Would you like to show up to the trailhead with your name printed on a jersey that’s color-matched to your frame? Or maybe you’re a privateer racer, and want to give your sponsors some love with logo placement on your race kit? Unic Wear gives riders the opportunity to design a full kit that will look as “pro” as they wish, in a variety of colors and design patterns, with a brief two-week lead time to receive the gear. Oh, and it’s made in the EU to boot. The best part: their website’s kit design widget uses a picture of pro mountain biker Cédric Gracia that you dress like a cardboard cutout doll. It’s rather amusing.
Unic Wear is a brand comprised of former professional mountain bikers and moto racers who have spent their athletic careers learning what riders need to be comfortable and covered. I recently ordered and tested several pieces from the Andora-based company, and I am stoked to share the story.
The ordering and design process
Ok, so it’s not truly a design process, as you are simply selecting from predetermined fields, but you can whip up a fairly custom getup with Unic Wear’s online customization tool. To begin building a kit, patrons first choose one of four jersey options that include long or short sleeves and more or less mesh depending on the intended season. Then select pants or shorts from a matching design aesthetic.
Next, it’s time to give the color wheel a spin. Depending on the kit design you choose, the selection widget will ask you to pick the main and secondary colors for the jersey from a pallet of 30 hues, followed by the same choices for the shorts or pants. On the jersey and shorts combo picture at the bottom of this article, I was able to select each of the stripe colors and match them between the top and bottom pieces.
After choosing hues, you will be prompted to add your name, or nickname, to be written in one of four fonts across the shoulder blades of the jersey. Once everyone knows it’s you, there are a total of sixteen logo locations to fill across the shirt and pants, so you can arrive looking like a proper Nascar driver if that’s your jam. Additional logos will set you back another €50 on top of the kit cost. You can also add a national flag if you’re so inclined. I kept my clothes fairly subdued, with the Singletracks.com logos in a few spots and some standout colors that I haven’t seen on stock kits.
- Long/short sleeve jerseys €89
- Shorts or pants €109
- Full kit €198
- Add logos €50
Fit and function
I found the Unic Wear sizing chart spot on, and the overall fit of the kit is fantastic. The size small jerseys leave very little fabric flapping in the wind, and if you often wear protection under your shirt you may want to size up to make space. The shorts and pants leave far more room for hip protection liners and knee pads alike. The overall fit of the shorts is perfect for my needs, with ample material to overlap kneepads, but not so much that they look like culottes. The pants also fit well, all the way to the knees where they become too tight for my liking. The stretchy material remains comfortable throughout, but the calf area of the pants closely resembles a pair of lycra leg warmers as it tightly hugs your skin. I definitely prefer a little more legroom in my trousers than these provide.
Both the short and long sleeve jerseys have a lift-pass pocket on their left lower corner, and a lens wipe along the lower front right edge. The non-mesh material that I ordered is lightweight and dried quickly during the sweaty months, and Unic makes matchy baselayers to warm up the shoulder seasons. The neck opening on both jerseys is large enough to accommodate my watermelon-sized dome, and the hems all around have held up well over the past several months.
The shorts and pants are virtually identical, apart from their length. Both provide a zippered pocket for either of your mitts with a cellphone sleeve sewn into the right-hand side. The pockets are fairly deep, with ample space for a handful of snacks, keys, a phone, a pager, and a multi-tool. The stretchy leg material has plenty of give to prevent tearing in a crash, and I have not had any issues with it snagging and ripping open on pesky blackberry vines. The fabric is far more durable than it feels like it would be, with a generally soft sensation against the skin.
My only complaint regarding the pants and shorts is that the two large swatches of material that make up the front give them a sweatpants-like appearance. The pants have no articulations at the knee, no kevlar layers to protect legs from the rear tire’s buzzsaw, and otherwise no changes in fabric from top to bottom. This doesn’t seem to have any effect on their functionality, but they would look a lot better with some more dynamic material layers on the front side. The only other critique I have is that the pants and shorts lack a silicone band inside the waist to help keep them in place, but Unic is currently developing that element, so future trouser buyers should be good to go.
Having raced bikes for most of my adult life, I really love having a fresh team kit every season. For folks in search of a unique look on the trail, or who want to make individualized jerseys for their whole squad, the Unic Wear threads are a great way to go. They are consistently improving and enhancing their clothing line, so check them out when it’s time for some new riding gear.
We would like to thank Unic Wear for sending these kits for review.