The Art Of Endurance.
I feel like I’ve heard it before. Is it a famous brand name? Or a shop name? Or the title of a favourite book?
It’s a fresh young brand of Aussie cycling kit, and it sounds kind of timeless. As a cycling brand name it’s a good one. I like it.
Pretty cool logo, too.
New kids on the block
The first Art Of Endurance collection was released in 2016, after 12 months of prototyping, so they really are new kids on the block.
They’re based in Queensland, Australia, which is, in their words: “a mecca for endurance athletes because of the excellent climate and incredible variety of roads and trails.”
So that’s the “Endurance” bit.
What about the art?
“One of the original plans for The Art Of Endurance was to undergo limited release kits in the form of artist collaborations, as the name hints towards – so stay tuned for future collaborations and releases.”
As someone who loves kit which attempts to go beyond the generic, I certainly will be staying tuned.
You had me at “artist collaborations”, as the saying (kind of) goes.
Bold and unique
With their current range – the “Tesselate” was the style I tested – the chaps at AOE told me about their deliberate attempt to create something bold and unique, as a counterpoint to the minimalist black kits out there in the market.
Nothing wrong with minimalist, but they need to make their own statement, is the gist of it.
And on that score, they succeed.
When initially pulling on this kit and heading out on the road I was quite surprised by just how “bold” I suddenly felt. It isn’t garish, or wild, or over the top in design, but I very much felt like I was out there and ‘peacocking’.
Very much because a lot of other kit is minimalist and simple, and so this is the contrast.
Stars of the show
For me, the Tesselate Jersey and matching arm-warmers were very much the stars of the show.
Up close the triangular design is really very smart; there’s just a hint of blue in there (a kind of light celeste…for the Bianchi fans), mixed with greys and a touch of white – it’s subtle and stylish, and more so in person than on the website.
The jersey features mesh side panels, reflective piping, zip-up valuables pocket, nicely housed full-length zip, razor-sharp sleeves; all told, it’s a very decent head-turner of a summer jersey.
The arm-warmers are the proper job, too – this is no afterthought to complete the kit. They are substantial and windproof, fit snugly, with good length, and set the jersey off to a tee when conditions demand it.
The bib shorts, performance wise, I would rate as a solid mid-price piece of kit.
Because you buy the whole kit as one, there is no price tag on the shorts alone – and price is normally my starting point when judging a pair of bibs.
Only when you know what bracket they’re in can you assess how good they are – because, lets be honest, you can really pay for bib-shorts should you so desire.
I found these to be comfortable in the upper body and down the legs, with nice wide grippers around the thigh, and with that rather stylish branding across the rear end.
The pad I found to be fairly basic; perfectly decent for a three hour ride, but probably not my first choice for six or seven. That said, there was no chafing or rubbing, and I have no qualms about trusting it to look after me on the shorter rides.
All told, a decent no-frills pair of bibs.
And you get a cap. Or casquette, I should say. Same Tessellate design…peak at the front…you know the deal.
If you like caps, you’ll like this one.
Size-wise the website advises sizing up, due to the European sizing, and even two sizes for a more relaxed fit. I took that advice. I am usually a large (around 1m 82cm tall, and 78kg in weight), and so (to my mild dismay), opted for XL.
The bib shorts and arm-warmers I found to be the perfect fit.
With the jersey, given the choice again I would take the Large. The XL is fine, and certainly isn’t flapping-in-the-wind relaxed, but the size below I think would be just the right amount of skin-tight.
Money well spent
All in all, at $300 AUD (around £180) for the lot, Art Of Endurance are giving you your money’s worth.
Lets say it’s £20 for the arm warmers, and £10 for the cap, leaving £150 for the jersey and bibs (…my rough calculations) – for a full kit there’s value in that.
If you also, like me, love cycling kit that’s non-generic and individual, made by people who are ploughing their own furrow in a world of Raphas and Castellis, this stuff is well worth a look.