerolsteiner, Rabobank) but they are few and far between.

Anonymous said...

Alto Velo has used a number of greens over the years. We went from a day glow green to no green at all the years we had blue and yellow. The next series of kits were a royal blue and primary green. That we had for 4 years. The green used in this series is a custom color used for both the pro and club clothing. The problem I see with this sort of survey is that people are not always objective. I they like the team, they like the clothes and visa versa.
I like the Easton kit. Colors a great, really stand out on the road. Also Pen Velo with their retro look is very attractive.

Anonymous said...

Jersey design is not objective. Everyone has an opinion on the topic, very few people agree on everything. Being a jersey designer (Webcor) I understand the process. One of the hardest things from my perspective is the take the design from 2 to 3-D. Clothes never look the same on the computer compared to when someone is wearing them. We have key objectives: Sponsors must be visible from the bike and standing; make the jersey slimming, always going for that "V" look, wide shoulders and narrow waste. (Not everyone has that shape, so things do get a little complicated.)
It does not matter what the final product is, some people like it, some don't. Too much yellow, not enough yellow, don't like the yellow (or the green). Too much white space, not enough white. The design is always evolving, every year it is different. When we finally get it to work, the next year, the entire design changes. Go figure.

Unknown said...

[cough cough]floral sheila moonSUITS![cough]

Anonymous said...

Thats not the current fremont stuff.

Good or Bad, Shaws is timeless, like the swiss guard uniforms.

TreBone said...

Yea, our pre 2007 kits SUCKED!! But our 07/08 kits scream HOT like McLovin!!!

Anonymous said...

BBC "HOT"... What acid laced stamps you been licking?

Anonymous said...

Yea, what about Lombardi's? I thought it was very unique then any other cycling kit out there.

Lorri Lee Lown -- velogirl said...

the obvious love of all things orange might indicate that this mystery blogger is a quad-measurer, no? fess up, Beth!


Anonymous said...



no, not Beth. she'd be waaaay meaner in her jokes.

i think i remember who this mystery blogger is ... but, can't be sure since i purged about a thousand emails recently.

but ~ if it's the one i remember ... you'll prolly never guess in a gajillion years.

~ lauren said...

another automatic disqualification for doing hot or not, is owning sweatshirts with anything christmas or disney.

(but good thing i just switched from the velogirl kit to the team oakland kit.)

and BBC hot? come on.

chatterbox said...

In defense of the Velo Girls (OK, I'm not unbiased) and Velo Bella kits, they are not supposed to appeal to those with Y cromosone. They are women's teams. The kits are supposed to be the antithesis of boyish tastes in clothing. They are supposed to scream "I am hardcore, but I don't have to look like a man."

Oh, and I love SJBC, but you are smoking crack. Their new kit looks pretty modern, but the old one - snoozarama. Deep navy blue does not go with black. And, the jersey was practically illegible.

FFBC and Davis are HOT in my opinion. Visually exciting, bold, and easy to read. Easy to see in the peloton. What's not to like?

~ lauren said...

i forgot to add that this IS the best post ever.

Unknown said...


I think you should also take into account that a HOT jersey on a NOT rider can look pretty freaking bad (just think of all those euro-pro kits on fat old men)

You could also factor in how the kits look in the rain (anything white = not HOT)

AND you could factor in how unflattering certain kits are. No woman in a pair of white-paneled shorts will ever look good. Period.

Merkeley Bike said...

I can think of only one norcal bike blogger who regularly comments on cycling fashion...and if I'm right they're pictured in the post.

Anonymous said...

I agree

Cal Giant horrible

Rock Lobster ugly

Velo Bella down right ugly

VOS stupid

but I love my Webcor Kit so wake up please!

Anonymous said...


Lorri Lee Lown -- velogirl said...

MB, I can think of two: courtnay and martina. of the two, I'd guess Martina, but I bet it's not her either. I definitely think it's a dude. maybe it's you, Merkeley?

Anonymous said...

if velogirl is right -- well, looking at courtney's blog, she doesn't spell things wrong as much as martina does, and there are a lot of mistakes in this post. and she does let her personal dislikes of people color her world.

