Have you ever wondered about how we source the best kits from around the world for Five:03? Often it starts with a conversation about what drives our passion for cycling and how we want to look the goods when we are out riding, yet we want to remain supremely comfortable.
The girls from Fondo Cycling understand this desire well, founding their company based on a mutual love of cycling and design. Five:03 recently took some time to chat to Anna, Kate and Emma about the Fondo brand, what design elements to look for in a quality kit and what’s next for the brand.
FIVE:03: How did Fondo begin?
FONDO: In 2013, we were originally workmates who got into the sports of cycling and triathlon at the same time. We used to lament at the lack of styles and designs for women. It seemed that everything had advertisers logos on them and that the women’s line was cut as if it was designed for smaller men. We couldn’t find any brands that were of high quality and designed for women only, so we thought that we would design our own.
FIVE:03: What elements did you specifically wish to incorporate into a kit for women?
FONDO: We had a long list of requirements and we spent a long time sourcing the right supplier and manufacturer. We wanted every aspect of the kit to be perfect for a woman who is serious about her sport. Although we cater for all women, we wanted to focus on those who were passionate about their riding and who often do longer distances on weekends. We were in touch with several girls who were doing events like “Peaks Challenge” who were having trouble finding a comfortable kit for use during longer rides. Thus sourcing a quality female specific chamois that was comfortable for such rides was a priority.
Being from Melbourne, we wanted slightly longer sleeves - this was to solve the arm gape that occurs with arm warmers and shorter sleeved jerseys, which makes for chilly and uncomfortable riding in cooler weather. In warmer climates, the slightly longer sleeve affords more sun protection.
FIVE:03: How do you know that you’re getting a quality female specific chamois in a kit?FONDO: The old adage of “you get what you pay for” rings true here. We spent a long time researching how a good chamois should work. It comes down to a combination of the right thickness, absorbency and how pressure points are padded and supported. A female specific chamois will have higher density padding up towards the front of the short and along the sides, as well as on the “sitz” bones.
FIVE:03: Once you have the chamois sorted, what else can you do to ensure all day comfort on the road?
FONDO: The fit of your bib shorts is important. They should fit firmly around the body and the straps should hold the material close to the body. If the shorts are too loose, then chafing can occur if the material starts moving around when you are riding. Our aim is to provide firm support in our shorts so we can maximise comfort for your ride. We also provide a firm supportive band, rather than a rubber gripper to keep the shorts in place on the thigh, eliminating that “sausage look” as well as those red marks on the skin caused by grippers digging in during long rides.
FIVE:03: On that note, what about material? Does Lycra come in various grades?
FONDO: Again, you do get what you pay for. We looked for an Italian lycra which has a higher level of elastane in the material than most Lycra available here. This ensures that the kit keeps it shape wash after wash. With lycra, there is also a lot of engineering that goes into the tightness of the weave. We specifically chose a tighter weave to maximise support and shape for our garments.
FIVE:03: Tell us about your designs.
FONDO: We wanted designs that were bright and bold and incorporated various colours and shapes that created a streamlined effect when worn together. Our “Disco” kit has been one of our brightest and best sellers.
FIVE:03: What are your plans for your upcoming range?
FONDO: We are looking to add a “mix and match” range so our customers can pair new kit with existing jerseys. Plus we have received such amazing feedback on our bib shorts that we will now be selling them as part of a “basics” range. We are hoping to launch these during the 2017/2018 season. Plus we are going to do another reiteration of the “Disco” kit, so be sure to keep your eyes open for that.
FIVE:03: That is great news. We cannot wait to check out your new range when it arrives. Thank you for sharing such valuable information about how to choose a female specific kit that not only looks amazing, but is super comfortable too.