NEW PEZ KIT By CASTELLI Is Here!
The all new PezCycling Kit for 2015 by Castelli is in stock and ready to ship right now – in all its stripey, Pez blue and fluo green coolness. The look is classic 1980’s but the technology and fit are thoroughly modern, delivered by Castelli’s Training Fit jersey and Team Bibshort. See it in the PEZShop right now.
The delivery truck scored a bullseye on PEZ HQ with two fat boxes of our latest kits. Like every kit I’ve done, this version harkens to a time when I was a young cycling fan, and entertained dreams of one day riding the same roads and epic climbs that I’d see on the Wide World of Sports weekend broadcast of the the Tour de France, or coverage of races called “Classics” in Winning magazine.
One of my favorite looks was Spain’s Team Kelme – one of the longest running sponsors in pro cycling, and always admired their signature blue & green stripes on white, so I decided 2015 was the year to adopt a version for PEZ.
Once again I’m very pleased to have Castelli USA as our clothing sponsor, and here’s a look at their custom ordering process, and the Training Fit jersey and Team bibshort. These models are available only through their custom order program, and have been one of their most popular custom kits ever. Of course they use all of Castelli’s knowledge for design, fit, materials and construction.
I ordered a few extras in hopes that some PEZ-Fans would like the new look, and want to wear it too. The jerseys and bibs are now in stock and ready to ship in the PEZShop – so take a look and get yourself one of the few kits available.
While I normally get into designing next year’s kit in October, to allow plenty of time for delivery by Spring, I came to Castelli late in December – then took even longer to get my design sorted out. But while other brands can take 12 weeks or more to turn around custom kit orders, Castelli USA had mine ready to ship in only 5 weeks (plus a day) after I’d signed off on final artwork. That’s fast.
A big part of the reason is their manufacturing facility is based in Washington state – yep – right at home in the good ol’ US of A. While the company originates from Italy, and of course has manufacturing there and in other parts of the world, the North American custom orders are made primarily at home by Castelli USA (who are based in Portland – fyi.)
Cycling kit production has evolved immensely in the past few years, and the options to kit yourself and team out in your own design have made going custom a no brainer. And while most brands reserve their most innovative and latest design and technical ideas for their inline collections and pro teams, Castelli make much of this same technology available to their custom ordering customers. Sure the pros get access to some leading edge gear (and Castelli is very involved with their pro teams like MTN-Qhubeka in the design and testing of new kit), but it’s a clear advantage to consumers that Castelli offers many of these developments in their custom lines.
Getting back to my 80’s inspired design, Team Kelme served the perfect platform for a look I just have not seen since… well, the eighties. Working with Castelli’s designers, I was able to evolve my idea into a look that’s both different, and comfortingly familiar.
The process is really easy, and if you’ve never done custom kit before, there’s never been a better time to get started. Their website has a whole section devoted to it here. It shows you which products from ther seriously huge catalog are available for custom design, how to order, and what templates you’ll need to get your own designs out of your head and onto the reality of a jersey and bibshorts. Each custom order is assigned a go-to man on the inside who helps coordinate the order, answer any questions you might have (I had lots), and shepherd the order through production.
Of the four custom short sleeve jersey designs offered by Castelli, I chose the TRAINING FIT JERSEY, which comes with set-in sleeves (not the raglan cut that’s been so prevalent in the last decade) that worked best with our 80’s retro design. It’s a slightly roomier cut than Castelli’s other jersey designs, but I’ve found it fits pretty much like I expected. I weigh 135lbs and could go with size medium, but prefer the snugger fit of a small.
It’s made from their ProCool fabric, which is a robust poly-blend knit that adds some durability to what remains a lightweight overall garment – my size small weighed just 163 grams. There’s a two way stretch knitted into the fabric that allows both structure and movement where needed. The knit is also designed to move as much moisture as possible, and as we’re into our second straight month of summer sunshine here at PEZ HQ with temps in the high 20’s Celsius (around 80F degrees), I’ll attest that this jersey does a perfectly fine job of regulating my body heat.
The zipper is lockable, full length, and hidden – so it won’t flap when you’re riding, allows for as much front ventilation as you could want on hot days, and disappears beneath whatever cool design you come up with.
It’s not a full-on ‘race cut’ like some of their other designs, and while ‘race-cut’ doesn’t make sense for a lot of riders either, the technology and proper design surely will. I really like that all of Castelli’s gear is made to be worn in the riding position. So while jerseys or bibs may look stretched when you’re standing or walking around, they’re designed, cut and sewn together to fit smoothly when you’re bent over pedaling your bike.
The sleeves are a uniform fit that hold themselves in place. The lack of a gripper should not be missed, since the uniform cut allows themselves to flow smoothly around your arms without getting caught up or bunched.
Around the waist is where you will find a silicone gripper to prevent any sliding upwards (it works great for me.)
Better quality bibshorts are always worth the money, since no ride is any fun if you’re boys aren’t happy, so the right fit and a good chamois are essential. I chose the TEAM BIBSHORT with their KISS3 Chamois (again, one of four different bishort designs offered for custom orders by Castelli) – I liked how the design of the bibshort worked really well with the artwork we’d created to match the jersey. There’s plenty of all-black lycra through the center for the correct amount of coverage and – shall we say… ‘modesty’. The side panels offered a more traditional look that also worked best with the color-blocking and logo presentation.
The foam padding of the KISS3 chamois is, like all Castelli chamois foam, cut from one piece. And while other brands will take one or more pieces of foam and compress it in various places to achieve ‘density’, Castelli actually cuts away sections of the foam to achive ideal thicknesses for certain parts of the chamois. This makes the pad a little bit lighter, and eliminates any chance of bonded foams coming apart.
The foam itself is covered with a seamless piece of brushed microfiber that’s smooth and comfy against the skin (and has stayed that way during my hotter summer rides), and the whole thing is curved and shaped to fit the anatomy. Of worthy note is that Castelli’s women’s garments feature the same technology, but are shaped specifically for the ladies.
The shoulder straps and high T-cut back are a highly breathable mesh that keeps everything tensioned correctly and doesn’t slide around under the jersey.
The leg grippers are a higher content of lycra knitted in vertical ribbing that works very well to hold the legs in place without the need for silicon grippers or sewn in elastic, which often create hot spots or can be just uncomfortable. This makes for a slightly lower profile fit – which should satisfy even the most aero-concerned among you. The edges are actually milled – which means they won’t fray or come apart like sewn or bonded edges – and they feel softer to the skin.
Castelli’s fit and performance have for several years now been among the top tier, and their custom gear is no different. There are certainly places to get custom kit that are less expensive, but if quality, durability, design and construction are important to you or your team, not to mention being associated with a top brand like Castelli, then you’ll want to make sure you compare everything (including price) when choosing a brand for your next custom order.
• Get more info on Castelli’s Custom Order program here.
• If you’d like to own a set of the new PEZ ‘Viva Kelme’ Kit for yourself, I have a few of each size in stock at the PEZShop right now.
The new designs have landed and are in stock now but quantities are limited so get yours now and get ready to be admnired.
See the details and BUY YOUR KIT NOW in the PEZShop.
– and thanks for the support!