It may be a relatively new name to readers outside Europe, but Swiss brand Cuore (pronounced 'Que-O-Rey') has been in the custom clothing business for 25 years. The brand is now worn by the IAM Cycling team, USA Cycling and those in Strava clothing.
Add a global expansion including offices in the USA and Australia, and Cuore is seemingly on a sudden growth spurt. We took a look through the range at its Sydney showroom, and were mostly impressed with what we found.
The custom clothing market is a crowded one, and there’s a plethora of options if you’re looking to get your cycle club, shop or business into custom printed kit. Like many brands, Cuore offers a huge range of options to suit nearly any budget. However, one aspect that sets it apart is the facility to order single items and to individually tailor garments.
Much like competing custom-clothing company Champion Systems, Cuore owns its own manufacturing facility in China – and also makes some big-brand cycle clothing on the quiet, too.
In 2012, Pearl Izumi's European and United States CEOs – Juergen Sprich and Juergen Eckmann, respectively – both moved to Cuore. As former racing teammates, Sprich is now firm's CEO and a partner, with Eckmann overseeing the brand in the USA from the Boulder offices.
Drew Johnson, a former national sales manager at Shimano Australia (where he oversaw Pearl Izumi), made a similar move to join the two Juergens and is behind Cuore Australia.
This is one large chart
Johnson was keen to point out, when we met him in Sydney, that beyond owning its supply chain, one of Cuore’s key strengths is its ability to replicate colour codes onto fabrics. For instance, if your brand/club/team uses difficult dyes such as silver, gold or other metallic, that's apparently no problem.
Cuore’s range is divided into four price/quality levels. Even at the entry level, we were impressed by the quality and included features. Pricing depends on order-size economies of scale, however, this is easily found on Cuore website.
Cuore's basic-level kit is designed with price in mind and a more relaxed fit. You can, however, still opt for jersey features such as full-length zippers, a zippered valuables pocket and reflective elements.
Obviously your sublimation design will be custom, but there's plenty more choices after that
Designed for enthusiast riders, the Bronze cuts are a little more performance orientated. We were shown some sample Bronze jerseys and were blown away by the quality, considering these are relatively budget items, as well as features such as a zippered phone pocket, reflective tabs and waist grippers.
Cuore enables you to tailor individual items within orders. Here, the tag shows you how a tailored jersey would fit
From this level, you can also choose to tailor individual garments for factors such as arm or torso length for just a few extra dollars/euros an item. For example, if you best fit a large, but need the length of a medium, it can be done. This is where sizing kits come in, and the sample items have tags placed to show you how the tailored options would fit.
These are race-cut garments without going all out. Our sample jersey and bibs (see below) show huge quality with ultra-light fabrics used in the summer kit.
This is the elite-level kit from Cuore and is what you’ll find the IAM Cycling team in. As you'd expect, this is no-expense-spared gear that's come out of extensive research and development and features the latest race-cut fabrics.
We were handed a small collection of items for review during our visit. While we don't have any women's items so show, the range is generous. It includes – as you'd expect – anatomically designed chamois and specific cuts.
The higher end items fit tight like other premium brands' race kit. With this (and something that's always recommended with any custom kit) get a sizing kit before ordering.
The Silver jersey is ideal for hot days
The lightweight Silver race jersey is made from rather thin and revealing material and is well-suited to high heat days. Optional reflective tabs out back, along with a zippered media pocket, are nice additions for training rides.
In the Silver bibs, multiple material panels create a comfortable and precise fit, while the Cuore-made chamois is generously padded and the placement is spot on. The only negative factor we've noticed so far is that the pre-folded nature of the chamois pad has a tendency to create a bit of a ‘mamil-toe’ when standing around.
Gold Two-In-One suit
Something a little different is the Gold series Two-In-One suit. This is a hybrid skinsuit that is far easier to get into than a traditional one.
Here, the jersey is a single piece with the bibs, but only from the hips and around the back. The front is left with a full-zippered jersey, allowing you to step into the lower shorts with ease, and then do up the jersey. For the race fit, a good skinsuit can be pretty comfortable, and this is quite possibly the most comfortable we've worn. Our test sample features rear pockets, which are an option at ordering.
These leg grippers are some of the best we've seen
A highlight for us in both the bibs and Two-In-One suit are the printed ‘AS Ribbon Tape’ leg grippers. These don’t pinch, sausage your legs and nor do they pull away from the Lycra with a heavy tug. A similar gripper is found in other accessories such as the arm warmers and knee warmers.
We'll now be putting some serious distance into this kit, to see whether the strong first impressions hold up over time. Look out for our full review, and in the meantime, check our gallery up top for a closer look.