Here at Carvalho Custom we realized about 5 years ago, that female cyclists were being neglected, typically getting palmed off with either men's clothing or the tremendously patronizing "shrink it and pink it" option. So we started experimenting with new fits and fabrics and we made some steady progress. We sponosored Shu Pillinger's kit for the Race Across America and in return she helped us field test some of our concepts (we thought that 5000 kms of non-stop cycling would probably be a good test for our chamois for example...).
We knew that the biggest single problem that women cyclists faced that men did not was bib shorts - the problem was getting caught short in your bib shorts (in other words taking a pee). With a bit of stretching of fabrics men can take a pee relatively easily without removing the straps, but for a woman it was always a case of having to take the straps of her shoulders in order to be able to pull the back down, which meant having to remove her jersey also. Most women resigned themselves to wearing waist shorts, but they just had no idea on the comfort they were missing out on: bib shorts do not dig into your tummy, they are held up high on the back so that there is no gap between jersey and shorts when in the riding position and very important (but often overlooked), they hold the chamois firmly in place against your backside which dramatically reduces chaffing.
There have been a few efforts at resolving this problem, many of which are not great. For example adding a zip to the back of the shorts works OK, but most women find having a zip being pushed into their flesh less than comfortable! Then there is the so called "drop tail" option, which anchors the back straps at the side of the rider and leaves a flap of material at the back to be tucked in. This sort of misses the points of bib shorts however as it does not pull the back of the shorts up, so the chamois does not get held in position.
We went through a lot of iterations before we realized that there was an alternative solution. By using a halter neck, and using clever anchor positions for the strap and a super soft and stretchy neck strap, we could hold the shorts in position just like normal bib shorts, without putting pressure on the neck and they could be pulled down without removing the neck strap.
The reason that this idea was complex to develop was twofold - first understanding it was possible to anchor a halter neck on the front and back of the shorts (which meant that the back of the shorts would be pulled up, so keeping the chamois in place properly) and second understanding that there are 3 positions to wear bib shorts and the functionality of the straps changes completely according to the position. When you try on cycling shorts for the first time, then generally you will be in the upright position, but this is pretty much irrelevant for a cyclists, because the only time you are upright is walking to and from your bike and trying them on in the shop. So our halterneck shorts do not really work very well when you are standing upright, because they don't really pull up the back properly. When you bend forwards into the riding position though, everything slips into place and the tension is transferred from the front anchor points of the straps do the back anchor points and suddenly the shorts make sense. Then when the rider squats down, so reducing the distance the straps have to cover from the shoulders to the hips, all tension is released and the back can just be pulled down.
After a lot of work with prototyping and testing we realized we have a very good idea, so we applied for a patent. And today, 17th of October 2016 it was granted in the UK, with worldwide patents to follow hopefully over the coming months. It has been a long journey for our little company and it has been troubling so see several other brands try to copy our idea, particularly as we have made it clear that are prepared to license the idea to them. We were very happy that Wiggle/DHB did a license deal with us and now our halterneck shorts are one of their biggest selling cycling shorts, which really feels like a validation of our original idea and all those years of development.
So if you are a female club cyclist and you would like to wear halterneck bib shorts in your club colours, then Carvalho Custom is your only choice as we have not licensed the concept to any other club cycling kit supplier. If you are a brand and you would like to license the concept, then please speak to us!
There are some Wicklow 200 jerseys available to buy at the event registration area on Saturday and Sunday, but there are not many left and it is first come first served. Price is €40.
You may know Carvalho Custom as one of the sponsors of the Race Around Ireland - we supply direct from Portugal into principally northern European markets, offering pro quality kit at southern European prices. If your club might be interested in getting a quote from contact us for club cycling or triathlon kit.
Here is a video explaining about our new custom tri-suits with the new tri-skin fabric, which is hydrophobic (water-repellent), to cut through the water faster and super fast drying as water beads off. It is also extremely lightweight. Available in both male and female versions, with laser-cut silicone leg band grippers as optional.
We have added fluorescent yellow to the colours available for our entire range of custom cycling clothing. We also have silver reflective strips that can be added to existing designs to make you more visible in murky conditions – these are typically added to the backs of jackets and on shoe covers.
If you need help with developing or improving your club cycling clothing design, then please get in touch with us and one of our graphic designers will work with you directly to come up with a fantastic looking design. We do not charge any extra for this development work.
In a heroic effort, Shusannah Pillinger has become the first British woman to complete RAAM, 3000 miles cycling across America in 13 days. Averaging around 250 miles a day and sleeping for just an hour or two each day it is truly a superhuman achievement. We were very proud to be her custom cycling kit sponsors - if our chamois was good enough for Shu during her 13 days, then it is pretty much good enough for anyone!
We also supplied the custom cycling jerseys to Generali Race Around Ireland team, who finished RAAM in a very creditable 6 and a half days.
