Custom cycling gear and clothing
By Ben Delaney | Friday, December 21, 2012 8.30am
Custom bikes and clothing used to be almost exclusively for professional riders. These days, you can buy custom designs – if not custom fabrication – of seemingly everything, from shoes and helmets to frames and saddles. Even nutrition and training plans can be tailored just for you. Here are just a few of your not-off-the-shelf options.
Custom clothing has been available to riding clubs for a while, but the number of companies offering the service has exploded recently. Jerseys and shorts are just the basics; custom sunglasses, helmets and gloves are also available.
If you can think up a design, and a place to put it, chances are that more than a couple of companies will compete for your business.
Want a pair built up from your very own last? D2 Shoe can do that. Or if you need one shoe in one length and width, and the other shoe in another, Vittoria are on hand to help.
D2's SuperFly shoes are custom in terms of shape and finish
Some people like to express their thoughts via bumper stickers, others use their footwear. Sock Guy and DeFeet can weave seemingly any message and graphic into their footwear.
General riding kit
Whether you and your riding mates just want jerseys or you fancy the full pro collection of clothing, there's no shortage of companies that can produce everything from shoe covers to winter jackets. A few good ones are Vermarc, Castelli, Santini, Panache, Impsport, Endura and Capo.
Capo makes BikeRadar's custom skinsuits, jerseys, bib shorts, vests and more
Okay, so it won't make a unique shape for you, but you can customize your Oakley eyewear by color of lens, frame and detail pieces.
Oakley made these sunglasses for the Rapha cyclocross team
Louis Garneau offers a comprehensive line of custom clothing, but the Canadian company also does custom decals for road and time trial helmets. And if you really want to go over the top, you can purchase a completely custom lid like the helmets used by the Team GB track squad at the Olympics.
When it comes to your bicycle itself, there are two main types of personalization. You can tailor how your bike looks through paint and decals, or you can recruit someone to build something just for you.
With a custom frame, you can dictate all the angles, tube lengths and often tube diameters. Don't know your perfect geometry? Most small builders are eager to work with you based on your riding style and preferences. The majority work in steel or titanium, but an increasing number are using carbon, too – Argonaut is doing some cool things in the material, and Seven is certainly no newcomer to the black material.
On the mountain bike side, Ventana will tweak their existing geometry for you. And Moots, Mosaic, Enigma, Demon, Paulus Quiros and many more will build you a frame from the ground up.
Want a one-of-a-kind bike? A custom builder will be glad to create one for you
If you already have a bike you love but want an aesthetic overhaul, you can send it to outfits such as Keith Anderson Cycles, Spectrum Powderworks, The Bicycle Shop or Airglow. And the big players are getting in on the visual customization, too, with Trek, Felt, and Santa Cruz all offering programs, and Cyfac claiming it has two million paint options for you.
Do you love your carbon road frame but wish you had fender mounts or Di2 internal wiring? It's not out of the question, as companies like Ruckus Components are proving.
Love your fork but hate the brake shudder? Ruckus can help with that
If you can't find a comfy perch among the seemingly endless selection of saddles on the market today – a few of which come in multiple widths – then you can get one built for you by Dash. Charge also sells its spoon saddle with options for customizing the cover, stitching, bumpers and more.
Anybody can buy a stock fork, but custom suspension tuning shops such as Push in the US, and Loco Tuning in the UK, can dial yours in to improve the ride feel.
Perhaps the most economical choice of the customisable options, stickers can add a bit of flair to your bike. In the UK, Slik Graphics offers custom top tube decals, rim stickers and more. Across the pond, Victory Circle Graphix and VeloInk offer a similar service.
Of all the custom offerings, wheels are perhaps the only niche going against the trend; what used to be common is becoming less so with the prevalence of well-made production hoops.
Still, shops like Fair Wheel or Vecchio's will build wheels up from the hubs, as will Ligero, Industry Nine, Wheelsmith or Harry Rowland.
For custom-made bars you can turn to Blacksheep, Groovy Cyclework, Firefly or Calfee.
And if that isn't enough, you can also tailor your drink mixes and gels with Infinit Nutrition, and get a professional fit on your bike from Retül, CycleFit or possibly even your local bike shop.
Of course, the best part about cycling is that every day is custom. Unconstrained by a particular field of play, you get to pick your route every time you hop on the bike.
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