We explore Sugoi's line-up of 'cross worthy custom clothes © Kristie Hancock
Cyclocross Magazine continues its exploration of the best custom ‘cross kit providers on the market – a great resource if you’re trying to help your road, mountain or cyclocross-specific team find the right products. Today we’re taking a look at Sugoi. Previously, we reviewed Capo Forma, Nalini , Mt. Borah and Castelli.
by Brian Hancock
Sugoi Custom Cycling Apparel
Background: Sugoi is the Japanese term for incredible.
Here are some of the cyclocross appropriate items I scoped out:
Evolution Bib Short
Sugoi uses their multi-thickness RC Pro Chamois in the Evolution Bib Shorts © Kristie Hancock
Fabric Details: EVOPLUS with MATRIX & MOBILMESH bib
Pad: RC Pro Chamois
Number of panels: 8 + bibs
TI Long Sleeve Jersey
Sugoi's TI Longsleeve jersey has DEEP pockets and a nice, tall collar to keep the chill out © Kristie Hancock
Fabric Details: Finotherm – a midweight, smooth and stretchy fabric
Number of panels: 7
Wallaroo 290 Jersey
Sugoi Wallaroo. Photo courtesy Sugoi
Fabric Details: 100% Australian Merino wool.
Number of panels: 8
RS Zero Jacket
The RS Jacket has reflective piping to help visibility in the waning daylight hours of the fall © Kristie Hancock
Fabric Details: Midzero fabric with Firewall 220 wind protection
RS Zero Vest
The RS Vest mixes a blend of materials to create a windproof, waterproof, breathable vest perfect for the fall © Kristie Hancock
Fabric Details: Midzero fabric with Firewall 220 wind protection
RS Zero Bib Tight
The RS Bib Tights feature windproof panels and ankle loops to keep the chill out when the mercury really dips © Kristie Hancock
Fabric Details: 10-panel construction featuring Firewall 220 wind protection on the knees and mesh uppers.
Pad: Formula FX
The Tuke was a great hat as the temps fell, and paired well with the Wallaroo 290 jersey and Evolution bib shorts © Kristie Hancock
Fabric Details: Midzero – a mid-weight spandex material
Where they’re made: Depending on the item, the clothing is made in either Taiwan or British Columbia.
MSRP: Pricing depends on the number of items purchased as well as the number of colors in your artwork. Price breaks occur at 1, 12, 24, 50, 100, 200, 500, and 1000+.
Do any famous ‘crossers or teams ride the stuff?
Sugoi supports athletes from a wide range of athletic abilities. This support is part of what they call their “Brand Champion” program. In short, being a Brand Champion requires athletes to work towards their own goals – whether it be National Championships or podium finishes at local events, with the intention of supporting racers that inspire others on a daily basis. Benefits include limited discount deals and access to exclusive items for training and racing. Currently, no cyclocross-specific sponsorship is in place.
- Lead Time: Sugoi aims for an 8-week turnaround time. The first three weeks are used for finalizing the design and order sizes, and the last five are reserved for production time.
- Minimums: A minimum of 24 per main item category ordered is required. For example, you could order 24 short sleeve jerseys, or if it better fits your team, 12 short sleeve and 12 long sleeve jerseys. The same goes for bottoms, 24 total, with a minimum of 12 of each style you choose. Sugoi can also do one-offs. Contact the customer service department for details.
- Reorder: In order to qualify for your initial order pricing (say, for instance, you were in the 200+ price break), you must reorder within 6 months. Once you’re past 6 months from the original order, traditional pricing and price breaks are in place.
- Process: Sugoi prefers a traditional sublimation process (as opposed to digital) for their clothing.
- Artwork: As with most custom clothing companies, Vector artwork is required. If you are unable to provide your artwork in a vector format, an art fee will apply.
More information is on Sugoi’s FAQ page.
The fall temperatures in Michigan during testing were dropping as fast as the leaves from the trees. While this undoubtedly screamed ‘cross, it also required changes to the equipment bag to be prepared for the many variations in weather. Fortunately, Sugoi’s shipment arrived just in time for the fall temps, wind and rain Mother Nature dished out.
To start with the basics, the Evolution Bib Short is simply amazing. I’ve never felt fabric quite like EvoPlus. It has a unique waffle pattern that does an amazing job of keeping moisture moving throughout the fabric, while maintaining a secure, non-binding fit. The RC Pro chamois is overkill for ‘cross, but provides a secure platform for long rides in the saddle. The many surface features kept it from bunching, and in combination with the mesh bibs, it stayed in place even when jumping on and off the bike.
