Louis Garneau Custom Kit Review

Louis Garneau Custom Kit Review

Team Sixcycle-RK&O is proud to be sponsored by Louis Garneau – manufacturer of some of the finest custom kit in the cycling industry today. As part of this sponsorship the team raced and trained in Louis Garneau kit throughout the 2012 season – in temperatures ranging from well below freezing to upwards of 100 degrees. Throughout it all, Team Sixcycle-RK&O’s LG performed spectacularly. Our thoughts on the product fit and finish follows below.

Team Sixcycle-RK&O’s Roger Parmelee on Louis Garneau Custom Cycling Apparel

One of the perks of being an athlete on Team Sixcycle-RK&O is working with our equipment sponsors. We have the benefit of several exemplary options when it comes to teams bikes thanks to Litespeed and on the kit we are lucky enough to have partnered with Louis Garneau for all of our apparel needs.

Louis Garneau has been a leader and innovator in the cycling industry for over 25 years and for those that are familiar with the brand it is synonymous with quality. This quality is why we choose to work with LG when starting Team Sixcycle-RK&O and the resulting partnership has been terrific. The materials, fit and finish for every piece of kit we have ordered has been second to none. All of the sublimation was flawless and accurate and the design process with LG’s custom kit team was completely stress free. If you’re looking for custom kit for your cycling team or club, I cannot recommend Louis Garneau highly enough. A full summary of our kit order follows –

PERFORMANCE CLASSICO JERSEY
PROS – light,comfortable,very breathable
CONS – zipper is hard to unzipp with one hand.

The performance classico jersey comes from LG’s cycling performance line and is a great summer jersey. The first thing you’ll notice about this jersey is the fabric – it’s fantastically light. LG calls it Diamond and its so lightweight that it’s almost shear. The fabric has a diamond like pattern in it (hence the name diamond) with an very slight shine the the diamond part. Although this jersey comes from LG’s cycling performance the quality of the build feels significantly more expensive than the actual price. The cut is great and the fit is very snug – insuring an aerodynamic fit for all of the racing action. The jersey is also fully sublimated allowing a vast array of design options.

  • Fully sublimated
  • Full-length hidden zip
  • 3 back pockets
  • Square collar
  • Raglan sleeves
  • Elastic at hem
  • Side panels

PERFORMANCE VUELTA LS JERSEY
PROS – shockingly warm for a basic long sleeve jersey
CONS – as you would expect from a winter jersey this fabric is less breathable

Don’t let the cold weather stop you from riding. Elite Pro Vent fabric helps retain body heat and dissipate moisture so you stay warm even in the worst conditions. In fact this long sleeve jersey is warm enough that even during the worst winter days – when the weather drops into the 30’s (before the wind chill) that this long sleeve jersey pairs perfectly with the Winddry vest to say warm.

PERFORMANCE WINDDRY VEST
PROS – comfortable, very warm, breathable
CONS – the pockets can be a bit difficult to access, but the new Speedzone vest resolves this

The vest is one of the best and most versatile articles of kit a cyclist can own and the performance wind dry vest does not disappoint. I use this vest in many different types of weather across a wide array of riding – from long winter base miles to early season racing action. I have been out on cold days where I would normally wear a jacket but have been perfectly warm instead with the Vuelta LS Jersey and Winddry Vest. This includes when the weather drops below freezing and there is snow on the group. In addition the vest has an extremely high quality zipper that makes zipping and unzipping very easy while on the bike. The performance wind dry is from LG’s cycling performance line and is made from LG’s winddry fabric. It has small dimple like texture and is soft to the touch, kind of silky. Similar to a soft shell jacket. It has great flexibility (stretchy) and is really comfortable even in the arm opening area where other vests I’ve had have felt restrictive. The fabric is wind and water resistant, fully sublimated, constructed with flat lock seams and has a slim cut to it so there is no flapping in the wind.

