-originally published June 27, 2014 in Momentum Magazine.
Before breaking down the pros and cons of Giro’s New Road women’s line, it’s important to ask yourself where along the cycle chic matrix you fall. Many people philosophically don’t want to wear technical or specialized clothing, while others get excited about bike specific features and aesthetics. There’s the economic barrier between high-end or designer labels and the reality that many bicyclists don’t have $200+ for a nice pair of pants to ride to work in. With my brand, I saw that the women’s market needed a label that could hit certain price points, focusing on key pieces and being flexible enough to complement existing wardrobes, fit a range of body types while being pretty enough to inspire. That’s a tall order. And unlike the men’s market, there’s no clear distribution channel or process for women to discover this kind of apparel. And yet, now is an exciting time with more women riding than ever before, the perfect moment for an inspired new line.
Honestly, my expectations for Giro’s New Road – after seeing dull online product images and one mannequin display at Interbike – were not very high. But right out of the box it was clear that somehow Giro had managed to do something surprisingly beautiful. The key pieces: pants, shorts, jackets, and jersey-style shirts are all there with a few others, a much larger offering than any other women’s line. The colors are lovely and sophisticated. By avoiding prints and super trendy colors, the pieces look like things you can not only wear to work, but feel good about investing in for a few years’ worth of use.
Perhaps trying to be too flexible, there are certain irregularities: the fit between the pants, capris, and shorts are surprisingly different. The shorts are almost too baggy, the capris are perfect, and the waistband on the pants fit a little too slim. But that’s just my body, and having a range of fit types may make the collection more accessible to different builds, if a little more confusing. Giro has updated their online site, where items can be purchased directly, to show images of everyday ladies with different builds, bikes and styles; giving a better sense of the pieces and how they look in the wild.
The bottom line is that the pieces are pretty great: the women’s long awaited New Road collection is well-designed, well-made, and well-priced. Giro as a brand has the size and momentum to get things right, even if it isn’t on the first go. Like lots of indie designers in the space, there are a few pieces being made domestically in California, but for the most part the collection is made in China and designed in Santa Cruz, CA. Waiting for a full women’s release after the men’s has yielded several successes: the pieces are an authentic equivalent to the men’s line with enough sensitivity to finally reject the industry pitfall of “shrink it and pink it.” It’s very exciting to see a major bike brand take women seriously enough to go through that legwork.