There are 8 British teams in this year’s men’s Tour de Yorkshire. I’ve studied their team kit (and champion’s jerseys) in detail and give my entirely personal and subjective #LukasJudgesJerseys verdict below.
Canyon dhb p/b Bloor Homes
Through its three-year existence, this team has stuck to what’s essentially the same design, only changing the colours slightly for this year. I like that they keep a consistent ‘branding’, even though the title sponsors changed.
As for the design itself, I like that too. The three different shades of blue and the diagonal stripe across the front and back make for a distinctive look that is instantly recognisable – and that’s what kit design is all about.
I’m not so keen on how the sponsor logos were put on the sleeves, though. The logos of Lamb & Watt and Sadler’s Ales (Walk The Line) just look too big in my opinion.
This kit is certainly recognisable. With bright orange (officially chilli red) and light blue (officially turquoise), there’s no mistaking it. I like the houndstooth pattern too. But…
Fades (to black in particular) have spread like wildfire through the cycling peloton in recent years, and this kit is no exception. I will give them that they have done the fade rather well. It’s certainly better than the half-dozen WorldTour teams where the fade is only at the very bottom of the jersey. But a fade is a fade, and I am no fan of this fade fad.
I like how the sponsor logos are positioned on the front: big Madison Genesis across the chest, and the smaller sponsors below that, but off to one side – a design the team has used for a number of years now. I do believe the Madison, Genesis, and Pearl Izumi logos on the orange (sorry, chilli red) would stand out more if they were white instead of black, though. The black collar with a turquoise stripe on the back provides
Madison Genesis, British champion Connor Swift
Connor Swift’s stripey jumper is a thing of beauty. A champion’s jersey always is when done well, and this one is.
I don’t subscribe to the opinion that white with red-white-blue bands isn’t ‘British’ enough, and that there should be a Union Jack of some kind on there. For one, this is how the British champion’s jersey has looked since time immemorial. And it is almost impossible to make such a complicated flag look good on a cycling jersey (which may be why the British national team has dropped it completely, but more of that later).
Extra points for not having any sponsor logos below the bands (other than a small Pearl Izumi logo on the left back pocket). Could be improved upon even further by making the collar red-white-blue, too, and perfected by having the jersey bands go all the way around instead of stopping at the side panels (where, for completeness’ sake, there are sponsor logos, and which may be why the bands don’t go all the way around).
Ribble Pro Cycling
Predominantly grey, the most striking feature of this kit is the light blue piping on the sleeves. It immediately draws attention to itself – and to the bikes in the same colour, made by title sponsor Ribble. This is very clever.
Other than that, though, there’s not much to write home about. Using the Ribble logo as a design element in a lighter shade of grey was a good idea in theory, but as far as I can see it doesn’t really work out in practice. The sponsor logos are all white.
The saving grace is that while this kit is a bit bland, it doesn’t overdo it – in any way, good or bad. So there’s that.
SwiftCarbon Pro Cycling
The top half of the jersey is white, and the bottom half consists of hoops in two shades of blue. I like this basic design very much. The colour of the bib shorts, however, is off. On most photos I’ve seen it is a very shiny greyish colour, and it just looks weird. Make it real black, please. Yes, there’s all that stuff with stretch fabrics and so on, but still. Make it black. Or dark blue. But not this weird grey.
The placement of sponsor logos is, by and large, alright. I find it a bit weird that the shade of blue from the SwiftCarbon logo isn’t used anywhere else on the kit; after all, they’re the title sponsor, so wouldn’t you want that colour to be more conspicuous? But then, the team bikes are the same dark blue as the bottom half of the jersey, so in that way it makes sense again. The shoulder logos of Elite Physio consists of very faint lines that are near-impossible to see at a distance, but there’s nothing the team can do about that.
The pink logos of kit manufacturer and sponsor Nopinz are a departure from the understated nature of the rest of the kit, practically jumping out at you. I guess it makes you remember who produces this kit, so it works from a marketing point of view. But the pink colour is too different from the white and blue to fit in aesthetically. Heraldically, you should never put colour on colour like on the sleeves where it’s a pink logo on blue.
Team Wiggins Le Col
Their 2018 kit was a masterpiece. Three colours – blue, red, white (and just a bit of gold), few sponsor logos, and a very retro look. The 2019 edition, I am sorry to say, is nowhere near that. Blue shoulders, side panels, and sleeves (but the sleeves have very wide red bands, and narrow gold piping), a red body (but with a blue background for the Le Col logo) – I just don’t feel it. The Wiggins writing on the shoulders worked brilliantly when it was following the border between the red and white. Now that it’s just sitting there surrounded by blue in all directions, it loses much of its appeal.
Where 2018 was a work of art (inspired by the national team jerseys of decades past, yes, but taken into the present extremely well), this is Just Another Kit Design. Not bad as such, but not great either. And it can only lose in (perhaps unfair) comparison to its splendid predecessor.
Team Wiggins Le Col, New Zealand champion James Fouché
Connor Swift isn’t the only national champion on a British Conti team – there’s Kiwi James Fouché as well. It’s an all-white jersey with all-black shorts, and the black fern on the jersey. The sponsor logos are black on the white background – except for the Le Col one, which is white on a black panel, and that makes it stand out. Points to Le Col from a marketing point of view, but aesthetically, I don’t think it looks all that great. I’m nonplussed as to what the grey-white-red piping is meant to symbolise as these aren’t colours that I’d normally associate with New Zealand.
Vitus Pro Cycling p/b Brother UK
Virtually unchanged from 2018, this jersey uses several shades of red from a very bright, almost orange, red to something that’s almost grey, and a geometrical design that produces lozenges and chevrons. The sponsor logos are simply put atop that in a distinctive white. All of that is very nice. There is a fade towards darker shades the further you get to the bottom of the jersey, which is not nice. But as the jersey design basically includes those greyish-red colours without the fade already, I’m almost willing to overlook the fade. Almost.
The shorts are black, which is always good, with a hem on the legs in the same red design as the jersey, which looks good too.
British national team
The British national team got an all-new kit last autumn, moving away from the Union Jack-focused designs of the years before. Possibly because it is hard to make that flag look good on a cycling jersey (though in my opinion they did a good job of it).
Or because the new sponsor, HSBC UK, has a logo that’s white and red. Because with the big sponsor logos on the sides and shoulders, the kit looks more like one for a trade team sponsored by the bank than a national team kit. Strangely, the GBR writing on the chest in the same red and the big square block next to it only amplify this impression.
And the piping on the sleeves and collar? That’s the flag of Costa Rica. What that is doing on a British national team kit, I have no idea.
The design isn’t bad; in fact, I like it, and would give it a high score for a “Team HSBC”. But for a British national team, it’s simply missed the mark.
Design-wise, the kit hasn’t changed much from the first months of the year when this was still Team Sky. It’s still mostly black, the Sky logos have been replaced by Ineos logos. What was a barely-noticeable fade from blue at the shoulders to black at the end of the sleeves and from the chest down is now a much more striking burgundy red. This improves the look of the kit by a lot, but it still looks somewhat corporate, as in bland.
The Ineos logo is a strange one, using two different fonts for four letters and something that has already been described as the Eye of Sauron for the O. There may be a reasoning behind, but if there is, I don’t know it.
Finally, the Thin Blue Line has become a Thin Red Line. Battle of Balaclava, anyone? Going from what’s considered a symbol for police officers to one for a military unit is most likely purely coincidental, but nonetheless curious.
Featured photo: SWPix.com