It is very exciting to see our halterneck cycling shorts, developed by Carvalho Custom (with utility patents pending and design patents granted), going on sale under license to Wiggle and their DHB brand. We spent a lot of time developing this product - as with many of these things, the final result may appear deceptively simple but the road to get there was a long one! We knew that so many female riders were not buying bibs because it is such a hassle to pull them down when nature calls and we knew that there had to be an answer that did not involve zips, clasps or any straps that needed to be removed. Our halterneck designs with the back straps joining under the arm means that in the riding position the shorts are held up at the back as they would be by normal bib shorts, but when a rider gets off the bike and crouches down, the pressure is relieved on the back straps and the shorts can just be pulled down, as if they were non-bib shorts. The back straps also guide the front straps round the side of the chest, so also resolving the problem of straps rubbing on breasts.
For female riders who have never used bib shorts, the advantages of them are:
- the chamois is held in position up against your backside so it does not shift out of place at all, or rub
- the small of your back will always be covered by the back of the shorts, so there will not be a gap between jersey and shorts
- there is no elastic waist to dig in to your tummy
Wiggle producer a video to show how they work:
You can buy our custom halterneck bib shorts here.
Any commercial inquiries regarding licensing and patents, please direct to firstname.lastname@example.org or write to us at:
Westfield Technologies Lda
Rua das Camelias, 38
Being based in Portugal has its advantages of course, not least the beautiful weather for us to ride our bikes in. There are also some good things about running a business from Portugal and selling direct into northern Europe and elsewhere in the world - it is one of the lowest cost manufactures in Europe as well as being one of the leading producers of high end sports clothing, with many of the top cycling and tri brands now making their kit in Portugal. This means that we are able to make premium custom cycling and triathlon kit at very reasonable prices, making us one of the most competitively priced suppliers of high end kit in the custom sector.
Recently with the bedlam that has been going on in the Eurozone, led by our good friends the Greeks, the value of the Euro has collapsed against the good old British pound. So in the last 6 months, the Euro has fallen from less than 1.20 to the pound to today reaching nearly 1.42. This means that our British clients will be paying around 20% less for their orders now compared to mid 2014.
There has been a lot of clothing coming in from China recently also and they have not been able to benefit from this collapse in the value of the Euro, so it means that Portugal is now the place to buy top quality kit at bargain prices!
We have just finished trialing our new lycra for our custom tri suits and tri tops - is is a brand new fabric which is super lightweight and very fast drying, with a hydrophobic treatment that causes water to bead off. It is an amazing feeling to almost feel dry as soon as you take your wet suit off!
Our new fabric offers the same compression as our existing Power Lycra fabric, but is 30% lighter; it also incorporates a special thread that will prevents any transparency in the fabric even with light colours.
We are currently offering our new custom tri suits at the same price as our previous range (€71.90), but we will have to increase the prices shortly - so please get in touch if you would like to go just that little bit faster in your next triathlon (and a little bit drier!).
I was speaking to a client recently who asked the more than reasonable question of why he should buy his custom cycling jerseys from us and not from one of the many other custom cycling clothing suppliers that have been sprouting up all over the place over the last year or two. The truth is that there are suppliers out there who have similar quality products to us and there are even some competitors that have lower prices than us, but for nearly 10 years now, we have led the way in supplying pro quality kit at reasonable prices and that is how we try to stand out from the crowd.
There are plenty of suppliers out there with clever branding and good quality kit, but generally you have to pay a lot of money for it. But for example, our new Biofit custom cycling jerseys with lycra side panels, silicone waist gripper and Bio-Ceramic fabric is a cutting edge cycling jersey, but our price is a fair one: €33.85+VAT (discounted for larger orders). For that money you don't get any slick branding or celebrity endorsements, just a decent quality product.
So our strategy is just to stick to spending our money on producing high quality kit and not on marketing (to date we have never paid for an advertisement or an endorsement) and our clients are the ones that are interested in having great kit at fair prices!
We have a smart order form that allows you to list out individual orders from club members and then automatically consolidate them into a single club order to send to us, your club cycling & tri kit supplier. To do this, you just need to:
- download our order form
- enable the macros
- add the names of the items that team members are going to order to the main order form (so for example you can add custom cycling jerseys, custom tri suits or whatever)
- click the "multiple orders" button and you will be prompted to say how many individuals will be ordering (you can always change this)
- you can now add the names of each person ordering (if you want to)
- a mini order form will be created for each individual, which you can fill in
- to generate the consolidated order, just go back to the main order page and click "calculate total price"
You can always go back add more individual orders if required, by clicking on the multiple orders tab, add the extra orders and calculate again.
So there you have it, a very easy way to manage your cycling or triathlon club clothing order, which leaves you with a record of what everyone has ordered and an easy way to consolidate all the orders into one order form that you can then send to us to produce!