Clipless pedals, tubeless tires, carbon fiber, aero frames and wide rims all have one thing in common: they were game changers in the world of cycling. It is not often that you come across game changers, but when you do, it is always exciting. We believe that Van Cleve Racing has developed a game changing line of cycling apparel and are pleased to announce that Art’s Cyclery.com is the exclusive distributor for Van Cleve Racing cycling apparel. As part of this announcement we are offering an introductory 20% discount on all Van Cleve Racing gear. Just use the code VANCLEVE20 at checkout.
What makes Van Cleve Racing kits a game changer? Well, unlike most of the hyped-up high-tech components out there, Van Cleve makes no wild claims to proprietary technology when it comes to their garment’s construction. What makes this new kit so exciting is its back-to-basics design and innovative use of faux finishes.
Van Cleve’s departure from the brightly colored pajama-esque styles we are used to seeing recalls the ever-evolving history of rock-and-roll. Elvis Presley was the foil for stodgy big band jazz. The Beatles’ music was a response to the boring folk songs and urbane, sanitized pop of the early sixties. The Clash and The Ramones battled against the overwrought prog-rock of the 70’s. Nirvana shook up the over-synthed world of “altnerative” rock with a three piece line-up and a healthy dose of distorted guitar.
However, Van Cleve Racing isn’t about angst or fighting the system like any of these rockers were. But they are about getting back to that straight ahead three-chord sound that is the antidote for the diseases of an overcomplicated, over-done, hyper-real world. They have accomplished this through a simple design aesthetic that hearkens back to the bicycle craze of the 1890’s when the safety bike first became available in the United States. This era of two-wheeled excitement had a certain purity to it. All of the bikes were single-speeds and riders wore clothes to ride in that are nicer than you or I are likely to be seen wearing at a wedding, let alone out on a bike. As impractical as those victorian styles were, they sure looked good.
Van Cleve Racing has distilled the essence of this early racing gear and infused it into modern fabrics and then cut those fabrics to fit like the best cycling kits available on the market today. Van Cleve’s “Team” kit recalls the wool sweaters and shorts of early track racers, while their “Nikola” kit with its herringbone faux finish references the suits worn by gentleman racers out on the roads. What makes these kits unique is that they aren’t just retro throwbacks, they have a modern edge to them that truly looks “pro” while maintaining a sense of victorian class.
Beyond the great styling of these kits, they just plain work great. Made by Voler, the fit works with most body types and isn’t overly tight or loose. The chamois on the bib shorts is made of a high quality multi-density foam with a wicking inner cover that never rubs the wrong way. Plus, it is as comfortable on both long and short rides as any other manufacturer’s bibs we’ve tried.
One last thing, the guys behind Van Cleve Racing are local and hail from our home town of San Luis Obispo, CA. They are real cyclocross nuts that also spend plenty of time on the road and the dirt in the off season. Perhaps their most endearing quality is that they bring a sense of humor to an industry that is often characterized by too many graphs and charts detailing new improvements to frame stiffness, compliance and the like. Some evidence of this sense of humor can be found in Van Cleve Racing’s press releases that are typically written in victorian prose and the tongue-in-cheek old-timey phrases they print on the collars of all their jerseys.
So lighten up and try out one of Van Cleve Racing’s new kits. We guarantee that wearing either one of the Van Cleve kits will make you the classiest looking rider at your next group ride. Order now with the code VANCLEVE20 to get 20% off.