  • Fully sublimated
  • Full-length two-way zip with inner flap and chin guard
  • 3 back pockets
  • Flatlock seams
  • Reflective tape
  • Elastic at hem
  • Lycra trim at armholes
  • Side panels

ELITE POWER BIB
PROS – comfortable chamois, great fit and feel
CONS – none, these bibs are terrific

Let’s face it – bibs can make or break a ride. If there is one thing to not skimp on it’s bibs. If the vest is the most versatile part of a kit then the bibs are the most important. Elite power bibs are from LG’s cycling elite line. Two things really stand out for me with these bibs: the compressive fit and the airgel chamois. The compressive fit of these bibs conforms anatomically to the body providing comfort, muscle support, and enhancing blood circulation. The first time you put them on your thinking to yourself these are going to be too tight but once they are on and in place they are amazing. The compression is noticeable but not overbearing as with some other manufacturers that have attempted to use compression technology – more of a supportive feeling than squeezing feeling. One thing I like about that is the bibs stay in place and don’t need elastic grippers at the leg opening to prevent riding up. Now for the chamois. We chose to go with the airgel chamois for two reasons. First it came highly recommended by those that have used it and two the price point is absolutely great for a higher end bib. The chamois is made from Crabyon fabric – it is excellent for sensitive skin, is antibacterial, completely biodegradable, and allergy-tested. The airgel chamois has perforated gel inserts that make for an awesome comfortable breathable chamois. This doesn’t have a spongy feel – it compresses like a foam pad but when you really squeeze it hard it doesn’t feel like it compresses all the way -there is a sense of it still having some give. That’s the perforated gel inserts at work. The combination of the compression and this chamois make these the best bibs that I’ve ever owned. And lets not forget that LG has two even higher end chamois – the 4 motion and the 5 motion. I’m scared to think how good they are if the airgel is this good. The Elite power bibs are made of LG’s power mesh upper and a combo of Lycra power and Lycra pro lower.

  • Cold black technology option
  • 8 panels
  • Radio pocket
  • Flatlock seams
  • Powerband
  • Lycra lining on rear panel
  • Inseam: 10.5”/26.6 cm

PERFORMANCE VUELTA KNICKERS
PROS – warm
CONS – not fully sublimated hinders design possibilities but black base worked well with our kit

Living in New York we are lucky enough to experience all four seasons (or unlucky when it comes to the depths of winter). As much as I love riding in warm summertime weather there is something special about riding in the spring and fall in New York. The air is cool and crisp and when the sun is out there’s not much better riding. But the reality is these days are numbered and this is where the performance vuelta knickers come into their own. When it’s chilly, cloudy, and cold out the performance vuelta knickers have you coverd – including the same great airgel chamois as Elite power bibs. These knickers are from LG’s cycling performance line and use LG’s heatmaxx and Lycra pro fabrics. The heatmaxx fabric feels like Lycra on the outside but has a nice soft fleeciness on the inside. It’s not thick but does a great job of keeping the heat in but also wicking moisture from the skin so you stay warm.

  • Heatmaxx ,Lycra pro
  • Sublimated side panels, rear panel and Powerband
  • 8 panels
  • Flatlock seams
  • Powerband
  • Lycra lining on back panel
  • Inseam: 21”/53.5 cm

ARM WARMERS
LG’s arm warmers are made from Thermo Lycra and provide the option to layer for brisk rides and easy store in pockets. Biceps gripper helps keep the arm warmers in place and the are fully sublimated. These are a great high quality set of arm warmers at a reasonable price.

KNEE WARMERS
LG’s knee warmers are made from Thermo Lycra. One thing I really like about these knee warmers are that they are cut ergonomically and are not just a tube of material so they fit much better than standard knee warmers. Just as with the arm warmers the leg gripper helps keep the knee warmers in place. These knee warmers are fully sublimated.

VENT FLEX GLOVES
I love these gloves – which is saying a lot because I’m not a glove wearer. Most of my training rides I don’t wear gloves but when it comes to racing I always do. These gloves are lightweight, ventilated and have perforated gel padding for added comfort. In the palm of the glove there is a mesh for extra ventilation to keep your hands cool. There is a micro fiber fabric nor the thumb for wiping your nose or mouth. the Vent Flex is a perfect solution to match your team colors as the top is fully sublimated. These are ” hands down” the best gloves I have ever owned.

RACER CAP
Cycling caps are one of the most recognizable thing you can wear to show you’re a cyclist. There is something romantic about them – they remind me of the great cyclists from the past (from the days before helmets). There are also “rules” about how to wear them and the fit of them should be. You can read about these rules here: http://www.velominati.com/folklore/look-pro-part-ix-proper-cycling-caps/.

But I’m not here to talk about the rules of cycling and it’s faux pas. I’m here to go over LG’s Racer Cap. LG have taken the cycling cap to the modern age and have combined modern tech fabrics like light micro airdry to construct a fantastic fitting cap. The fabric is highly breathable and is so light that you can barely tell its there. It also fits snugly to the head so there is no bunching under your helmet like a lot of caps do. It is constructed of a 3 panel design and is fully sublimated.

