The name MOA may not resonate with most American riders, but many European pros know it as their go-to factory for racing clothing. Clothing produced at the MOA factory outside Verona, Italy, is often marketed as Nalini or under another brand's insignia, but for 2014, the MOA line is being brought into the US by Curve, a custom-clothing company in Boulder, Colorado.
For years, Curve has sold custom clothing at two levels: Curve Team that's made in Eastern Europe and Curve Proline that is made by MOA. (Rapha and many other brands have used MOA as well for team gear.)
"We are extremely excited to be the US source for the world's premium cycling apparel," said Curve founder and owner, Henrik Nejezchleb. "We are also equally excited because this new relationship allows us to be public about the six-year relationship Curve has had with MOA."
MOA produces clothing for a number of top brands
MOA is somewhat unique in that it is a vertically oriented clothing factory, producing not only the patterns and doing the assembly, but also making a full line of chamois pads (usually done by a third party) and developing some of its own fabrics. Working closely with the fabrics allows for a better understanding of the differences in how two similar products will perform, even when the pattern is identical.
"They have 40 different versions of the longsleeve jersey," said Curve's Doug Williams. "A longsleeve is usually just two fabrics; no big deal, right? But every time you change the fabric, you change the fit. Being in Boulder, there are a lot of Euro pros that come through, and many of them say things like, ‘I remember when I was on XYZ team, and their MOA stuff was always the best.’ We have had pros purchase stuff from us for their everyday training."
Perhaps surprising to some, a company's inline product can be more sophisticated than its highest-end custom product, for a simple reason: graphics.
"For team clothing, it has to be printable," Williams said. "You are somewhat limited by the base fiber of the fabric because it has to be sublimation printed. And even the base patterns are somewhat limited because you need uninterrupted areas for sponsor logos."
MOA produces its own chamois pads in-house
Williams noted that while aerodynamics are often a talking point of race clothing, there is another perhaps more important aspect of performance apparel. "A huge amount of calories goes to mainintanig body temperature," he said. "There is great room for efficiency gains in clothing."
"We can do subliminted warmers, for example, but our standard ones are Super Roubaix, a brushed nylon-based fabric. Then there is the printable version, which is polyester-based," Williams said. "Even though polyester, often as Coolmax, is a great fabric, I noticed that the real Super Roubaix warmers work better than printed ones. It’s subtle but it’s noticeable."
MOA's clothing, divided into five seasons of gear plus wind/waterproof, will be sold through US retailers. Bib shorts range from $180-$300, and jerseys sell from $130-$250.