When in search of fresh, new, original cycling kit, I’ve taken to playing around on Instagram. Once you disappear down the rabbit hole you realise there’s a whole world of small, creative brands out there, producing lots of great stuff.
I’ve got nothing whatsoever against Rapha, Castelli, and the rest, but there are alternatives.
You don’t even need to look that far.
Two Circles Cycling is one such brand; they’re based in Canada, they have a small and distinctive range of kit, and they’re approachable and friendly.
As founder Joseph explained to me, the company started as something of a hobby:
“Just as I was getting more into the road scene an ACL injury put me on the couch and in rehab for a few months. I had always been interested in designing some jerseys for fun and this downtime gave me the opportunity to do a few samples. I was getting great feedback from the samples and decided to pursue it more seriously.”
If you like to stand out from the crowd then something like the ‘Pendio’ jersey – with it’s rather cool ‘slope’ design, racy (but realistic) fit, and obvious quality of construction and material – would get the job done.
As Joseph explains it, he originally set out to create “clean and simple graphic designs that wouldn’t come off as being too trendy and that would still have a look you’d appreciate ten, twenty years from now.”
Which I like.
In five years time Rapha’s 2017 collection will carbon date itself as Rapha’s 2017 collection – again, nothing at all against Rapha – but that’s the nature of the beast.
The ‘Pendio’, along with other pieces from Two Circles’ men’s range (the ‘Focus’ and the ‘Drop’ in particular), manage to create a really original look with a simple, creative use of black and white.
The fit, as mentioned earlier, is realistic.
It’s tight, and figure hugging, without heading into that realm of the racy that requires single digit body fat percentages to carry it off. It’s also – with the slimming effect of black/dark grey, combined with the shoulder widening white – kind of flattering too.
There is also a fantastic level of design detail going on here.
The main front body is a standard ‘lycra’ material. The back features a very fine mesh and a nicely dropped hem, while then underarms are a wider, more ventilating mesh, to encourage helpful air flow.
The full-length zip is neatly concealed, the standard three rear pockets are deep and substantial, and include a reflective strip just beneath to aid visibility.
Size wise, I’m a 40 inch chest, and stand at almost 6 feet, and the Large is a perfect fit.
All told, as a smart, performance friendly, head-turning summer jersey, Two Circles Cycling have nailed it with the ‘Pendio’.
I’ve worn it a good seven or eight times on test – on hot days, wet days, and for long rides and short – washing it every time. So far I’ve found it to be robust, holding it’s shape perfectly well, and maintaining that crisp whiteness to the shoulder section that makes the design work.
I suppose this is the question with smaller brands, compared to their big budget mainstream rivals – can you rely on the quality and durability over time?
So far, with the ‘Pendio’ from Two Circles Cycling, so good.
Obviously, the jersey I reviewed was from the men’s range – Two Circles have a women’s range too – click here.