Team Sixcycle-RK&O’s Charlie Bird on Louis Garneau Winter Kit

Accumulating winter kit is a right of passage for any cyclist. It typically signals that you have caught the bug and won’t let a little cold weather get in the way of your riding. It starts with the basics. You buy some gloves and maybe some neoprene booties, but make due with some left over under armor or a tight fitting fleece to keep your upper body warm. Your legs? Forget them. They’re moving anyway. They will stay plenty warm (or so you think). As you ride, you can’t help but notice other cyclists wearing all this cool cycling specific fall/winter great and inevitably you end up heading to your local shop or placing an order online. Winter kit starts as a mess of various brands and styles. However, soon you realize that companies make their kits to work together and they are much more effective when used as a unit. This leads me to Team Sixcycle’s kit system of choice – Louis Garneau.

The basics – Like I mentioned above any company’s winter kit is meant to fit together because layering correctly is the difference between being freezing or overheating. Eventually you’ll figure out a system that makes kit selection mindless. You see the temperature and simply get dressed correctly. Unfortunately, this is not without a little bit of trial and error. Warning – error on the side of overheating. Below I have listed my favorite pieces of Louis Garneau winter kit. I have ridden in some combination of this kit in well below freezing through around 60 degrees.

Elite Thermal Vest – This vest is flat out my favorite piece of kit. I say that because it is the most versatile piece of kit in my arsenal. The soft shell fabric stops core chilling wind and the vest has a thin fleece layer that locks in body heat. It keeps my core warm during an early morning chill, but can be unzipped as the day warms up. I can also layer it on top of my long sleeve jersery (see below) for those brutally near or below freezing days. It’s flexibility makes it a must for my early season races when the starting temperature is in the 30s but shortly I will be riding with my heart rate pegged above 180. I also have to add that a matching or custom vest is by far the most pro piece of kit any cyclist can own.

Vuelta LS Jersey – While my vest is my favorite piece of kit, this long sleeve jersey is the flat out best item I’ve ever owned. It’s basically a breathable jacket. The Elite Pro Vent 2 fabric traps in heat via a thin fleece lining throughout but also allows of just enough of the cool air to keep my body temperature well regulated. This jersey is no joke. The first time I wore it the temperture was just under 50 degrees and I was roasting. The next time was for a 35 degree ride and it was perfect. The jersey also has the standard 3 jersey pockets in the back.

Arm/Knee Warmers – I will review these together as they are essentially the same. Arm and knee warmers are staples to any cyclist and often are the first thing anyone buys after gloves and booties. They can be easily removed and stored in my back pocket as an early morning ride warms up. The arms specifically can be rolled down when the pace lifts or while climbing and it’s easy to pull them up when you need the extra warmth. They are snug, flexible, and like most of LG’s apparel have a great wicking thin fleece lining. I typically live by the rule that arms can be worn without knees (especially for racing) but if it’s cold enough for knees it’s cold enough for arms.

Bib Knickers – Knickers are quite a luxury. These are great for days when I know I want my knees covered all day and don’t want to expend the extra energy to pull on knees (hey every calorie counts). However, unlike most of LG’s winter line these knickers do not have a fleece lining, and I must say they’re perfect. I like to race in my knickers early in the season and I’ve learned a fleece lining will quickly overheat your core and quads. Everything hurts and burns enough in a race regardless and it’s pretty embarrassing to complain of overheating in near freezing conditions. It’s a sure fire way for your fellow racers to think you are fat and out of shape. Top notch decision LG.

Team Sixcycle-RK&O’s Dan Cleiman on Louis Garneau Fall Kit

These days I roll out of bed around 5-ish with temperatures ranging from 8 to 12 degrees Celsius. What? First, I’m Canadian. Second, cycling always uses the metric system, as in “5km’s to go!” or “200 meter sprint!” But for the sake of simplicity, I’m talking about temperatures in the 45 to 55 degrees Fahrenheit range, otherwise known as my favorite riding weather. Last Tuesday, Corey and I went for our usual morning ride over the George Washington Bridge, onto River Road, and back on 9W with a coffee stop at an undisclosed location. It was a chilly but gorgeous morning. Both of us were appropriately dressed for the fall weather, but chose different pieces of kit. Here’s our brief review of our choices of kit…

  • LG Bib Shorts
  • LG Jersey
  • LG Knee Warmers
  • LG Arm Warmers
  • LG Vest
  • Short Sleeve Base Layer
  • Full Finger Gloves

As previously mentioned, fall is one of my favorite seasons for riding. You’re cold when you leave the house but get warmer once you start rolling.

