Review: 9 Custom Kits for Privateers, Race Teams & Cycling Clubs

There’s nothing that makes you feel like rolling up to the starting line of a race quite as much as a fresh delivery of custom threads. With hopes that racing and group rides would return again soon, Aidan Oliver and I took a look at ten custom kit programs. We […]

There’s nothing that makes you feel like rolling up to the starting line of a race quite as much as a fresh delivery of custom threads. With hopes that racing and group rides would return again soon, Aidan Oliver and I took a look at ten custom kit programs. We evaluated them based on ease of design process, flexibility, price, turnaround time, comfort, style and more, so whether you’re a bike shop with a ride club who needs to order hundreds of jerseys with your logo and signature design, a development team with budget in mind and dozens of sponsor logos to incorporate, or a privateer looking to make your mark on the world with a unique one-off kit, we’ve got options for you.


Sombrio

Sombrio Women’s Alder 3/4 Jersey

Styles available: Men’s, Women’s & Youth SS, 3/4 & LS, Low/Mid/High Socks
Option to work with a designer: Yes
Number of available edits to design: Live art session + two free sets of revisions
Turnaround time: ships 5 weeks from order sign off
Sizes: Men’s, Women’s & Youth XS-XXL
Ships worldwide: Yes
Minimum order: $100 minimum order. You can combine styles to reach price breaks.
Price: $84 each for 2, $67 6-12, $55 12-50, $49 50+
• sombriocartel.com/custom

bigquotes Sombrio offers two different versions of their custom kit program. You can use an existing Sombrio print or limited colour offerings and drop your logo on it using their Quick Design program or, for an additional $7 a jersey, you can work with a Sombrio graphic designer to come up with an entirely custom kit design from a blank jersey. It’s also a great program for one-off designs since you can order as little as two jerseys to meet their minimum order of $100.

Like all the brands I worked with, I sent Sombrio a Pinkbike logo, the Smoores logo that a friend created for me (thanks Brendan!) and a Pinkbike T-shirt design that I liked as a starting point. They came back to me with a first draft via email. A phone call and a couple of edits later, I received an email with a link to the final proof of the jersey. The process was easy and they said that the standard pricing includes a full custom design from their graphic designers and includes the initial proof, two free sets of revisions, and a live art session between yourself and our graphic designer.

There’s a good selection of apparel for men, women and youth available from Sombrio for you to customize. The material is a bit on the heavier side on the 3/4 Women’s Alder jersey that I chose and there’s only one fabric used throughout instead of a lighter material in high-sweat areas, but the fit is comfortable and flattering and the colours matched the sample shirt I sent very closely and are the most crisp of all the designs against the shiny black material. It’s worth noting that it’s the same jersey you would find in Sombrio retailers, so it should be easy to figure out what size you need if online sizing charts aren’t your thing.

Sarah Moore

Custom kits reviewed
Custom kits reviewed

A flattering fit on the 3/4 Women’s Alder jersey and a nice job with the fade by Sombrio.

Custom kits reviewed
Custom kits reviewed

Not the lightest weight fabric, but the feeling is nice against the skin.


Puls

PULS Falcon Kit

Styles available: Men’s/Unisex Only, SS, LL Short & Pants
Materials available: Regular & Mesh
Option to work with a designer: Large orders only
Number of available edits to design: Unlimited
Turnaround time: 7-21 business days
Sizes: Unisex XS-XL for jerseys & 26-38 for pants
Ships worldwide: Yes
Minimum order: None
Price: Jersey 59 EUR, Shorts 84 EUR, Pants 104 EUR, Full Kit with Shorts 129 EUR, Full Kit with Pants 149 EUR
• pulswear.com

bigquotes Puls have 24 different unisex templates to customise with everything from racer to aliens and tuxedos. The kits come pre-designed by Puls, but you can choose from 72 different colours, add your name on the back, a number and a national champ style flag sleeve. Puls also have BMX and Moto kits available if that’s your thing. As each item is made from scratch, you can even request extra customization like extra long lower leg panels if you have a bean pole fit.

