Fit and Feel - A Guide to Brands and Body Shapes
We get asked a lot of questions here at Always Riding, the result of which is the highly sought after and deeply ingrained ability to provide EU/US shoe size conversions instantaneously and on demand. That said, the question we get asked the most is a pretty simple one - "what is the fit on this?" Well, habitually, we answer with the fact that it depends entirely upon what body shape you have - after all, what's race cut for Arnold Schwarzenegger is to all extents and purposes a relaxing yurt retreat for the likes of Marco Pantani. With cyclists not forged in one mold alone, we thought we'd tackle the question head on, and address the different body shapes we've spotted out on the road and contrast them against the different cuts we've sized up in the warehouse!
The Broad Shouldered
So, with a torso resembling an upended isosceles, you have a tough time of finding something that fits equally well over the shoulders as it does over that cadence carved waist. It is a tough one, and whilst most cycling apparel sees you an XL up top, around the mid-drift, you're really more of a medium. Well, in this case, try considering something like Sugoi or Craft. Heavily tech led, these brands cater for the cyclist who can never struggles to lift their bike for that triumphant "I just did a big hill" pose. With the extra centimetre in the cut being of great use over those shoulders whilst the use of technical use of fabrics ensuring a nice and close fit over your core, these two brands cater for the powerful rider, however uniquely proportioned they may be you be.
The Giant of the Peloton
For those people taller than fishing tales about the one that got away, the problem is a question of length - which jersey is going to fit neatly and still offer good coverage, and which bibs are going to give me that extra inch?
Well, let's start with the jersey. In extreme cases, we've spotted the distinct crescent of bib short straps being partially eclipsed by a jersey come lycra crop top - it's a distressing sight, but doesn't have to be this way. Brands particularly good for length of jersey include Outrider, PEdAlED, and Ornot, with Outrider being a particularly well reviewed for it's slightly longer cut coupled with a real racing fit.
Bib wise, strap length is probably the greatest concern for the long bodied rider. If you're looking for a brand offering a better reach, the Ornot 3.0 Bib shorts are a brilliant call, as our previous reviews have attested:
“I'm a 6'7 rider and usually suffer with the bibs being tight and uncomfortable, but these have a great fit. What's great about these bibs is that the fit around the waist, crotch and legs is snug as a glove. I'm a tall slim rider and usually when ordering up a size to get the length I pay the price with excess space around the waist, but not with these. I only wish I'd found them sooner.”
Allowing you more room up top without penalising you with a loose fit on the legs, Ornot are certainly the way to go for the taller rider in the pack.
So, let's be honest - not everyone got on a bike aged four and never stopped pedalling. Some of us were asked to play for the rugby team, did a spot of rowing, and got picked to put in a turn on the football team. Well, with your more robust build that sees you better put together than most dry stone walls, you're sure to be putting some power through those pedals. With this in mind, you'll be grateful of some cycle clothing that doesn't relegate you to the XL end of the chart on the basis that you actually have arms rather than pipe cleaners.
In this instance, we would probably point that blocky frame of yours towards a brand like Sugoi. With a fantastic fit and impressive tech levels, Sugoi sizes sensibly on a chart that doesn't leave you looking at an XL with the rest of your wardrobe proclaims you a large.
Another good call is Café, as the following review for the Lucienne Jersey would suggest...
"I'm 6ft 3 and 78 KG medium size is perfect body length and fit and style is great on the bike and in the café. Merino tech wool is brilliant."
You - the nimble mountain goat who causes me all sorts of pain on the climbs. The wiry pipe-sized pixie of a person - goodness how I envy you. Charging up that hill with a torso leaner than a salmon fillet, and equally slippery through the air, you fit the classical cyclist archetype. For you, classic cycling brands like Castelli, and Etxeondo are a good call, with their particularly close race fit proving perfectly suited to smaller frames. Stylish newcomers that are certainly worth your consideration include Pas Normal and Outrider, with their race kits certainly hitting the high performance high tide mark with panache.
What you might struggle with though, will be finding a gilet or jacket that doesn't end up parachuting you to the back of the peloton. So - what to opt for? Sure, the Castelli range will do a decent job, but, jacket wise, we think that some of the best fitted race jackets for tech are once more from Sugoi, particularly their RS range. Providing lightweight protection at a minimum weight penalty, the these fitted outerwear pieces are well suited for the rider looking to keep covered without getting in a flap.
For outerwear, Café is another good brand to consider for the mountain rider. This review for the Madeleine Gilet certainly makes for happy reading for those of you who chase snow lines like the sprinters chase white lines...
"I am 6ft tall, 68kg with a 38" chest and happy with size small. The elasticated waist band tucks in neatly for a flattering fit but will stretch to accommodate layers or stuffed back pockets."
Rounding Things Down
So, having covered the larger part of our brands, you should now have a little more insight into which way to go in order to choose something that compliments your body shape, giving you a great fit and a better feel on the bike. If you're still a little worried though, feel free to drop us a line on the live chat or get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org, where we're always ready to whip out the measuring tape at a moment's notice!