Merkeley Bike said...

Nope, not me. I wasn't given the keys to the Vanderblog. And while I agree with most of the ratings I would never talk trash about the dots ;).

Grey said...

Yeah, Andrew's right: You just can't even touch our moonsuits. Ha, effing, ha.

Some good points, nonetheless, were made. Sea foam green is a great concept, and the bikes look beautiful...but that color of lobster doesn't scare me. Don't matter how big his pincers are.

And clearly the Morgan Stanley was one of the beneficiaries of your lower standards if the 40 yr. old marriage pact counts as "hot." Sorry, but "adequate to fall back on" sounds more accurate. That said, seeing James Coats gritting his teeth at nationals in that jersey gives it automatic street cred.

The Webcor is also...adequate, but for long time club members perhaps it is worn with relief considering the day-glo of years past.

Anonymous said...

What about the CVC kits... lame! How do you make grown men look tough in baby blue? I hear they're switching to pink this next year to look even tougher.

Anonymous said...

I think the Third Pillar club kits look like a fire truck. Big and red, but not so hot.

Hooptie said...

DFL kits rule. I like Form Fitness too. The Lobster kits work if you have the matching bike...
Too bad I don't.

Hooptie said...

A good test is to go on a MTB ride w/ your non roadie MTB friends...then see how hot your kit feels.

You cant mess with the simplicity

Velo Bella said...

Haha..I remember having snippets of this conversation with a certain someone while races whirled around us. I remember the green comment and the LGBRC

and I thought it was the pink in our jersey you didn't like, not the picture?

Just a note on the Vanderkitten jersey. I'm not a fan of the pink plaid version either, but I do like the black one (of course, I am biased towards pictures of kitties on jersies) There is this picture of Liz winning some crit in the VK jersey and its pretty bad ass. (she was only a 3 and it was a 1-2 crit) Not just because she won, but because she's doing that snarling ferocious face that you have to make to win a pack sprint. Which is a good juxtaposition.

I like the FresnOakland do it yourself kits.

Anonymous said...

I am certainly pleased to see Team Oakland on the Hot list, but really, our new stuff for '08 is just drop dead sexy!!! I also like Freewheels kits, the dark green and classic design look great, and the collared wool jerseys Rick had his peeps wearing last year are pretty rad. Montano Velo Track team, with Brown on it makes for a sexy skinsuit.

Anonymous said...

Proman kit rocks.

Safeway kit is bad ass.

Eagle kit is a train wreck. Just plain ugly.

Mako - new colors and design are putrid. Don't go changing things. The old kit was MUCH better

Vello Bella is too busy and the black/pink color combo is awful. Pink in general is BAD unless you're t-mobile.

Third pillar kit is a red eye sore. The leg warmers are frightening.

TIBCO works without the baby blue leg warmers. Too much baby blue. Leg warmers should only be black.

Dolce Vitta is sweet except for the Swinging Bikes on the back. It makes every one's butts look big.

EMC kit is plain ugly. Awful colors. Grey is just blah.

Protech kit is a disaster. They look like gas attendants

Roaring Mouse kit is bad. Yellow is a terrible color for most people.

VAC kit makes good use of red, white and blue. Having light and dark blue works nicely.

Liz Hatch said...

Hey, going legit here (name and everything) and telling you to SUCK IT! I love my Vanderkitten kit. That is all.

Happy 2008!

Anonymous said...

Curious as to exactly, when you figure it out, why you don't like the Pen Velo kit. I helped design the original version of this several years ago and I do NOT like the revision they did after we switched kit vendors. It's definitely lacking in originality at this point.

Anonymous said...

Hey anony:
CB's name it's spelled "courtenay" yo. FYI grammar is optional on my blog, I've got way better stuff to than spell correctly and impress people with my ownership of a thesaurus.

Anonymous said...

Thank god whoever wrote this review is not in charge of buying women's cycling wear for large chains of stores... or are they? More solid-colors and gradient meshes, please!!