Puls online design platform is very intuitive to use and allows you to make unlimited different versions of your kit and also download them as a PDF. If you want to add a logo to your kit, it will require a separate email and some basic Photoshop work, but the Puls team are on hand to make sure you don’t accidentally put your team logo on upside down. There are two different options for materials – Regular or Mesh.

After an accurate 7-21 business days turn around the Puls Falcon kit fitted true to size with the logos I chose clearly and professionally dyed into the fabric rather than printed on top. The fabric and finish of the kit was something I would expect from a high end clothing manufacturer. There were lots of well thought out stretch and mesh panels, as well as pockets big enough to fit a phone in and even had waterproof zips. The waist also has a solid waist ratchet adjuster, and a silicone band all the way around the inside which helps to keep them up and your jersey tucked in.

Aidan Oliver

Custom kits reviewed

There are 24 different unisex templates to choose from.

Custom kits reviewed

You can request extra customization like extra long lower leg panels if you have a bean pole fit.

Custom kits reviewed

Zippered pockets on the pants to keep your keys or credit card safe.

Custom kits reviewed

Well thought out stretch and mesh panels.


Dirty Rides

Custom Race Jersey & Downhill Pants

Styles available: MTB Jerseys, shorts & pants, team polos, custom hoodies, and T-shirts
Option to work with a designer: Yes
Number of available edits to design: No design fee + unlimited changes
Turnaround time: 3-4 weeks for production plus shipping
Sizes: Unisex Youth to 7XL
Ships worldwide: Yes
Minimum order: No minimum. £20 ($25) deposit to start
Price: £44.99 for Race Jersey / £94.99 for DH Pants
• dirtyridesmtbapparel.co.uk

bigquotes All of Dirty Rides’ apparel is manufactured in the UK which gives them full control over the manufacturing process and materials. They company prides themselves on being able to create single one-off jerseys for customers which is great if you’re just looking for a couple of sweet designs for yourself. That being said, there are volume discounts if you order more than just ten of one item.

All you have to do to get started is send Dirty Rides your ideas and a £20 ($25) deposit and they will create your kit. The designer will collect as much information as possible from you before sending through a couple of different options. While the average number of changes is 3-4, the designer I worked with told me they once made 72 changes for a customer. While I wasn’t a fan of the loud moto-inspired sample designs that the Dirty Rides designer came back to me with, I was able to explain what I wanted and ended up with exactly the design that I wanted.

As for the sizing, Dirty Rides sent me the female specific cut which has a waist that is tapered in slightly, but it definitely feels like more of a unisex design and there’s definitely a more boxy fit. Since the apparel isn’t readily available in Canada, there’s no way of trying it out before so you’re going to want to triple check your measurements at home. That being said, I did receive the right size. The jersey is comfortable and while the colours are slightly darker than the three other jerseys I had made, they are quite close to the sample T-shirt I sent. The pants fit me well despite being a unisex fit and while they were comfortable, they are made with a very thick material and have lots of padding in them so they are best suited to cooler temperatures.

Sarah Moore

Custom kits reviewed

Slightly less vibrant colouring on the fade.

Custom kits reviewed

I especially liked the soft cuffs on the sleeves

Custom kits reviewed

Ready for muddy park laps.

Custom kits reviewed

Custom kits reviewed

The velcro at the waist of the Dirty Rides DH pants.

Custom kits reviewed

Zippered pockets are key.


Únic

Signature D1 Kit

Styles available: Men’s & Women’s LS & SS Jersey, Pants & Shorts
Materials available: ÚniPro & Mesh
Option to work with a designer: No
Number of available edits to design: Unlimited
Turnaround time: 2 weeks
Sizes: Men’s & Women’s XS-XL
Ships worldwide: Yes
Minimum order: None
Price: Jersey 72.35 EUR, Shorts/Pants 88.62 EUR, Full Kit 160.98 EUR
• unicwear.com

bigquotes Únic offers 11 different men’s and women’s templates, all of which can be customised online with a pallet of 30 jersey colours. You can also add your name on the back, a country flag, sponsor logos and a personalised ‘designed by’ label on the collar. Únic divide their collections into 2 different categories, the Signature series I went with and a slightly less expensive Essentials series.

