It’s not too late to help your road, mountain, or cyclocross-specific team find the right products and vendors for kits for the ‘cross season, and so we’ve taken a look at some of the top custom clothing companies and their cyclocross-relevant product offerings. Today we’re taking a look at Capo Forma. Previously, we reviewed Nalini , Mt. Borah, and Castelli.
Capo Custom Cycling Apparel
Capo (pronounced Kah-poh, not Kay-poh) is a custom clothing manufacturer under the Upland Sports Group umbrella. Initiated four years ago by Gary Vasconi and Robert Carbone, Capo clothing is an emerging player in both the custom and in-line production markets. At major ‘cross races, you may have noticed the Clif Bar professional cyclocross team sporting Capo clothing, and the company is looking to branch further into the niche sport of ‘cross.
Capo’s efforts are focused primarily in the U.S. Check out the Clif Bar Development squad’s threads from last year…Danny Summerhill and Troy Wells are two of the many standouts on that team. For 2009/2010, Capo will provide the Clif Bar squad with their Super Corsa custom clothing.
Here are a few items that I looked at that are ‘cross-worthy:
Potenza Bib Short
Fabric Details: Power Lycra lowers, Power Mesh upper bibs.
Pad: Capo D4 Carbon EIT
Insert: Elastic one-piece construction with varying thickness (Ultra High 11mm, High 8mm, Medium 4mm and Low 2mm), perforated open cells, anti-microbial micro-fiber composed of carbon threads and enhanced perennial channel and top for additional comfort and protection.
Number of Panels: 7 plus the upper mesh bibs
Potenza Short Sleeve Jersey
Fabric Details: Capo Micro Quattro – a waffled fabric that is highly breathable and wicking. Silicone Gel grippers line the bottom of the jersey.
Number of Panels: Raglan-style sleeves with 7 panels.
Potenza Long Sleeve Jersey
Fabric Details: Capo Winter Quattro – a brushed mid-weight fabric that helps move moisture while keeping you warm. The Capo Silicone Gel waist gripper lines the bottom of the jersey.
Number of Panels: Raglan-style sleeves with 7 panels and a medium-tall collar.
Fabric Details: Windtex Malta fabric lines the front two panels with Winter Quattro for the rest. Capo Silicone Gel waist gripper located along the bottom of the jersey. Reflective piping along the shoulder seams (both front and back).
Number of Panels: Raglan-style sleeves with 7 panels and a tall, warm, fleece-lined collar.
Fabric Details: 100% Cotton
Number of Panels: 3 panel cut (four panel cut is also available)
Seasonal Wool Socks
Fabric Details: 100% Merino Wool with a 12 cm cuff
Castelli Product Details:
Wash only on the delicate cycle and use neutral, non-aggressive detergents. Do not leave soiled clothing unwashed, as residual sweat will damage the garment. Avoid using dryers, and if you do, use them only for short duration on the low temperature setting.
Country of Origin:
100% of the custom clothing is produced in Italy, while about 80% of the in-line production clothing is fabricated there.
Varies, check with Capo for a custom quote.
Minimums: In general, 35 of one piece is the start with minimums of 10 after that with each style (for instance, 35 short sleeve jerseys and 10 vests). A minimum of three per size in each order is also required. Page 15 of the catalog has all of the details
For reorders, the normal minimum of 35 is dropped to 25 for each style.
60-90 days is the goal, with peak season (January) on the 90-day high end of that spectrum. To help ease the road season rush, Capo offers perks for ordering early (in September through November) by, for instance, offering a percentage off based on when the order went in.
There is no maximum number of colors, but there is a $200.00 set up fee per color.
Capo prefers using traditional sublimation processes, despite the speed benefits of digital sublimation. The colors are richer and have better staying power. Capo states this is better for ‘cross clothing because of the harsh elements.
Capo will do semi-custom or fully custom runs based on what you need. Two hours of U.S.-based artwork design time are included with your order. All of the customer’s interaction will be with the U.S.-based staff, and the Upland Sports Group staff will interface with Italy where the products are made. Additional time with the artist is available for a fee.
When the box of Capo clothing arrived in the mail the weather was just starting to warm and the spring training races were giving way to the full road and mountain bike seasons. I had plenty of opportunities to put these items to the test on the road, dirt, and most recently in early season ‘cross training.