As Donald Trump once said, "You're Fired."

Anonymous said...

Maybe large chain stores should stop stereotyping women into only liking florally print designs & frilly shit. No wonder women athletes are often not taken seriously with designs that look like it something that is worn by grade school girls, not adults.

Anonymous said...

the Touchstone kit you reviewed was not 2007 so you might want to look at more current photos before pronouncing it "Not Hot".

California Giant Cycling said...

everyone hates a winner!! Good Stuff!

Anonymous said...

Nothing better than looking like a billboard in dated color schemes.

jAndy donka-donk said...

It doesn't matter if you win or lose...

...its how good you look when you do it...

sheeeeeeit, we are already riding bikes in tight spandex with helmets and our pockets packed and funny shoes with sock looking covers and weight training gloves all the while straining to be aero...

I dont think we need any extra help looking the fool on the road.

I have to say these last two years with the leaf on my kit I have not had one half empty gatoraid bottle chucked at me or a loooogy spat in my face. The two prior in webkore kits I ducking and dodging monthly....

I hope the black/orange/white has the same bottle effect, I know they didn't get rated here but shit you don't have to rate it, it was used for the definition of HOT.....

p.s. Hoopty looks hot in everything.....

phipps said...

If Morgan Stanley = Hot and
Spine = Not

What happens when you try to combine the 2 kits?

Vanderkitten ViP Team said...

I am flattered we were invited to the party of Local teams!! That is awesome, and although our kits weren't the favorites of this reviewer, it's great to see how they stand out in this selection of local teams.

Great effort in putting this together!!

See you on the podium(again)!


Vanderkitten ViP Team said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jack * Shea said...

l.sprts. .....

Anonymous said...

VK kits yuk
PROMAN very cool
VAC pretty good
Berries yum
Webcor blah

Anonymous said...

What about Black Market? I love their pirate look. But I'd hate to be sweating in all black in our Cali cross weather.

Anonymous said...

This one time, at band camp, I forgot my headgear... and decided to rate cycling kits.

Anonymous said...

This is the last time Olaf should let Stevie Wonder review bike kits. Oakland? Berkeley? You can't even read the sponsor unless you're five feet away and the rider isn't moving. Which means that, of course, if nobody can read who the hell the sponsor is, what is the good of it anyway? That also automatically disqualifies almost all of your "hot" picks. San Jose? Jeez, you must be about 75 years old, that kit looks like 20 years ago.

Anonymous said...

This ranks as one of the best blog posts out there!! Hooray!

Anonymous said...

Ms. Reviewer: It's obvious you and your girlfriends do not like Vanderkitten, but on a personal level... not a fashion level.

They had a one-rider road team in 2007, yet they are included in a "team" kit discussion with "teams" like VeloBella, Webcor, ValueAct, TIBCO, etc.

It's sad, because last I checked Vanderkitten:

-Gave over $10,000 in cash to Women's Cycling in 2007.
-Pledges 20% of their sales to women's cycling for 2008.
-Has sold hundreds of kits worldwide
-Started a Non-Profit to raise money for women's cycling
-Is working for Equal Compensation for Women Athletes (is YOUR team?)
-Is a company that was founded by a husband in the image and likeness of his kick-ass wife, and inspired by his mother's death-defying battle overcoming breast cancer and poverty... and this is just what I've read on the internet.

Holy shit, I think those kits are in fact THE BEST LOOKING KITS I'VE EVER SEEN! Thank god someone gives a shit about women's cycling!! Without that kitty, we'll all be racing for Luna-bar primes well into the next Millennium.

Anonymous said...

It is a review on what Mr. Mr. likes
in a team kit. NOT! what a team has given back. get a grip chick!

Anonymous said...

Anonymous posters are pussies

Vanderkitten ViP Team said...

Mom, I told you not to POST! (Someone is seriously messing with us now)

Yes, this is about JERSEYS and KITS, NOTHING MORE. Damn!!


Anonymous said...

What happened to the "Hot or Not" riders year in review. Some of us can't really help what our team kits look like. Let's review what's really important... Looks!

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