Bottom – Unless the temperature is at or below freezing, I don’t wear tights. And I like to have the option of stripping down layers as I get warmer. My choice for this ride was a LG Bib Shorts with a set of LG knee warmers. From my perspective, the advantage of wearing knee warmers is that they’re light, easy to remove, and can be stored in my jersey pocket as the temperature rises.

Top – The choice of base layer is always critical. It must be comfortable on the skin and breathable. The last thing you want is to be riding in a wet, sweaty base layer when it’s cold out. Today’s choice was the Rapha Merino top, which is exceptional. However, I’m looking forward to trying the LG Pro-Level 1001 Singlet Top, which I hear is fantastic! Over the base layer I wore my LG Jersey and Arm Warmers. I love the fact that I can easily roll down the arm warmers as I approach a climb and roll them back up once I hit a descent. Unlike many other brands, the elastic on my LG arm warmers has resisted countless rolls!

Over – Finally, given that I was tired, didn’t get much sleep, and hadn’t had my morning cup of coffee yet, I threw on my LG vest. A vest shouldn’t be underestimated – it is one of the most critical pieces of equipment that I have for fall / spring riding. And the LG vest is thick. It will keep me warm and cozy up to my chin when zipped up and it blocks the cold wind coming from the Hudson River as I pedal north. Note that this model is too thick to comfortably fit into a jersey pocket, but it does allow for a free flow of air when fully unzipped. And while we’re talking about pockets, this vest has 3 rear pockets. From my perspective that’s fantastic since unlike other vests, you don’t have to be a contortionist to reach under it and into your jersey pocket to pull out a gel or your phone. It’s also good to point out that I like my vests to be fitted. To accomplish a snug fit, all my gear goes into my vest pockets, rather than in my jersey.

Team Sixcycle-RK&O’s Corey Morenz on Louis Garneau Fall Kit

Bottom – LG Bib Knickers: as much as I love to ride with my legs uncovered to show off the meatiness of my vastus medialis, there comes a time of year when that is no longer prudent. For me, this is when the mercury drops to around 50°F. Those of you who eschew leg shaving during the offseason can probably get away with waiting until it’s a bit colder. The LG Bib Knickers are a great choice for those consistently cool rides when you want to keep the knees covered. They are the same weight as the summer bibs mentioned by Daniel, so you won’t overheat even when dialing up the wattage. This also makes them an ideal solution for early season races. Knee warmers are great when you don’t know what the conditions will be like (whether its foggy summits and sunny valleys or just awaiting the warming rays of a rising sun) – but the convenience of a one piece solution should not be understated. We’ve all been in the situation where we get kitted up only to realize we forgot to but our knee warmers on before our bibs. LG Knickers also tend to sit right on top of the widest part of my calf – not a bad way to show your cycling “buddies” you still mean business during the offseason.

Top – LG Long Sleeve Jersey: similar to the LG Bib Knickers, the LG Long Sleeve Jersey is a one piece solution for cool weather riding. The jersey is thicker and more insulated than the summer weight jersey, which provides a welcome warmth around the chest area, obviating the need for a vest at these temperatures. The full length zipper provides torso climate control while the sleeve zippers extend far enough up the arm to allow the sleeves to be rolled back for additional ventilation. This flexibility is enough to keep the sweat glands at bay, even while climbing. As winter approaches and temperatures continue to drop, I tend to pair this jersey with a thermal base layer which keeps me toasty on all but the coldest of winter rides.

Final Verdict – knickers and a long sleeve jersey are a great choice for consistently cool days when you need that little bit of extra protection to keep the lungs and knees performing optimally. No one enjoys sore joints or a cold weather induced post workout cough. Looking good as you crest hill after hill awash in autumn colors never hurts either!

Team Sixcycle-RK&O Louis Garneau Custom Kit Pictures

About Roger Parmelee

Roger Parmelee is a member of Team Sixcycle-Rk&O's road racing team, one of the squad's cyclocross racers and resides in Brooklyn NY. The former pro snowboarder found himself looking for an outlet after his snowboard career wound down and dove directly into bike racing and hasn't looked back.