Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Best-Fitting Kits Ever: Eliel



Early Eliel | top: testing prototypes. left: sewing machines at the ready. right: bib shorts about to be laser cut.


Kits are first printed on special paper
Do you know how kits are made? With fricken lasers, that's how. I know because last summer, I got to visit the brand new Vista factory of new apparel makers on the block, Eliel. Eliel provides high-quality (like, atmospherically high) custom cycling apparel, and a new consumer line is set to launch soon as well.

I've been really happy to help them in their noble mission to make the best-of-the-best cycling kits. I started dropping by to help out as a size model and I am honored to say that I helped a tiny bit to create the amazing fit Eliel is becoming known for, far and wide (at least if you're a ladies' small, though the guys I ride with are also reporting extremely positive results).

When it came time to put together kits for this year, they were my number-one pick, and to my delight and glee, we're taking our relationship to the next level: Size model becomes sponsored athlete.

Ink is applied to the fabric ready for laser cutting.
Derek Wibeck and Ryan Cady have been the friendliest, go-getting-est, most passionate entrepreneurs I've met. They were at Interbike, patrolling the garments section to see best practices, scout out the newest fabrics, and talk to athletes and industry folk. They were at Ironman, launching their brand, and providing next-level comfort to next-level athletes. And they have become the official supplier of kits for my friends at RIDE Cyclery, not to mention a ton of local teams in the area including Wolf Pack Cycling, UCC Cyclery, and Surf City Cyclery. And the list is growing!

Many panels go into making each piece of the kit
To help them spread the word, I wrote a piece about co-founder Ryan for the UC San Diego alumni magazine, Triton, which covers his background and how this all came to be. Check it out here: http://bit.ly/1Ht6QX9. But this quote from Ryan pretty much sums it up for me: “I wanted to produce something that someone who spends as much time on the bike as the racing crowd or the super enthusiast would actually want to ride in.”

Legs of Eliel's famous  most-comfortable-ever bib shorts
Mission accomplished, Ryan. I'm so grateful to have met these cycling aficionados who know exactly what a good pair of shorts and a well-fitting jersey can add to your ride. I can pedal in these things all day long without a hint of discomfort. I can answer the call of nature WITHOUT having to remove my jersey, thanks to their genius mono-strap design. Serious. And wow, this Team Ninja kit is looking sharp decorated with the logos of all the sponsors and supporters I'm so humbled to be working with this season.

Thank you so much to Derek, Ryan and all of the amazing team at Eliel Cycling!! It's truly an honor to be working with you, especially from so early in the game. I can't wait to see where the Eliel story goes. Thank you for having me along for the ride.

This Eliel kit is going to look amazing atop the Rocky Mountain bikes that are on their way. You can get in on the Eliel goodness at RIDE Cyclery, another partner I'm proud to work with in 2015. And they feel amazing under ZOIC shorts when skills clinics or group rides call for a pair of baggies.