PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT – THE ‘F’ WORDS. NUMBER TWO – FIT.
This second ‘F’ word, Fit, is one of the hardest to nail down. We’re all different shapes and sizes so the fit of a garment can quite often be subjective and dependent on riding style. What is relaxed and casual on a MTB will be an annoying flappy sail on a road bike. What is a good length for some riders is seen as too short for others. We all have personal tastes.
So we look to find a middle ground and have the confidence to base our products on our many years of riding and racing all types of bikes. We’re our own target market and are, like many cyclists, highly opinionated as to what works and what doesn’t. Not in an elitist way. We are open to suggestions and opinions from everyone. Whether that be our diverse Morvélo Test Team or our cycle team The Kinesis Morvélo Project or our customers. It all goes back into refining and tailoring the fit of our products.
As our product range broadens we then look to refine the fit of our existing products in relation to new ones. For example we have a new MTB Trail Jersey in development, launching September 2013. This is be a relaxed yet tailored, designed for all day trail riding as well as racing Enduros. This then means our regular jerseys will be slightly adjusted in terms of fabric and fit to focus them more on road and competition. It’s not to say they’ll all be slimmed down to tiny Italian climber size and just for racers. More in terms of a few tweaks such as reducing the front length of the jerseys to avoid bunching when in a more angled / aggressive riding position, or changing the fitting of the sleeves to be closer.
It’ll be small details but ones that will continue to make sure our products are the perfect shape for the job in hand. Sometimes we choose to ignore development though. When we created our Technical Tees we decided to keep them the same fit as our regular tees, shunning the perceived wisdom that states that any bike related garment should be tailored for cycling.
Our Tech Tees blend 50% post-consumer P.E.T. recycled polyester and 50% ring spun organic cotton so they dry four times quicker than conventional cotton. They are designed to riding in. But we decided to ignore lengthening the back or reducing the length of the front for example. We decided to ignore making them fit like our jerseys. Why? Because they are T-shirts and as such should be styled like a conventional T-shirt. In our opinion at least.
A few centimetres at the back won’t make much difference to the riding you’ll be doing in them but it will make it look odd as soon as you step off the bike. Our Tech Tees needed to have that old skool charm of grabbing your bike and heading out for a blast around the streets and woods, complete with t-shirt rippling in the wind as you speed downhill. If you want to do miles then we suggest you opt for one of our jerseys.
This is just an example of how we question everything. Because we like to do things our own way, sometimes we make it harder for ourselves. Take our bib shorts. The common reaction to a pair of Morvélo shorts when first worn is to say they feel too tight. However, this is exactly how they are designed to fit and once out riding will feel fantastic. We design our shorts to make proper use of the compression qualities of the fabric, which will keep your muscles feeling stronger for longer. For this to happen they need to be a very close comfortable fit.
Our customers begin to understand our reasoning once they start riding and we receive increasing amounts of praise for how well they perform, especially over long distances. If you believe in something it’s worth standing your ground. We ride in our clothing day in and day out. From track racing to trail riding. From sun to rain. From a 5 minute commute to a 100 mile weekend adventure and if we aren’t convinced of the fit, it doesn’t make it to production.