A perfect match for the Evolution Bib Short is the Ti Long Sleeve Jersey. While not a heavyweight by any means, when paired with a lightweight baselayer, this jersey could easily take you into the upper 50’s without a problem. One of the nicest features of this jersey is the relatively tall collar – a great feature for fall rides pushing the limit of daylight and warm temps. The pockets are deep with an elastic top, and the zipper closure is secure and strong.
When the mercury really starts to push the limits of comfort, dressing correctly can be crucial to maintaining a steady core temperature during both intensity and recovery. Sugoi has a few key pieces of equipment that are necessities for the fall, including the RS Zero Vest, Jacket and Bib Tights.
When it’s cold but not too cold, keeping warm during your warm-up is key for ‘cross. If it’s rainy or windy, this can wreak havoc on your nylon wind vest or plastic rain cape. Sugoi has solved this problem by making their phenomenal RS fabric.
The RS fabric is constructed of three layers – a wicking inner, a breathable wind/water proof middle and a stretchy, strong outer. This construction helps move the perspiration away from your body while keeping the elements out. Staying dry and warm at the start of your race or during your warm-up is essential, and the RS fabric in both the vest and jacket is just the ticket.
The RS Jacket and Vest are very similar in construction. Both feature a highly stretchy, soft-shell fit and include a rubberized bottom gripper to keep them from riding up. There are three rear pockets – two angled side pockets and one zippered center pocket. While I’m sure this jacket was designed for more than just cyclists, I’m a bit traditional and prefer three deep pockets straight across the back instead of the outer two being angled downward. For me, the packing of jersey pockets in the fall is an artwork, and I use all of the space provided.
The only other downside I could find is in the sleeves of the RS Jacket. While the length is perfect for my long arms, and the asymmetrical cuffs help keep your wrists warm, the bicep diameter seemed large compared with the forearm diameter. While probably not an issue for most, it stuck out to me because even my skinny arms filled out the forearm, while there was a bit more fabric joining the shoulder area than I would have preferred. I guess the solution is to make sure you can try one on, as this is one crucial piece of equipment for your gear bag.
A great match for the RS Jacket or Vest is the new RS Zero Bib Tights. Hands down the best features are the windproof knee coverage and variably thick spandex panels, enabling you to train in the harshest of conditions. On top of that, if these aren’t warm enough for you, Sugoi has come out with an even more robust pair featuring their SubZero DWR fabric. Both come with ankle loops standard, keeping your lower extremities even warmer throughout your ride. A short zipper in the front allows for a more full coverage fit while maintaining ease of entrance.
One of the neatest things Sugoi has added to their custom line is the wool Wallaroo 290 jersey, available in either short or long sleeves. This is a great customizable option for your non-traditional cycling jerseys and can be included as a part of your “normal” team order. A simple flatlock stitch logo will highlight the center panel on these jerseys, which are great for a wide range of temps and purposes. The Wallaroo jerseys are semi-fitted, which fit me like a snug t-shirt. If you haven’t tried wool yet, make 2010 your year, and the Wallaroo 290 your custom jersey. You won’t be disappointed.
Last but not least, Sugoi sent out a lightweight hat, called a Tuke, for review. When I first saw it, I thought to myself, “Oh, a hat.” Not much jumps out on initial inspection, but a closer look reveals a few cool features. First, the hat has a fold-up brim that doubles as an ear cover. It’s meant to be worn in the “up” position, but on colder rides I’ve worn part of the “brim” down. This turned out to be the slickest feature about this hat, since it kept my ears warm but didn’t overcook the top of my head. The addition of a windproof fabric on the front might be an improvement for those especially cold days. That being said, so far this fall I have never needed a warmer hat than the Tuke, which can be fully customized to your team’s specifications.
Overall I was pleasantly surprised with the overall fit, quality and finish of all of the Sugoi products. All fit according to size and were generous in the one area I need most – sleeve length. My biggest applause goes to the Evolution Bib Short, followed closely by the Tuke – a surprise to me. I’m sure when ‘cross is over in Michigan and the cross country skis are out, the cold weather gear will shine even more.
For More Info:
Sugoi’s website is very user-friendly and you can design your clothing with relative ease. The customer service staff is ready to help if you have questions, and they can be reached either via the Sugoi website or, for custom clothing specifics or questions, e-mail [email protected].