Únic’s online design platform is super easy to use and allows you to make unlimited different versions of your kit modelled by the man himself Cedric Gracia. Logo placements are pre-determined on the design platform so you can’t go full custom, but Únic have plenty of templates to choose from. There are a whopping 17 different places to put logos on the Signature D1 kit so best get sending on those resumes. There are two different options for materials ÚniPro or Mesh. I went with ÚniPro which features an integrated goggle/glass wipe, zip pass pocket, and a more slim fit. The Mesh material is designed for warmer climates, summer riding and maximum airflow.

After an accurate 2-week turn around the Únic Signature D1 kit fitted true to size with the logos I chose clearly printed with no smudges etc. The fabric was super stretchy and one of the most synthetic feeling I recieved, to the point of almost feeling a bit like neoprene. The stretch is great for riding and the kit is very comfortable, but not everyone will be a fan of the look and feel. The pants come with pockets big enough to fit a smart phone in and have a waist ratchet adjuster.

Aidan Oliver

Custom kits reviewed

The kit is delivered in a premium package.

Custom kits reviewed

There’s the option to add a flag to the back.

Custom kits reviewed

Pocket on the jersey.

Custom kits reviewed

Unic offers 11 different templates to choose from.


Champion System

Trail Jersey 3/4 Sleeve

Styles available: Cycling: Men’s & Women’s SS, 3/4, LS Jerseys, Jackets, Vests, Skinsuits, Gloves, Socks, Caps
Option to work with a designer: Yes
Number of available edits to design: Unlimited
Turnaround time: 3-5 weeks, 2 week express service available at 50% premium
Sizes: Men’s & Women’s XS-3XL + Children’s sizes
Ships worldwide: Yes
Minimum order: $250 artwork deposit
Price: 79 CAD $ (10+) 118.50 CAD (5-10) $158 (1)
• champ-sys.ca

bigquotes In addition to the extensive range of cycling apparel, Champion System also does triathlon, running, nordic, casual and paddling apparel. I worked with Champion System Canada which is one of 20+ independent global Champion System offices, so keep in mind that the experience could be slightly different in other countries. For the design, you can either work from a template or work with one of their designers. Once you’ve given your deposit, you log in to their comprehensive web portal to check proofs, make payments, and check the status of your order. I also worked with one of their reps who helped me seamlessly navigate the design process.

There’s no minimum order quantity, but there is a $250 CAD artwork deposit, so you’ll want to place an order for more than that amount. While you can order as little as one jersey, you’ll likely choose Champion System if you’re looking for a larger quantity than that. A one-off jersey would be $138 CAD while 10+ units makes the jersey a much more reasonable $69 CAD. If you’re in a rush and need a jersey in two weeks, you can pay a 50% premium for a rush delivery.

Champion System sent me several sample jerseys to try out before I committed, sizing wasn’t an issue. They also sent a return label and scheduled the pick up for the samples, so it wasn’t a hassle to have to ship them back and it was nice to have peace of mind that I had chosen the right size. Especially since the sizing is on the smaller side – this is the only brand that I went with an XL kit on. The jersey is super lightweight with mesh side and upper back panels for extra ventilation and the faded Pinkbike is vibrant on the black material and the lines are crisp.

Sarah Moore

Custom kits reviewed

In retrospect, I could have made the logos on the front and back of this jersey a bit smaller.

Custom kits reviewed

Mesh side panels for hot days.

