Women's Cycling Kit Review

I have a hard time turning down a new cycling kit, especially if it represents and supports women's cycling. In addition to riding in the best gear out there, I can proudly display my support and jumpstart a conversation or two about women's cycling.

Over the winter, I've added a 2013 Specialized-lululemon, 2013 Vanderkitten, and 2014 Women's Cycling Association (WCA) kit to the collection. I'm still waiting on the WCA kit, but the others have had some saddle time and will have plenty more.

My local cycling team is primarily sponsored by Skullcandy and the kits are made by Utah company DNA Cycling which also provides team sponsorship. While our cycling team isn't women's specific, I'm very proud we are associated with DNA as they support our local pro women's team DNA Cycling pb K4. (Just one of many kits on my wish list) 

Let's start with the facts. I'm 6 feet tall and for my height, have long femurs and even longer torso. When not wearing cycling or athletic clothing, I'm the one with skirts that end shorter than they were designed too and I'm always thinking about belly exposure when buying tops. I'm not your typical build for regular women's clothes, let alone cycling where short is queen. In the US, pro racer Alison Tetrick is considered tall at 5'9"! There are a few truly tall women in the pro peloton like 6ft (182cm) Ellen van Dijk but it is rare.

For cycling kits, I've learned that Large Shorts and X-Large Jerseys are the best option. I don't need the XL for my chest, so I end up with extra material on top but that is better than not enough room in the shoulders to reach into the drops or exposing my mid-section. When I can, I buy bibs to take care of this problem, but in cases like our local cycling team, we don't have enough women that want bibs to warrant the order. They have no idea what they are missing.

I don't see many tall recreational women riders but I think other amazons would agree that a men's medium race jersey is a better match for length without extra material across the chest and belly. In addition, many women's charity or lower end jerseys don't have grippers at the bottom and are very annoying. Especially when your pockets are full and start shifting making your jersey twist as you ride. Of course, the men's jerseys have other issues, so I've found that a Women's Pro Team kit is the best option for fit and to show my support.

I've only had a few days in my new kits but I love them! The kit is one thing, but when someone compliments the design, asks about the team, or just women's cycling in general, I'm giddy. I've even had people in cars pull up and ask about them. I hope one day, there is enough women's cycling exposure, that people see me and yell "Ali" or "Ellen" instead of the L-word.

While waiting for the rain to stop this morning, I asked my husband to take a few photos in order to give you a feel for the kits and do a review.
*Disclaimer - I am not a model and my husband is not a photographer.

Please visit the actual websites for awesome product photos and to add your own kits to your collection!

2013 Vanderkitten - Jersey (XL), Bibs (L), and Socks (L) - manufactured by Pactimo - made in China
Vanderkitten in action
Love this design and the white for hot days
I can see the bright green thru my shoes
which reminds me of my fun kit and to keep on pedaling
Best butt graphic ever!
Bibs are super comfy and long enough to stand up
Meow - can't help but feel fierce in this kit
I wasn't sure if I'd like legs without grips, but these are stretchy tight and very stylish
I'm not 100% sold on the pad, but will give it a few more rides before passing judgement.
*Update - Rode 63miles at Tulsa Tough in pouring rain after a 104mile day and no major issues.
Make sure you follow Vanderkitten on FB and Twitter to catch any promotions, like this weekend's 15% off!

2013 Specialized-lululemon - Jersey (XL), Bibs (L) (although my tags say 8) - manufactured by Lululemon Athletica - made in Italy
Best full fit design ever
This kit made me a Lululemon fan, this was my first of many purchases
Just stay on my wheel and concentrate on the pattern
(Socks are not part of the kit, but when wearing Italian, might as well fly the colors)
Haven't tried the race radio/phone pocket
Bibs are great and I love the wide straps
Really great grippy legs! Good width and fun colors.
No complaints on the pad, although I haven't done a ride longer than 50miles yet so I'll let you know.
*Update - Rode 104miles at Tulsa Tough and had to add cream around 60miles, but no major issues.
Make sure you follow Specialized-lululemon (Velocio Sports) on FB and Twitter to catch any promotions. 
When you purchase online, 5% goes to the charity of your choice - Right to Play or CYCLE Kids.

2014 Skullcandy Team Kit - Jersey (XL), Bibs (L), and Socks (L) - manufactured by DNA Cycling - made in Italy
2014 Skullcandy Team Kit

Such a fun design, just wish the socks had a red stripe.
The belly issue!
The shorts have a loose fitting material in front which many of the women love, but I'm constantly tugging up.
Love the DNA pad! Have ridden in DNA Skullcandy kits for years and on plenty of 50-100mile rides with no issues!
Comparison of the 3 jerseys
I prefer silicon grippers all the way around, so DNA falls short but again, this was based on our team order. 

Kits in My Future:
Women's Cycling Association (WCA) - this one is already ordered and should arrive in a few weeks. I'm excited to support WCA as a member and proudly display the inaugural kit out on the road.

In just over a week, I'll be at Tulsa Tough. For all they do for women's cycling equality, I'm hoping to support the race by picking up either a standard kit or maybe a Diva Kit!

DNA Cycling pb K4 Racing - Pro team with Utah roots

Velocio - Not a pro women's team, but founded by Specialized-lululemon team director and owner Kristy Scrymgeour. In addition to high quality product, the website promotes the cycling community.

Other US Based Women's Pro Teams as highlighted by Sarah on Pro Women's Cycling which includes Colavita, Optum, Tibco, Twenty16, and United Healthcare.

Obviously any pro women's kit would be awesome if money weren't an issue. Maybe I'll find an Ale-Cipolini kit when we are in Italy this summer. Otherwise, any of these Euro kits would be wonderful to add to the collection.

I'm also working on a specific Ride 4 Equality kit for 2015. For my pilot ride in 2014, I plan to rotate between my existing kits and any others I pick up before August.

If you are a recreational rider and enjoy a good quality kit, I strongly suggest you pick up at least one of these kits in 2014. You'll be doing your body and women's cycling a service! If you have any other favorites, I'd love to add them to my wish list - please leave a comment.

If any teams or companies would be interested in supporting my Ride 4 Equality and donating a kit or other product, I would be super grateful. Please leave a comment or find me on twitter @girojenny