Cycling gear is often expensive and tough to use when you’re not on your saddle. Riding demands flexibility and fit that not all standard outdoor gear can meet, and that often supersedes any concern of looking stylish. Whether you’re riding to work, gravel grinding, or even mountain biking, you need layers that keep you warm, dry, and comfortable, but do you need your gear to scream “I’m a cyclist” when you’re off the bike?
With the rise of athleisure and outdoor apparel making its way into work and style circles, there is growing room for your cycling pieces to work off your bike, and cycling style is starting to reflect that. We spoke with Julie Krasniak, Specialized Equipment Marketing Manager to see how cycling gear is changing, expanding its versatility, and giving you more bang for your buck.
Just as puffy jackets have found their way off the mountain and into urban centers, Specialized wants you to be able to use your cycling gear even when the bike is hanging up in the garage, “We are going making sure if you’re spending your money, that we try to offer as much versatility as we can. We want you to get more than one single use out of it,” says Krasniak. This should give relief to the consumer thinking, “I’m going to buy this for the bike, it’s an expensive piece, I want to wear it all the time,”
For Specialized, that starts with making apparel that actually works on your bike, without compromise, “Other companies’ gear is not cut for bikes, they aren’t good options,” says Krasniak. While more traditional outdoor gear may prioritize staying warm and dry, the body and seams are designed for standing and walking, not stretching out over the handlebars. Often venting on these pieces, especially the waterproof ones, don’t work comfortably while wind hits you directly in the chest. Specialized creates jackets that fit in a riding position, incorporate stretch materials and appropriate venting, and stay light and packable for changing conditions.
But, they do this while keeping the aesthetics subdued, “It’s going to be a more neutral design with super subtle logo placement so you can wear it around the clock,” says Krazniak. “You’re not going to look like a nerd. ‘Oh thats a bike guy.’ You’re not going to be that person. You can walk into a bar, or grocery store, you don’t have an odd piece on when you go back to a more casual setting.” Which means you can wear them in more casual settings, getting far more use out of those expensive pieces.
This also means that as a bike apparel consumer, you may want to start looking elsewhere in your local cycling store for commuting apparel. The durability, weatherproofing, and ability to adapt to changing conditions makes mountain biking gear perfect for your ride to work, regardless of weather, “That’s what people are looking for,” says Kransniak. And the subdued designs make that even better.
So, if you are stressed about the price of your cycling gear, but want to stay comfortable on the bike, regardless of the conditions, look for pieces that can serve you off the bike, and still look sharp. There is no reason your favorite cycling jacket can’t be your favorite jacket.