Custom kits reviewed
Custom kits reviewed

The real reason I wanted to review custom kits was to get this logo on my back…


Northwest Tech
Northwest Tech Jersey

Styles available: Men’s & Women’s LS, 3/4 S & SS Jersey & Shorts
Materials available: 4 Way Stretch Fabric
Option to work with a designer: Yes
Number of available edits to design: Unlimited
Turnaround time: 3 weeks
Sizes: Men’s & Women’s XS-XXXL
Ships worldwide: Yes
Minimum order: None
Price: Jersey $69 USD / 66 EUR, Shorts $139 USD /117 EUR
• NWT3K.com

bigquotes Northwest Tech follow a similar design structure as Únic and Puls only with a slightly more subtle template structure with only one fabric choice. There is only one jersey and shorts template to choose from which allow you to adjust the colours of the sleeves, chest and lower two thirds of the jersey. You can also add your own logos to the design which replace the Northwest Tech logo. Northwest Tech also do custom snow gear if that’s more your thing.

The design template was very easy to use and although there were only 10 colours to choose from, the selection will suit most and they included a camo and floral design. There is an option for short sleeve, long sleeve or 3/4 length sleeve for the jerseys and an optional stash pocket which is a nice touch. For the shorts, customisation is a bit more limited as only one colour can be chosen for the whole short apart from a small panel on the rear where the pocket sits. A nice touch on the sizing was long or short inseam options by + or – 2 inches with the shorts if you are on the lanky or short side. Although the customisation was a bit basic, if you’re looking for a less flashy and more subtle kit for your team, Northwest is a good pick as they also offer discounts on bulk orders.

After an accurate 21-day turn around the Northwest jersey fitted true to size with the logo I chose clearly printed with durable print. The fabric’s 4-way stretch claim was certainly true with the kit being the stretchiest I received and appears to be a much more durable and thicker fabric, although, wouldn’t best the best for super hot days. The 3/4 length sleeves were on the baggy side but were a comfortable length. The shorts came up a little larger than expected but solid adjustment tabs on the waist kept them nice and snug. The only thing that let this kit down a bit was the camo pattern had fairly visible graph paper like rules within it which were not shown when designing the kit.

Aidan Oliver

Custom kits reviewed

Only ten extra-stretchy fabric options to choose from.

Custom kits reviewed

The logo is printed on the fabric, not sublimated.

Custom kits reviewed

Pockets are always appreciated.

Custom kits reviewed

The shorts were on the larger side, but the adjustment tabs kept them in place.


Giro

Giro Women’s Roust Jersey + Arc Short

Styles available: Men’s & Women’s SS, 3/4 & LS Jerseys, XC Jersey & Bib Shorts, Socks, Gloves, Peleton Cap, Casual SS, LS & 3/4 Shirts for Men, Women & Youth
Option to work with a designer: Yes
Number of available edits to design: 1 hour of free design time, $50 per hour additional
Turnaround time: Tees: 5 weeks / Apparel: 7 Weeks / Socks: 12 weeks / Gloves & Caps: 16 weeks
Sizes: Men’s, Women’s & Youth XS-XXL
Ships worldwide: Yes
Minimum order: MOQ (can be a mix of styles and sizes) Apparel: 10 / Gloves: 100 / Caps: 150 / Socks: 150 / Tees: 36 (US only)
Price: Jerseys from $65, volume discounts
• giro.com

bigquotes The Giro custom program is unique in that it isn’t direct to consumer, you work with a Giro retailer and their rep throughout the process. This might make it a bit more difficult to get the ball rolling than an entirely web-based process, but once you make the initial first step, it isn’t any more complicated than a direct to consumer custom program. The Giro program also isn’t targeting the riders who want a one-off kit since the minimum order quantities are substantial on some of the items.

That being said, if you’re looking to kit out a team or large group of riders, there is an extensive list of items that you can customize, including mountain bike and road apparel and accessories. The design process was my favourite because, while I sent out the same request to everyone, Giro sent me back the most design options that resonated with me. I was initially planning on keeping the design on all of the jerseys the same, but then when I saw this option from Giro with the fade on the sides, I knew I had to have it! Final proofs came by email and my apparel arrived a month later. You will want to start planning early if you want some of those smaller items like gloves, socks and caps however since the lead times are a couple months.

