Ever wonder exactly why they designed your jersey and knicks? No, not who or where, but why? It’s an interesting question and one I have often thought about when trying to get the perfect kit for me and for my style of riding. My new FixNRide kit has enabled me to actually ask a lot of questions and have them answered. I think you’ll be interested in the answers too.
Let me begin with the FixNRide story, because it sets the scene. A riding mate of mine, Rheicel Riabaldo, is a bit of a dark horse. He’s a friendly chap, very quiet, and has a great sense of humour. He always has great bikes and quality components, and wears great kit; top-end stuff like Rapha and Assos, with sleek and fast designs. It suited him since he very much looks like a racing cyclist. I always thought this dedication to quality cycling kit was a fashion thing, but it turns out it was research. Our quiet little Rheicel was, at his heart, a designer and an engineer, and so FixNRide was born.
FixNRide is the name of Rheicel’s after-hours mobile bike repair business and also the brand-name for his cycling clothing line and other gear (including a Titanium frame). I won’t review Rheicel’s bike repair business here (though I’ve included details below since he is the only person I’ve let service my bikes, aside from myself, in all my years of riding) nor the bike gear, but I’ll focus instead on the clothing. You see, Rheicel has designed and engineered the FixNRide jerseys and knicks for riders who, like him, like to put in a bit of distance on their bike, who maybe like to race every now and then, who want quality kit, and who don’t want to spend premium prices. When I say a bit of distance, I’m talking Audax style distances (i.e. 200km+ a day), and this is the primary reason why I’m interested in this kit.
FixNRide kit does things right through thoughtful design choices. This is the engineering aspect of the apparel that I was talking about before. Rather than just put some pretty designs on standard kit from a Chinese supplier, Rheicel spent a long time testing out options and sourcing the right materials. Yes, the kit is still made in China, like just about everything is these days, but there’s a lot of work to be done in making sure everything is right. From my perspective the biggest choices he made are the chamois, and the sleeves on the jersey.
I need to be upfront and say that I’m not a fashion conscious rider and I’m not very particular about what I throw on for a sub-20km trip to work. Any old I-got-this-on-sale bright green jersey mixed with blue knicks and red socks is fine with me as long as I have enough to only have to wash once a week (though I think I can stretch that to once a fortnight now – I really have to get rid of stuff). When you’re out for an all day ride, however, things become different.
My best, and most costly kit comes out for all-day rides. If I’m going to be on the saddle all-day, my chamois and I have to be great friend, my sleeves have to not roll up, and my knicks have to let my legs move. The air needs to circulate, the sweat needs to wick away, and I want to be comfortable even when my body is pushed to its limits. I don’t want my clothing to even be something I think about, but it still should be doing everything right.
The chamois on the FixNRide knicks is the most comfortable I’ve ever used. It doesn’t feel like you’re wearing a nappy, but gives you more than enough cushioning and freedom. The thickest parts of the padding on the chamois very closely resembles a cutout saddle with some extra depth in the sit-bone area. There hasn’t been any rubbing so far and I haven’t developed any delicately placed hot-spots or saddle sores. The Italian manufacturers of the chamois claim a whole bunch of technology is involved, but I suspect it’s all marketing hype. The reality is that it suits riders who spend time in the saddle.
The jersey sleeves were the other area of this kit that I loved. Yeah, I know it’s silly to be concerned about something so insignificant as jersey sleeves, but I’ve had many situations where the sleeves of the jersey have either been so tight that they leave marks, or they roll up and I get sunburned on areas not creamed or covered by sun-sleeves. The FixNRide sleeves are longer than “normal” and they have a cuff on them that isn’t a tourniquet.
Of course, the FixNRide jersey has other useful features that might appeal to other riders the way the cuffs appeal to me. Mesh underarms and sides, hidden full zipper, sturdy gripper material on the tail, reflective tag on the pocket, and so on.There is a lot to recommend this jersey. Similarly, the bib knicks have meshed suspenders and a large cut-out in the back where some of us sweat the most. The leg gripper material is of a length to match the cuff proportions on the jersey and the “bumps” of the gripper are small and numerous, and don’t pinch or constrict.
I mentioned before that Rheicel was a small and fit cyclist, but I’m not small at 190cm and mid-90 kgs. I tend to steer clear of race cut clothing, rather going for the “club cut”, but there was no club-cut option for this kit. Sizing guides for Chinese made cycling kit are often comically fictional, but the measurements provided for the FixNRide kit are pretty spot on, though if you’re on the border of a measurement, choose bigger.
The fit is close, but not tight, and nothing digs in or constricts. This was particularly important for me because, while I’m nowhere near jacked, I do have some muscle, notably in the legs. I have jerseys that fit me everywhere except in the arms and similarly I have knicks that on paper should fit me but I can’t get over my thighs. The FixNRide kit is surprisingly accommodating to all of my curves with no bagginess, but I’m wearing the biggest sizes available so if you’re bigger than I am you probably won’t get the same sort of experience.
Oh, I almost forgot the design. There are a number of designs for the FixNRide kit, they’ll change seasonally, and some designs are going to suit certain sizes more than others. I wanted something that was visible, didn’t make me look stupidly fat while wearing it, and looked good. I think the design I chose from the range fulfills those goals, and either piece also looks good with other kit in my collection. By the time you read this and decide to check-out the gear on FixNRide, don’t be surprised if you see a different set of colours and styles.
FixNRide kit was designed by someone who wanted kit with very specific features for his own personal use that looked good, was of top quality, and didn’t break the bank. I’m just happy that I can get some of it that fits me too, because I don’t want to miss out on it. I can spend all day in this kit (and have done) and not regret it.
FixNRide jerseys and knicks are available in a range of designs and colours from fixnrideau.com. If you’re in Sydney you should also avail yourself of Rheicel’s after-hours bike servicing business as well. You can book via his website or call him on 0415 080 411.