To start the overall fit and finish on all of the items was pretty impressive. Every top (short sleeve, long sleeve, and jacket) had the Silicone gel gripper on the bottom. This feature is standard on all Capo clothing, and is a feature typically considered extra in many other brands. These grippers continued in the bib shorts and provided a secure way to keep the clothing in place. Also standard on all of Capo’s tops is a 6 mm lockable, fully hidden zipper from Italy. Zipper selection is often an area where you may pay extra when working with other custom clothing companies. Capo maintains that their quality is in the small details, which is why they include this piece standard on all items.
Based on my experience, one has to be a bit careful with sizing with Capo. For the Potenza bibs, I normally wear an XL, more for length than for my (lack of) monstrous sprinter legs. That being said, of the XL bibs I’ve worn, these were just a touch on the big side. Length was great and the grippers kept the shorts in place (and my knee warmers up). The bibs, made of Power Lycra, did a great job keeping the chamois stationary and moved moisture well. The large center back panel came up just a bit higher than I’m used to, but after two minutes of a nice anaerobic threshold workout you won’t notice it a bit.
During my recent training for ‘cross, most of my time is spent practicing drills and making sure I remember how to get off and back on the bike. The chamois included in these bib shorts (D4 Carbon) is designed as a higher-mileage insert, but by no means felt bulky for ‘cross. Capo does have a slightly thinner chamois (MLDCorsa / Race) available that might be more suitable when jumping on and off the bike (in a race or at ‘cross practice, hopefully not during your local road ride) but perhaps not the most shock absorbing on bumpy courses.
Along the lines of odd sizing, as a 6’3″ 180 lb person I’m by no means bulky and typically only wear a size Large jersey. However, after talking to Gary he recommended an XL Potenza short sleeve jersey. Much to my surprise, the XL jersey fit great, and I would probably consider it to be the smallest I’d be able to go. The cut is very much race-oriented, and the Silicone Gel grippers did a great job keeping the jersey down when moving about. The only odd notion was with the sleeve size, which just seemed a tad tight for an XL. My twig arms almost filled them out, so if you have guns order accordingly. So definitely listen to the company’s advice instead of ordering your normal sizes.
When on one of my early morning rides the temperature was a bit cooler than I had originally planned, so I wore the Potenza long sleeve jersey. In a size large, this fit very well and even had adequate sleeve length. When the heads of Upland Sports Group decided to make cycling clothing, they designed things to fit slightly differently than the traditional Italian designs would offer. Sleeve length is one of the biggest benefactors in the design process, as even in a size large I had no complaints on the overall length. By contrast, many XL jerseys or jackets often leave an annoying gap between the jersey and my gloves – you won’t find this to be a problem on any Capo apparel.
The design and function of the Capo Thermal Jacket is perfect for ‘cross in colder climates. The wind here in Michigan can get beastly in the fall making 45 degree days feel much more like sub-freezing temperatures. Fortunately, the thermal jacket has Capo’s Windtex Malta fabric, keeping the cool breezes off of your chest. To top it off, a sturdy 2″ fleece-lined collar is great to keep the chill off of your throat. Even the zipper has a gusseted backside to keep the breeze out. Take this to the start line of your late fall ‘cross races and stay warm in style.
Capo also sent out their custom cycling cap and seasonal wool socks. Since ‘cross happens in the fall and with the sun low on the horizon, I’m usually not found without a cycling cap on to help shade my eyes. Capo’s hat comes in either a three or four panel design and has a sturdy bill and a quality dye job. To help keep your toes warm in the fall, Capo designed a light to medium weight wool sock, which is a full 12 cm (roughly 4.75″) above the ankle. Not only am I a huge fan of taller cycling socks, these Merino wool socks did a great job wicking moisture away and still felt nice and toasty without taking up too much room in my shoes.
Upland Sports Group’s Capo custom clothing is not the cheapest or most expensive option out there. Minimums aren’t as low as some other companies (primarily due to the traditional sublimation process), however, they pride themselves on achieving a very high quality product for the price. They offer a wide range of fully custom clothing with many options available that apply specifically to the temperatures and conditions for cyclocross. Just be sure to ask about sizing recommendations for your team members.
For more info:
Upland Sports Group: http://www.uplandsg.com
Custom Catalog: http://www.uplandsg.com/capo_custom/CFcustom_09catalog.pdf
For pricing, contact [email protected]. A full quote can be developed based on what exactly you need.