The 80s and 90s witnessed true team kit innovation, thanks mainly to the introduction of Spandex, whose properties allowed manufacturers and sponsors to print bold colours and designs. And although true aficionados would argue that nothing will outdo the uniqueness and innovation of the likes of La Vie Claire or Mappei, we think that there is still room for innovation. In this article, we take a look at some of the kits due to be rolled out for the 2016 season.
First up is Movistar, who released a preview of their new kit on their Twitter feed
The Italian pro-continental team took advantage of a slow off-season to gain some media coverage for their new kit. While the 2015 kit had royal blue highlights from the shoulders to the bottom, the 2016 kit has gone decidedly retro, mimicing Lotto Soudal's 2015 kit with its minimalistic horizontal red and white bands. Keeping with tradition, the jersey remains covered in sponsors. Overall, it's a decent effort, but ultimately unremarkable and certainly misses the blue highlights of previous years' kits.
Next is the Belgian Ettix Quickstep team, whose 2016 kit has gone much darker than in previous years. Royal blue is the dominant colour, and matches the new sponsor, Lidl, perfectly. The white bands have reduced in size, making the entire kit appear much darker in comparison with previous years. We preferred the pale blue of previous years, but the 2016 kit might grow on us.
Kit supplier, Rapha, enters its final year of its sponsorship with Team Sky. Their final offering sees the addition of coloured bands across the chest, reminiscent of a national champion's jersey. However, the bands do not extend past the chest, which is where the similarity to champions' jerseys ends. The new design is supposed to make it easier to identify the riders in the peloton, but most probably only when looking backwards. Determined to get their money's worth, Rapha have added their logo to the front of the shorts in addition to the subtle logo on the bands of the longer than normal sleeves. It's not exactly and innovative kit with regards to its design. Rather, it depends on its easily identifiable colours. We like the British champion's jersey, which finds a balance between retro and modern.
The Swiss World Tour team announced their new colours for 2016, which moves dramatically away from its previously dark kit. Supplied by Cuore, the kit has gone minimalistic, favouring the shoulders and back for sponsor placement, whilst ensuring the chest band, which extends into the arm bands does not detract from its elegant look. The coloured collar is a classy addition. However, we are not yet sure what to think of the red band on the back of the shoulders. The shorts remain relatively unchanged, but compliment the new kit well. We really like IAM Cycling's new kit, and look forward to seeing in in the peloton.
Having dropped its Saxo Bank co-sponsor, Tinkoff has unveiled its 2016 "Training Kit". The cycnic in us would suggest that this is a headline grabbing stunt by the team's ego fuelled owner. At first glance, the kit appears to take inspiration from the defunct Rock Racing team, and Mario Cipollini's skin-suits. We will reserve judgement until the race kit is officialy released.
The Russian squad has dropped the Moscow skyline and white highlights from its jersey, and has replaced it with a giant Cyrillic phoneme, representing the 'yu' in the team's name. This also doubles as a 'k' when viewed from the front. We like how the shade of red changes subtly from light to dark. However, a little more colour would certainly not hurt. Curiously, there appears to be quite the lack of sponsors on the jersey. Perhaps this will change before the season's start.
Pinstripes are rare in the peloton, but the Trek team, now known as 'Trek-Segafrido', thanks to their new sponsor, have decided to stick with the same pinstripe design as last year. The kit has a certain elegance to it, and just enough red to break up the contrasting black and white. The coffee maker's logo takes pride of place on the chest area.
Very little is changing for BMC's 2016 team kit. Black and red are the dominant colours and help the team to stand out in the peloton.