The fit on the Giro apparel is the same as their in-line apparel and it’s super comfortable. It would also be easy to figure out your sizing since Giro retailers are likely to have these items on the shop floor. The Roust jersey is breathable and light, has a handy glasses wipe, and comes in both women’s and men’s fit. The lightweight Arc shorts will be a custom option this Spring and feature a handy cell-phone pocket on the side. It’s also worth noting that the Roust jersey is made from 100% recycled polyester and all material is Bluesign approved.

Sarah Moore

Custom kits reviewed

The designs Giro sent through resonated with me.

Custom kits reviewed

Handy goggle or glasses wipe on the Roust jersey.

Custom kits reviewed

In retrospect, I wish I had gone with the fade on the Smoores logo on all the jerseys.

Custom kits reviewed

Custom kits reviewed

Pinkbike logos on the waistband of the Arc shorts.

Custom kits reviewed

There’s also a phone pocket on the other side.


Wht Lbl
Wht Lbl Custom

Styles available: Unisex LS & SS Jersey
Materials available: one
Option to work with a designer: Yes
Number of available edits to design: 2-3
Turnaround time: 2 weeks
Sizes: XS – XXL
Ships worldwide: Yes
Minimum order: 4 pcs per style/color
Price: LS Jersey $70 USD, SS Jersey $60 USD
• whtlblcustom.com

bigquotes Wht Lbl custom is a true ‘design your own jersey’. You will need some skills using Photoshop files but there aren’t many limitations on your design possibilities. If that isn’t your thing, they also just introduced a couple of template jerseys where you can change the base colours and add logos.

I went for the full custom design and spent many hours choosing the design with a little bit of help from Wht Lbl. I created a basic design that Wht Lbl spiced up a bit by adding a contour line design used on their own collection of jerseys. If you’re looking for a truly custom jersey for a team or shop this is a great way to go.

After an accurate, super-fast 2 week turnaround, the jersey arrived with excellent logo printing which was dyed into the fabric rather than screen printed on top. The jersey material is super lightweight and comfy against the skin but still substantial enough to wear on a cooler day. Although a basic jersey with no goggle wipe or pockets, it was just as good quality as some of the big brands out there and the limit is your own imagination for the design.

Aidan Oliver

Custom kits reviewed
Custom kits reviewed

Custom kits reviewed
Custom kits reviewed

Endura

Women’s MT500 L/S Lite Jersey

Styles available: Men’s & Women’s & Youth Road + LS & SS MTB Jerseys, Jackets, Shorts & Pants, Skinsuit, Neckwarmer, Caps, Overshoes, Arm Warmers, Gloves, Bags
Option to work with a designer: Yes
Number of available edits to design: For new artwork a charge of £75 will be added to your order (if under £2000).
Turnaround time: 1 week design, 5 weeks shipping
Sizes: Men’s, Women’s & Youth XS-XXL
Ships worldwide: Yes
Minimum order: 5 items per style on most garments. Accessories have slightly higher minimums.
Price: Quantity based with a set price for the minimum of 5 units and then discounted price bands for higher quantities of each style. The price is approximately 15% cheaper for 10+ units and lower again for higher quantities.
• endurasport.com

bigquotes While I wasn’t able to get the final MT500 jersey from Endura before their factory closed down for the Covid-19 pandemic, I did go through the entire design process with them. Their design team was easy to work with on the design and they were able to get a physical proof out to me before they went into lockdown in the UK mid-March.

The physical proof is a great thing for piece of mind ahead of committing to their minimum order quantity of 5 items since it gives you a much better idea of colours and logo sizes than a computer screen can. Although their 3D online proof is quite good. If required, they are able to send out sample garments free of charge for sizing and quality assessment. Now that the UK lockdown is over, their timelines for apparel are about 5 weeks, plus a week for design time, which is very reasonable.

I can’t speak as to how the final jersey would fit, but their custom apparel is done on in-line product, so you would be able to try the apparel on at any retailer that carries Endura.

Sarah Moore

Custom kits reviewed

The Endura sample fabric gives you a good idea of what the jersey would have looked like.

Custom kits reviewed

If Covid-19 hadn’t shut down their production mid-March when I was sourcing the jerseys.

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